November 28, 2012

Been doing patintero with Manila traffic. Kevin de Quiroz in tow, we visited Ms. Dinah Ventura (The Daily Tribune), Ms. Shirley Lua (Bienvenido Santos Creative Writing Center), Manila Times, UST and FEU.

I finally have copies of the August 1 issue of The Daily Tribune where my VerSosimo article appears. I also have copies of the Sunday Times Magazine issues where my poems appeared. Said magazine is not able to reach my locality every Sunday. I was also able to hand over to Ms. Lua the nomination letter (National Artist) for Cirilo F. Bautista by young Bikol writers, all members of Ateneo Literary Asosciation (ALA, Ateneo de Naga University). And of course, the expedition is not purely pleasure but also business. Also looked for a dormitory.

Tomorrow will be the much awaited Ani 37 launch where we will play the National Anthem and other poetry music. Incidentally, we will also play the WG anthem song entitled “Hindi Kami Papayag na Walang Makata sa Lipunan.” The lyrics goes like this:

Hindi kami papayag na walang makata sa lipunan (2x)

Hinding-hinding-hinding-hinding hindi

Di kami makakapayag.

Wala na namang tula sa Inquirer magazine (2x)


Walang tula sa’ting balita.

(Guitar Solo, repeat stanza then guitar solo till end).


Been thinking about name-calling as an element of power relations specially in the case of the Tsinoy. In the area of politics, opposing parties resort to name-calling to cut the opponent down to size instead of engaging him in a level-headed and head-on debate. And in the Philippine setting, it could even lead to disastrous consequences. One party might just decide to bring the animosity to a more physical level and resort to arms.

In political and literary theory, name-calling is seen as an articulation of power-relations. As early as the Spanish era, it was postulated that name-calling or “bansag” was a way for the subjugated to get even with the colonizers. There was even a “patood” that goes this way: “Duwang kastila/Nagboborobintana.”

The answer to that is of course mucus in a runny nose. It could be a way for the Bikolnon peasant folk to “hit back” at their Castillan hacienderos who would merely look at them from their windows while the former toiled in the farms. Name-calling is then a product of class struggle and an adversarial culture. In the realm of psychology, it could be a sign of immaturity on the part of the name-caller.

Being so, name-calling is a “no-no” in the academic setting. Aside from the aforementioned implications, it is tantamount to bullying and psychological violence. It results to animosities. It is also a hindrance to learning hence should never be resorted to by the students, and more importantly, by the teachers.

Our penal code has a provision on libel and slander, the former particularizing on written or published while the latter on oral defamation. Article 353 defines libel in general:

“Art. 353. Definition of libel.A libel is public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.

Articles 358 and 359 provide for slander:

Art. 358. Slander. — Oral defamation shall be punished by arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period if it is of a serious and insulting nature; otherwise the penalty shall be arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos.

Art. 359. Slander by deed. — The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 to 1,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who shall perform any act not included and punished in this title, which shall cast dishonor, discredit or contempt upon another person. If said act is not of a serious nature, the penalty shall be arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos.”

Likewise, the Civil Code has a provision on the matter:

“Art. 26. Every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons. The following and similar acts, though they may not constitute a criminal offense, shall produce a cause of action for damages, prevention and other relief:

(1) Prying into the privacy of another’s residence:

(2) Meddling with or disturbing the private life or family relations of another;

(3) Intriguing to cause another to be alienated from his friends;

(4) Vexing or humiliating another on account of his religious beliefs, lowly station in life, place of birth, physical defect, or other personal condition.

And under Article 33 of the Civil Code cases of defamation can be subject of an independent civil action (from the criminal case):

“Art. 33. In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical injuries a civil action for damages, entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the injured party. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence.”

Name-calling could fall under the purview of the above provisions and could be subject of a criminal and civil case. And under Art. 26 of the Civil Code, it falls within the purview of the fourth provision on vexing or humiliating on account of other personal condition, and could be a ground for damages, particularly moral damages and exemplary damages. Surely, name-calling could result to “mental anguish.” And said civil action could be proceeded with independent of the criminal case.

So how does name-calling affect Tsinoys? For instance, the teacher keeps on twisting the Chinese-sounding name of the student to make it sound ridiculous. It could humiliate the student for in our culture, one’s family name must be defended by all means being something we inherited from our forefathers. It could also have repercussions on racism. And as we said name-calling is merely a manifestation of power-relations which can be traced back to history.


November 18, 2012

Nothing compares to a lazy Sunday with Dad. He visits rarely but we make sure it’s always quality time. I would leave my desk and prioritize our bonding spiced up by war and crime films, plus coffee and bread. Today we had “Unknown,” a 2011 film starring Liam Neeson. It’s an identity theft film with a twist. It also has a take on the conspiracy theory issues involving genetically modified crops.

Just weeks ago, a group of Bicol-based farmers trooped to the DAR office here to protest the entry of the so-called “Golden Rice” in the regional market. The farmers are alleging that it has irreversible repercussions once it gets mixed with the natural breed of rice. I do hope we are not being served “Golden Rice” without us knowing it.

Meanwhile, the Tarusan Bloc Poetry Class had a successful first session last week, November 11. I did a lecture on “Intro to Poetics” using my book “Pagsasatubuanan” as entry point. Later, we discussed poems. We examined the modernist technique of imagism. William Carlos Williams came to mind. We concluded that one pitfall of the imagist technique is too much internalization on the part of the poetic voice that there is no more room of the reader or audience. We thought that there must be balance. The atmosphere was participatory. I only led the discourse. Soon we will have the second session.

The ANI 37 launching is fast approaching! Time flies. And yes, we are still soliciting money as counterpart-budget for our transportation expenses. It’s of course for our band, The Super Poet Genome Project. My bandmates are also going around trying to solicit from supportive entities. Thanks to all those who have been supportive specially Naga City Mayor John Bongat,  Vice-Mayor Gabriel Bordado and artist Giovhanni Buen. I pray that soon, we won’t have to be doing this anymore. We will have a regular source for our budget requirement.


November 6, 2012

Christmas carols in the air. As they say, time flies and time does not wait. I almost associate December with Manila visits. It’s usually the time when I claim my writer’s honorarium from my publications. It’s a business and pleasure trip, as I also take time to visit friends. Most of my writer-friends are in Manila, although I am a province-based writer.

My artist-friend Giovhanni Buen paid me a visit again this weekend. He’s now operating a resort in Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte. He’s been inviting us to go over there and have a poetry gig. I know that soon, this plan will push through.

Since I have no idea how the place looks like, I surfed for travel blogs and came across an entry on the Calaguas Island by a fellow Bikol Bloggy Awards winner, Claire Blaxland of fame. Seeing her lying on the beach with “total abandon” made me see the gist of the place. 

For my daily tanaga project, I thought of Balagtas and his lamentation that if ever one of his descendants would follow his (mis)adventures as a poet, let his or her hand be cut off. Now here’s my S(tanaga)TUS for today:

Ang dapat tinuran ni Balagtas

Kaysa put’lan ng kamay

sakaling manayutay,

mga apo’y turuan

nitong kodigo penal.

It’s saddening as well as alarming that parents of my friends are dying one by one, usually due to hypertension related ailments. This reminds me that stroke is indeed a deadly, treacherous disease. And it also reminds me that I am lucky that my parents are still around, and healthy. Just have to remind them to take lots of water all the time. Or better yet, do the Japanese water therapy that I am doing.

So here’s my S(tanaga)TUS for today:

Sa napapadalas nilang pagpanaw.

Aba’y nangangamatay

itong mga magulang

ng mga kaibigan.

Yakap na kay ‘Tay at ‘Nay.



November 2, 2012

Spent the Undas at my hometown, in one of the more remote cemetery there where my grandfolks are buried. It is an opportunity for families to get together. I also noticed that it has become a place for girl-watching. Many of the young ladies nearby were sexily clad as they tended tombs of their love ones. Bagong dugo sa lumang ugat so Wolfgang says. So here’s my S(tanaga)Tus for today:









Sa haliparot ng Undas

Ay! Mutyang haliparot
sa ibabaw ng puntod,
sa makinis mong hubog
kahit patay, lilibog!

Meanwhile, just got the initial installment of the 25th anniversary video for Ani, the CCP Literary Yearbook which will launch its 37th issue on November 29 at the CCP Promenade. Just click the link here.


November 1, 2012

Undas, a reminder of our mortality. A reminder that we must seize every moment and make the most of it. Meanwhile, it’s been customary it seems to feature that particular tomb where Lucifer is depicted as victorious against Saint Michael. So here’s may S(tanaga)Tus:

Kung tusok si San Miguel
Ng talim ni Lucifer,
Di kaya’t tuhog na rin
Ang nandya’y nakalibing?