OFF TO THE FOURTEENTH
December 26, 2013
It’s December 26, and it’s time to make a year-ender blog entry.
I was out of touch most of the year. I was not so visible (at least physically) to a lot of my friends. You see, I had to finish something important, something that entailed a lot of expenses and time. Had to finish it once and for all so I could proceed to other things that I think are also important. I did not organize any poetry gig in Bicol. I also did not hold a mini- poetry critique session this year, although I am passionate about it and enjoy it so much. But yes, I still sent some of my works to various publications.
The country’s executive and legislative branch earned so much flak this year. I always supported P-Noy but he surely mismanaged the Yolanda crisis. Our congressmen and senators are also being seen as a gang of robbers courtesy of Napoles and company. The Philippines is a great country. It is gifted with natural resources and able man-power. What is wrong with us? I agree with Jaime Licauco when he said that we need a change of inner mind and a change of heart. And it is a collective change. I did buy at least five Licauco books in October, and I enjoyed reading all of them. But sometimes I wish that he could have employed better research procedure and evidence presentation.
This year, I am most happy to have finished my law course. I finally have a post-graduate degree. And under Commission of Higher Education Resolution 038 Series of 2001, the same is equivalent to a master’s degree. The reason for this is that for one to be able to enter law school, he must have first finished a baccalaureate degree. I also think that a law degree is much more difficult to handle than your usual master’s degree. First, it takes at least four years to finish law school. Second, the subjects are definitely more demanding! (But it has been found out that an LLB degree is only equivalent to MA when it has corresponding Bar eligibility)
Again, I observed that the Philippines sometimes cannot give jobs that are commensurate to the skills and academic background of its people. No wonder everybody aims for a job placement abroad. We cannot blame them. As Manoy Gode Calleja once said, the people have immediate needs. Patriotism is great but people get hungry. But still, I say that we all must work to enrich our locality. We must first contribute to local progress no matter how difficult and sacrificial it is. After-all, chances are, after everything has been said and done, we will eventually go back to our roots when our time has come.
During my law school years, I wrote and wrote in English. I came back to my poetry in English. You see, back in the year 1999, when I was in my teens, I started writing in English, particularly English poetry. This year, I still sent some of them to publications for posterity and immortality. I even printed Tagalog poems in the Sunday Times Magazine, a primarily English publication. Now Let me see. Here are my published poems this year:
- Astral Travel (Poetry, The Sunday Times Magazine–July 21, 2013)
- Cram Session (Poetry, The Sunday Times Magazine–July 28, 2013)
- I Love You But We Have No Divorce Law Here (Poetry, The IYAS Anthology 2001-2010, April 26, 2013)
- It’s a Dangerous Thing (Poetry, The Sunday Times Magazine, July 21, 2013)
- Oct. 29-Nov. 4: Sanlinggong Facebook S(tanaga)tus (Tula, The Sunday Times Magazine, August 18, 2013)
- Sa Naninibago (Tula, The Sunday Times Magazine, September 15, 2013)
- Tatsian (Osipon, Hagong: Mga Osipon [AdNU Press], February 13, 2013)
As I said, I was not so visible this year. And I really did not get paid for these poems. But I was paid print copies. I’s actually okay, for even in the ‘States some publications would just pay in copies. It’s part of usage of trade. I have no problem with it so long as the publications would at least treat the writers right. Now, let me share my heartache with Manila Bulletin (Philippine Panorama):
You know that I am a Panorama boy, courtesy of Doc Bau (Cirilo Bautista). The said magazine is one of my literary outlets. I grew up in said publication. Even after Doc Bau ceased to be one of its columnists and poetry editor, I would still send my poems there. In 2011-12, three of my poems got printed in Panorama and Liwayway (MB sister publications) namely: And Home is Not What I find Each Christmas (Philippine Panorama, December 25, 2011, Sa Bookstore: Dasal ng Salesboy (Liwayway Magasin, May 30, 2011), The Price of (Dis)Trust (Philippine Panorama, March 25, 2012).
I only got the checks last November 2013. Reason: They only release checks during Tuesdays and Fridays. And since I am from Bicol, sometimes my schedule would not coincide with said release days.
Doing a follow-up of the checks would always be hellish. And they are consistent, since 2003. The phone operator would be inefficient, sending you to the wrong line. The Panorama staff would be so rude. Things like that.
I finally had a row with some Panorama staff when I got fed up. For my poem The Price of (Dis)Trust, they gave the credit to the wrong author. I notified them about it, but the answer was not satisfactory. They will “try” to correct the error daw. So I told them to please don’t just try, I told them to do it. If not, it would be a violation of my IP rights. Sila pa ang galit. But in fairness to them, they made a rerun and printed the poem again under my name.
So when the telephone operator mistakenly sent me to the wrong line, the Panorama line and not the accounting’s. The Panorama staff went on her way again upon knowing my name, saying: “Ah, Jason Chancoco, matagal-tagal ka na ring di nagko-contribute sa Panorama, so no-comment kami sa claim mo na yan na may check ka pang kukunin sa amin.” (Ah, Jason Chancoco, it has been a while since you contributed your works to us. So we cannot comment to your claim that we still owe you checks)
She was alluding to me the crime of estafa, in effect. She was telling me that I was misrepresenting myself, claiming for writer’s checks when in fact I don’t write for them anymore. So I asked: “Is this Accounting?”
She said, Panorama. I told her, I was not trying to contact the Panorama office but the Accounting office or wherever I can claim my checks because I have not claimed them yet. And I was talking about my old-old checks.
When I finally got to the MB office, I still had to wait because some big shot still had to sign it. I thought they already prepared it since they knew I was coming over, and from Bicol pa ko.
To my inadvertence, I did not notice that the check they issued was a crossed check, for a particular purpose only–in that case, it was a “pay to accounts name only check”. So from Intramuros, I went to UN Avenue area just to encash my check in the Philtrust main office. To my dismay, I learned that the same was a crossed check and it could not be encashed. It could only be deposited in my Philtrust account. AND I DON’T HAVE A PHILTRUST ACCOUNT! AND WHY WOULD I OPEN A THREE THOUSAND PESOS OR SO WORTH PHILTRUST ACCOUNT FOR A FIVE HUNDRED FORTY PESOS CHECK (FOR THREE POEMS)?
I think they should issue crossed checks or “pay to account’s name only” checks to their employees who have Philtrust accounts, and not to poetry contributors. You see, in effect, they are not really paying us. Remember that under the law, a check is not legal tender until encashed.
So there. I hope my litany did not spoil your New Year celebration.
But still, I am happy to have a copy of two Tagalog poems that got printed in Philippines Graphic in 2007. I did not know that they were published, not until early this year. So I requested for a copy from the editors. Thanks to Sir Joel Pablo Salud and Alma Anonas-Carpio for helping me out!