Friday, January 19, 2018


Pinoy fantasia and fabula

A FANTASTICAL anthology exploring the nuances of Filipino culture, Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 2 (Kestrel IMC. 2006) is a compilation of short stories featuring the works of various amateur and veteran writers, edited by celebrated fictionist, Dean Francis Alfar. Alfar also edited the first volume of Philippine Speculative Fiction published in 2005, and has written The Kite of Stars and Other Stories, as well as the 2005 Palanca grand prize novel, Salamanca.

Speculative fiction is the general term used to describe stories that are categorized as fantasy, science fiction, horror, surrealism, and magical realism. Some stories in the book cite references to literary figures such as Lam-ang and Doña Victorina, and even places such as Quiapo and Ilog Pasig—making the reader more aware of his cultural roots.

The woman behind ‘Lakbay-Diwa’

THE SENSITIVE but practical pen owes to a sensitive but practical woman, Bella Angeles-Abangan, the byline of what is perhaps the longest-running newspaper column in Filipino in Philippine journalism history, Lakbay Diwa of Tempo.

Lakbay Diwa, a column born out of Abangan’s desire to inspire readers about everyday life, tackles themes such as love, personal conviction, and hope. For example, her article, “Pagsisimulang Muli,” attempts to motivate readers who have experienced a great loss or failure to take the first step toward recovery by starting the day with a positive attitude: “Ang araw na isinilang ay malaya nating magagamit upang bumangon at magbagong buhay. Iyon ay ang NGAYON!”

This coming December 15, the 23rd Ustetika Annual Student Awards for Literature will bestow the Parangal Hagbong on Bella Angeles-Abangan.


MOONLIGHT’S kiss on water, wanders to the crimson crescent of a smile,

In ripples renewed, as though the world were beautifully askew.

Kindled from above, the tree-side river is aglow:

Entrenched on shy earth, chained to wild mud,

It is that floating face now only seen; or that leaf that drops its tree!

Rivers freeze then flow, in beats of doubt and cold,

Evening’s cloudy dark only sings of tomorrow’s night;

Lost waves cannot halt to a mirror-still, while a raindrop falls uncertain.

Alone with my warm breaths and seated as a lotus it is safest—

Vanity are my whispered prayers, failing to sing for you.

*Note: Satori, a term in Zen Buddhism meaning “enlightenment, that is Self-realization, opening the Mind’s eye, awakening to one’s True-nature and hence the nature of all existence.” (Kapleau, 1989).

Roman Carlo R. Loveria

The ‘quixotic’ in all of us

SPANNING four centuries of popular and critical acclaim, the classic novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes continues to shape the literary landscape. In line with the 400th year of its publication last 2005, the Instituto de Cervantes of Manila, the Spanish cultural agency, organized a series of lectures by three accomplished Filipino writers representing three generations of readers of Don Quixote.

These lectures are now compiled and published in a book, If a Filipino Writer Reads Don Quixote (Instituto de Cervantes and UST Publishing House, 2007). The book instantly places the reader in a position of curious familiarity with the often deranged but chivalric man from La Mancha, thus asking, “What if a Filipino writer reads Don Quixote?”

It’s the Palanca season once more!

ON THE night of the first of September, 2007, the Rigodon Ballroom of Peninsula Manila teemed with Filipino creative writers of different generations gathering for a night of celebration of Philippine literary excellence.

Now on its 57th year, the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature stayed true to its goal of discovering the best in Philippine literature. With 27 new names in its roster of winners, six of whom are below 20 years old, the most respected literary award-giving body in the country continues to be the aspiring writer’s doorway into the foyer of the literary circle.

Senator Mar Roxas, the event’s guest of honor, commended the assembly of writers present in the awards night.

“I am awed by the commitment, the continuity, and the steadfastness that the Palanca family has given in recognition of the men and women who have excelled in arts and letters here in our country,’” he said in his speech.

Isa para sa lahat

MULA sa kaniyang pananaw bilang Pilipinang dayuhan sa ibang bansa na nangungulila sa kinagisnang wika at bansa, pinanday ni Elynia S. Mabanglo ang Mesa Para sa Isa (UST Publishing House, 2002), isang librong maaaring makapagbigay depinisyon sa makabagong Pilipino.

Sa mga piling tulang ito ni Mabanglo, ipinakikita ng makata ang tumitibok na diwa ng karanasan ng tao tulad ng mga karanasan niya habang nagtuturo ng Filipino at panitikang Filipino sa Unibersidad ng Hawaii-Manoa.

Pinagtagpi-tagping panitikan

HINDI na bago sa pandinig ang mga Pilipinong manunulat na naninirahan sa ibang bayan. Magmula kay Jose Rizal hanggang kay Jessica Hagedorn, makikita na patuloy na umuusbong ang panitikang Filipino sa ibang bansa. Ngunit nakabubuti nga ba ito sa ating bayan o nagpapahiwatig lamang ng lalong pagkakawatak-watak ng lahing Pilipino?

Sa isang panayam sa Varsitarian, pinatunayan nina Jose Wendell Capili, Marianne Villanueva at Ninotchka Rosca na ang pagiging makabayan ay hindi natatapos sa sandaling tumapak ang isang Pilipino sa lupaing banyaga.

Suede and Velvet

CAUGHT at night in the bustling city, Sonia lingered inside the quaint coffee shop where she usually soothed herself after a tedious week of work at the advertising firm. While smoking cigarettes, she drank coffee to calm her nerves until she fell into a state of wakeful dreaming where the senses seemed to merge into a hazy spell.

It was in this state that Sonia found herself under a familiar gaze.

“Adam!” she shouted as the face registered in her thoughts. Adam returned the greeting with a hug and treated Sonia to a feast of Japanese dishes in a nearby restaurant.

The past in the eyes of Filipino storytellers

SIGNIFICANT literary traditions in Philippine fiction in English were tackled last June 29 commencing the University of the Philippines (UP) Likhaan Centennial Lecture Series, titled, “Fiction as Response to History: Philippine Fiction in English,” by Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, UP Vice President for Public Affairs and former Likhaan director.

Chicken soup for the Filipino youth

PART of growing up is the in-between world of innocence and maturity, and the Filipino dimension to this developmental limbo is portrayed and problematized in Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, 2004), a collection of short stories for young adults edited by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard.