There’s news of a husband abroad suing his wife because the latter is actually ugly. It is reported that the wife merely underwent plastic surgery to enhance her looks. Later, when the couple had their firstborn, said husband found the baby to be quite ugly. He then sued his wife, apparently for fraud. Now this happened in a foreign country. In said case, husband and wife were able to obtain a divorce. Will the same case prosper in the Philippines?

So here’s my StanagaTus #3:

Bakit sa paglilitis
Dinaan ang ‘yong inis?
Pinairal ang mistake
Dahil sa hidden defect?

We have no divorce law but under the Family Code a declaration of annulment of marriage may be obtained on the ground of fraud. And there are only four types of marital fraud as per our law, namely:

1. Non-dislosure of a previous conviction by final judgment of the other party of a crime involving moral turpitude;

2. Concealment by the wife of the fact that at the time of marriage, she was pregnant by a man other than her husband;

3. Concealment of a sexually transmissible disease, regardless of its nature, existing at the time of the marriage;

4. And concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism or homosexuality or lesbianism existing at the time of the marriage.

The law further provides that NO OTHER misrepresentation or deceit as to character, health, rank, fortune or chastity shall constitute such fraud.

Being that concealment of  an ugly progeny or anything of the same effect is not part of the enumeration, I surmise that said case will not prosper in the Philippines. That’s why some people are assailing said court decision as stupid. But I think it won’t be a stupid ruling if their law allows for it. Courts merely apply the law, right?



October 30, 2012

Trapik sa may Pili! It was sickening. Or maybe I am no longer used to Manila-type traffic. I heard it’s because they closed the Diversion road. They have to rush the works then, and let the multitude pass.

Been toying with the idea of a “Stanagatus” or an FB status in the form of a tanaga, an indigenous Tagalog four-liner poetic form with monorhyme. Hmmm… Let’s us see.

Since I have been hearing in the news that former world champion Ricky Hatton is getting suicidal, here’s a sample:


Bakit ka maglalaslas
Dahil lang napabagsak.
Hatton, bilog ang bukas,
‘Di ring na parisukat.

And also, since there is this beauty pageant in China with a nipple-distance measurement requirement:


Mangyaring ‘di lang taas,
Ganda, lapad o liyad.
Kanila ring sinukat

Kung utong ay maagwat.


October 29, 2012

Alanganin. This is how some people would describe the October 29-30 office and class days, since starting 31st it will be a long long weekend until Monday. Here I am taking advantage of the free time I have to unwind a little. I already sent the paperworks where it should be.

It’s nice to see more and more young people frequenting the Filipiniana section of our bookstores. True, most of them seem to be looking for Bob Ong, saying: “This book  Paboritong Aklat ni Hudas must be very scary!”

That’s good enough for me. At least they are interested.

There’s some update on the Ani 37 launch. CCP has released a poster of sorts for the programme. And it turns out that my name is first in the billing–along with my band The Super Poet Genome Project. Earlier, when CCP LitDiv asked me if which portion of the program we prefer, the opening or the ending. I said we prefer the opening since we still have to do set-up and sound check. It’s true. From experience, bands tend to disrupt the flow of the performance since indeed, they have to do some twanging and twinging before they start.

Now we are gathering funds for our transportation expenses and we welcome YOUR support, yes. For the sake of literature, right? Yes.

Also, I heard there was a poetry reading last Saturday here in Naga. But due to my busyness or shall we say business of being busy, I missed it. I heard the theme was Bikol erotica. Naks! When I think of erotica, I imagine young and sexy women reading sensual poems. Like say, Mercedes Cabral. That would be a treat!

Rushing to the provinces everybody is, while kids who have absorbed Western culture awaits for some round of trick or treat. During my younger years (I am still quite young), we would rather have scary story sessions near Manay Miring’s sari-sari store (the adults occupying the makeshift chairs at the store front). A CASURECO post nearby and a coconut tree serving as light and shadow, we would take turns talking about all sorts of aswangs and elementals. In fact, I could say that people from the barrio have amazing story-telling skills.

My neighbors will never forget the time when my mother rushed from our house to join them at the sari-sari store. She said I was looking at the terrace, jumping up and down on our bed exclaiming: “Ay si Lolo! Ay si Lolo!” And my Lolo Pio was already dead.

Looking back, I say that I really did see him. He was smiling and wearing his brown military suit.

Now this is getting scary. I better go back to some literary updates. Just learned today that my poem “This is a Dream” appears in today’s Sunday Times Magazine. It’s one of my latest poems in English employing the so-called surrealist technique. It was really fun writing it. It goes like this:


and you have dreamt of this before,”

says my dark skull, my eyes groping

for reason in the theater of my mind.

“This is the view when you fly. All just a part

of a dissertation of a man who developed

the method for human vertical landing,”

says the Professor Omniscient of my dark skull.

And my eyes could see clouds, treetops

and a man dropping like lightning from the sky.

To me, the most strangely familiar scene.

“This is the grounds of your elementary school

when they installed these giant metal balls

that go rolling to places: Under the floor,

above the pavement, across the basketball court.

Each roll and turn, part of a mechanism

of this giant lock of a school.

Now this smart backpack kid

runs about the place: From the hallways,

basketball court, quadrangle.

All the while expertly eluding the metal balls

and their—lasers, until he reaches the gate.

He catapults himself above its pointed crown,

landing on that street of San Jose. He would walk

until he reaches a highschool boardinghouse

where he sees a boy consoling a girlfriend

right outside of a familiar restroom.

A teacher was there too after rushing

to academize the counseling.

My mind’s eye, convinced

that this has happened before,

recalls not when.

“This is the grounds of your elementary school

when they used to tend crocodiles,”

says my dark skull. Convinced

that this was a dream,

I made a schoolboy jump

at the swampy playground

only to find the water turn red with panic.

“Don’t worry, this is a dream

and you have dreamt of this before.

The boy must have made a mistake here

for safely, he walked aground

in that other dream.”

There. I did write the poem after waking up from a dream. I hope to include it someday in my first collection of poems.

Meanwhile, there’s a repeat of last week’s Dionatext Kontra Depresyon experience. After winning as Finalist, I found myself sending more entries. And again, I am one of the finalists. Here’s the press release from Foundation for Advancing Wellness, Instruction and Talents, Inc.(AWIT, Inc.):


Francisco Montesena — the second poet from Angono, Rizal — is the fourth and last Textmakata ng Linggo with his diona:

Nang malaglag ang dahon
may mga bagong usbong
luntian at mayabong.

Montesena will join the elite group of Textmakata ng Linggo in the past — Filiffe C. Anorico of Angono Rizal (Week 3), Joel Costa Malabanan of Bacoor, Cavite (Week 2), and Ruel A. Solitario of Bagong Silang, Caloocan City (Week 1).

This week’s finalists chosen by the judges — composed of poets, psychiatrists, and psychologists – among almost a thousand entries include:

Hilahod ang negosyo
inonse ng kasosyo
di Mesiah ang gatilyo!

Unos ma’y rumagasa
At bumaha ng luha,
Palad ko’y iyong bangka.

Basag na baso’t pinggan
Hinahong nalimutan
Bubuo’y pagmamahal.

Apoy mula sa bulkan
Ginawang gintong tunay
Ang mga dinaanan.

The Makata ng Linggo will receive Php 4,000.00 cash prize and other suprises while weekly finalists will get 500.00 worth of cellphone load.

During the awards night, the Board of Judges led by National Artist Virgilio Almario will announce the Textmakata ng Taon who will receive the trophy created by poet/sculptor Raul “Tata” Funilas. It will be held on Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 6pm at the Conspiracy Garden Cafe, 59 Visayas Avenue, Quezon City. For details, please contact 0920-6139377 (Foundation AWIT) or 4532170 (Conspiracy Garden Cafe) or visit

There. Congrats to Kiko Montesena for bagging the first prize and goodluck to the four Text Makata ng Linggo when they compete again for the top prize.

Depression is no joke. It could last for months and if it persists, medication must be resorted to. Else, the patient might contemplate suicide and might just pursue it. So this is a good project by AWIT, Inc. Just as they are popularizing diona as a poetic form, they are also raising public awareness on depression as a deadly mental ailment.

Let me give you some more Diona Kontra Lumbay:

Lungkot ay terorista.

Kung loob ay may bomba,

Buksan na ang maleta.


October 27, 2012

Walang masamang karanasan,” Jun Cruz Reyes said while munching a sandwich and holding a hot cup of coffee. He was sitting at the steps of the J. Pollock Center during the 2nd Ateneo National Writers Workshop in 2001. I was also there as fellow for English poetry, passing time for the coffee break. I asked him, “Why must poets suffer?”

Suffering and pain–some things to be accepted by one who must walk the life of a poet. An “ultra-sensitive” he must sift through the various colors and emotions of life. But as much as said emotions affect him, he must be objective. He must stand ground for he is a gate-keeper of truth. He must manipulate language and experience to arrive at truth–beautifully, to paraphrase one adage. And if he succeeds, he will attain his destiny of immortality.


October 26, 2012

Betrayal, hate, anger are emotions inevitable in literature. Cirilo F. Bautista once said that you can avoid anger but not love in a literary narrative. While the same is true, the statement should be construed as: Love and Anger, they come in pairs.

Kabalintunaan, parikala or irony–this is one result of the joinder of the above emotions. No wonder Florante was “swimming in a river of tears,” for while his love for Laura was indeed sweet, suffering came with it–and betrayal. The narrative moves with more efficacy because the reader, also enmeshed in his own truth–a world of suffering and love, becomes involved. The reader is moved, angered and then gratified after the machinery of poetic justice takes its toll.

Anger indeed, can result from love, and only those who love with utmost sincerity are capable of unequivocal anger. For anger likewise makes the soul burn and strive. It makes the soul want to live, for love merely makes the soul as it is–oblivious of itself.

Anger is to passion. Hence even the law respects this in such that if a married person catches his spouse in sexual intercourse with another, he SHALL kill or inflict injury on her and her paramour, and by virtue of the notion that said killer is only defending his honor, he shall only be penalized with destierro. The same rule applies to a parent who catches his daughter, who is a minor, in the same compromising situation.

Passion makes us human. And all of human education is designed to temper and refine our passion. Poetry, while it must burn with passion, must also be tempered. Economy of  language, imagery and conveyance must complement it. Intuitive it must be for poetic language is beyond language, but the spirit of language and of the human soul.


October 25, 2012

Storm is going away. I hope by tomorrow, it will be a bright day. Halloween has been following me in my room, giving me the creeps, waking me up late at night. I remember when I was still in Manila, I did not go home for the undas and stayed in my boarding house. Perhaps I wanted to experience a Manila Halloween that time. I bought a book by Jaime Licauco, his second title, “More Encounters with the Unknown.” I stayed in my room to just read. I read about his accounts on matters paranormal. I liked the article “The Hotel That Never Was,” and I could sort of relate. My Gastambide boardinghouse was quite a scary place too.

It was midnight when the boarders gathered in the sala. We thought of going out to get some beer, but got fresh fruits instead. We ate and ate that night, knowing something was watching us.

The next night I went to Mayric’s. There was a costume party there and the band Fatal Posporos was performing. I was alone in my table and their drummer sort of noticed. After their set, she joined me. She was wearing angel wings. We talked about things. It was Haloween of 1999.


October 22, 2012

Now my brain feels so fried up after the mental exercises I had a few hours ago. Just checked my FB today, a Monday. Yesterday I was so crancked up, buried with work at my desk. I was looking at my files the other night and realized that textpoetry contests started in the Philippines in 2003, spearheaded by the UP-ICW and the NCCA. It was February and it was for the National Art’s Month. The first installment was the Textanaga, if I’m not mistaken, and then followed by Dalitext, then Dionatext, then Textsawikain.

Now this year, Foundation for Advancing , Instruction and Talents, Inc (AWIT), organized a Dionatext Kontra Depresyon. When I saw the ad at FB, I liked the topic immediately and started to send entries. I am pretty much sure everybody gets depressed sometimes and we all know how difficult it can be. So composing my entries, I had in my mind people who are comtemplating suicide. In my highschool batch alone, we have two suicide victims, if I’m not mistaken. There could be more. Kurt Cobain was a dominant figure during our time so it would not be a surprise.

One of the entries I sent was inspired by a conversation with an artist-friend Giovhanii Buen. We were talking about the death of the late Sec. Jesse Robredo. I said that a butterfly was flying around during the time the search for his body was still on. Van said that there’s something about the butterfly. So I asked if there’s a scientific explanation for the phenomenon. He said that it could be a poetic message, an image. He said that after-all, our bodies are nothing but a temporary shell. So like the catterpillar that ends up as a butterfly, the person, upon death is freed from the limitations of this physical plane–and becomes spirit.

What a poetic idea. So while thinking of a diona to share to depressed people, this came out:

Pagkatapos gumapang

Ng uod, kaibigan.

Nagiging alibangbang.

And next thing you know, the diona wins in the Dionatext Kontra Depresyon. It’s a bonus really, because I was just happy to come up with it. Here’s the complete list of winners as lifted from Panitikan.Com:

Filliffe C. Anorico of Angono, Rizal is the third Textmakata ng Linggo with his diona:

Kung may virus ang utak,

Nagha-hang ang pangarap—

Bakit di mag-reformat?

Other finalists chosen by the judges — composed of poets, psychiatrists, and psychologists –  among more than a thousand entries include:

Angkla itong pangarap

Na lumubog sa dagat;

Natagpuan ay perlas.


Pagkatapos gumapang

Ng uod, kaibigan.

Nagiging alibangbang.


Tumingala sa ulap

At muli kang mangarap

Sa buhay ay yumakap.


Lason, lubid, kutsilyo,

lunod, bangin, gatilyo?

“Mabuhay,” aking payo.


The Makata ng Linggo will receive Php 4,000.00 cash prize and other gifts at the end of the contest month while the finalists will receive 500.00 worth of load.

The fourth week for Dionatext Kontra Depresyon started at 5:01pm last October 19 and will end at 5:00 pm on October 26. There is no limit to the number of entries a contestant may send.

For more information, email or visit or

There you go. Congrats to the winners and the joiners! I heard that they will collect all the entries and publish them later.


October 13, 2012

For some reason, people have been inviting me to talk about blogging. During the Pagsurat Bikolnon last summer, I was also there to talk about blogging and technology. Last week, I was invited by CBSUA-Calabanga to once again share my view on the use of the cyberspace by poets, particularly, blogging for poets.

My lecture traced the history of publishing in the Bicol region, going back as early as pre-Hispanic times. Then I shared an essay of mine entitled “Cyberpoetry: Words in Battlefields,” published in The Daily Tribune twelve years ago. You see I was among those who first explored publishing opportunities in the cyberspace during those times. I was then asphyxiated by the scarcity of publishing outlets here in the Philippines, so I sent poems to foreign magazines and e-zines.

Anyway, thanks to CBSUA-Calabanga College of Education for inviting me along with Rea Robles and Jusan Misolas. My powerpoint presentation will be forwarded to Jerome Hipolito soon.


October 12, 2012

Time is flying faster and faster. And there is no looking back. There is a need to put a helmet that makes one see only what is up front. There are distractors, lots of them,  but they must be shut or shot down. There are also forces who are so full of themselves, thinking that the world was created because of them. We all know that it is only a matter of time, and the proper structure of things will mold them as better people. It would also help if they be under my jurisdiction by that time. For I would gladly oblige to do the deed of correcting them–for their own good.

Weekend is here again. And as there seems to be so much time in my hands, I must be cautious.