You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. - Buddha
Photo taken at Namaste, Baguio City, Dec 2011.
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. - Buddha
Photo taken at Namaste, Baguio City, Dec 2011.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) was an English poet and author, a humanist and pacifist. Some of his novels – Antic Hay, Point Counter Point, and Crome Yellow – dealt with the manners and hypocrisy of the upper class, while Brave New World was a peek into a dystopian future.
Here’s an excerpt from Crome Yellow (1921), where Denis Stone, a young poet, talks to the jaded critic Mr. Scogan:
“That’s the test for the literary mind,” said Denis; “the feeling of magic, the sense that words have power. The technical, verbal part of literature is simply a development of magic. Words are man’s first and most grandiose invention. With language he created a whole new universe; what wonder if he loved words and attributed power to them! With fitted, harmonious words the magicians summoned rabbits out of empty hats and spirits from the elements. Their descendants, the literary men, still go on with the process, morticing their verbal fomulas together, and, before the power of the finished spell, trembling with delight and awe. Rabbits out of empty hats? No, their spells are more subtly powerful, for they evoke emotions out of empty minds. Formulated by their art the most insipid statements become enormously significant.”
Crome Yellow was Huxley’s first published book, and is part of the tradition of English country house stories.Though after this speech by Denis, Mr. Scogan deflates him with a puncturing comment (you have to read the book to get the full flavor of the humor), it’s still an enchanting passage that shows how Huxley felt about words and writing, and it captures exactly how I feel about it, which is what I do, and is my life’s work – it’s magic, it’s a superpower.
Aldous Huxley portrait here.
POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 24 November 2011, Thursday
Much Ado About Gloria
Was what was done to former president and current congressperson Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo right or wrong?
The debate continues to smolder, and because of its deep political significance has pushed other no less interesting topics to the side – the murder of Ramgen Revilla, the anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre, the controversial victory of boxer-cum-lawmaker Manny Pacquiao over Juan Manuel Marquez, the dismal medal haul of the Philippine team in the SEA Games.
Having listened to and read various opinions on the subject, I’ve noticed that they tend to fall into two categories – “mercy” and “justice”.
The “mercy” side points to how frail and ill the former president looks in recent photographs and that she should have been allowed to leave the country for medical reasons, and that it’s a poor thing to beat someone when she’s down, and that her mugshots should not have been released to the media.
The “justice” side emphasizes the rule of law, that Macapagal-Arroyo should answer for the electoral sabotage committed during her time and that she apologized for. (Her flat, emotionless voice saying “I. Am. Sorry” for the “Hello, Garci” incident, without sounding at all sorry, is a stock sound effect of radio talk shows.)
If Macapagal-Arroyo believes herself innocent of any charges, then let her face her accusers with head held high (a posture she is forced to adopt anyway given the rigidity of her halo vest). If she is truly innocent, she need not leave the country right at the moment, since several specialists have opined that her condition is not life-threatening and that the Philippines has the equipment and expertise to care for her properly at this point.
Instead, the dramatic incident at the airport smacked of an escape try, exactly like Ramona Bautista’s red-veiled night flight. The timing was fishy, it was suspect. It was as if they had received a tip that there would be cases filed against her, thus the desperate attempt.
There is a definite sense of wrongness there – why did Macapagal-Arroyo try to leave the country so hurriedly that way, in that cloak-and-dagger fashion, with the props of the ambulances and the wheelchair?
Why, if she is so sick, was she wearing skinny leather pants and platforms when they tried to flee that night? Do you know how hard it is to get into leather pants, especially the skinny kind, when you’re well and healthy, let alone so ill that you’re wearing a halo vest that drastically limits mobility and your condition ostensibly so bad that you have to go abroad for medical attention? It makes you wonder if her mobility is all that compromised.
All these questions raise red flags. The entire thing seems contrived, and glaringly so to the discerning person. Macapagal-Arroyo and her camp should not be surprised at the lack of public support and sympathy for her, though intellectuals relish the debate on the matter.
That’s just my opinion, and everybody has one. In the end, I believe in the rule of law. Morality that is based on religion will differ among the various faiths with their constructed doctrines and dogmas; likewise, the standards of morality based on culture will differ from country to country. To be fair and just to all its residents, a nation should be founded upon secular law and it is this law that must be used to determine what is right or wrong.
In this case concerning the former president, as in all cases, let the law prevail. Let the judiciary be true to the spirit of their commitment to the people and to the nation and put what is right and fair above personal interest and utang na loob. Let them bring out the truth in this case, apply the law to the former president as it has been applied to others, and show the world that the Philippines is a nation that hews to the law.
In the words of the prophet Amos, “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everlasting stream.”
* * * *
Award-winning writer Dr. Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, director of the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House since 2010, revealed there will be a Christmas sale of their publications, the date and venue to be announced. UST-PH was named Publisher of the Year last November 12 at the 30th National Book Awards night at the National Museum. The award is given out yearly by the Manila Critics Circle and the National Book Development Board.
Among the eminent writers in their stable are National Artists for Literature Virgilio S. Almario and F. Sionil Jose, columnists and professors Krip Yuson, Dr. Jose Dalisay Jr., and Dr. Michael L.Tan, and musician/writer Lourd de Veyra.
* * * *
The University of the Philippines Institute of Creative Writing has extended to November 29 the deadline of submission of applications to the 51st UP National Writers Workshop.
The workshop is for writers in mid-career and will be held in Baguio City in April 2012.
I had the privilege of becoming a workshop fellow last year and it was a transformative experience. The feedback from the panelists and fellows were helpful and inspiring, the workshop activities eye-opening, and the friendships forged during the week-long event heartwarming.
Another reason for the workshop’s continued success is its venue. Baguio City is cool, calm, and pleasant, and its art scene warm and nurturing, a positive atmosphere that encourages the blossoming of the artist in everyone. Baguio is not just the market, Good Shepherd, and Minesview Park. Do visit Mt. Cloud bookshop, Hill Station Café at Casa Vallejo, Namaste, the BenCab museum and its café at the basement, VOCAS, Ayuyang, Café by the Ruins, Choco-Late de Batirol at Camp John Hay, and the other interesting pockets of creative and culinary pleasure that the locals will be happy to show you. ***
He said this poem – “Let It Go” – was about his decision to give up writing poetry, though it could describe how he felt about his life. Or we about ours.
It is this deep blankness is the real thing strange.
The more things happen to you the more you can’t
Tell or remember even what they were.
The contradictions cover such a range.
The talk would talk and go so far aslant.
You don’t want madhouse and the whole thing there.
Consider letting go the strange deep mad blankness in your life. Let it go now.
POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 20 October 2011, Thursday
Breasts, Blankets, and Bebang
The Philippines has the highest incidence of breast cancer in Southeast Asia. The disease is said to be the third leading cause of mortality and morbidity among Filipino women, and this is due in part to the reluctance of afflicted women to seek medical help until the cancer is well-advanced.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month worldwide. Until a few years back, all I knew about it was that it was all about pink, my favorite color, and isn’t that ribbon logo cute? Until I battled a breast cancer scare myself, I paid no heed to the call for each woman to be aware of her breast health via self and professional breast exams.
Then, during an annual office health checkup that I was dragged to, kicking and screaming, doctors found a lump in my right breast. After viewing the results of painful mammograms and tickly ultrasound exams, my oncologist decided to excise the entire mass in a simple out-patient operation that took only half an hour. To work off my anxiety, after the procedure I walked to the office from the hospital and still put in an afternoon’s work. The biopsy showed the lump was non-malignant. The inch-and-a-half long red scar on my chest is a sobering reminder to take the threat of breast cancer seriously.
My experience made my officemates aware of their own breast health, becoming vigilant with exams and annual mammograms. Last year, one of them was found to have a lump also, but hers was malignant. She fought back and beat the disease. Her success was largely due to early detection.
ICanServe Foundation advocates early breast cancer detection through community-based screening programs, says media/information committee member Carla Paras-Sison, herself a breast cancer survivor. “In cooperation with LGUs, we train barangay health workers [to perform] clinical breast examinations…[we also hold] high-impact information campaigns…produce commercials and organize educational forums” to “spread hope and dispel fear.”
They are at the Power Plant Mall basement every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of this month to spread awareness by disseminating information material and raise funds by selling items, proceeds of which benefit the ICanServe Foundation. Visit http://www.icanservefoundation.org to learn about their mission, activities, and events.
Icanserve photos taken 15 October 2011 at Power Plant Mall.
* * * * *
Along with enhancing their awareness of medical issues, Filipina women can also open up to the idea of exploring their sexuality in a healthy, positive way. Sexuality is, after all, related to human well-being. Why not attend a workshop and develop your sensual side?
Gaze, the creative brainchild of writers April Yap and Camille de la Rosa, will be holding an Erotic Writing Workshop on November 12 “as a way to celebrate love, longing, and lust.”
Poet and teacher Nerisa del Carmen Guevara, known for her sensuous rhymes and ritual dances, will be presiding over the whole-day workshop at Sikatuna Village, Quezon City. She has chosen the title “Blanket Day” for the event. Participants are asked to bring a blanket and object belonging to their beloved.
The workshop fee is P2,500 and includes drinks, meals, and a certificate. Only 15 slots are available; register on or before November 7. For details, contact Gaze at (0926)725-5208 or send email to email@example.com.
I’m attending the workshop and though it’s three weeks away, I’m already dithering over which blanket to bring – for certain it’ll be one of the many lap quilts I’ve made – and which “beloved object” – his shirt? my necklace made from his guitar strings? his broad-nib fountain pen? What does Prof. Guevara have in mind for participants to do with these things? I’m excited. “Love, longing, and lust”? They’re always a part of the human condition. Writing, as well as any other method, will help put you in touch with these emotions and perhaps make sense of them and your relationship with the beloved.
* * * * *
If you love to laugh and cry and laugh again while reading a book, you must read Bebang Siy’s It’s a Mens World. Recently published by Anvil, I first spotted the book at the Manila Book Fair and was intrigued by the title. Was it a typo error? A deliberate naming ploy to attract buyers?
The mystery is solved in the first chapter. No spoilers here, I’d rather you read it for yourself for maximum impact, but this book is full of clever tricks that hook the reader, set her up, and deliver bang-up punchlines that will result in laughter, tears, or both.
Masterfully written in Filipino, it’s a memoir of a Filipino-Chinese girl growing up in a broken home. Though beset by financial disadvantages and adversity, her spirit is not quelled; instead, she fights back with humor, and emerges from the ring wiser and wackier.
Bebang (Beverly) Siy is a creative writing graduate of the University of the Philippines. She was a working student and a single mother to her son EJ, yet still managed to finish cum laude and serve as the UP Writers’ Club vice-president. She works for the Filipinas Copyright Licensing Society (the country’s reprographic rights organization for authors and publishers). Her poetry and short stories in different genres – romance, horror, erotic – have been published in various anthologies.
Have your copies of It’s a Mens World autographed at Bebang’s talk on humor writing on October 21 at the Conspiracy Garden Café, Visayas Avenue, Quezon City. The event, organized by the Freelance Writers of the Philippines, starts at 6pm. The P100 entrance fee gets you a free beer and a raffle ticket. ***
Pink ribbon image here. Bebang Siy book cover and author photos from the author’s Facebook page.
It was in a small indie bookstore in South Pasadena – The Battery – that I came upon a little book by Kahlil Gibran that I had not read for couple of decades.
The Battery bookshop, South Pasadena, California. October 2011.
It was The Prophet, Gibran’s tour-de-force of poetry. I was introduced to it in my teens by The Beloved, who pointed out to me the wisdom in its mystical, Biblically-cadenced passages.
I bought that little book - hardcover, 4.5 by 5.5 inches, with dust jacket, pre-owned – for six dollars, and consider it money well spent. It’s just the right size to tuck in a back pocket or purse, and take out from time to time to immerse in the flow of language and philosophical ideas.
Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) was born in Lebanon and migrated with his family to the United States in 1895.
From the chapter on Love:
Then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love.
And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Image of Kahlil Gibran here.
POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 29 September 2011, Thursday
Pinoy This Way
San Francisco, California – Every two or three years I hop on a plane for a vacation in the US with friends and family. I divide my precious few weeks’ of leave between the Bay Area and Los Angeles, revisiting old haunts and discovering new.
At Pebble Beach, one of my favorite places to visit. 26 Sept. 2011.
On the plane I sat between two prayerful Filipina ladies, both US citizens. The one on my right at the window seat was chatty. She had just escorted her ailing mother, also a citizen, to Cavite to be cared for there by other family members. “I’ll miss her,” she said, “but it’s not easy to care for seniors in the US.”
The older lady on my left (aisle seat) was meticulously made-up and dressed, a teacher at a college in Bukidnon, handling public administration and law. She was on her way to rejoin her daughter and grandchildren.
We didn’t know each other’s names, but that didn’t matter. “Ingat,” we said in farewell.
When I emerged from the airport doors pulling my luggage stuffed with ensaymada, hopia, and Queensland butter in cans, my family enfolded me in their arms and took me to IHOP for a meal. “We’re sure you’re hungry,” they said. They urged me to eat a bacon omelette, pancakes slathered with whipped butter and syrup, hash browns. (It was eleven o’clock in the evening.)
The next day we went to Target, where the woman behind the mobile phone counter explained in Tagalog-accented English to a tall white man that they do not sell jailbroken iPhones. When he had left, she shrugged at me. “Ganun talaga dito,” she said, knowing I was Pinay even if I had not opened my mouth.
The cashier who rang up our purchases was an elderly Filipina with carefully-waved salt-and-pepper hair and a stylish black-and-white scarf around her neck. She smiled knowingly as my sister and I spoke to each other in Tagalog.
At a Filipino supermarket the day after, I saw shelves crammed with Cream Silk and Sunsilk, Chippy and Chiz Curls, and Ligo sardines; refrigerated cases stuffed with Star margarine, Magnolia Ube with Beans ice cream (made in a California facility), and Pampanga tocino; racks full of San Mig Light, Pale Pilsen, and Red Horse Beer.
The aisles were decorated with fake coconut trees and banig on the walls as backdrops, whereas Target and Wal*Mart had pumpkins and Halloween masks. There was a Goldilocks’ outside and a bakery that sold hot pandesal. “Ibili natin si Papa ng mamon,” I overheard a young girl say. In those few hundred square meters was recreated a little slice of the Philippines, filled with even more bits of the Philippines that the homesick can buy to alleviate the longing for the flavors of Inang Bayan.
My sister at Island Pacific supermarket, Union City, CA.
At home, my sister uses a thick paper towel to wipe the bathroom and kitchen counters clean; she rinses it and hangs it to dry. She reuses these paper towels until they fall apart. “Sayang e. Puede pa naman.” Our leftovers from the huge American portions at restaurants are boxed and taken home; she makes sure we eat them the next day.
When Pedring hits, Filipinos call each other up. “Have you heard about the flooding in the Philippines? Kamusta pamilya mo doon?” We trade news and commiseration.
All this reminds me of Fil-Canadian Mikey Bustos’s “Pinoy This Way” (a parody of a Lady Gaga hit), that became an Internet sensation in April: “Back home, a land far away/ Where we work hard every day/ It makes us grateful, baby, we’re Pinoy this way….Nothing ever goes to waste/ Appreciate, don’t throw away/ Baby, we’re Pinoy this way!”
Cultural values embedded through socialization at home, school, and other settings in context are difficult to shake off. They permeate our core, unconsciously, communicated through language and food and tradition and rituals.
No matter how we may intellectualize “What makes a Filipino?” and debate from whence comes identity, the reality is that if we are born in the Philippines we are steeped in it from birth, through communication, behaviors, and expectations. If we are not, it can be learned, and is generally taught by immediate family members who developed their personalities within the context of Filipino culture. It is all carried inside us and comes out when we interact with others.
What’s it all about, wherever the Filipino may be? Work. Frugality. Sacrifice. Hospitality. Food. Family. Because we’re Pinoy that way.
* * * * *
Book Bonanza: From University of the Philippines professor emerita and University of Santo Tomas Publishing House directress Dr. Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo:
“In February of this year, the UST Publishing House launched seven more new titles… all by Thomasian writers…: The House of True Desire, essays by Cirilo Bautista; Selected Poems by Rita Gadi; At Sa Tahanan ng Alabok , poetry by Louie Sanchez; Insectisimo, poetry by Lourd de Veyra; Superpanalo Sound,s a novel by Lourd de Veyra; Clairvoyance, poetry by Carlomar Daoana; and Body Haul, poetry by Allan Pastrana.” Also launched was Everyday Things by US-based poet Fidelito Cortes.
These books and others forthcoming are part of the “400 Years, 400 Books” Project and will be presented to the public at the closing of the University’s Quadricentennial Celebrations in January 2012. The books are already available at the UST Publishing House Bookstore on campus and in National Bookstore branches. ***
POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 8 September 2011, Thursday
The 61st Palanca Awards
For a Filipino writer, winning a Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature is one of the most gratifying accomplishments one can achieve.
The awards night was held, as always, on September 1, at the Manila Peninsula Hotel. The guest of honor was F. Sionil Jose, a five-time Palanca awardee, who received the 2011 Dangal ng Lahi Award. Fifty-eight other writers were given awards from first to third place, in several different categories in Filipino, Cebuano, Iluko, Hiligaynon, and English.
Also present among the writeratti was Palanca Foundation director-general Sylvia Palanca-Quirino, who spoke of the six-decade long history of the awards. Their family’s dedication in sustaining this program is to be lauded; save for them, there would be no recognition for Filipino literary writers.
Winning a Palanca is something to strive for, a goal, and gives direction to one’s efforts. We hope the Palanca Foundation continues their support of Philippine belles lettres.
It was with tremendous pleasure that I attended the awards night to receive a first prize for Essay for my piece “The Turn for Home: Memories of Santa Ana Park.” The Palanca Award is a heavy brass medal as big as a saucer, hung on a wide sapphire blue ribbon. It comes with a certificate, a wooden presentation box, and prestige, that clings to the awardees like perfume.
I dedicate my win to my writing mentor at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, professor emerita Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo. It was in her creative non-fiction graduate class last year that I wrote my winning piece.
It was also for that class that this year’s second-place Essay winner, professor Jeena Rani Marquez-Manaois, wrote her winning “The River of Gold”, set in Cagayan de Oro.
The role of mentor, I realize now, is highly significant and cannot be over-emphasized. On my own, without guidance, I most likely would not have produced this work. It was Dr. Pantoja-Hidalgo who gave me the guidance to take my memories and give them shape and structure in narrative form.
May other writers be blessed with the same good fortune as to find a mentor as kind and encouraging, whose keen critical insights instruct and set the direction to do even better in the craft, not only technically, but also in the lyricism and “literary-ness” of the work.
In my essay, I weave memories of the Santa Ana racetrack and my personal life. Here’s an excerpt. In this scene, I’ve been thrown off my horse during morning workout (I was the sport’s first female apprentice jockey and trained for several months) and am lying on the track:
“Jockeys rode past me; unseated apprentices were not an unusual sight, in fact it was expected for one to fall several times during training, and since it was obvious I wasn’t dead – yet – there was no cause for alarm. One jockey did stop beside me as I lay in the sand, staring blankly up at the sky.
He halted his horse and leaned over me. I saw him upside down. It was some wiry guy clad in layers of t-shirt, sweatshirt, and jacket. They all looked alike in their helmets.
“Okay ka lang?” he asked.
Of course not, you idiot, I nearly broke my neck when I fell and I could have been paralyzed from the neck down like Ron Turcotte who rode Secretariat who was the greatest racehorse of all time in my opinion and he spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair until he died in a car accident – Turcotte, not Secretariat, was what I wanted to say.
“I’m fine,” was what I actually said.
We were married at Don Bosco Church five months later.”
The essay will be published in December by the UP-Diliman College of Arts and Letters in their literary journal, “Likhaan”. It will also appear online on their website and on that of the Carlos Palanca Foundation.
* * * * *
I read with interest last Wednesday’s column here in MST by our opinion editor Adelle Chua, which dealt with the topic of depression. I have beloved friends and family members who suffer from depression, and those of us in their support network often wonder what other treatment methods out there other than the usual would be beneficial.
A friend, American psychologist and Virginia Western Community College professor Dr. Annemarie Carroll, advocates yoga to ease depression, in addition to other treatments such as therapy and fish oil.
Says Dr. Carroll, “There’s a lot of research about using [yoga] for depression and this is what I’m working towards doing with my psych clients. The reason yoga is so helpful is that it teaches people the ability to “ride the wave” of discomfort with breathing – whether that’s physical discomfort as in a yoga posture that’s difficult for you, or in emotional/mental discomfort, as those feelings can come up while doing the physical practice.
“The person then begins to generalize that to their everyday life situations. Any good yoga teacher would be helpful, but sometimes you can find a yoga teacher who specializes in this.”
I don’t know much about the yoga scene in Manila, and was glad to receive word from writer/performer Lissa Romero De Guia about the “Wake Up and Shake Up!” yoga event presented by Art of Living Philippines.
It’s a two-hour event of “Meditation, Yoga and Wisdom”, set for September 14 at the AIM Conference Center in Makati beginning 6:30pm.
The session will be conducted by senior Art of Living teacher Swami Sadyojathah. He travels extensively all over the world teaching yoga and meditation, conducting trauma relief, and “spreading ancient techniques on how to live life with a deep sense of joy and enthusiasm.”
No previous experience in meditation or yoga is required. Wear comfortable clothing and bring a yoga mat and water bottle. For details call Lorna Nasayao (0917-8484898). ***
Portraits of Dr Pantoja-Hidalgo and Dr Carroll from their Facebook pages.
Here are the winners and judges of this year’s Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature – the 61st Palanca Awards.
The awarding ceremony will take place tonight (September 1) at the Manila Peninsula Hotel, Makati.
1st – Jennifer Rebecca L. Ortuoste (The Turn for Home: Memories of Santa Ana Park)
2nd – Jeena Rani Marquez-Manaois (The River of Gold)
3rd – Rosario Cruz-Lucero (The Stain of Blackberries)
1st – Joshua L. Lim So (A Return Home)
2nd – Peter Solis Nery (If The Shoe Fits)
3rd – Jonathan R. Guillermo (Freshmen)
1st – Floy C. Quintos (Evening at the Opera)
2nd – No Winner
3rd –No Winner
1st – Asterio Enrico N. Gutierrez (The Big Man)
2nd – Alexis A.L. Abola (Disappearance)
3rd – Johannes L. Chua (Prodigal)
Short Story for Children
1st – Georgina Veronica (Nikki) Alfar (Tom Yum)
2nd – Georgianna R. de Vera (Tatay, Through Wind and Waves)
3rd – Benjamin Pimentel (Gagamba, the Spider from the Islands)
1st – Eliza A. Victoria (Maps)
2nd – Lourdes Marie S. La Viña (Stones and Other Poems)
3rd – Simeon P. Dumdum, Jr. (Maguindanao)
Poetry for Children
1st – Cynthia Baculi-Condez (The Universe and Other Poems)
2nd – Peter Solis Nery (The Shape of Happiness)
3rd – Kris Lanot Lacaba (The Shaggy Brown Chicken and Other Poems for Children (and for chickens of all ages)
1st – Mariah Cristelle F. Reodica (The Golden Mean)
2nd – Scott Lee Chua (Of Pixels and Power)
3rd – Leo Francis F. Abot (Gods of the Internet)
Short Story – Cebuano
1st – Richel G. Dorotan (Ang Tawo sa Punoan ng Nangka sa Hinablayan)
2nd – Errol A. Merquita (Isla Verde)
3rd – Macario D. Tiu (Black Pearl)
Short Story – Iluko
1st – Ariel S. Tabag (Saddam)
2nd – Juan A. Asuncion (Ayuno)
3rd – Norberto D. Bumanglag, Jr. (Ti Agdamdamili)
Short Story – Hiligaynon
1st – Peter Solis Nery (Donato Bugtot)
2nd – Alice Tan Gonzales (Kahapunanon sa Laguerta ni Alberto)
3rd – Kizza Grace F. Gardoce (Pabalon)
GRAND PRIZE DIVISION:
Allan Alberto N. Derain (Ang Banal na Aklat ng mga Kumag)
Maria Victoria Soliven Blanco (In the Service of Secrets)
1st – Bernadette V. Neri (Ang Pag-uwi ng Alibughang Anak ng Lupa)
2nd – Rosario Torres-Yu (Nagbibihis na ang Nanay)
3rd – Nancy Kimuell-Gabriel (Kubeta)
1st – Lemuel E. Garcellano (Tru Lab)
2nd – T-Jay K. Medina (Huling Isang Taon)
3rd – Helen V. Lasquite (Emmanuel)
Dulang Ganap ang Haba
1st – Rodolfo Vera (Paalam Señor Soledad)
2nd – Liza Magtoto (Tamala)
3rd –Joshua L. Lim So (Panahon ng Sampung Libong Ilong)
Dulang May Isang Yugto
1st –Remi Karen M. Velasco (Ondoy: Ang Buhay sa Bubong)
2nd –Layeta P. Bucoy (El Galeon De Simeon)
3rd – Bernardo O. Aguay, Jr. (Posporo)
1st – Mary Amie Gelina E. Dumatol (Ang Makulit, ang Mapagtanong, at ang Mundo ng Kasagutan)
2nd – Abegail Joy Y. Lee (Nang Maging Mendiola ko ang Internet Dahil kay Mama)
3rd – Ma. Bettina Clare N. Camacho (Isang Pindot Sa Kamalayan)
1st – Enrique S. Villasis (Agua)
2nd – Rosmon M. Tuazon (Mga Nakaw na Linya)
3rd – Christopher B. Nuyles (Ilang Tala Hinggil sa Daangbakal at iba pang tula)
1st – Marcel L. Milliam (Ako Ang Bida)
2nd – Eugene Y. Evasco (Isang Mabalahibong Bugtong)
3rd – John Enrico C. Torralba (Manghuhuli Ako ng Sinag ng Araw)
1st – No Winner
2nd – No Winner
3rd – Michael S. Bernaldez (Metro Gwapo)
Maikling Kwentong Pambata
1st – Segundo Matias (Alamat ng Duhat)
2nd – Joachim Emilio B. Antonio (Sa Tapat ng Tindahan ni Mang Teban)
3rd – Christian Tordecillas (Si Inda, Ang Manok at ang mga Lamang-Lupa)
This year’s boards of judges include:
Dulang Ganap ang Haba
Mr. Roy Iglesias – TAGAPANGULO
Mr. Clodualdo Del Mundo, Jr. – Kagawad
Ms. Maribel Legarda – Kagawad
Dulang May Isang Yugto
Dir. Rosauro dela Cruz – TAGAPANGULO
Mr. Chris Millado – Kagawad
Mr. Robert Seña – Kagawad
Dir. Ricky Davao – TAGAPANGULO
Dir. Gil Portes – Kagawad
Dir. Joel Lamangan – Kagawad
Dr. Jimmuel Naval –TAGAPANGULO
Mr. Fidel Rillo, Jr. – Kagawad
Mr. Marco A. V. Lopez –Kagawad
Maikling Kuwentong Pambata
Dr. Dina Ocampo – TAGAPANGULO
Mr. Virgilio Vitug – Kagawad
Dr. Fely Pado – Kagawad
Dr. Pamela Constantino – TAGAPANGULO
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POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 1 September 2011, Thursday
By Any Other Name
The debate on Filipino language and identity remains hot as ever, the flames stoked higher recently by Ateneo de Manila University student James Soriano’s essay “Language, Learning, Identity, Privilege”.
It was incendiary and set off an explosive string of comments pro- and -anti on the Internet. I have issues with language and identity myself and have written about them here before. But Soriano’s essay, on first reading, stank of the arrogance of privilege and caste. Referring to Filipino speakers as merely the people who wash our dishes or fetch us from school is at the very least insensitive.
On a second, deeper reading – no, still nothing.
Other writers have “deconstructed” the piece and claimed to have found it “satirical” and like Mideo Cruz’s art, meant to provoke. But why ascribe depth when there is none? The work, hardly well-written to begin with, screams that it was crafted by an unformed, immature personality that reminds me of nothing more than a social climber.
Soriano’s was a straight-up statement of fact and I object to the over-readings. Take it at face value.
From all over the world, reactions poured in. Says the California Dreamer (a Pinoy living in Los Angeles): “The fellow might have a serious attitude problem, but it was not about his attitude but his proposition. There’s always privilege and entitlement, especially where access to knowledge is unequal. It was mean-spirited to say the least, but wasn’t he just a mirror of what’s wrong in society with a yawning gap between rich and poor, the information haves and have-nots?
“Once more, vanity is the death of us all. He should’ve kept it to himself because from now on it will be all about a certain (bleep), and not the fact he framed his argument so badly that it fell apart.
“Identity is like water- the more one tries to grasp it, the more it slips past one’s fingers.”
Soriano may have a point in that because of the circumstances shaped by our culture’s colonial mindset and economic exigencies, and some individual families’ affluence, there are Filipinos who speak English better than any of the Filipino languages. Still, there is no call to denigrate the people who speak Filipino through preference, accident of birth, or lack of learning opportunity. And why laud one language over another? We are richer for being conversant in more than one.
We multi-lingual people have the advantage, because the words in the different languages we know have specific nuances; thus we are able to communicate more effectively because we have this formidable arsenal of words. Language is foremost a tool for communication.
This is also the point Carla Montemayor raises in her “How do you make dabog in English?” on Newsbreak Online.
“Since most English people are monolingual,” she writes, “they don’t get this seemingly schizoid shifting from one language and one thought process to another. I, on the other hand, cannot imagine myself using just one language all the time, forever. That’s like having a teaspoon in your hand when there’s a banquet spread before you. Attack with all available cutlery!”
I was in Los Angeles two years when an American friend asked me and an LA-based Filipino friend, “Why do you speak to each other in English and not in Filipino?” We replied “There are concepts we discuss for which there are no words in Filipino; but matters of family and the heart are spoken of in Tagalog.”
That is where identity lies – where the heart is. Language is there to help us articulate what is inside of us, struggling to get free and be shared with others.
* * * * *
My column last week was about first-time novelist Samantha Sotto, whose Before Ever After was published recently by Random House. Her story is a miracle of determination, drive, and dreams coming true. Here’s a Q & A with her:
Jenny: Is this the first time you’ve written anything or had anything published – are you a professional writer? If not, what is your profession?
Sam: I’m a stay-at-home mom and Before Ever After is my first book. My previous career was in marketing management.
J: Where you educated in the Philippines or abroad?
Sam: I studied at Benedictine Abbey School for grade school and high school. I took up AB Communications at Ateneo. During college, I spent one year in the Netherlands where I studied at the Leiden campus of Webster University.
J: You’ve said elsewhere that Audrey Nifenegger’s Time Traveler’s Wife was your inspiration for Before Ever After. In what way is your novel different from TTW?
Sam: I think the key difference is that while Before Ever After spans different historical periods, it is not a book about time travel.
J: You’ve made your characters, except one, non-Filipino. Why did you choose to do it this way?
Sam: This might sound strange, but it was the story and characters that chose me and not the other way around. Max, my main character, popped into my head while I was stuck in traffic in EDSA and told me his story. I just wrote it down.
J: Is there a second novel in the works? Will you set it abroad again?
Sam: I’m 80% done with my second novel. It explores an entirely different concept but is also set in Europe.
J: What has been the most exciting thing so far about this entire experience?
Sam: Holding the finished book in my hands was very surreal. The highlight, however, was when my kids read the dedication of the book.
J: What made you decide to try have your novel published abroad rather than in the Philippines?
Sam: I decided to pursue publishing the book abroad because I wanted to prove to my children that dreams have no boundaries.
The real-life inspiration in Boracay for “Shell”, one of the locations in the book. From the author’s public Facebook Page.
J: It’s been said that Filipinos are not a reading public. How do you think we can increase the popularity of reading in this country?
Sam: I think we should have more accessible public libraries so that people will be encouraged to read.
J: Where can we get your book?
Sam: The trade paperback edition of the book is exclusively available at National Book Store while the hardcover edition is available at Fully Booked. You can also order the e-book version via Amazon, iBooks and Barnes and Noble. People can find and follow me on samanthasotto.com, Facebook, and Twitter (@samanthasotto).
J: Describe your novel in one sentence.
Sam: It’s a fairytale for grown ups.
Samantha Sotto has proven that we don’t have to wait for dreams to come true – we can make it happen. May we all find our happy ever after!
* * * * *
Starting today till September 24 at Silverlens Gallery, catch “Slice”, Kidlat de Guia’s first solo photography show. His wife, performer Lissa Romero de Guia, calls him “the accidental artist”. “Slice” was born of those moments, she says, when “on a whim, [Kidlat] drove to Scout Hill at Camp John Hay. What he found there was completely unexpected: a childhood haunt in its death throes.”
Artist Kidlat de Guia setting up his works for his “Slice” one-man show at Silverlens Gallery. From the artist’s Facebook Page.
The images capture “the eviscerated remains of white clapboard structures in peeling green trim, the ice cream parlor transformed into a garage, debris carelessly strewn on the old tennis courts…[Kidlat’s] knee-jerk reaction to the carnage was to start shooting the beloved space that seemed to have found itself caught ‘in the beginning of the end, and the end of the beginning’. Through the lightboxes these photographs have become, Kidlat allows us a look into a slice of time that may well be gone in the blink of an eye.”
Kidlat is the first of three sons of stained-glass artist Katrin Muller and multi-awarded indie filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik. ***Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: http://jennyo.net, Facebook: Gogirl Café, Twitter: @jennyortuoste
Image of writer Carla Montemayor here. Image of author Samantha Sotto from her public Facebook Page.
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