Yesterday, I got an SMS from writer-friend Bebang Siy, the famed author of It’s a Mens World. She told me that she will be sending me an E-mail. She didn’t really tell me what the E-mail was all about. And when she did send it, she even left the subject line blank. Surprise, surprise! It turned out to be a “chain letter for writers” where the recipient has to answer ten questions about his or her latest or upcoming book. It’s really a way for the writers to promote their book projects.


1. What is the title of your latest/upcoming book?

My latest book is “Pagsasatubuanan: Poetikang Bikolnon,” a work of literary criticism on Bikol poetics. The working title of my next book project is “The Jason Case”. It will be a collection of my poems in English, Filipino, Bikol-Naga and Iriganon.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I studied Tagalog poetics under Rio Alma. And when I attended the Iyas and Iligan National Writer’s Workshops, the elder writers in Visayas and Mindanao were also thinking of writing about their poetics. I figured that at the time there was yet no work of literary criticism covering the poetics of a regional language. So I thought that I better do research on Bikol poetics. It took me four years to finish “Pagsasatubuanan”.

The idea for “The Jason Case” came from a poem of the same title. I thought it could capture my case: A writer who writes in English, Filipino, Bikol-Naga and Iriganon.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

“Pagsasatubuanan” is under literary criticism. “The Jason Case” is poetry, tula and rawitdawit.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

People in a typical Bikolnon community. “Pagsasatubanan” posits that the rawitdawit has a dramatic element, specially the tigsik.

The Fire n Ice Dancers could play-dance “Hagbayon,” one of my poems in Filipino. In fact we already have such performance. Baron Geisler could play the poem “The Jason Case”. It would suit him just fine.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your upcoming book?

“The Jason Case” captures multimedia poetry from the vantage point of a Bikol writer–orag, dexterity and all.

6) Who published your latest book? Who will publish the next one?

“Pagsasatubuanan” is published by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). “The Jason Case” will be published by Ateneo de Naga University Press perhaps? DLSU Press? UST Press? We don’t know yet.

7) How long will it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Around one month. It won’t take that much time. I have already gathered most of my poems.

8) What other books would you compare this story (project) to within your genre?

Hmmm… There was this book once with a CD accompanying it.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The people around me. Daily experiences. But the project as it is–it’s inspired by the WG, our regular poetry gig here in Bicol.

10) What else about the book that might pique the reader’s interest?

It will be sulit. Will use all of my “powers” here as a writer, performer and musician.

So there you go. Thanks to Ms. Bebang Siy for including me in the chain. You could check her work here.

Also, by next week or earlier, you could check the answers to the same questions by the following writers:

Stephen Prestado

Jaime Jesus Borlagdan

Santiago Villafania

Edwin Cordevilla

Marianne Villanueva