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.




September 22, 2012

The wait. We usually have this when the professor is still not around.

Spent a productive chat session with the Basbas family last night. Had a nice hot tea, cassava roll, and lots of insightful talk. Our topics ranged from treason to alien invasion (or residency?). Until the next tea party, yeah!

There is just this periodic itch to come out and read aloud. Perhaps it is due to the solitary nature of writing. One day you will find yourself ready to explode with poems and with the desire to do it in a crowded place. And so it was one night in March 2011 when I found myself a little bit bored with pragmatic existence and wanted a poetic breather.

Wharf Galley Rock Café was just then some walking distance away from my Naga City apartment. Managed by Virgie Sorita and James Estrada, it was then the only venue which catered to the rock n roll lifestyle of Bicol. The region is one of the first that responded to the rock band revolution of the ‘90s started by the Eraserheads, The Youth, The Wuds, The Teeth, Philippine Violators, Yano, Tropical Depression, Wolfang, Siakol, The Weed etc. And perhaps it is not a coincidence that Ely Buendia is actually from Naga. With only a few chairs and tables, intimate enough to capture creative convergence from people coming from the same era, Wharf Galley was in that psyche. And I was thinking of the Bikol “Sompongan” during the 1940’s and the Dredd Poet’s Society led by Karen Kunawicz during the 90’s. My mind also traveled to Malate and re-joined the Spoken Word group at Survival Café headed by Triccia David. And of course, Al Purdy’s “At the Quinte Hotel” also came to mind.

It turned out that the “Backyard Poets” of Sta. Cruz was never really forgotten by Wharf’s rock technician Jonjie San Vicente. True enough, he once visited my apartment where together with Ateneo de Naga based writers, we used to hold poetry sessions at my backyard, complete with guitars, beer, peanuts, mosquitoes and katol. It took only one cigarette break’s worth of mind-picking, and the WG (Writers’ Gig) was conceived. It was to be a monthly event, just an hour of open-mic poetry. The emphasis was and still is the open-mic. Poetic short films would be projected, and then poems would be read or recited from memory, or from the smoke-thick ether.

Then one beery night with guitar master Don Alanis and writer Kevin de Quiroz led us to the former’s unassuming but compleat music studio at Jacob Extension. There we traded riffs and beats until poetry just had to come out through the microphone. Rock music and poetry—our band was born. But it was not until the very first gig on March 5, 2011, when we were having a hang-over breakfast at my place, when the name The Super Poet Genome Project was coined by Bikol Komikero Yatoy Carretas. I was then talking about some literary mentors who would train young writers to become their suicide bombers, their intricately crafted poems as magic spells and bombs, when Yatoy innocently and elegantly blurted: “The Super Poet Genome Project!” And the word was made flesh, and in our minds Jason Faktor, the comics character who could save the world with his poems, was born.

Jason Faktor could win a poetry contest without even joining. He would whisper a haiku to a butterfly and it will come back with a tsunami. He wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls. They actually plagiarized the Holy Bible because he actually wrote it. The entire Philippine Constitution was inspired by a comma in one of Jason Faktor’s bad poems. The list goes on.

The Super Poet Genome Project ended up as a performance poetry rock band taking its cue from the likes of Radioactive Sago Project, Axel Pinpin Propaganda Machine and Tony Pigott. The band would open up the show right after the film viewing. Earlier gigs saw screenings of locally and internationally produced short poetic films. Without formally starting the show, said films would be projected on-screen just to prepare the minds of the audience to a more poetic mood.

The SPGP then had Don Alanis and Don Sarte as sessionists for the bass guitar and Kevin de Quiroz on drums until classical guitarist Peter Orata bought a Washburn bass guitar and joined the band. I, for one, as the band’s guitarist and voice also use a Washburn, and occasionally, an Ibanez to effect our breed of metal and shred with some touch of acid rock and blues. And so far our repertoire includes my poem “Bakwet,” our bluesy rendition of “Alak” by Mike Coroza, the heavy metal “Uniberso” and our version of Rivermaya’s “Ipoipo” with my poem “Dumaraan” integrated with the song. We also play guitar-driven instrumental songs such as the “Top Gun” theme and the bass-driven “Peter’s Groove,” an original.

The gig is primordially an open-mic event where walk-ins are welcome to participate. However, we earlier featured as main writers the likes of Ricardo Lee, Frank Penones and Vic Nierva. We also did a fund raising campaign for cancer patient Jo Bisuna, and when she finally succumbed to said illness, we organized a tribute gig. Our gigs for her were the most attended, leaving the venue swarming with writers, poets, artists, musicians, dancers, intellectuals and activists.

The WG regular poets and readers are Kevin de Quiroz, Jerome Hipolito, Jusan Misolas, Ronel Astor, Ronel Amata, Buboy Aguay, Issa Redburn, Jay Salvosa, Elbert Baeta, Johner Caneba, John Pazcoguin, Fer Basbas, and Irvin Sto. Tomas. Poems in English, Filipino and in any of the Bikol languages are read. Bikol poetic forms such as the tigsik are also highlighted, along with rawitdawit and the emerging tuyaw. The tigsik is an indigenous poetic form done during drinking sprees. Oftentimes with rhyme and meter, its participants would tigsik or “drink to” a particular topic, each paratigsik taking turns answering each other just before gulping a drink thereby creating a flow of alcohol-induced sharp and exciting poetic discourse. The rawitdawit now stands for the word poetry, and the tuyaw is a poetic theater act where the poet would go onstage and start a conversation with a person in the audience. At times, they would discuss matters not previously rehearsed making the performance spontaneous and interesting. Truly, spontaneity is what makes the WG, and this is carried off until the after-party when we indulge in more beer and literary discussions.

Aside from film and performance poetry also features other art forms such as music and dance. Books by Bikol writers are also sold. The Fire n Ice Dancers are regular performers during the monthly gigs. Singer Julie General once rendered her version of the Les Miserables piece “On My Own”. Events organizer Sheila Basbas rendered the sexiest song number ever for her hubby, Fer. Poet and musician Jaime Jesus Borlagdan once dropped by to sing some of his original Bikol songs.

Since Wharf Galley’s goodbye kiss last February, the event has been dubbed as VerSosimo: Writers’ Gig at Sosimo Bar after moving to Sosimo Resto Bar at Magsaysay Avenue. Sponsored by the Atty. Francis Papica Foundation, we had our anniversary gig last March 4, 2012. Video clips can be accessed at

The creative writer has always been quite an odd entity in the Philippine setting. More so if he writes in one of the ‘strange’ regional languages. There must be a way for the local writers to be visible—and in a relaxed atmosphere. A way for them to show especially to the younglings that poetry rocks and writers are cool—and that reading is hip. Multimedia is the way to go. Poetry is now cinema, is now music, is now performance, and not only a thing for pagination. Hence the WG.

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 Gig at Wharf Galley last Sunday (Oct. 9, 2011) was a success. The fun part was playing with my band The Super Poet Genome Project. We performed the WG anthem song ‘Di Kami Papayag na Walang Makata sa Lipunan,’  ‘Uniberso,‘ and ‘Seekin the Cause.’ Theater dance group Fire n Ice also did two dance numbers. It was just electrifying. Poets read their works too, and in fact were the mainstays. The readers were Jerome Hipolito, Noel Cervantez, Ronel Astor, Jusan Misolas, Kevin de Quiroz, Irvin Sto. Tomas, Buboy Aguay, Marissa Redburn and Elbert Baeta.

Meanwhile, my busy self must have dimmed my radar for I missed one great event, the 1st Annual Bicol Bloggy Awards. Great news is this: Hagbayon won the citation for Best Literature Blog for 2011.

The nominees for the Professional Category are:


Best Photoblog
1. Byahero Snapshots –
2. Chris Aquino – Raving Mad –
3. Roxx Luzada – She Roxx Photos –

Best Hobby & Recreation Blog
1. Goldimyrr Repolles – Musings of the Midnight Writer –
2. Chris Aquino – Raving Mad –
3. Frederick Maurice S. Lim – Cinemalibog –
4. Kerby Rosanes – [Sketch Pad] –
5. Irvin Sto. Tomas – CamSur Bum, Running –
6. Rhyz Peralta – This Side of the Game –
7. Apple Brillantes – Eat All You Can –
8. Missy Penaverde –

Best Sports Blog
1. Irvin Sto. Tomas- CamSur Bum, Running –
2. Halley anne – built from scratch –

Best Travel Blog
1. Byahero Snapshots –
2. Dex Baldon – Wow Legazpi –
3. Claire Raborar – Lakwatsera de Primera –
4. Mat Corral – Bikolandia –
5. Missy Penaverde –

Best Personal Blog
1. Claire Raborar – Lakwatsera de Primera –
2. Peachy Galias – Atomic Girl –
3. Chris Aquino – Raving Mad –
4. Jdejesus Cabrera – In A Bucket –
5. Ron Sarte Banzagales – DisKorner: Love Ko ‘To –
6. Maria Kristina Tormes Abiog – Speckles n Spectrum –
7. Damn-Me More – Point and Shoot –
8. Rhyz Peralta – In My SiLenT LuCidiTy –
9. Peachy Brillantes -The Brown Beauty –
10. Jefrey Apuli – Life: You Can Never Define It –
11. Cyrel Nicolas – My Online Journal –
12. Aileen Asuki – The Unbearable Lightness of Being –
13. Risha Amaranto Porras – Risha –
14. Missy Penaverde –

Best Culture and Arts Blog
1. Goldimyrr Repolles – Musings of the Midnight Writer –
2. Dex Baldon – Wow Legazpi –
3. Claire Raborar – Lakwatsera de Primera –
4. Jason Chancoco – Hagbayon –
5. Frederick Maurice S. Lim – Cinemalibog –
6. Mat Corral – Bikolandia –
7. Jimple Uy Borlagdan – Suralista –
8. Jimple Uy Borlagdan – Satong Kakanon sa Aro-aldaw
9. Jimple Uy Borlagdan – Karangahan –
10. Kerby Rosanes – [Sketch Pad] –
11. Gibbz Cadiz – Gibbs Cadiz –

Best Entertainment Blog
1. Frederick Maurice S. Lim – Cinemalibog –
2. Gibbz Cadiz – Gibbs Cadiz –

Best News & Media Blog
1. Dex Baldon – Wow Legazpi –
2. Jdejesus Cabrera – In A Bucket –
3. Jay J.a. Carizo – Bik-Lish –

Best Food & Beverage Blog
1. Byahero Snapshots –
2. Chris Aquino – Raving Mad –
3. Apple Brillantes – Eat All You Can –

Best Fashion Blog
1. Jdejesus Cabrera – My Orange Pulp –
2. Rhyz Peralta – Pretty, Cute and Outrageous –
3. Twinkle Salgado – Twinkoolet –
4. Apple Brillantes – Wonderfully FAB –

Best Beauty Blog
1. An Dre Ahh – Bee’s Kyoote Blog. –
2. Jdejesus Cabrera – My Orange Pulp –
3. Rhyz Peralta – Pretty, Cute and Outrageous –
4. Twinkle Salgado – Twinkoolet –
5. Apple Brillantes – Wonderfully FAB –

Best Technology Blog
1. Marvin Ryan Vista – Batch Processed –

Best Commentary Blog
1. Jdejesus Cabrera – In A Bucket –
2. Jay J.a. Carizo – Bik-Lish –

Best Advocacy Blog
1. Goldimyrr Repolles – Musings of the Midnight Writer –
2. Jimple Uy Borlagdan – Kun Bikolano Ka, MagBikol Ka –

Best Literature Blog
1. Goldimyrr Repolles – Musings of the Midnight Writer –
2. Jason Chancoco – Hagbayon –
3. Frederick Maurice S. Lim – Cinemalibog –
4. Jimple Uy Borlagdan – Suralista –
5. Jimple Uy Borlagdan – Satong Kakanon sa Aro-aldaw
6. Jimple Uy Borlagdan – Karangahan –
7. Gibbz Cadiz – Gibbs Cadiz –

Best Humor Blog
1. Jdejesus Cabrera – In A Bucket –

Best Blog Design
1. Dex Baldon – Wow Legazpi –
2. Claire Raborar – Lakwatsera de Primera –
3. Mat Corral – Bikolandia –
4. Maria Kristina Tormes Abiog – Speckles n Spectrum –
5. Rhyz Peralta – Pretty, Cute and Outrageous –
6. Jimple Uy Borlagdan – Karangahan –
7. Kerby Rosanes – [Sketch Pad] –

Best Filipino Blog Abroad
1. Claire Raborar – Lakwatsera de Primera –
2. Roxx Luzada – She Roxx Photos –

Best Filipiniana Blog
1. Goldimyrr Repolles – Musings of the Midnight Writer –
2. Dex Baldon – Wow Legazpi –
3. Frederick Maurice S. Lim – Cinemalibog –
4. Mat Corral – Bikolandia –
5. Jimple Uy Borlagdan – Suralista –
6. Jimple Uy Borlagdan – Satong Kakanon sa Aro-aldaw
7. Jimple Uy Borlagdan – Karangahan –

And the winners are:

Blog of the Year:  Jdejesus Cabrera – “In A Bucket” –

Blogger’s Choice : Goldimyrr Repolles – “Musings of the Midnight Writer” –

Best Blog Design: Claire Raborar – “Lakwatsera de Primera” –

Best Personal Blog: Maria Kristina Tormes Abiog – “Speckles n Spectrum” –

Best Photoblog: Roxx Luzada – “She Roxx Photos” –

Best Filipino Blog Abroad: Claire Raborar – “Lakwatsera de Primera” –

Best Filipiniana Blog: Goldimyrr Repolles – “Musings of the Midnight Writer” –

Best Hobby & Recreation Blog: Kerby Rosanes – “[Sketch Pad]” –; Sherwin Magayanes – “Byahero Snapshots” – (tie)

Best Sports Blog: Halley anne – “built from scratch” –

Best Travel Blog: Claire Raborar -“Lakwatsera de Primera” –

Best Culture and Arts Blog: Gibbz Cadiz – “Gibbs Cadiz” –

Best Entertainment Blog: Gibbz Cadiz – “Gibbs Cadiz” –


Best News & Media Blog:  Dex Baldon – “Wow Legazpi” –

Best Food & Beverage Blog: Chris Aquino – “Raving Mad” –

Best Fashion Blog: Rhyz Peralta – “Pretty, Cute and Outrageous” –

Best Beauty Blog: An Dre Ahh – “Bee’s Kyoote Blog”. –

Best Technology Blog: Marvin Ryan Vista – “Batch Processed” –

Best Commentary Blog:  Jdejesus Cabrera – “In A Bucket” –

Best Advocacy Blog: Goldimyrr Repolles – “Musings of the Midnight Writer” –

Best Literature Blog: Jason Chancoco – “Hagbayon” –

Best Humor Blog: Jdejesus Cabrera – “In A Bucket” –
There you go. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners. Let’s blog as we please.


December 11, 2008

The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) announced today that 62 writers are included in the annual literary anthology Ani. Ani, which means harvest in the Filipino language, is a project of CCP’s Literary Arts Division. For its 34th issue, Ani focused on the theme “Spirituality and Healing”, the book launching will be held on December 17, 7:00 p.m. at the CCP ramp.

The 62 writers who submitted prose and poetry featured in Ani 34 are Kris M. Alingod, Mark Angeles, Lilia F. Antonio, G. Mae B. Aquino, Carlos A. Arejola, Edgar Bacong, Isabela Banzon, Janet Tauro Batuigas, Gil S. Beltran, Herminio S. Beltran, Jr., Kristoffer Berse, Jaime Jesus Borlagdan, Nazzer C. Briguera, Catherine Candano, Desiree Caluza, Nonon Villaluz Carandang, Dexter B. Cayanes, Jose Jason L. Chancoco, Joey Stephanie Chua, Kristian Sendon Cordero, Genaro R. Gojo Cruz, Mario L. Cuezon, Maureen G. dela Cruz, Rodrigo V. Dela Peña, Jr., U Eliserio, Dennis Espada, Filipino L. Estacio, Rogerick F. Fernandez, Raul Funilas, Nena Gajudo-Fernandez, Jeneen R. Garcia, Luis P. Gatmaitan, Fernando R. Gonzalez, Erwin C. Lareza, Jeffrey A. Lubang, Nestor C. Lucena, Melba Padilla Maggay, Perry C. Mangilaya, Noahlyn Maranan, Francisco A. Monteseña, Ursula B. Nelson, Wilhelmina S. Orozco, Chuckberry J. Pascual, Noel P. Pinggoy, Dinah Roma-Sianturi, Hope Sabanpan-Yu, Joseph T. Salazar, Romel G. Samson, Aida F. Santos, Rakki Sison-Buban, Beverly W. Siy, Jason Genio Tabinas, Reynaldo Tamayo, Jr., Vincent Lester G. Tan, Dolores R. Taylan, Enrico C. Torralba, Gerardo Z. Torres, Joel H. Vega, Gina Verdolaga, Santiago B. Villafania, Ana Maria Yugalca, and Manuel Zacarias.

Herminio S. Beltran, Jr., CCP Literary Arts Division head and Ani 34 editor, wrote in the Introduction, “Reading the compilation of poems and prose in this year’s issue, there is indeed a close connection between creative or imaginative writing and spirituality, and with it, healing.” “It is as if the act of writing, and with it, reflection and meditation, is itself spirituality, which brings about healing, first in the writer, and consequently, the reader,” Beltran continued.

For inquiries on the next issue of Ani, which will delve on the experiences of the Filipinos in general and the Filipino writer in particular as members of the Asian community, please send an e-mail to

For inquiries or to schedule interviews, please contact Betty Uy-Regala at the following numbers: 0906-2604175; 832-1125 local 1706 (CCP Literary Arts Division) or email


January 15, 2008

2008 starts rather fast for this blogger. First, my poem ‘Pagsilung’ appears in the December 30 2007-January 5, 2008 issue of Bikol Reporter. Its Tagalog/Filipino version ‘Panonood’ had an earlier peek at daylight in the pages of Philippine Panorama in November 2006. Second, my by-line came out as one of those featured by master poet Cirilo F. Bautista last January 6 for his ‘Breaking Signs’ column, also in the Philippine Panorama entitled ‘Winning Writers’. Third, another poem of mine in English, one I call ‘In the Green of Marahan’ gets printed in the January 2008 issue of Homelife magazine. It’s such a bonus because in the same issue, poetry editor Dr. Leoncio P. Deriada discusses the results of the 2007 poetry competition.

Iriga City once again proves to be the undisputed home of Bikolnon contemporary writers. Deriada writes: ‘Among the cities, Iriga and Quezon were topnotchers with four poems each.’

Now Quezon City is home to UP-Diliman and Ateneo de Manila. It is a place teeming with writers. Now Iriga City is in the Bicol region’s Rinconada area and one writer even said that Rinconada means ‘sa tabi-tabi’. Oh my! We are not living up to our name.

Deriada also reports on the contenders for the Filipino category. Noted names include Ariel S. Tabag, Alex C. de los Santos, Isidoro M. Cruz, Carlo A. Arejola, Genaro Gojo Cruz, German V. Gervacio and Genevieve L. Asenjo.

In any deliberations, the judges’ level of expertise on craft will define the results. And here is Deriada’s report: ‘Of the nine, five merited our lengthy discussion: “Mayon (by Jacob),” “Imnas (by Tabag),” “Ille de Tulle (by Arejola),” “Paglubog (by Cordero)” and “Gabing Ganito (by Chancoco).” Even if we discussed “Ille de Tulle” very extensively, we finally removed it from the winning list. So was “Imnas.” We found the remaining poems very good and so we discussed them further. We could not fault Chancoco’s craftmanship. It deserved the first prize. Cordero’s technique of imaging was practically faultless until the less-than-skilled poster-like last lines. Even then, we found “Sa Paglubog ng Araw” superior to Jacob’s “Sa Muling Pagputok ng Mayon.”‘

Needless to say, I am happy that the judges were privy to the techniques I employed. Otherwise, they would not have appreciated my entry. But then again, this is all just a game (as all contests are), and should not be taken seriously. A writer must serve his art and not the judges of any literary contest.

Right now, I am also giving a lecture-workshop series to 16 young writers all from a nearby exclusive school. It’s theory and practice, lectures then poetry clinic. Of course, I don’t claim to know everything so it is also a way for me to learn new things with them. The teacher-student relationship has always been a dialectics.

By the way, this blog would like to congratulate Mr. Marcel L. Milliam a First Place Co-winner in the 2007 Meritage Holiday Poetry Contest as adjudged by Eric Gamalinda. Marcel was my co-fellow during the 12th Iligan National Writers Workshop. Sharp and outspoken, our sessions were always lively because of him. He would always visit our room and bug us to come out and have some beer. And I am sure he will treat us some more when we both get to visit Manila. Congrats again, Marcel!



Man Asian Prize Exec Director to Meet with
Local Writers Jan. 24

Peter Gordon, Executive Director of the Man Asian Literary Prize, will be in Manila on Thursday, January 24, to promote the prize among Filipino writers and to speak on “International Opportunities for Filipino Writers.” The UP Institute of Creative Writing is hosting his talk, which will be held that day at 2:30 pm at the AVR Room, 2nd floor, Rizal Hall (Faculty Center), UP Diliman.

The Man Asian—informally known as the “Asian Booker”—was established in 2006 and made its first award in 2007 for the best unpublished novel in English or English translation by an Asian. Filipino fictionist and UP professor Jose Dalisay Jr.’s novel Soledad’s Sister made the shortlist of the inaugural prize, which drew 243 entries from all over Asia. The deadline for the 2008 Man Asian is March 31.

Gordon will speak about the prize and on literary publishing in Asia in general. The UPICW is inviting all interested writers, translators, publishers, teachers, and students to attend the lecture-discussion, which will also feature Dr. Dalisay and fellow novelist and columnist Alfred “Krip” Yuson.

Peter Gordon is also a founder and former Director of the Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival (held each March in Hong Kong), founder and editor of the Asian Review of Books, and publisher at Chameleon Press. He writes a weekly op-ed column in the Hong Kong daily The Standard and is chairman of the Russian Interest Group at the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce.

(From Vim Nadera)

2007 Meritage Holiday Poetry Contest

Meritage Press is delighted to announce the results of the 2007 Meritage Press Holiday Poetry Contest, judged by Eric Gamalinda. The results include this contest’s second time for a tie for “First Place”, and also the first repeater for “First Place”:

First Place, Co-Winner: “First Winter Passing” by Naya S. Valdellon
First Place, Co-Winner: “O.N.S.” by Marcel L. Milliam
Honorable Mention: “AN EXPLANATION” by R. Torres Pandan

Naya S. Valdellon is this contest’s first poet to receive “First Place” twice, the prior time occurring in 2002 when she tied with Michella Rivera-Gravage in the contest judged by Oliver de la Paz. The 2007 results also feature our first non-English language poet winner. Unfortunately, Eric Gamalinda felt he was only able to assess the Tagalog entries, and so entries in other Filipino languages were not included in the judging.

Judge Eric Gamalinda says about the winning entries:

“First Winter Passing” is a lovely poem about how language connects and disconnects, and how it is nearly impossible for many of us to bridge this solitude except perhaps through poetry and its spectral silences. “O.N.S.” is deceptively old-fashioned like a kundiman, but fused with a naughty, graphic eroticism and a verbal precision that no translation can do justice-by lines 7-9, I was captivated by its masterful lyricism. “An Explanation” is a quiet, elegant little poem that feels like an iceberg: beautiful, mysterious, larger than it seems. I apologize to those who sent poems in other Filipino languages that I couldn’t read; I had to exclude them from the competition, and thus only judged the Tagalog-language poems.

Here are some information about the winning poets:

Naya S. Valdellon is currently finishing her M.A. in English major in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto. Her chapbook of poems, The Reluctant Firewalker, was published by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts as part of its UBOD New Authors Series in 2005. Her poetry has received the Hart House Poetry Prize, the Maningning Miclat Award, and the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature.

Marcel L. Milliam is Ilonggo by birth but Capiznon by association. He is the founding Chairman of “Yanggaw”, The Capiz Writer’s Circle, and a member of the “Dagyang Pulong” Iloilo Writers Group. He works for GMA TV6 in Iloilo as a talent under the ETV Department. He writes poetry mainly in Hiligaynon, but produces pieces in English and Filipino as well. After receiving fellowships from the 1st Fray Luis De Leon Creative Writing Desk of the University of San Agustin, Iloilo, “2nd Panagsugat” Writers workshop of UP Vis-Min, 12th Iligan National Writers Workshop of the MSU-IIT, and the 7th Iyas National Writers Workshop for his Hiligaynon poems, he has now “crossed-over” into fiction. He has won twice the NCLA-VI “Paktakontxt” of the NCLA-VI, consecutive wins in the UPV SWF Bigkas Binalaybay sponsored by the NCCA from 2003-2007, both in the Pagbigkas at Pagsulat Categories. His works have been published in four issues of SanAg, the official literary Journal of the Fray Luis De Leon Creative Writing Desk of the USA-Iloilo as well as in the 33rd ANI of the CCP and numerous other local and national publications. At present he is a 3rd Year student in the Bachelor of Laws Program (Llb.) of the University of Iloilo College of Law and is actively involved in the works of the Alternative Law Groups Inc. (ALG) and was a paralegal intern of the Children’s Legal Bureau (CLB), Cebu. When he miraculously has free time, he is also involved with the Iloilo theater scene as a stage actor.

R. Torres Pandan has been a law school dean for ten years and a partner in the biggest law firm in Bacolod City, Philippines for 16 years. He has won the Palanca Awards for poetry and his first book of poetry was short-listed for the 2005 National Book Awards. He is also the Research Director of the Philippine Supreme Court‘s JURIS project on mediation.

The winning poems can be seen at the Meritage Press “Babaylan Speaks” link at
http://meritagepres /babaylan/

Be ONE of the 15 FELLOWS with multi-awarded writers!

IYAS Writing Worshop

  • Aplicants should submit original work: either 6 poems, 2 short stories, or 2 one- act plays using pseudonym, in five (5) computer-encoded hard copies of entries, font size 12, bound or fastened, in separated folders with a diskette (MSWord).
  • These are to be accompanied by a sealed size 10 business envelope with the author’s real name and pseudonym, a 2×2 ID photo, and a short resume, which must be mailed on or before March 14, 2008.
  • Entries in Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Tagalog or Filipino may be submitted. Fellowships are awarded by genre and by language.
  • Grant will cover board and lodging and a partial transportation subsidy.


Dr. Cirilo F. Bautista

Ms. Genevieve Asenjo

Dr. Marjorie Evasco

Prof. Danny Reyes

Dr. Elsie Coscolluela

Dr. Antonio Tan

Wokshop is on April 20-26, 2008 at the Balay Kalinungan Complex, University of St. La Salle , Bacolod City .

Sponsored by:
University of St. La Salle, NCCA, Benvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center , De La Salle University, and Negrence Studies Development Center


Dr. Gloria Fuentes
Asst. Vice President for Academic Affairs Office
University of St. La Salle
La Salle Avenue , Bacolod City