“Onward you move regardless of plans, you my friend are a roadworthy man.”—Wolfgang, ‘Roadworthy Man’

Now let us recapitulate some of the important events that I got involved in this year.

I helped in my father’s candidacy as a Baranggay Kagawad. Though it made me see the real score behind this political exercise, I still believe that we can still do better and improve grassroots legislation for national progress.

As writers, we are also legislators. Thus on July 1, 2007, Kabulig-Bikol ratified its Constitution and By-Laws. Though I see that there are still provisions that require some work, as it is, the current By-Laws can already help the organization function with some degree of formality. This country is run by law and not by men, and the same goes for any organization.

I served as Election Officer during Kabulig-Bikol’s selection of the new NCCA-National Committee on Literary Arts Representative. As part of the process, we interrogated the candidates with regard their plans and programs. And then we proceeded to the electoral process via secret balloting. The margin was so close, and to complicate matters, one of the members took an early leave and so we needed to contact him and know his vote. Not wanting a delay in the process, Estelito B. Jacob conceded to Carlos A. Arejola.

We processed the nomination and sent it to the then Head of the NCLA, Lito Zulueta. But later on, we had to resend the nomination because the NCCA, after revising its IRR made some changes in the nomination requirements. They now required a joint nomination (we tapped DIBA, Inc.) and a duly-accomplished application form. As Election Officer and likewise Kabulig-Bikol’s PR Officer, I provided Carlos Arejola with updates with regard the changes in the requirements. We sent the documents again, and this time, not anymore to Lito Zulueta but to the Project Management Division (as indicated) and Carlos Arejola’s application was approved.

Kabulig-Bikol also helped in raising some funds to partially shoulder Carlos’ transportation expenses for the NCLA elections held in Cebu City last December 10. And he is now officially the Representative for Southern Luzon. Though he is expected to represent Bikol writers he will cover as far as the Quezon Province in the NCLA as it tries to deliberate on and execute programs that would revitalize the literary arts scene in the region.

Meanwhile, another group that is determined to push for advocacies with regard Bicol culture and history was formed during the year. Tentatively named Bonyog-Bikolnon it has Fr. Wilmer Tria, Fr. Philip Bersabe, Estelito B. Jacob, Fabiana A. Arejola, Jose Fernando Obias, D.C. Nathan A. Sergio, Ruben P. Barrameda, Ramon Olaño Jr., Jose V. Barrameda Jr., Fr. Manny Zagaoa, Kristian Cordero and Jose Jason L. Chancoco as Incorporators. The group, during its December 9, 2007 meeting at the Madrigal Building agreed to place Jose Obias, Fabiana A. Arejola and Jose Jason L. Chancoco as Interim Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary respectively. The group is now processing its registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Now this blogger believes that for Bikol literature to prosper, Bikol writers ought to think not only of their respective careers and go down from their Ivory Tower and meet up with other people also interested in the art specially the beginners. That is why my monthly Palihan continues. And I see myself doing more of these literary discussions this coming year.

As for the publications, we still got lucky. Here’s some of my published works this year:

  • Homelife: “Isang Gabing Ganito” (October Issue) and “Elehiya” (November Issue)
  • All with Tagalog translations—“Tigsik Lubid”, “Siklo-Real” and “Siklo Solar” in Ani 33: 20th Anniversary Issue (Nature and Environment) edited by Mr. Herminio S. Beltran, Jr
  • Along with poet Santiago Villafania, I indulged in a literary discussion with master poet Cirilo F. Bautista. And the result of this fruitful discourse was published in Bautista’s Philippine Panorama August 19, 2007 article entitled “Of Writers and Readers”
  • Bikol Reporter: March 18-24, 2007 issue—“Pasakalye ki Kaye 1” and November 25-Dec 1, 2007 issue—“Opera”
  • “Sa Parasurat na Inapon sa Salog”, “Sakyada”, “Sa Berde kan Marahan” and “Pasakalye Ki Kaye 1” in Burak nguna bago bunga: Ika-apat na tipon nin mga luwas kan Burak, an Dahon Parawitdawit. Pinakaray ni G.B. Calleja
  • March 2007 Issue of The Pillars—reprint of “The Chanters of Baao”
  • “The Social Dimension of Textual Interrogation in the Classroom” in The Arabesques Print Review, a journal based in South Africa.
  • “Bakwet” in Latay sa Isipan: Mga Bagong Tulang Filipino (UST Press) edited by Dr. Cirilo F. Bautista and Allan Popa. Launched on August 30, 2007 at the World Trade Center.
  • “Nekromansa” in Sawi: Funny Essays, Stories and Poems on All Kinds of Heartbreaks (Milflores Publishing)

I am still the Bikol and Tagalog editor of Dalityapi Unpoemed’s Makata. It still receives contributions from all over the world. Still, it is a portal of Philippine if not Southeast Asian literary arts.

While I also served as judge for the 2007 Premio Tomas Arejola para sa Literaturang Bikolnon, this blogger is also happy to report the three literary distinctions I got this year:

  • Talaang Ginto: Gawad Surian sa Tula, Gantimpalang Collantes 2007 (Hon. Mention)
  • Gawad “Soc” Rodrigo 2007 (From the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino and National Commission for Culture and the Arts)
  • Home Life Magazine Poetry Contest 2007 (1st Prize, Filipino Category)

I also participated in these literary activities:

  • Served as host during the OragonRepublic Writer’s Night at Lolo’s Bar on July 19, 2007
  • Read poems during the Mundag Literary Awards at Ateneo de Naga University on February 17, 2007
  • Reactor to Dr. Cyril Conde’s lecture on February 15, 2007 at Ateneo de Naga University entitled “The Archive of Kadunong: Exploring the Oral Narrative Literature of the Bikol Region in the Philippines”. I talked about oral tradition and Bikol printed poetry.
  • Forum Member or Kinatawan during CHED and KWF’s “Konsultasyon-Balikatan sa Ortograpiyang Filipino” held at DepEd-RELC, Legaspi City on July 10, 2007
  • Along with other Bikol writers, I supported Dr. Cirilo F. Bautista’s nomination to the Order of National Artist 2009
  • Launched the Hagbayon Podcast Channel on June 2, 2007 at http://www.gcast.com/u/hagbayon. And I think it’s the first of its kind in the country.

And of course, my thanks to ABS-CBN reporter Ms. Rizza Mostar and cameraman Christopher Hermoso for featuring this writer for the ‘Bicolano: Angat Ka!’ segment of TV Patrol Bicol on December 7, 2007.

As always, this is for God, for Bicol and the people I love. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to All!


December 7, 2007

Sure I have been on TV before, but this time, it’s a different thing. An ABS-CBN Bicol crew actually came to my house for an interview—for a poetry prize. Yeah, it’s cool to be on TV, but it’s cooler to be on TV for poetry.

Now I saw this as a chance to put Bikol literary arts where it should be—mainstream. It’s a curious thing that for a country so rich with culture and language, we are not a poetic lot. My teacher Cirilo Bautista would always tell me, the poetry page of Philippine magazines is avoided by the country. No wonder we don’t send food, pens or flowers to our poets. We don’t give them discount in our coffee shops of booze joints. We don’t buy their books. We even mistake them for the dead.

I totally object to this. The poet deserves attention when he deserves it. The same as when actors get featured when they win a Famas, poets ought to be in boob tubes when they win prizes. This way our countrymen will see that poets are given importance, making them read more and possibly aspire to become poets themselves.

So there I was trying to be coherent in front of the camera, explaining dimensions of poetics and literary culture to a young female reporter who is not so much acquainted with it (she had to ask me what a Palanca is). I was also asked about my poem, the one that won, and I had to explain the difference between Balagtasismo and Modernismo. From being maligoy to being compact, logical and direct.

Too bad it came too all of a sudden. I got an SMS and the next thing I knew, they were right at my doorstep. I was not able to have with me my Homelife Prize co-winners. But then, I made sure they were mentioned and got their due, specially the Kabulig-Bikol and our advocacy.

The news feature was aired on Friday, December 7 at around quarter to six in the evening. The reporter was Ms. Rizza Mostar, an AB MassCom student of Unibersidad de Santa Isabel-Naga.


December 6, 2007

Kagawad Nathan Sergio of Naga City-LGU informed me via e-mail that the Sangguniang Panlungsod passed two separate resolutions congratulating Southern Luzon’s new NCCA-NCLA representative Carlo A. Arejola and 2007 HomeLife 2nd Prize winner Kristian S. Cordero. He also told me that they instructed Joe Perez of Bicol Mail to make a news item on the said resolutions.

Now the November 26-December 2 issue of Vox Bikol as edited by Fererico Lagdameo has a news item about the 2007 HomeLife Poetry Contest. It has the COMPLETE list of winners, including the judges. The article is written by Santiago Villafania, himself a poet (and not a councilor). Truly this is one of the rare moments when the Bikol writer shines. Our tri-media journalists ought to take notice of this. We need to show our people that we honor ALL our poets when they deserve it. This could be one of the ways to inspire our youth to become poets themselves.

And remember, the more poets a country has, the more enlightened it becomes, thus making partisan politics a joke. This way we won’t elect councilors who double-speak and erect a Bingo hall near a church or sponsor a wild street party during Peñafrancia (supported by a pathetic logic that the Traslacion is a street party just the same).  

Now let’s go back to a more noble enterprise. One of my latest rawitdawit is printed in the November 25-December 1 issue of Bikol Reporter. And I should say that Bikol writers ought to support this regional newspaper because it has a rawitdawit section. I have been to different parts of the country and it has been a habit of mine to look for a poetry section in different regional newspapers. And I should say that I have seen only a few.

Let me reprint my poem:


Minapoon sa paggadan kan pagmati:
isul-ot an guwantes na sensibilidad,
maglaog sa isterilisadong teatro
asin kun nagsaralak na an parong

kan mga pahamot, iyo na iyan
an tanda kan pagtadom

kan anesthesia.

Mawawara an bata kan kali,
Malilingawan an ribok sa luwas,
Mamamara na maragkot na hinang,
Maharali an mga tawong-grasa.

Asta kaiyan,
ihapulas an makolor na ilaw
nin antiseptikong spotlight sa madiklom
na kublit kan telon.
Asin palasun an kurtina
tanganing magbungkaras
an laman asin dugo

kan dula sa entabladong
operating table.

Gibohon na scalpel an tarom kan isip
sa pagrukitdukit kan mga diyalogo asin saysay
asin forceps an emosyon sa pagpurot
asin pagkudot nin mga madramang detalye
sa daghan kan kada organikong karakter.

Saka maabot an klimaktikong punto:
Mawawara an parong kan mga pahamot,
malilingawan an laog asin luwas,
maragkot utro an turo kan hinang,
masakat sa entablado an mga tawong-grasa.

Minatapos ini sa pagtahi nin lugad:
Madurukot utro an binaak na telon,
ihahapros an antiseptikong liwanag nin realidad,
isterilisado utro an pagmate asin isip,
asin huhubaon an guwantes nin pagsasagin-sagin
kawasa tapos na an pag-opera

kan nagsasagin-sagin tang sadiri.




The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), in cooperation with the Embassy of Mexico (Philippines) and Mowelfund Film Institute (MFI) with support from the President’s Social Fund (PSF), is inviting aspiring film artists who have made two or more films to join an intensive 4-day workshop on filmmaking under Mexican director Gustavo Loza from December 18 to 21, 2007 at Mowelfund Plaza.

Click here for details: http://www.ncca.gov.ph/about_ncca/an-mowelfundfilmworkshop2007.php

Reinerio Alba, Web Content Editor www.ncca.gov.ph