I was invited by the Ateneo Literary Association for their first Tala Poetry Workshop, a campus based workshop. It will be held at Ateneo de Naga University on Friday. The workshop approach is the so-called “writeshop,” and the methodology is: 1. Lecture, 2. Writing activity, and 3. Critiquing. My topic is poetic form, actually, one of the toughest. I will make it as simple as possible. I also plan to assign a simple poetic form during the writing activity. There will also be poetry readings and other intermission numbers. The group even invited my band The Super Poet Genome Project. We will figure.

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The deadline for fellowship application is today, April 7. If you are an Atenista, a Bicolano Atenista who is somehow connected or was connected to AdNU, and you are serious in pursuing a career in creative writing, give this a try. It is wise to attend regional workshops first before applying for national ones. And read my book too, “Pagsasatubuanan: Poetikang Bikolnon” (NCCA, 2008). Copies are running out!

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The Raul Roco Library will host a monthly poetry event dubbed as Naga City Library Public Poetry Project (NCLPPP) which will feature lectures, poetry readings, performances and books, among others. Main organizers include Naga-based writer Jose Jason L. Chancoco, AdNU-POEM moderator Elsie Albis and City Librarian Riko Vinluan. The first installment, a lecture by Chancoco on Bikol poetics, was held on February 28, just in time for the closing of the National Arts Month.

Photo Credit: Giovhanii Buen

Photo Credit: Giovhanii Buen

Chancoco, a known organizer of literary events in the city, is the person behind the WG and VerSosimo. Said poetry projects were held monthly at the now defunct Wharf Galley Rock Café until it moved to Sosimo Bar. The Public Poetry Project will have almost the same format as the previous poetry gigs, featuring multimedia and performance poetry, but this time there is a lecture-workshop element.

For the month of March, the NCLPPP will be a Cirilo F. Bautista Tribute. Poems by the incoming National Artist for Literature will be read on March 14 at 4-6pm. An open-mic segment will also follow. Interested parties may contact the organizers at hagbayon(at)gmail(dot)com.

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.

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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

ENTER THE 13TH

December 26, 2012

This is another year-ender essay. So, WTF happened this year anyway?

Well for sure, I am still in this country. I am still in Bicol even if there are more reasons to consider leaving. I need not enumerate them for it will surely spoil our New Year’s celebration. But this coming year, I am getting closer and closer to a Bachelor of Laws diploma. Never thought I would get this far, to think that I tend to be on the creative rather than the legalistic side. I have to admit that studying the law made me more humble and mature. It helped me to think straight and precise, using objectivity rather than ego and niceties. It inculcated in me an almost monastic reading lifestyle. Thanks to my “killjoy” law professors.

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My legal internship with SALIGAN-Bikol had its peak last summer during the immersion program. We had to go and live with our clientele, the marginalized and the oppressed—particularly the peasant-folk. I got exposed to their plight and problems, and the state of the land reform program in the country. Even wrote an article about the experience which I printed in this blog and the Bicol Mail (The Social Function Doctrine, June 8, 2012). I still drop by the Banasi farm to visit my host family from time to time. I might continue to do so if work does not bring me farther away.

2. Nightfall at the Kamalig

I revived the T-Bloc Workshop late this year, and named it Tarusan Bloc Poetry Class. We have had two sessions so far. It’s a way for me to share with like-minded Bicol-based young writers what I know about poetics. Things I learned along the way: From oral prose and poetic traditions and from writers’ workshops. We are using my book “Pagsasatubuanan: Poetikang Bikolnon” as main source. Our vantage point therefore in learning various aesthetics is Bikol poetics. The workshop is for free and is held every month usually in my apartment. It’s a chance for me to interact with young writers, know their problems and issues, to be a friend to them. I also learn a lot from during the exchanges.

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I also noticed that there are various writing groups here in Bicol. There’s the Kabulig-Bikol which is currently doing some revival efforts after being silent for quite some time. The Tabaco-based ABKAT is still so active, holding the Albay Writing Workshop every summer plus other arts event. There is the campus-based Ateneo Literary Association (ALA), and of course the Tilad group. I just hope that said groups would continue to thrive and be more project-oriented. It would also be wise for them to adopt an attitude of non-exclusiveness. New talents must be nurtured and welcomed. Failure to do this would spell doomsday for any group. But of course different groups and factions are very much normal, and even healthy for any literary arts culture. It’s always fun to have different groups who are adverse to each other, each following a literary school of thought. It ensures competition and quality production.

And of course, the publications. Let me again list my printed works this year, just so we have it on record:

1. After “100” (Poetry, Philippines Graphic, May 7, 2012)
2. And Home is Not What I Find Each Christmas (Poetry, FEU English and Literature Journal, Volume 5)
3. Ang Hula (Tula, Paper Monster Press, Asuang Issue, August 2012)
4. Fiat Lux (Poetry, The Sunday Times Magazine, April 8, 2012)
5. Fiat Lux (Poetry, FEU English and Lit Journal, Volume 5)
6. Getting Paid (Poetry, The Sunday Times Magazine, April 8, 2012)
7. Hagbayon (Tula, Talaang Ginto Anthology, Winning Works 2007-2010)
8. I Love You But We Have No Divorce Law Here (Poetry, The Sunday Times Magazine, March 11, 2012)
9. Not Your Usual Writer’s Trip (Essay, Bicol Mail, December 20, 2012)
10. Opera (Rawitdawit, Ani 37, November 29, 2012)
11. Opera (Tula, Ani 37, November 29, 2012)
12. Pagsilung (Rawitdawit, Ani 37, November 29, 2012)
13. Panonood (Tula, Ani 37, November 29, 2012)
14. Passing by Baao (Poetry, The Sunday Times Magazine, March 11, 2012)
15. Passing by Baao (Poetry, FEU English and Lit Journal, Volume 5)
16. Some Beer and Planet Niburu (Poetry, The Sunday Times Magazine, April 8, 2012)
17. Supermaids (Tula, Talaang Ginto Anthology, Winning Works 2007-2010)
18. The Price of (Dis)Trust (Poetry, Philippine Panorama, March 25, 2012)
19. The Reunion (Poetry, FEU English and Lit Journal, Volume 5)
20. The Social Function Doctrine (Essay, Bicol Mail, June 8, 2012)
21. The Walk (Poetry, The Sunday Times Magazine, April 8, 2012)
22. The Walk (Poetry, FEU English and Lit Journal, Volume 5)
23. This is a Dream (Poetry, The Sunday Times Magazine, October 28, 2012)
24. Uniberso (Tula, Talaang Ginto Anthology, Winning Works 1999-2006)
25. Versosimo: Where the Word Binds Them All (Essay, Bicol Mail, April 26, 2012)
26. Versosimo: Where the Word Binds Them All (Essay, The Daily Tribune, August 1, 2012)
27. Wanting to Write a Poem (Poetry, Philippines Graphic, May 7, 2012)

I also discovered just this year that the poems “Opera” and “Pagtatanghal” were printed in the Philippines Graphic on March 12, 2007. And that my essay “The Bikol Berso and Balagtasismo” appeared in the Volume 1 Number 1 2008 issue of the Mabini Review, the philosophical journal of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. I hope to get complimentary copies soon.
I think that a writer must publish or perish. Hence my propensity for continually sending works to various publications. Still there is dearth of literary outlets in this country. The Sunday Inquirer Magazine still has not revived its poetry section. Good thing that we still have The Sunday Times Magazine as edited by Elmer Ordoňez. The literary section of Philippines Graphic is still there as edited by Alma Anonas-Carpio. And for writers in Filipino and Tagalog, we still have Liwayway.

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Panitikan is still the portal for Philippine literature online. And the Makata as edited by Santiago Villafania is still publishing poetry with international magnitude.

Winning awards is the least of my priorities of course. I see it as mere icing on the cake, a mere stroke of luck or accident. But it is a duty of every writer to join contests if he has the proper material. And this year, I still got lucky and got an ego-boost by winning prizes. My poem in Tagalog/Filipino “Sa Naninibago” managed to win Karangalang-Banggit (Honorable Mention) in the prestigious Talaang Ginto contest sponsored by the Philippine government via Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), a Constitutionally mandated institution. Two of my entries also managed to squeeze themselves in the recent Dionatext Kontra Depresyon contest, winning Honorable Mention (as usual). Let me print them again here:

Pagkatapos gumapang
Ng uod, kaibigan.
Nagiging alibangbang.

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

The theme for the contest revolved on depression and how to combat and triumph against it. And the recent knock-out loss of Manny Pacquiao in the hands of his Mexican rival, Juan Manuel Marquez sure placed the entire country in manic depressive mode. So here’s something for Manny:

Huwag mababagabag
Dahil lang napabagsak.
Pacquiao, bilog ang bukas,
Di ring na parisukat.

By the way, I am still wondering why the organizers for the 2011 1st Annual Bicol Bloggy Awards were not able to send me my citation for the “Best Literature Blog” award. They must realize that I am entitled to it as a matter of right and they are legally obligated to send the same to me. I have demanded for it so many times, and they have in fact incurred legal delay.

This year, I still found time to attend some literary events. On January 31, 2012, my band The Super Poet Genome Project performed during the Su’pay at Aquinas University. I noticed that poetry readings must really adopt a proper program more so when it comes to the open-mic. The same must be on a first to come-first to read basis. During said event, some writers were not able to perform when the AdNU contingent arrived much later than our group but was allowed to read first. The host merely wanted the leader of the group to introduce his companions but he proceeded in hosting the ‘Ateneo Segment’ and made them read. And after said ‘segment’ they hurriedly left, leaving us there with my band in mid-performance. So much that it looked like a walk-out. After we listened to them, they did not listen to us. They left as a group so the venue was almost empty and the main host did not bother to call the other writer-readers anymore and proceeded in ending the program. In the WG, we strictly observe a first to come-first to read serve rule except for the featured writer. So that error by the organizers was so obvious for us.

I heard that they were in a hurry to go back to Naga because of some permit constraints. We understand that but the funny thing is we arrived in Naga first. They could have waited for the program to finish because it was about to end anyway. If they were planning to leave early, then they should have arrived early, and not barge in the middle of the program, perform, and leave like some wannabe rockstars. My companions were really hurt by that.

Another literary event I went into was a blogging seminar at the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture-Calabanga College of Education on Oct. 5, 2012. I was asked to discuss the use of the internet in literary practice. I made it a point to share my research on the history of publishing in the Bicol region. I also shared the use of e-mail, e-groups, message boards, web sites, blogs and social-networking in my writing activities.

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Most of the WG was held at Sosimo Bar so we dubbed it as VerSosimo. We had a gig on February 21, March 4 (Anniversary Gig), March 25, and we supported the April-May Bikol Slam as organized by my writer-friend Ronel Amata. We also had a WG in June, but after it we have not scheduled a new gig as of late due to the decline in attendance.The usual reason is that they are busy. I think that a real writer is never too busy. But if busyness is the business, then so be it.

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But busy or not, I was excited to attend the ANI 37 launch on November 29, 2012. Just wrote an article about it. Just read it here. We sure loved the experience and the adventure.

Happy new year everyone! Please don’t fire guns.

Ani 37 launch

October 6, 2012

Here’s the press release from the CCP Literature Division:

CCP LAUNCHES SILVER ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF ANI LITERARY JOURNAL

THE Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) through its Intertextual Division celebrates the 25th anniversary of its literary journal by launching Ani 37, the Cleansing and Renewal issue, on November 29, 2012 at the CCP Promenade at five in the afternoon. Ani 37 contains 97 works of prose and poetry submitted by 66 authors written in English, Filipino and different Philippine languages, representing Aklanon, Bikol, Chabacano, Ilokano, Iluko, Kankanaey, and Pangasinan.

“The prose and poems in this issue are metaphors of self-awareness and transcendence, and reflections on relationships with the Other, with mortality/immortality, with nation/country, with cultures local and international – and engagements with ideas on history, governance, civilization and consciousness,” wrote editor-in-chief and Intertextual Division chief Herminio S. Beltran, Jr. in the literary journal’s introduction.

The Ani 37 contributors include Conviron Altatis, Mark Angeles, Alma Anonas-Carpio, Billy T. Antonio, G. Mae Aquino, Carlos A. Arejola, Francisco Arias Monteseña, Mark Joseph Z. Arisgado, Abdon M. Balde, Jr., Maria Leah Baroña-Cruz, Ronald Baytan, Gil S. Beltran, Herminio S. Beltran, Jr., Kristoffer Berse, April Mae M. Berza, Letty Cantal-Pagkalinawan, Mark Gil M. Caparros, Nonon Carandang, Paul Castillo, Jose Jason L. Chancoco, Joey Stephanie Chua, Melchor F. Cichon, Mar Anthony Simon dela Cruz, Denver Ejem Torres, U Z. Eliserio, Johann Vladimir Espiritu, Raul Esquillo Asis, James M. Fajarito, Luis P. Gatmaitan, Genaro R. Gojo Cruz, Cristino Iloreta Inay, Sr., Io Mones Jularbal, Levine Lao, Junley L. Lazaga, Elyrah Loyola Salanga-Torralba, Nestor C. (Librano) Lucena, Elynia S. Mabanglo, Francis C. Macansantos, Maynard G. Manansala, Perry C. Mangilaya, Shur C. Mangilaya, Neoli Marcos, Donna Patricia Nuguid, Gexter Ocampo Lacambra, Wilhelmina S. Orozco, Melba Padilla-Maggay, Chuckberry J. Pascual, Honesto M. Pesimo, Jr., Ferdinand Pisigan Jarin, Lila Ramos Shahani, Vicente R. Raras, Rommel Rodriguez, Christopher S. Rosales, Hope Sabanpan-Yu, Scott Saboy, Louie Jon A. Sanchez, E. San Juan, Jr., Fely Senido, Jojo G. Silvestre, Priscilla Supnet Macansantos, Ariel S. Tabag, J.I.E. Teodoro, John Enrico C. Torralba, Betty Uy-Regala, Rachel Valencerina Marra, and Santiago B. Villafania.

During the launch, some of the contributors will be performing their work. Ani 37 will also be sold at a discounted price in the mentioned launch.

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Incidentally, I am being tasked to make the music bed for the anniversary video (a Marra Lanot and Malou Jacob interview). I already recorded some guitar parts which have a Mediterranean feel. Planning to record it again with my band The Super Poet Genome Project. Calling Kevin de Quiroz and Peter Orata.

November  5 was supposed to be an exciting day. It was the day of the sixth installment of our monthly poetry show, the Writers Gig at Wharf Galley. But I woke up to an early morning SMS from the cellphone number of a dear motherly writer-friend Jo Bisuna, saying that she already died at 5AM. Memories of our conversations during literary events and sleep-overs flashed before me. The sad realization that I would never see her alive again took over me and my entire day.

Last summer, we organized a fund-raising campaign for her. Wharf Galley was swarming with people: writers, friends, artists, civil society. Surely, Ms. Jo reminded us that art is a communal activity, and must be shared with the people.

So WG6 was also in a way, a tribute for her. We offered 20-second silence to pray for her eternal and restful repose. No longer she will suffer the pain of cancer.

It was a rainy night so we started a little late. But as always, we start with a blast. The Super Poet Genome Project did a rendition of Rivermaya’s “Ipoipo,” adding a poem somewhere in the song. The anthem song “Di Kami Papayag na Walang Makata sa Lipunan” followed suit. The band also played gig favorites “Uniberso” and “Seekin the Cause.” Kevin de Quiroz was the host for the night. The readers were: Ronel Astor, Jerome M. Hipolito, Jan Kevin de Quiroz, Jay Salvosa, Jusan Misolas, John Michael Bazcoguin and Jose Jason L. Chancoco. Theater dance group Fire n Ice as led by Dr. Tess Consulta-Francisco proved once more that poetry is also dance, as their moves complemented the poetic energy sent floating in the air by the previous readers.After the show, literary discussions over rounds of beer ensued. The pivotal issue was: Why do you write in the first place? In trying to answer this question, we looked into the works presented by the attendees for constructive critiquing. Inputs on imagery, poetic tension and voice came out, as well as warnings against pulpit poetics.

Remembering Ms. Jo Bisuna, we concluded that writing is a life-long passion and must not be clouded by over-emphasis on things that could be superficial, like literary awards. Literary arts must be shared with the community, as the people is the sanctuary of every writer. And as we go on to pursue various professions and disciplines, the pen must never be forgotten.

Writers ought to be aware of the rules regarding copyright infringement. Here’s something about copyright infringement and plagiarism as explained by the Supreme Court in the case of Habana v. Robles (July 19, 1999 GR 131522).

Petitioners are authors and copyright holders of books on the English language (College English for Today—Book 1 and 2, and Workbook for College Freshman English). They were revising their books and were scouting for other books of similar subject matter when they chanced upon the books of Respondents published by Goodwill Trading Co. Inc. (Developing English Proficiency—Books 1 and 2). Upon further perusal they discovered that the content of said books was very much similar to theirs, and in fact several pages were even identical. Some illustrative examples were exactly the same. However, while herein Petitioners researched on said examples by foreign authors and made due acknowledgement, Respondents made use of the same and never cited the authors. They did not even cite the Petitioners as the first to use said example.

Petitioners tried to settle the matter extra-judicially by asking Respondents to cease and desist from selling and distributing the books and by claiming for damages due to lost profit. But said demands were ignored. So they filed action for Infringement and or/ Unfair Competition with damages before the RTC against Respondents and Goodwill.

The trial court ruled in favor of Respondents and dismissed the claim against Goodwill. It subscribed to the arguments of Respondents that there was no plagiarism resulting to Infringement because the examples were by foreign authors and for educational purposes subject to fair use. It also agreed with Respondents that the similarities were brought about by the fact that the books dealt with the same subject matter and adhered to the same presentation format prescribed by the Philippine Colleges of Arts and Sciences (APCAS). Goodwill was also said to be absolved because it was not privy to the plagiarism and in their contract with Respondents, there was a guaranty that the work was original and the publisher will not be liable in case Infringement claims. The trial court also subscribed to the notion of Respondents that Petitioner was motivated by bad faith in filing the case due to professional jealousy. This is because the assailed books replaced Petitioner’s as official textbook of the FEU Graduate Studies Department.

Petitioners appealed before the CA. But just the same, the appellate court ruled in favor of Respondents opining that the topics said to be plagiarized were also topics or matters also found in earlier books on college English, even including foreign books. But it ruled that Petitioners were not in bad faith in filing the claim. Hence Petitioners filed for Review on Certiorari (Rule 45) before the SC.

The issues in this case are twofold:

  1. Is there copyright infringement given that the books dealt with the same subject and subscribed to the same presentation format, and only some parts were similar and identical?
  2. Is the defense of fair use tenable?

The Court rules:

  1. Yes, there is plagiarism resulting to copyright infringement in this case. Under RA 8293 copyright holders have copy or economic rights including the exclusive right to carry out, authorize or prevent reproduction of the whole work or even just a substantial portion of it. One limitation to this right is that quotations of a copyrighted work may be included in other publication when compatible with the Fair Use Doctrine (i. e. by way of illustration for teaching purposes) as long as the author is cited as source. In this case, even if the books dealt with the same subject and subscribed to the same format, and even if only some parts were similar and identical, there is still infringement. It need not be a reproduction of the entire work, or even a large portion of it. If so much is taken that the value of the original work is substantially diminished or the labors of the original author are substantially and to an injurious extent appropriated, there is infringement. In this case, not only the discussions were lifted, but also the examples. And this was done without due acknowledgement to Petitioners.
  2. Fair Use cannot be a defense in this case. True, both Petitioners and Respondents used works by foreign authors as illustrative examples for educational purposes. But Petitioners cited or acknowledged the authors, Respondents did not. Petitioners labored to do research to find the best examples and gave citations for it. Respondents copied the same and did not at least acknowledge Petitioners or even the foreign authors of said examples. There must be citations.

There you go. And also if you are accused of copyright infringement and plagiarism and you think you have a good defense, do not withdraw the subject publications from the bookstores. The act could be used against you as ‘indica’ of guilt as the High Court ruled in this case

Yes dear blog hoppers, my book has reached Manila. Copies are now being sold at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. But I believe most of it will be sent out by the government to public libraries throughout the country. I myself have donated copies to the Naga and Iriga City public libraries, including the Ateneo de Naga, Naga College Foundation, University of Nueva Caceres, Universidad de Santa Isabel, Camarines Sur State Agricultural College and Holy Rosary Minor Seminary libraries. I pray they will take care of the copies for posterity.

Again, I also have copies displayed at Museo de Caceres, Basilica Bookshop and Kulturang Bikolnon shop.

Now going to the 2010 elections.

Also, the Supreme Court re-promulgated the Quinto and Tolentino v. Comelec ruling. Appointive government officials are now ipso facto resigned upon filing their Certificate of Candidacy. The ponente is no less than Chief Justice Puno. The venerable Justice Nachura made a very strong dissent though as he was the ponente for the previous ponencia. Truly, there is substantial distinction between elective and appointive officials.

Another issue is whether or not Erap can still run for the presidency. Our Constitution provides that he cannot avail of any re-election whatsoever. Unless for example, he runs for vice-president and should his president conk out, he can succeed as president. What is disallowed is re-election, not succession. So let us see.

Local languages in the regions are also official languages as per the 1987 Constitution. For the purposes of instruction and communication, the official languages of the country are Filipino, and until otherwise provided by law, English. And for the same purposes, local languages shall serve as auxiliary medium (Art. 14 Sec. 6-7 of the 1987 Constitution).

Yes, auxiliary medium, but only for the purposes of instruction and communication, particularly in the academe and government subdivisions. However, as literary medium our local languages may also be construed as occupying the privileged space of being official. Likewise, literary culture is part of custom which is deemed to be not contrary to morals, law and public policy, hence countenanced by the Courts when proven as fact (Arts. 11-12 RA 386). Our country also has a prevailing policy in support of ethnicity for the framework of national unity (Art. 2 Sec. 21 of the 1987 Constitution).

Perhaps the above provisions are only in recognition of the country’s being multi-cultural and multi-lingual. Literary pursuits in the regions involving ethnicity as in the search for local aesthetics is very much lawful. In fact, when in contact with foreign states our policy shall always be for the right to self-determination (Art. 2 Sec. 7 of the 1987 Constitution). What more when we deal with fellow Filipinos under the context of nationhood?

Tomorrow, we shall be awarding prizes to some Bikolnon writers during the Bikolinismo and Premio Tomas Arejola. The more exciting part of the event is not really the awards night itself, but the opportunity of Bikol writers to gather right after the awards rites and exchange thoughts about the state of Bikol literature and its direction. And this writer is lucky enough to be part of the awards night as the book “Pagsasatubuanan: Poetikang Bikolnon” will be conferred this year’s Premio Bibiano Sabino para sa Librong Bikolnon.

The people must know that our pursuits are official in nature, and not mere auxiliary or hobby. Publishing our works and giving them prizes are just some of the ways to assert this fact. This is a happy realization for this blogger as I dig out the writer’s place under the province of our fundamental law and statutes. Literary culture is a sound custom and countenanced by law. Culture is law, as the latter is supposed to be shaped, if not influenced by the former.

Our poets are legislators too. Younger poets invoke the elder ones. Poetics is law, and if in the proper context, poems can articulate culture and native wisdom which in turn are very much suited to be a rich source of legislation and law.

I have launched my first book on Bikol poetics published through a grant from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts-National Committee on Literary Arts (NCCA-NCLA). I think this book is important because it is the first ouvre on Bikol poetic aesthetics written in the Bikol language. So that non-Bikols could understand its gist and purpose, I saw it fit to write the foreword in English.

As they say:

“Chancoco’s book enlightens us on important aspects of Bikol poetics. It is a great contribution to Philippine literary scholarship.”
–Dr. Cirilo F. Bautista, Philippine Panorama

“We could not fault Chancoco’s craftmanship”
–Dr. Leoncio P. Deriada, Homelife Magazine

“Jose Jason L. Chancoco’s pioneering and scholarly work, Pagsasatubuanan: Poetikang Bikolnon, is a koh-i-noor in the canon of Bikol poetics and literary criticism. A rare achievement!
–Santiago Villafania, Dalityapi Unpoemed

“An “Pagsasatubuanan” ni Chancoco sarong pagtukar kan Bikolnon na poetika sa paaging strukturalista-pormalista, sa paaging ini, an libro minakapot kan tropeo bilang enot na pagrurip sa pagrarawitdawit sa Bikol.”
–Victor Dennis Nierva, Vox Bikol

“Creating his own devices to articulate terminologies in Bicol translation, Chancoco uses Bicol in its formal form, proving that studies and researches can be articulated in the native language.”
–Juan Escandor, Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer

Copies of the book are available (PhP250 only) at Museo de Caceres (inside the Holy Rosary Minor seminary), Kulturang Bikolnon (first level of the CBD Hotel Building) and Basilica Souvenir Shop (Basilica Compound) in Naga City. Orders may also be placed by sending an E-mail to tarusan22(at)yahoo(dot)com or via SMS to 09199470406 and copies will be sent by courier.