Posts Tagged ‘cultural studies’

pop goes the world: a slogan by any other name

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  12 January 2012, Thursday

A Slogan By Any Other Name

People are having fun with “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”!

But not necessarily the good clean kind, okay. Have you seen the user-generated photo on the Internet of a blonde-bewigged Madame Auring (who must be in her mid-60s at least), stuffed in a leopard-print swimsuit overflowing with her ample breasts, with the text, “Growing old – more fun in the Philippines?”

Fortune teller to the stars and now B-list celeb Madam Auring. Image here.

It’s only one of the many fan-made photos created in the week following the Department of Tourism’s launch of its new campaign, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”.

Print and online columnists and commenters immediately weighed in with their thoughts. Most of the arguments go like this: let’s be positive rather than negative, let’s be united and show support, the slogans are easy to remember and pronounce, and flexible enough to be used in a variety of ways (for); and it’s boring, vague, unnecessary, and plagiarized (against).

I was monitoring the Internet the day of the launch and saw the onslaught of comments; the initial pattern of public attitudes toward the slogans; and the actual shift to a “majority” stand, all within half a day online. The public perception was later reflected in the evening news and the next day in the newspapers.

Twitter, because of its immediacy, was the first to “cover” the event, and comments both for and against emerged here first. Most people were underwhelmed by the phrases, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” (international campaign) and “#1For Fun” (domestic).

A lot of what first went around was sarcastic. But then, that’s what happens when the slogans are phrased in such a way as to lend themselves to all kinds of interpretation.

Image here.

As for the accusation that the current DOT slogan was lifted from a 1951 Swiss campaign for suntanning – “It’s more fun in Switzerland!” – I think we can safely say that it was a coincidence. But then, that’s the problem when the phrase is so common and banal! It was a certainty that it had already been used somewhere, sometime, in that context.

DOT Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. has defended the campaign created for them by award-winning advertising agency BBDO by saying that they weren’t looking to be creative, but to tell the truth about the country and simply describe it because it really is “more fun” here.   But given the wealth of creative genius that this country boasts, couldn’t we have come up with something more original and interesting, or at least something less lame?

I liked the old DOT campaign better – “Wow Philippines”. (By the way, it was also created by BBDO, as was the older “More than the usual” campaign). It conveyed interest and excitement in one short word -”wow” – without making unsupportable or subjective claims such as “more”, that open the claim to unmerciless mockery, which the phrase has been subjected to.

Image here.

Perhaps if it were worded “It’s fun in the Philippines”, it would have been less likely to be made fun of.

However, compared to the “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” fiasco of November 2010, this new one is an improvement. The fact that #itsmorefuninthephilippines is trending worldwide shows we are working with this and, yes, having more fun with it.

But is it going to do its job, meaning, is the slogan going to attract more tourists? The DOT should have a survey form for foreigners that they can fill out on the inbound planes – “What influenced you to visit the Philippines?” No fair claiming any increase in tourist arrivals to the slogan without accurate monitoring with a survey instrument constructed with the proper methodology!

What struck me most about the entire phenomenon was that anyone can always come up with pros and cons for any topic. It’s social construction, meaning that many aspects of our daily experience are accepted as a result of agreement among members of society. In this manner social reality is created.

I saw this occur in real time – a people constructing their social reality through computer-media communication via social media. For a communication scholar such as myself, it was intellectually orgasmic. Phd dissertation topic, anyone?

At first, perception toward the new DOT slogan was skewed toward the negative – people were making fun of the slogan. Then, influential Tweeters, bloggers, and celebs chimed in urging support for the campaign.

Later, some of the “pros” went further and berated the “cons” for being too negative and, worse, unpatriotic! Suddenly the tide turned – negative comments are now interpreted as “bashing”, masyadong nega, hindi maka-Pilipino. Even the mockery is more gentle than it was at the start; it’s somehow toned down. It’s as if a sort of bullying took place.

Image here.

Why do some ideas spread so fast and embed so strongly, like a virus? Why are some ideas accepted and others not? Writer and researcher Malcolm Gladwell might have an explanation for this in his book “The Tipping Point” (2000).

There are three types of influential persons who have rare and particular social gifts, he says, upon whose involvement “the success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent”: the “connectors” are people who “link us up with the world”, who have social networks of over a hundred people; the “mavens” are “information specialists, people we rely on to connect us with new information;” and “salesmen”, the persuaders who have charisma plus powerful negotiation skills, and who tend to have “an indefinable trait that goes beyong what they say, which makes others want to agree with them.”

Once these people jump on one side of an idea or the other, they bring about the “tipping point”, the “moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.” Then, others who are less influential or undecided tip that way. Then an idea becomes the dominant ideology.

For now, people are having fun with “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”. Let’s hope it brings in the visitors and their much-needed moolah.

But we have to remember that it’s not all about slogans, which are just a bunch of words strung together. The slogans need to be backed up by a genuine product – a safe and tourist-friendly Philippines, where people can truly have more fun. ***

Malcolm Gladwell portrait here.

taste more:

pop goes the world: mo and rhian – should we care?

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  8 December 2011, Thursday

Mo and Rhian – Should We Care?

With the populace still reeling from the revelations of actress/model KC Concepcion about her breakup from actor Piolo Pascual, now comes another teary scandal, this time from disc jockey Mo Twister.

A video of a crying Mo (his real name is Mohan Gumatay) was recently uploaded to Youtube. In it he alleges that his then-girlfriend, actress Rhian Ramos, had their child aborted last July 2010 in Singapore.

An image of Mo Twister from the video, here.

From his @djmotwister account, he Tweeted, “I have a question about abortion. Should the girl ask the guy what his thoughts are and should he have a chance to stand up for the baby?”

Image here.

He followed this with other, more controversial Tweets: “Because no amount of inconvenience could ever justify treating the supreme creation of God with murderous contempt.” “…even the dictionary defines it, in its 2nd explanation, as monstrosity.” “Young child, don’t ever think you were never good enough. You just had no choice in the matter.”

Finally, Mo posted a photo of what presumably was his own shoulder, tattooed with the words “to the wounds that will never heal, 08/07/10.” The skin was still reddened; the ink looked fresh. (Check out

Mo’s shoulder, presumably. Image here.

Rhian Ramos has filed a harrassment case against Mo. She claims that his insinuation that she had an abortion violates Republic Act 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act). She has also asked for a temporary protection order to prevent Mo from making any more such statements.

We are merely spectators in all this and have no idea, at this point, what the truth is. Did she or didn’t she? Because he certainly did.

In any case, as I’ve said before, other people’s personal lives are none of our business. But since Mo (like KC) has made a private matter public, it is now fodder for all sorts of speculation and gossip.

Is Mo’s revelation vengeance, narcissism, or simply a man in pain lashing out like a wounded tiger, regardless of whom he hurts in his turmoil?

Can any good come out of this kind of exposure of private pain?

Rather than schadenfreudenly feeding off the suffering and misery inherent in the drama, let us deconstruct the concepts that arise and allow it to flow into the river of societal discourse: in this case, the topic of abortion.

Mo raises a good question – does the father of the child have a say in an abortion? The woman usually makes the decision to have an abortion, although it also happens often that it is instigated by the man. There are many reasons why the woman would have an abortion – youth, career, lack of finances, fear of disapproval and anger of parents and family, an unwillingness or unreadiness to be a parent, and the knowledge (or assumption) that the man will not be a good father and she’ll be raising the child on her own are just some of them.

In the end, what happens is that the woman makes the choice because it is her body, and it is her right to decide what to do or not to do with that body.

But why even have an abortion when contraception would have prevented the situation in the first place?

Given that the majority of Filipinos are Roman Catholics, and that the Church wields a strong influence in politics, and that the dominant ideology embedded in this culture is based upon Roman Catholic doctrine (sorry, other kinds of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and those of other, little, or no faith), prevailing attitudes toward abortion and contraception consider them abhorrent and sins against God.

In fact, so inflexible are the attitudes of some sectors of society that back-door influence has been brought heavily to bear against lawmakers passing the proposed Reproductive Health Bill, which in no way condones nor encourages promiscuity, homosexuality, teen – even child – pregnancies, or any of the other “abominations” ascribed to it by the paranoid.

Yet the behavior of teenagers – as opposed to attitudes – tells a different story. As of 2009, based on data from birth certificates, the number of teenage pregnancies in the Philippines was at 195,662, a 70 percent increase from the 114,205 in 1999. Of the 1.75 million live births in 2009, over 11 percent of those babies were born to teenage mothers.

According to the United Nations Population Fund’s 2011 annual report, the teenage pregnancy rate in the Philippines is at 53 births per 1,000 women aged between 15 to 19 – the highest among the six ASEAN countries.

A 2008 news article says the Philippines (where abortion is illegal) has a higher abortion rate than the United States (where abortion is legal), at 25 per 1,000 women compared to the latter’s 23 per 1,000 women. Consider also that the US has a much higher population – around 250 million in 2011; the Philippines has less than half at around 95 million.

The main drivers of the escalating teen pregnancy rate are poverty and ignorance. The RH Bill would try to minimize that, through certain of its measures that would provide sex education in schools.

The discussion of sex is still taboo in many sectors of Philippine society, even if as an activity it is frequently and enthusiastically practiced (see: Philippine population, number of offspring sired by Ramon Revilla Sr.).

But these are pressing issues that people face every day. Birth control, sex, abortion – they need to be discussed, they need to be faced, because people live and die over these matters.

We have a long, long way to go. We don’t even have divorce in this country – the only one left on the planet that refuses to let people start over.

So, should we care? Mo Twister opened up a can of squirmy things living in the dark. We need to drag this all into the light and let clarity, logic, and reason illuminate the important life issues we have long kept on the dark side of our collective soul.   ***

Teen mom image here.

taste more:

pop goes the world: kc and piolo – should we care?

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  1 December 2011, Thursday

KC and Piolo – Should We Care?

So this is what happened – a weepy actress/model KC Concepcion went on a popular showbiz talk show, “The Buzz”, to announce the end of her year-long relationship with actor Piolo Pascual, who is rumored to be homosexual.

My first reaction after hearing about the KC-Piolo flap was, “Why should we care?”

“The Buzz” program host Boy Abunda has a talent for making the most trivial issues seem relevant. Of course, the breakup is important to KC, and she looked heartbroken, but should someone’s personal life be fodder for our entertainment? In a newspaper interview, Abunda said, “She thought about it for a long time. She did it to express her pain, but not to the point of hurting other people…Like all of us, she has the right to express herself.”

KC has a right to express herself, and if she wishes to do so on mass media, who are we to stop her? But what does it say about us when we lap it up and feed on the artificially-cultivated frenzy, on the self-exposed misery of celebrities fighting to stay in the lucrative limelight?

“It’s a case of schadenfreude,” is my 20-year-old daughter Alex’s opinion. “Taking pleasure from the misfortune of others.” Just before the KC-Piolo flap, there was the Ramgen Revilla murder, with his siblings blamed for the crime. There’s also the ongoing medical-political drama starring former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her halo brace, enduring with a stiff upper lip and intimations of persecution her “hospital arrest” in the luxurious suite of an upscale medical establishment. We lap it all up.

So when we see famous and wealthy personalities suffering as we ordinary people do, from heartbreak and illness and sudden tragedy, we think, oh, they’re not so different from us after all. But for accident of birth, or the vicissitudes of life, they could have been us, we them.

Modern celebrity culture is based not so much on merit or accomplishment, but upon constant and aggressive self-promotion. Talent or virtue are not required, just a genius for creating a personal brand and building upon it by fair means or otherwise. The objective is to turn one’s self into a commodity that can be sold.

Think Kim Kardashian and her 72-day marriage, a farce put on to generate millions in revenue from sponsors – or so the cynics say. And I’m a cynic. So KC’s televised pagsusumbong sa bayan seems a promotional gimmick, a devise to attract attention, gain sympathy, exact revenge. Where has delicadeza gone, of keeping one’s troubles one’s own, or shared only with family and close friends?

The talk has segued from the breakup itself to the cause of the breakup, which, cannily, neither KC nor Boy revealed – adding to the feel of the episode being scripted. Rumors are rife that it has to do with Piolo’s sexuality, that he is gay. If so, did it have to take KC an entire year to pick up on something that has been tabloid fodder for the past several years? It makes her seem clueless and unobservant, and I don’t want to be disabused of my notion that KC is in fact an intelligent young woman.

Why should we care whether or not Piolo is gay? Is that not his own business? How is it ours? If he is, and has not come out of the closet yet, how does that impact our own lives?

But then, we the masses have a craving for drama and spectacle, no different from the gladiatorial circuses of ancient Rome. Wasn’t it Chuck Palahniuk who said that a celebrity is our own creation of a god-like figure, to be shamed and destroyed in extreme ways later on? The king of ancient seasons sacrificed to ensure a good harvest is reborn in modern celebrities, immolated on the same gossip shows and tabloids that built them up as idols.

Yet what does it mean when someone goes willingly into the fire, like KC or Kim? Does it show a lack of taste on their part, a narcissistic bent, an eager embrace of the celebrity culture by which they live and die?

Piolo has remained silent on the matter, except to apologize “to the public” – not to KC, as everyone has pointed out. One good thing that has come out of this is that the discourse on LGBT matters continues to bloom – to result, we hope, in a more understanding climate of acceptance for every individual regardless of sexuality.

Whether the information about the personal lives of celebrities is willingly given or obtained through intrusion, there will always be an audience hanging on to every revelation. That is how we have constructed our culture; whether the reason for this is rooted in myths of the past or is a modern phenomenon is now moot, as we struggle to make sense of it all, in the face of information overload.

So, should we care? KC and Piolo broke up. It happens. Life goes on.   ***

Crying KC here. Arroyo with halo vest here. Kris and Kim here. Piolo and KC here.

taste more:

pop goes the world: much ado about gloria

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.  *** 

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo image here. UST-PH logo here. 51st UP-NWW logo here.

taste more:

pop goes the world: sotto’s scare tactics

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  3 November 2011, Thursday

Sotto’s Scare Tactics

The most frightening thing I’ve ever seen during a  Halloween season came from  Senator Tito Sotto – and he didn’t even wear a mask or costume.

His statement in the media on the birth of the symbolic 7 billionth baby was disturbing because it was downright irresponsible, negating the ill effects of rapid population growth.

He shrugged off the fears of a population explosion, saying that even if the world population doubled to 14 billion, “all of us could still fit in the state of Texas.” (Texas, according to Wikipedia, is the “second largest US state by area and population,” its oil wells, cattle ranches, and beautiful big-haired women sprawling over 696,241 square kilometers.)

Senator Sotto also said the birth of Danica May, one of the United Nations’ symbolic “7 billionth babies”, at Fabella Memorial Hospital last October 30 “should be a celebration of life and not be used to spread fear about population growth.”

This was most likely in response to Indian health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s statement that the birth of the 7 billionth baby was “not a matter of joy but a great worry…We shouldn’t be celebrating.” Interpreting this as coming from a macro point-of-view, the minister’s point was that hitting that number should spur the development and implementation of solutions on how to slow the population growth rate and improve the standard of living for most, if not all, people on the planet.

United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki Moon echoed this, saying the “terrible contradictions” of “lavish lifestyles for a few, but poverty for too many others” leads to the question “What kind of world has baby 7 billion been born into?”

Sotto’s statement about Texas parallels Pro-Life Philippines Foundation, Inc.’s arguments.  A newspaper report quoted the foundation’s website as stating that “six billion people on the earth today would fit within the state of Texas, with each family having a house with a little yard. So it is not a question of area. The problem is the growing concentration of large numbers of people in certain cities, caused by the deterioration and lack of opportunities in the rural areas…” with the result that “cities are confronting serious problems with basic infrastructure, health services, food supplies, education, transportation, sewage disposal, and housing.”

But Pro-Life and Sotto are looking at the problem upside-down and are arguing against themselves. No one has said it is a question of area or space. It is a question of living space, of arable space, of usable space. Not all areas are safe nor appropriate for habitation. Not all areas are suitable for agriculture or food production.

And not all countries have solved the problems Pro-Life itself has pointed out – infrastructure, sewage, housing, and so on. Billions all over the world live in poverty, fear, and ignorance.

In this country alone, the homeless families sleeping at the center islands of major thoroughfares, with sex their primary diversion because they can afford hardly anything else, not even a roof over their heads, are a compelling reason to pass the reproductive health bill.

The expansion of a country’s population when that country cannot provide a satisfactory standard of living for its people is folly. It is crass irresponsibility. It is downright criminal.

The knee-jerk reaction would be to accuse the senator of lacking critical thinking skills and a capacity for logic and reason. The fair thing to say would be that his thinking and resultant stand stems from religious doctrine and other cultural sentiments that many other Filipinos share – that, as the senator said, artificial birth control methods are “abortifacients”, that those advocating population control measures “shouldn’t be smarter than God…He has a process of life and death and they should not interfere with God’s process.”

But this line of thinking is self-serving. If the senator were consistent, then he should also believe that sick people shouldn’t go to hospitals and seek treatment for their illnesses. No one should drink medicines. Because doing so would “interfere with God’s process,” would it not?

* * * * *

To know more about this and other global issues, we need to do our research and seek out information. For everyone to be able to do this we need to spread literacy by instilling a reading culture. A person who reads – and I don’t mean this in a merely functional sense – is empowered to gain knowledge for himself. It’s like teaching a man to fish for himself instead of giving him fishes on a handout basis, which merely instills a mendicant mental culture, dependent on what the media supplies.

A major drawback to the development of a reading culture in the Filipino milieu is the lack of access to books. Without access to printed materials, how can people be encouraged to read?  We have few community public libraries, and the ones run by the government carry only outdated materials.

For instance, the one nearest my home – the Sta. Ana, Manila, library – though a sunny, well-lit place furnished with antique tables and chairs that I coveted from the time I first visited a decade ago, only has musty old books and no magazines. Over the years I’ve donated three balikbayan boxes full of books to that library, sometimes unceremoniously dumping them on the doorstep after office hours. I haven’t been back to there to see what happened to the books I gave; it was enough for me that those books were out there, benefiting someone, anyone.

A bit of good news related to this is that the Department of Education has declared November as “National Reading Month” to instill in the youth interest in the printed word. Among the DepEd’s planned activities are a Read-a-thon, to discover outstanding readers in class; the DEAR program, which encourages students to read 20 minutes daily; and the shared reading or mentoring program.

But these activities all take place inside schools. We need initiatives that will spread the word, literally, outside that context.

Now here’s an idea. There’s something called World Book Night, held in London for some years now, with the US to follow suit for the first time next year, on 23 April. The event was created to coincide with World Book Day, founded by UNESCO in celebration of books and reading around the world.

On World Book Night, volunteers hand out free books to passersby on sidewalks and street corners. The books are selected and donated by participating publishers.

Strangely, the venture’s effect is an increase in book sales. Sales of three of the books given away in 2010 surged in the triple digits: Nigel Slater’s “Toast” rose 367%, John le Carre’s “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” (a classic thriller) soared 106%, and Seamus Heaney’s “New Selected Poems” climbed by 102%. Given that, perhaps Philippine publishers might consider doing something similar next year.

We don’t even have to give away new books – pre-loved ones are fine. If you have been touched by books, if reading has transformed your life in any way, then help spread the love and the magic. Calling on government agencies, private corporations, and book-loving individuals to join forces in organizing a Philippine World Book Night! ***

Photo of Senator Sotto taken by JennyO. Baby Danica image here. Homeless woman image here. WBN poster here.

taste more:

pop goes the world: indie bookstores

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  6 October 2011, Thursday

Indie Bookstores Thrive

San Francisco, California – When it was announced that US mega-bookstore chain Borders filed for bankruptcy early this year and gradually shut down its stores over the succeeding months, it was a shocking manifestation of the changing paradigm of bookselling.

Borders was one of my favorite places to visit; I could lose myself for hours browsing the shelves, going gaga over the sale and clearance items. I used to get Taschen artbooks there for only $9.95 each, marked down from some impossibly (for me) expensive price like $50 or $70. When it shut down, booklovers and bookstore-hang-outers like myself mourned. Where now, I thought, would I get my ink-and-paper book fix when in the US?

Where huge, unwieldy corporations may flounder and fail, small, independent bookstores may thrive. And that’s what I found all over Northern California. In Fremont, my mother steered me to Half-Price bookstore. The ambiance is like a library; they stock new and used books. They buy used books in good or mint condition from people and re-sell them for much less, making books more affordable and allowing older titles to remain in circulation.

At Rockridge in Oakland, along College Avenue, I was pleasantly surprised to find two indie bookshops – Diesel bookshop and Pegasus Books. Diesel carries new books, stationery, and store logo t-shirts, among other things. They have a good art section and a collection of Moleskines and other journals such as Penguin (the covers are of Penguin titles).

Diesel storefront.

Pegasus purveys new books and old (the latter under the name Pendragon Books). Two pillars at their shop were covered with bookmarks carrying the logos of other bookstores in a warmhearted show of solidarity for the bookselling community, competition be damned.

Pegasus/Pendragon storefront.

At both places there was a feeling of coziness, community, and caring not found at the commercial chains. It’s a struggle for small booksellers to stay financially viable in these precarious economic times, and admiration is due to those who keep the flame burning.

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting the Argonaut Bookshop on Sutter Street in San Francisco. It was founded in 1941 and was the basis for the Argosy bookshop featured in the 1958 Alfred Hitchcock movie “Vertigo” which I watched for the first time the other night. My stepfather handed me the DVD, knowing I would be entranced by a 1950s San Francisco in moody, textured Technicolor, the streets decked out with finned cars, men in hats and suits, and women in flaring skirts and carefully-coiffed hair. The movie’s Argosy shop is a booklover’s dream, with its wooden shelves crammed with volumes of all sorts of sizes; I want to see the real thing, and what it looks like now.

Not too far away, on Clement Street, is the Green Apple bookshop, founded in 1967 and which now sells new and used books, music, and DVDs. It is “perennially voted the best used and/or independent bookstore in the Bay Area” by readers of various publications, says their website.

Given the ongoing global recession, a decline of the reading culture, and the increasing popularity of e-books (my own e-book collection exceeds 5,000 titles), which are convenient and cheap, brick-and-mortar stores may soon become a thing of the past. Yet as a form or an artifact, I don’t believe the ink-and-paper codex format will ever die out. Physical books will always have their devotees.

Indie booksellers have a more viable business model than the usual, selling used titles along with the new. That reduces waste and encourages reuse and sharing. We sell used books in Manila too – Booksale comes to mind, as do the little kerbside stalls in Morayta and elsewhere in the University Belt. But there isn’t a store in Manila quite like the indie shops I’ve visited here in NorCal and come to love. Perhaps I might open one someday, a bookstore-cum-coffee shop. Now that’s a warm and fuzzy thought.

* * * * *

November will be literary month in Manila, and the National Book Development Board has a couple of important events lined up.

NBDB and Manila Critics Circle have announced the finalists for the 30th National Book Award; winners will be revealed at the awarding ceremonies on November 12 at the National Museum.

Due to space constraints I cannot list all the finalists here, but among them are:   Literary Division – Fiction Category: Blue Angel, White Shadow, Charlson Ong ; Below The Crying Mountain by Criselda Yabes; Gun Dealers’ Daughter by Gina Apostol; and Lumbay ng Dila by Genevieve L. Asenjo, PhD.

Nonfiction Prose Category: Sagad sa Buto: Hospital Diary at Iba Pang Sanaysay, Romulo P. Baquiran Jr.; Sarena’s Story: The Loss of a Kingdom, Criselda Yabes; and Builder of Bridges: The Rudy Cuenca Story, Jose Dalisay Jr., PhD, and Antonette Reyes.

Poetry Category: Bulaklak sa Tubig: Mga Tula ng Pag-ibig at Himagsik, Maria Josephine “Joi” Barrios, translated by Mark Pangilinan; Care of Light: New Poems and Found by Gemino H. Abad, PhD; Everyday Things by Fidelito C. Cortes; and If I Write You This Poem, Will You Make It Fly, Simeon Dumdum Jr.

Literary Criticism/Literary History Category: Gitnang Uring Fantasya At Materyal Na Kahirapan Sa Neoliberalismo: Politikal Na Kritisismo Ng Kulturang Popular, Rolando B. Tolentino, PhD; Imagination’s Way: Essays Critical and Personal, Gémino H. Abad, PhD; and Banaag at Sikat: Metakritisismo at Antolohiya by Maria Luisa Torres Reyes.

For the finalists in the Non-Literary Division and other categories, visit

On November 16 to 18, two Pulitzer Prize winners will grace the 2nd Manila International Festival at the Ayala Museum in Makati, joining other international and local authors, publishers, literary agents, and book lovers to celebrate books, literature, and the craft of writing.

The event’s theme is “The Great Philippine Book Café”. Among its activities are panels on different topics about reading and literature, performances, book launches, and a book fair. For details, visit

Novelists Junot Diaz (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, winner in 2008) and Edward P. Jones (The Known World, winner in 2004) are the event’s guest speakers, where they will also engage in conversations and book signings. It’s time to dust off your copies of their books and re-read them, bring them to the Festival, and have them autographed. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these famous authors up close and personal.  *** 

taste more:

pop goes the world: pinoy this way

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today29 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. ***

taste more:

pop goes the world: anti-what?!

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  21 September 2011, Thursday


Lawmaker Winston Castelo’s proposed “Anti-Planking Act of 2011” was met with derision on the Internet. I loved it – it was the funniest thing I had heard that day.

The ridiculous proposal specifically refers to students and prescribes a “universal code of student conduct whereby planking by a student or a group of students during street rallies or similar protest actions as a form of redress of grievance be strictly prohibited,” with appropriate sanctions to be imposed for violations.

From the proposed law, as posted on Cong. Castelo’s website:

“Sec. 3. Under this Act, planking is when a student or group of students lies face down in unusual locations especially in streets or other public places, keeping the hands along the body and the feet outstretched and especially where such act is meant as a form of redress of grievance against government.

Sec. 4. Every bonafide student from any school, college or university shall conduct himself with high degree of discipline and propriety.

Sec. 5. The Department of Education in the case of elementary and high school students and the Commission on Higher Education in the case of college students shall draft a universal Code of Student Conduct to carry out the provisions of this Act.

Further, DepEd and CHED, respectively shall issue appropriate rules and regulations to effectively carry out intent and purpose of this Act.”

What’s wrong with this Act, apart from the fact that it’s shallow and senseless to begin with?

It is specifically addressed to students. Therefore, if a non-student planks right beside a student during a rally, only the student would be charged. (Is that fair? Whether or not it’s a student who planks, the streets or “unusual location” would still be obstructed!)

Section 3 defines planking as lying “face down” while “keeping the hands along the body and the feet outstretched”. Therefore, if students lie face up or sideways, and/or extend their arms and draw up their feet, they do not violate the Act. (That’s a loophole big enough to drive a tank through.)

Students planking last September 19 to protest oil price hikes. Image here

If students were to be specifically prohibited against planking during rallies, this means they can do “owling” (in which a person squats like an owl in unusual places) or “teapotting” (bending the arms into the “I’m a Little Teapot” nursery song shape) instead – both fads rose after planking went globally viral. Or they could perform “horsemanning” (a photography fad in the 1920s, named after the Headless Horseman in the Washington Irving story – it involves two people posing so as to “appear to be a single body with a detached head”).

Section 4 is so vague it could mean anything; is that the way to write a good law?

Cong. Castelo was also quoted by news media as saying, “…unbelieving bus drivers and law enforcement authorities might just ram through these warm and living bodies rolled out on highways.” (Because motorists and traffic cops are that stupid? “Unbelieving”, what does that even mean in this context? That statement certainly shows a high regard for the intellectual level of the ordinary Juan.)

Why not create a law banning truly hazardous behavior during rallies? These could include the wearing of heavy costumes (they could cause the body to overheat and perspire profusely, leading to body odor), setting effigies and flags on fire (the students might burn themselves or other people and property), rushing the riot police unarmed (the police might retaliate – those water guns pack a hell of a punch), and clenching fists at rallies (because one could accidentally punch someone else in the face).

Presumably, this would be Cong. Castelo’s idea of the proper way to hold a rally – vertically upright, screaming, and obstructing traffic, instead of quietly lying face down and obstructing traffic. Image here.

While we’re at it, how about an “Anti-Flunking Law” (to motivate students to pass their courses)? An “Anti-Plunking Law” (to prevent people from dropping things heavily and abruptly)? An “Anti-Thunking Law” (prohibiting the creation of dull, hollow sounds)?

Seriously, a law against planking? It’s a fad, something that is “generally considered a fleeting behavior” (Wiki). And like all fads, it’ll wear itself out sooner or later and people will go on to the next silly thing. Remember the siete haircut for girls? The bands Menudo or F4? Jejemon?  You don’t? My point exactly. Looking back at these fads, we wonder what the all the fuss surrounding them was for.

Instead of focusing on more urgent matters such as the RH Bill or the Freedom of Information Act, this lawmaker chooses to penalize a fad adopted as a peaceful form of protest.

From what twisted parallel dimension did this galactically stupid and time-and-effort wasting proposal emanate? As a lawyer told me some years ago after I had attended my first Congress hearing, “The Constitution does not set an IQ requirement for people running for public office.”

* * * * *

Art Alert:  It’s going to be a busy Saturday, September 24, with the holding of these three art- and media-related events: first, the Philippine Center of the International PEN (Poets & Playwrights, Essayists, Novelists) will launch and hold book-club discussions on UP professor emerita Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo’s latest book, Six Sketches of Filipino Women Writers, on September 24, 5 pm, at Solidaridad Bookstore, Padre Faura near Adriatico, Ermita, Manila.

Second, the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication will hold its Grand Alumni and Faculty Homecoming at the Bahay Alumni, UP Diliman. “Wer na U, Hir na Me: The CMC Grand iBall” celebrates UP-CMC’s 46th year foundation. Recognition will be given to former professors and to the Ruby (1971) and Silver (1986) Jubilarians, while a special tribute will be given to the college’s own “Aling Suming” (Consuelo Agapito), familiar to taga-Maskom over several decades.

Third, anthropologist Padmapani Perez’s Mt. Cloud Bookshop at Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City, invites poetry lovers to “Baguio is dead. Long live Baguio at 102!” It’s a poetry slam competition that starts at 6pm and is a joint project of Mt. Cloud Bookshop and the Baguio Writers’ Group.

Members of the Baguio Writers’ Group read to children at Mt.Cloud Bookshop. Image from the shop’s Facebook page.

Meanwhile, to kick off October, the Ateneo Alumni Association’s Ateneo Art Auction this year will be held on October 1, 4 pm at the Finale Art Gallery, Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati City. The Auction raises scholarship funds scholarships for the Ateneo School of Humanities, while also promoting Filipino art and artists. Among the over 60 works to be auctioned are pieces by H. R. Ocampo, Ang Kiukok, Onib Olmedo, Julie Lluch, Lao Lianben, Danny Dalena, and others. ***

taste more:

pop goes the world: in the eye of the beholder

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  15 September 2011, Thursday

In the Eye of the Beholder      

Keyboards ceased clattering. Phones stopped humming. Work ground to a halt in the country the other morning as people downed tools to watch the live airing of this year’s Miss Universe pageant. It was said that the Philippines stops for only two things – the Miss U contest, and Manny Pacquiao fights.

Such is our fascination with the contest, which was established in 1952. Year after year, people have sat glued to their sets to watch how our candidates fare. Those at work had to rely on word-of-mouth for the results, and watch the replay at a later date. But with the Internet now providing the live feed, anyone with a broadband connection could watch it. The contest this year garnered more interest, with the well-beloved Shamcey Supsup fighting other Amazonian beauties to uphold the pulchritude of Filipinas on the world stage.

Shamcey was a pambato on many levels. Physically, she is a gorgeous specimen. But what’s more interesting is her blazing intelligence – a magna cum laude Architecture graduate of the University of the Philippines and Board topnotcher? Her future offspring would be formidable if they inherit her combination of beauty and brains, assuming she has them with a male of such impeccable DNA as herself.

Whether or not she should have won is a moot point. Beauty contests are subjective. The question is why someone as intelligent and talented as Shamcey, who has proven the quality of her brains in the academic arena, should still seek to validate her physical worth as well in a contest that looks primarily at appearance.

Shamcey Supsup’s Philippine Architecture Board exam result here.

We know the question-and-answer portion is a mere accommodation to deflect accusations of shallowness. If you really wanted to test a person’s intellect, then ask them to solve an algebra problem or write an essay. Pageant questions generally ask what a contestant would do given a certain scenario. The answers are usually grounded on the candidate’s cultural background, which the judges, who also come from different backgrounds, may not entirely agree with. So how can the Q & A be considered as a serious criterion for choosing a winner? No, it’s still primarily the looks.

And there we see that no matter how long the feminist battle has waged, it’s still the world’s commercial standards of beauty that prevail. Women all over the world strive to reach this ideal. Many spare no expense for cosmetic surgery and dentistry. Advances in knowledge and technology in cosmetic surgery have made it easier for non-contestants – the average person – to look like a “Miss U” candidate.

Those who can afford the procedures end up looking like each other, blank-faced Barbie dolls with breasts larger than nature can make them, their foreheads immovable from Botox. (Google images of US reality show celeb Heidi Montag.)

What’s alarming is how, in the process of socialization, these standards of beauty are being applied to younger females. Children have always been sexualized at various points in history; the question is, is it in their best interest for adults to allow this, in this day and age that we supposedly know better? Can we not protect children from this trend?

But in America, for instance, we see how child beauty pageants are so popular that there’s even a reality show for it – “Toddlers and Tiaras”.  Girls as young as two are dressed in frills and made-up. Those six and older sport fake eyelashes, elaborate hairstyles, and are made to look as much like adult women as possible.

Some studies have linked preoccupation with appearance to dissatisfaction with body image, trust issues, impulse disregulation. Other women suffer from eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia – or put other forms of pressure on themselves as they struggle to conform to the world’s notions of beauty. Is this worth chasing after?

We need to revisit our ideas of beauty and body image. Filipinos are racist. Some have expressed dissatisfaction with the victory of Miss Angola, the lovely Leila Lopes, because of her skin color. Otherwise, they said, she had attractive facial features and a great body. This mindset hearkens back to our colonial mentality. It’s a cultural disadvantage that prevents us from seeing more beauty and goodness in the world.

The debate will rage on. One thing is certain – our fascination with beauty and beauty pageants will not go away.

* * * * *

Education through entertainment: Web developer Bea Lapa announced the release of an “edutainment” online game that will help children learn about history and geography by taking a virtual trip on “Janjan the Jeepney”.

The game took three years to develop and is a pro bono project of Anino Games, Inc., the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and the now-abolished Commission on Information and Communication Technology. Says Lapa, “It’s part of our mission to uplift Filipino talent and culture and support our education sector.”

The game is free for access at

* * * * *

Art Alert: Controversial artist Mideo Cruz’s all-paintings show “Phases of Ra” runs from October 8 to 29 at Gallery Duemila, Pasay City. In this group of portraits in oil on canvas, Cruz looks at “the representation of power and how the public assigns reverence to those who have it.” The images are of the elite of society, but with the heads “replaced by filled-in or imprints of circles, a direct reference to Ra, the Egyptian sun-god.”

Mideo Cruz, “Eclipse”. Oil on canvas. 36 x 36 inches. From the artist’s Facebook page.

“I always look at how people attribute to sacredness to a thing,” Cruz says. “I try to deconstruct those things and put parallel meanings to them.”

Long interested in the “dynamics of belief systems,” Cruz’s works ask: “Why do we sanctify something and how do we arrive at doing so? In this cycle of paintings, he asks us to look at the “neo-deities” and see why we revere them because what we hold in high regard says much of ourselves.” ***

Shamcey Supsup image here. Toddler in tiara here. Leila Lopes here. Janjan the Jeepney here.

taste more:

2011 carlos palanca memorial awards for literature winners and judges

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)

 Full-length Play

1st – Joshua L. Lim So (A Return Home)

2nd – Peter Solis Nery (If The Shoe Fits)

3rd – Jonathan R. Guillermo (Freshmen)

One-act Play

1st – Floy C. Quintos (Evening at the Opera)

2nd – No Winner

3rd –No Winner

Short Story

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)

Kabataan Essay

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)



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)

Dulang Pampelikula

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)

Kabataan Sanaysay

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)

Tulang Pambata

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)

Maikling Kwento

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

Dulang Pampelikula

Dir. Ricky Davao – TAGAPANGULO

Dir. Gil Portes – Kagawad

Dir. Joel Lamangan – Kagawad

Maikling Kuwento

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

Ms. Vina Paz – Kagawad

Mr. Lourd Ernest De Veyra – Kagawad


Dr. Rebecca Añonuevo – TAGAPANGULO

Dr. Rofel Brion – Kagawad

Mr. Alfonso Mendoza – Kagawad

Tulang Pambata

Ms. Heidi Emily E. Abad – TAGAPANGULO

Mr. German Gervacio – Kagawad

Mr. Jesus Santiago – Kagawad


Maikling Kuwento – Cebuano

Mr. Edgar S. Godin – TAGAPANGULO

Dr. Erlinda K. Alburo – Kagawad

Dr. Jaime An Lim – Kagawad

Maikling Kuwento – Hiligaynon

Mr. Nereo Jedeliz – TAGAPANGULO

Mr. Ressureccion Hidalgo – Kagawad

Dr. Genevieve Asenjo – Kagawad

Maikling Kuwento – Iluko

Mr. Honor Blanco Cabie – TAGAPANGULO

Mr. Roy Aragon – Kagawad

Ms. Priscilla Supnet Macansantos – Kagawad



Dr. Federico Macaranas – CHAIRMAN

Ms. Katrina Tuvera-Quimbo – Member

Ms. Thelma Arambulo – Member

Full-length Play

Mr. Miguel Faustmann – CHAIRMAN

Ms. Malou Jacob – Member

Mr. Nestor Jardin – Member


Mr. Mariano Kilates – CHAIRMAN

Mr. Joel Toledo – Member

Mr. Mikael De Lara Co – Member

Short Story

Mr. Dean Francis Alfar – CHAIRMAN

Dr. Shirley Lua – Member

Esther Pacheco – Member

Short Story for Children

Ms. Beaulah Taguiwalo – CHAIRPERSON

Ms. Feny delos Angeles-Bautista – Member

Mr. Luis Joaquin Katigbak – Member

One-act Play

Mr. Glenn Sevilla Mas – CHAIRMAN

Mr. Ronan Capinding – Member

Ms. Josefina Estrella – Member

Poetry for Children

Mr. Edgardo B. Maranan – CHAIRMAN

Ms. Mailin Paterno-Locsin – Member

Dr. Lina Diaz de Rivera – Member

 Kabataan Sanaysay and Essay

Ms. Grace Chong – CHAIRPERSON

Mr. Perfecto Martin – Member

Mr. Ruel De Vera – Member



Mr. Reynaldo Duque – TAGAPANGULO

Dr. Lilia Antonio – Member

Dr. Fanny Garcia – Member


Dr. Jose Neil Garcia – CHAIRMAN

Mr. Benjamin Bautista – Member

Ms. Criselda Yabes – Member


taste more:

1 2 3 4 6