March 7, 2014

Mr. Good News came by last Wednesday. I got a slot as English poetry fellow for the Dumaguete National Writers Workshop this year! Earlier, I responded to their call for manuscripts which went this way:

Call for Manuscripts to the 53rd Silliman National Writers Workshop

The Silliman University National Writers Workshop is now accepting applications for the 53rd National Writers Workshop to be held 5—23 May 2014 at the Silliman University Rose Lamb Sobrepeña Writers Village.

This Writers Workshop is offering twelve fellowships to promising writers in the Philippines who want to have a chance to hone their craft and refine their style. Fellows will be provided housing, a modest stipend, and a subsidy to partially defray costs of their transportation.

To be considered, applicants should submit manuscripts in English on or before 15 January 2014. All manuscripts should comply with the instructions stated below. (Failure to do so will automatically eliminate their entries).

Applicants for Fiction and Creative Nonfiction fellowships should submit three to four (3-4) entries. Applicants for Poetry fellowships should submit a suite of seven to ten (7-10) poems. Applicants for Drama fellowships should submit at least one (1) One-Act Play.

Each fiction, creative nonfiction, or drama manuscript should not be more than 30 pages, double spaced. We encourage you to stay well below the 30 pages.

Manuscripts should be submitted in five (5) hard copies. They should be computerized in MS Word, double-spaced, on 8.5 x 11 inches bond paper, with approximately one-inch margin on all sides. The page number must be typed consecutively (e.g., 1 of 30, 2 of 30, and so on) at the center of the bottom margin of each page. The font should be Book Antiqua or Palatino, and the font size should be 13.

The applicant’s real name and address must appear only in the official application form and the certification of originality of works, and must not appear on the manuscripts.

Manuscripts should be accompanied by the official application form, a notarized certification of originality of works, and at least one letter of recommendation from a literature professor or an established writer.  All requirements must be complete at the time of submission.

Send all applications or requests for information to Department of English and Literature, attention Prof. Ian Rosales Casocot, Workshop Coordinator, 1/F Katipunan Hall, Silliman University, 6200 Dumaguete City. For inquiries, email us at silliman.cwc@gmail.com or call 035-422-6002 loc. 350.

There. It’s been years since I applied for a national workshop, the last being the Iligan National Writers Workshop in 2005. And so I gathered my material and ended up sending poems in English. Now the result:

53rd Silliman University National Writers Workshop Slated for May 5—23

The 53rd edition of the Silliman University National Writers Workshop is slated to start on 5 May 2014 at the Rose Lamb Sobrepeña Writers Village in Camp Look-out, Valencia, Negros Oriental. 

Twelve writers from all over the Philippines have been accepted as workshop fellows. They are Jose Jason Chancoco (Ateneo de Naga), Daniel Hao Chua Olivan Jr. (Ateneo de Manila), Maria Camille Rivera (UP Diliman), and Roberto Klemente Timonera (Silliman University) for poetry; Jovy Almero (UP Diliman), Prescilla Dorado (UP Mindanao), Jose Renato Evangelista (DLSU Manila), Rolly Jude Ortega (Silliman University), and Erlinda Mae Young (UP Diliman) for fiction; and Johanna Michelle Barot Lim (University of San Carlos), Jan Kevin Rivera (UP Diliman), and Gracielle Deanne Tubera (Ateneo de Davao) for creative nonfiction. 

The panel of writers/critics for this year includes Director-in-Residence Susan S. Lara; Dumaguete-based writer César Ruìz Aquino; and guest panelists Gémino H. Abad, Dean Francis Alfar, Merlie Alunan, Ricardo de Ungria, Marjorie Evasco, Grace Monte de Ramos, Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, DM Reyes, John Jack Wigley, Alfred Yuson. They will be joined by two foreign panelists whose names will be announced later.

The workshop, which traditionally lasts for three weeks, is the oldest creative writing workshop of its kind in Asia. It was founded in 1962 by S.E.A. Write Awardee Edilberto K. Tiempo and National Artist Edith L. Tiempo, and was recently given the Tanging Parangal in the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining by the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

This year, the workshop is co-sponsored by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia. 

For more information about forthcoming events during the workshop, please email Workshop Coordinator Ian Rosales Casocot at silliman.cwc@gmail.com or call the Department of English and Literature at (035) 422-6002 loc. 520. (Edilberto and Edith Tiempo Creative Writing Center)

There. I am excited to travel again and meet new people. Dumaguete, Hagbayon is on the way!



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  http://www.lakwatseradeprimera.com 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.


September 13, 2012

The vacation days I have for the Penafrancia Fiesta are now being spent in bed. I have never been asthmatic but the persistent cough and colds that I have lead to it. Anyway, I take this opportunity to take more water and shut-eye.

Whenever I would get bored I would read the Talaang Ginto Anthology for 1999-2006. Last night, I started reading Tata Raul Funilas‘ epic poem “Ulikbangon”. It is an expertly written Tagalog poem about the Talim Island and Lawa ng Laguna. It effectively employs indigenous and even traditional Tagalog poetics as it highlights the cultural elements of the place. It won third place in 2005, although I thought it should have won the first prize and earned for Funilas the title “Makata ng Taon”. I will be reading more of the anthology when I have the time.

When I get better, I plan to visit the Gainza Trade Fair at Elias Angeles, Naga City. There are lots of things to watch out for this Penafrancia Fiesta. There’s the military parade and of course, the Fluvial Procession. Will ask the Muse the join me soon.


July 31, 2007


Just arrived from a visit to Cavite and Metro-Manila. I came to check on my uncle and cousin in Imus and send-off my cousin Tots, a seafarer, to his ship in Europe. I also visited writer-friends, and more importantly, my Esmi. It was also a chance for me to check out the Cinemalaya 2007 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. I was also there to buy new DVD for our videoke and battery for our Sharp camera phone and open the line of the LG camera phone of my aunt.

Although I have stayed for a long time in Manila, it is still easy for me to get disoriented in its complicated gridlock of traffic and pollution. I have been living here in Bicol for quite sometime. And here, almost always, I just walk my way and get to places. There, moving about can get really expensive. You will need food and transportation allowance. And soon enough, there is a risk that a friend might just stick a knife or gun unto you and ask for money.

Thankfully, I was able to negotiate my way around the place. First stop was the Mall of Asia where we ate and roamed around. It was there where I was able to open the line of my aunt’s LG camera phone. You see, it was sent to us (along with my Nokia) by my cousin Anne from the United States. I could not find an able technician here in Bicol but there, it took them only about 15 minutes to finish the job.

I also attended a lecture on digital engineering by George Palmer, an American, right there at the CCP as part of the Cinemalaya festival. He focused on the duties of a digital engineer as tech support during filmmaking. It was well-attended by cinematographers, writers and producers. By the look of things, digital films will not only be the way to go for indie filmmakers, I think it’s also the way of the future. The lecture was made possible by Sony.

Afterwards, I went to my girlfriend’s office in Makati. While waiting for her, I found this decent but cheap restaurant where they serve beer. It was just in front of their building. Next thing I knew, I was already gulping a couple of San Mig light. I was thirsty, Makati disoriented me again that I almost got lost. The smell of beer annoyed her to no end as we were to watch Harry Potter in a nearby cinema. Lesson learned: Esmi first before beer.

Meeting with poet Cirilo F. Bautista has been part of my Manila tradition. And so there I was, along with Pangasinense writer-friend Sonny Villafania at Burger King-Kanlaon waiting for the Master. He did arrive shortly with his usual blue Honda CRV and treated us for merienda, big burgers and coffee. We talked about our projects and the writing life. It was cool that he shared anecdotes about himself and other writers. Did you know that he keeps his trophies and awards in their upper and lower comfort rooms? And that he is allergic to beer? His father used to scold him thinking that the he was drunk just because the allergic reaction caused skin rashes and redness.

As usual, the Master gave us lots of books. Perhaps those stuffs were sent to him as complimentary copies from publishers so that he can write about it in his Breaking Signs column in Philippine Panorama. Too bad I forgot Pili nuts, he wanted some. He also expressed disappointment because I forgot to greet him on his birthday. He never fails to greet me whenever I celebrate mine.

We stayed in there for about three hours, just talking about literature. It is no secret that our group nominated him for National Artist, and we will repeat the process. Far from being a recluse, Cirilo F. Bautista loves to talk about writing in front of younger writers. He also goes out often, perhaps observing people at the marketplace. It is a known fact that he is the household cook and gardener.

But above all, it was my Esmi that I missed the most. And so I spent more time with her. A writer cannot live without a muse, and I have found mine.