September 20, 2007


Was away during the Peñafrancia Fiesta. Here I am claiming to be a Bikol writer and I can’t even be there for Ina on her feast day. Not to mention that I made a promise back in ‘O3 that I would never again miss it. I wanted to personally ask for permission, to visit her before I leave. But next thing I knew, I was already on a bus. I forgot

And I got sick in Manila. And believe me, it’s a place you can’t afford to get sick in. Complaining of runny-nose with watery mucous and fever, I was diagnosed of a viral infection. Manila Doctors Hospital is high-tech and topnotch but comes with a price tag.

I went on a soiree with Esmi that day. Checked on the National Museum and went for a stroll in Intramuros. We heard mass at the San Agustin Church, it was a wedding too. Come sleeping time, I was burning with fever and trembling with chill.

Cause and effect?

Part of my soiree gave me the chance to look into the exhibits at the CCP just before the Ani 33 launch last Friday, September 14. I also spent some time at the library. The program for Ani 33 allowed for public readings of some excerpts from Luis Gatmaitan, Nestor Lucena, Santiago Villafania and Raul Funilas. Bayang Barrios also rendered us one of her environmental songs. Too bad that the open-mic portion came in time with the cocktails. I was the first one called-up to read but had second thoughts because almost everybody left their seats for some food, ensconcing themselves in different areas and corners of the wide spaced CCP Ramp. I was afraid that nobody would listen to the readers and as the first one in line; I would get the first taste. I was right. And so for my next poem, I read aloud a Bikol work—without translation.

I also spent some time in Imus, trying to recuperate from fever. I actually celebrated my birthday there, my Esmi coming over for a visit. We went to Pizza Hut in Robinson’s Imus. Earlier during my visit, we went to Delicious Restaurant in Binondo and indulged in authentic Chinese cuisine. What a way to compensate for the feast I missed here in Naga!

I was also one of the judges for this year’s Premio Tomas Arejola para sa Literaturang Bikolnon. Too bad I missed the awards night last Wednesday, September 19. It was held at the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary, and I heard, was well-attended by government officials, civil society, artists, writers and cultural workers. Congratulations to all the category winners and finalists.

Cited in the essay category are: “Ringgaw nin Imahinasyon, Kawat sa Pagtukdo” by Judith Balares-Salamat of Pili, Camarines Sur” and “An Dalan nin Pakikisumaro” by Adrian V. Remodo of Lagonoy, Camarines Sur. The category grand prize went to Judith Balares-Salamat.

The finalists for the fiction category are: “Abaniko” by Marissa Reorizo-Casillan of Naga City and “An Kris” by Irene L. Taniegra of Pili, Camarines Sur. No category grand prize for fiction.

The ten poetry collections cited this year are as follows: “Ini, an mga buhay ta” by Jaime Jesus Borlagdan of Tabaco City; “Tinalbong ko su Tibabong” by Ryan B. de los Reyes of Baao, Camarines Sur; “Mga Tigsik” by Aida B. Cirujales of Naga City; “Agbay a Oras Sana” by Eurely P. Arroyo of Buhi, Camarines Sur; “Paradakop kan Pangiturugan” by Marissa Reorizo-Casillan of Naga City; “Hapiyap kan Kalangitan” by Jerico Rebadeo of Calabanga, Camarines Sur; “Rawitdawit Haleng Camaligan” by Jhonald A. Caballero of Camaligan, Camarines Sur; “Sa Banal asin sa Mga Tampalasan” by Adrian V. Remodo of Lagonoy, Camarines Sur: “Lagatak sa Riles kan Tren”by Christine P. Cordez of Milaor, Camarines Sur; and “Antisipasyon asin iba pang mga rawitdawit” by Victor Dennis T. Nierva of San Fernando, Camarines Sur.

Jaime Jesus Borlagdan and Victor Dennis Nierva tied for the grand prize, poetry category. Honorable mention went to Marissa Reorizzo-Casilan.

The title of Writer of the Year went to Judith Balares-Salamat. And writer Abdon M. Balde, Jr. and culural advocate Leonor Dy-Liaco are this year’s Lifetime Achievement Awardees.

Congrats also to the other members of the Board of Judges, Kristian Cordero and Jo Bisuña, for pulling off the difficult task of coming up with category winners and Writer of the Year after much deliberation.

Congrats also to the Arejola Foundaion for getting the judges’ nod for Naga City’s Mayoral Awards for Literature. Way to go!



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