Friday, January 27, 2017

Unexplored Regions (Essay on Literature from Philippine Regions)


by Beverly W. Siy and Ronald V. Verzo II

And you think you know your country very well. Like the contour of your body, as you stand naked in front of a mirror, you think you know its every line and shape, its very feel. But there are still things you’ve got to explore.

Travel they say brings you to experience the country and its people. But, seriously, not everything is experienced by just being there physically. Reading reaches minds of people you have yet to meet.

That’s why I want more books from the regions. Books that will speak to me of what is happening in that part of the country. There’s a big difference when locals write from their own points of view; we get to view things from their own lenses, we hear their stories straight from their own lips, their own minds.

The Philippine government leads the way to help the regions produce books. The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) or the Commission on the Filipino Language launched the Books of the Nation program which has released publications such as:
Bayung Sunis (Bagong Tinig) Poesias nang Zoilo Hilario (2015), a book of poetry and a short play by the Kapampangan writer Hilario, with translations into Filipino and edited by Dr. Lucena Samson, it tackles romantic love and love for the country;

An Satuyang Kakanon sa Aroaldaw: Mga RawitDawit sa Manlainlain na Bikol at Salin sa Filipino (2015), a poetry book in Bicol with Filipino translations by Kristian Sendon Cordero;

Dandaniw Ilokano 1621-2014 (2015), a poetry book by writers from the Northern Philippines, edited by Dr. Junley Lazaga;

and, Pagdakep sa Ilahas (2015), a collection of new works in Kinaray-a, a Visayan language, edited by John Iremil Teodoro.

Released solely by the NCCA in 2014 is Pinatubo at Iba pang Tula, a poetry book in Bicol and Filipino by Loreta Tariman, which adds to Bicol’s healthy production of literature.

Publications from the regions also serve as solution to a problem. My friend Lourdes Zorilla-Hinampas, who happens to be the Officer-in-Charge of the Sangay ng Literatura at Araling Kultural of the KWF shared that, “It was very challenging for teachers under Mother Tongue-Based-Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) to teach language and literature from their own regions. There was a lack of source materials.” Lourdes said it also didn’t help that most teachers did not know their own region’s literature very well because literary books mainly came from the National Capital Region (NCR) and were written in Filipino and English. To address these problems, KWF organized seminars to educate teachers and help them appreciate literary works from their own region and other regions, as well.

NCCA aims to produce publications through its project Kuwentong Supling. The seminar component of Kuwentong Supling was held in August 13-14, 2016 in various venues all over the country. The seminars emphasized increased inclusion of local heritage in lesson content in subject areas that are deemed appropriate and taught the development of lesson and localized materials for MTB-MLE subjects in seven major languages: Iloko, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Bikol, Waray, Tagalog and Ilonggo.

In the last quarter of 2016, the Cultural Center of the Philippines released the 39th issue of its literary journal Ani. It boasted of works written in Ilokano, Akeanon, Bikol, Bikol-Naga, Chavacano, and Kinaray-a with translations in either Filipino or in English.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) organized Workshop on the Formulation of Sama-Bajau Story Books in Antipolo City last May 2016. The participants were Sama-Bajau youth and parents from Cabanatuan, Manila, Taguig and Paranaque. They were joined by social workers, community organizers and day care/activity center workers from the said cities. With Balangay Productions, a Manila-based multi-media production company, the participants were able to produce 39 manuscripts of storybooks designed for Sama-Bajau children.

One of the best outputs from the workshop tackles the story of three pearl divers who, upon realizing the damage caused by environmental problems in the production of pearls, planted mussah (mollusks) on the seabed with the hope that they’ll be able to breed more pearls. The story highlights the diving skills of Sama-Bajau children who, even at the tender age of three, can already dive to a depth of ten feet.

Another remarkable story is about a batong buhay, a white stone that has long been believed to possess life. A Sama-Bajau woman brought a stone from the beaches of Zamboanga to her new found home in the streets of another town. The stone brings her memories of a home faraway. But she finds serenity to see the stone as a decoration in the small flower garden that borders her home. The story mirrors the feelings of the Sama-Bajaus on migration and their displacement from the seascape of Zamboanga which they long so dear.

According to Elma Solis-Salamat of DSWD’s Social Technology Bureau, there are plans to publish at least four of the storybooks through DSWD as part of Sama-Bajau Localized Intervention and Learning Approach for Holistic Improvement (SALINLAHI). It is a community-based project that shall pilot-test Culture-based approach Early Childhood Care and Development as a social welfare and development model of intervention for implementation in Sama-Bajau Activity Centers located at Region III and the NCR.

There are also non-government efforts responsive to the need to publish printed and digital books from the regions.

Ateneo de Manila University Press released Susumaton Oral Narratives of Leyte (2016) edited by Visayan writer Merlie M. Alunan. It features stories about mystery and magical places, strange and magical people like aswang, higante, engkanto, and mysterious and magical events such as a perilous wood-gathering adventure, and a mother's strange horrifying death. Highlighted are legends, war memories, gossip and cautionary tales, and scatological tales such as a parrot who pretended to be Christ.

In 2014, the University of the Philippines (UP) Press launched the first book of the series, “Tikum Kadlum” (Enchanted Hunting Dog) in Iloilo City. The oral literature of indigenous peoples also known as Panay Bukidnon from the mountains of the four Provinces of Panay—Antique, Aklan, Capiz, and Iloilo—were recorded by anthropologist Dr. Alicia T. Magos. Gawad ng Manlilikha ng Bayan awardee for Epic Literature in 2000 Mr. Federico Caballero is one of the primary sources. In its foreword, Magos emphasized that the book that took 20 years to make “is a work of legacy which shows that the wisdom and gifting of God is distributed equally to all men in all places regardless of race and status in life.”

New Day Publisher launched Dr. Ma. Cecilia Locsin-Nava’s English translation of Shri-Bishaya (2015), a historical novel by Ramon Muzones. He used the novel to comment on the state of the nation during Marcos regime. The book is also available at www.vibebookstore.com, the digital bookstore of Vibal Group of Companies.

Museo Sang Bata sa Negros launched a series of bookmaking workshops for teachers in Bacolod City, Sagay City and the municipality of Manapla. It has produced mock ups of more than a hundred storybooks for the children of Negros Occidental.

Since 2013, Almayrah Tiburon, a professor and creative writer from Mindanao State University Marawi Campus, has been independently releasing her works about Meranaw people and culture. Her books, Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, are compilation of horror stories available in print and digital forms. According to Miss Tiburon, Meranaw writers like her are very eager to respond to the needs of MTB-MLE. She digs from her own pocket for the printing expenses. It is her way of introducing her works and increasing her chances to be included in various textbooks. She prays that her works reflect the value Meranaw people give to their arts and culture.

Imagine an active book production from local communities in different regions of the country. Look at that naked body you think you know so well, your country, now you realize there are more ways to explore those curves, through ways you haven’t touched before. Imagine those minds you have yet to read.


KWF is the official regulating body of the Filipino language and the official government institution tasked with developing, preserving, and promoting various local Philippine languages.

NCCA is the overall policy making body, coordinating, and grants giving agency for the preservation, development and promotion of Philippine arts and culture.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

things to consider when you are giving a price or quotation for a writing job

1. iyo ba ang byline? if yes, tama lang ang price. kung hindi, as in ghost writer ka, taasan mo. kasi someone is getting the credit for your words.

2. gaano kahaba ang isusulat? pinakamababa na ang piso per word kung prosa. Kung tula, siguro mas ok kung per line o taludtod ang pagbibigay mo ng presyo. lugi ka kasi kung per word dahil paikliin ang labanan sa tula. ibang animal ang tula, kung di ka makata, wag tumanggap ng pagsusulat ng tula, utang na loob.

3. gaano karami ang kailangang i-research? mag-charge ko ng per hour o per day bukod sa piso per word na output. puwede mo ring ipasok sa price o quotation mo ang pamasahe papunta at pauwi sa kung saan ka magri-research, pagkain mo at entrance fee kung may entrance fee ang lugar ng pagsasaliksikan mo.

4. kailangan bang mag-interview ng tao? tingnan ang sinabi ko sa #3 ng list na ito.

5. malalagay ba sa panganib ang buhay mo dahil sa written output mo? if yes, please charge higher than usual, pls lang. i know a friend who had to go to a war torn area in mindanao just to write an article. isa sa mga naitanong niya sa sarili, may insurance na ba ako? hahaha yes kailangan i-consider iyan sa pricing/quotation kasi buhay mo ang posibleng kapalit ng pinatatrabaho sa iyo. kung hindi buhay, posibleng bahagi ng katawan!

6. rush ba iyan? if yes, times three ng usual price. kasi mape-pressure ka, kawawa brain cells mo. magpupuyat ka, 100% sure ako diyan. at higit sa lahat, ipa-prioritize mo siya kaysa sa ibang bagay na mas importante para sa iyo. example niyan, family.

7. saan ka magsusulat? sa facility nila? meaning, pahihiramin ka ng computer o laptop? that's good! kasi kuryente nila iyon, sila ang magbabayad. facility nila iyon, sila ang maaabala, gamit nila ang maluluma, hindi ang sa iyo. kung sagot mo ang place of writing, mag-charge ka ng kuryente at use of computer o laptop. kasi hello, ginagamit mo ang dalawang iyan for the client samantalang hindi mo naman binili iyan para lang sa kanila.

8. ilang revision ang puwede nilang ipagawa sa iyo? dapat may limit. typical na ang up to 2 revisions. kung sosobra diyan, mag-charge ng fee para sa bawat dagdag na revision. may komiks writing gig ako that took forever! my gad, ilang revisions, as in. noong una, ang taas ng fee pero sa dami ng pagpapa-revision nila, feeling ko, lugi na ako.

9. nature ng client-kung for charity naman iyan, you might want to give discount. pero pls, wag ka naman sanang pumayag na libre lang. posible kasing magamit ang pangalan mo when the client is dealing with other writers na. sasabihin nila, si ano nga, e, libre lang. eto lang ang isipin mo, lahat ng bagay, babayaran nila for that project, example, paper clip, kuryente, etc. so bakit sa iyo, libre lang? wag papayag!

10. use of copyrighted materials of others- kung gagamit ka ng copyrighted materials ng iba, baka may kailangan kang bayaran so better kung i-charge mo ito sa client, dahil baka wala nang matira sa iyong fee kung ipambabayad mo lang ito sa copyright owners.

11. payment- may down payment ba? dapat meron! para mai-prioritize mo sila! may tax ba? if yes, ilang percent? cash ba? saan pipik upin? baka sa malayong lupain so i-consider ang pamasahe papunta at pabalik, pati na ang time na mauubos to do that. tseke ba? if yes, for deposit ba o encashment? if for deposit, may bangko ka ba? hahaha! joke lang. three days clearing yan, so kailangan i consider mo iyon, deadline of their payment, plus 3 days. kung encashment ng tseke, saan ba ang bangko nila, baka sa madagascar pa, patay tayo diyan. i-consider ang pamasahe papunta at pabalik, pati na ang time na mauubos to do that.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Magagandang pangalan ng mga manunulat na Filipino

Ito 'yong tipo ng mga pangalan na pangmanunulat talaga. Tadhana nila na mailimbag ang kanilang mga pangalan sa cover at spine ng books, sa table of contents, sa ilalim ng pamagat ng mga akda. How I wish ganito rin ang naging pangalan ko.

Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo- Manunulat sa Ingles, essayist, CNF writer pioneer sa Pinas

Temistokles Adlawan-cebuano writer, ang gusto ko sa kanya, parang sumusundot ang bawat pantig ng first name niya. at saka ang sarap namnamin. ang apelyido naman ay adlaw ang root word which means araw sa wikang Filipino

Adonis Durado- poet sa Cebuano, sa Greek mythology, adonis ang pangalan ng diyos ng beauty at desire, ang lupet no? at ang dorado naman sa espanyol ay ginintuan ang kahulugan. durado, dorado, malapit. so pag pinagdikit mo iyan, adonis dorado, pogi ka na, mayaman ka pa. hay, hayahay ang buhay!

Ricky Lee- manunulat sa filipino, scriptwriter, fictionist, ito, gusto ko, kasi maikli, madaling ma-recall. at magkatugma! kaso lagi siyang napagkakamalang si ricky lo hahaha na isang chismis column writer sa diyaryo. palagay ko meron ding nagkakamali na mapagkamalan siya bilang si ricky reyes, ang ina ng kagandahan sa showbiz hahaha

Virgilio Almario-National artist for literature, makata, wala nang tatalo pa sa ganda ng hispanic names sa pinas, parang may sundot ng hiwaga at kapangyarihan. saka mahahaba kasi ang hispanic names, parang mas may sense of permanence kasi naglilinger ang bawat pangalan sa dami ba naman ng pantig ng mga ito. tulad nito, anim na pantig, first and last name. isa pa palang dahilan kung ba't gusto ko ang pangalan na ito ay dahil magkatugma.

Lazaro Francisco- national artist for literature, nobelista, tulad ng sa pangalang virgilio almario ang dahilan kung bakt gusto ko ang pangalan na ito. dagdag pa, yung name na lazaro ay medyo suspenseful para sa akin, hindi ko alam kung bakit. para kasing may kinalaman sa pag-resurrect

Nerisa Guevarra- poet sa ingles, ito rin, hispanic name, at magkatugma. type ko rin maraming r ang pangalan niya, mas madiin sa memory ng aking pandinig, pag ang isang tula ay isinulat ng isang nerisa guevarra parang gusto mong kilalanin agad ang writer kahit di mo pa nababasa ang tula niya. also, naaalala ko si che guevarra sa pangalan niya

Edgar Samar- poet at ficitionist sa filipino, ito maikli at magkatugma, may recall, para ding blocked ang dulo ng first and last name niya. gar-mar. parang sinasabi niya "oy pare hanggang diyan ka lang"

Rebecca Anonuevo- poet at essayist sa filipino, wah another hispanic name. parang matapang na babae. hindi pala parang, talagang matapang, sa personal. anonuevo nga pala ay espanyol para sa bagong taon. i know parang nakakatawa pero kapag binigkas mo ang first and last name, hindi naman mukhang nakakatawa. parang dignified ito, pangalan pa lang.

Enrique Villasis- poet at scriptwriter sa filipino, yes hispanic name na naman. gandang ganda ako sa enrique. kung mabibigyan ako ng chance na magpangalan ng anak na lalaki, iyan ang pipiliin ko, enrique.

Kristian Cordero- poet sa wikang bicol-naga, hispanic name din, hindi religious ang mga tula niya hahaha pero ang ganda ng name, very spiritual! pangsimbahan

Genoveva Edroza-Matute- fictionist sa filipino, ito pang-alamat ang pangalan. mahaba pero bawat pantig, titimo sa isip mo. hndi sapat na tawagin siyang genoveva matute. dapat talaga, kasama ang edroza. kasi siya iyon, ang buong iyon.

Lualhati Bautista- fictionist at ngayon ay essayist na rin, sa wikang filipino, ang name na ito, filipino plus hispanic. wala nang mas fi-filipino pa kaysa sa salitang lualhati! i think parang kristian cordero din ito, napakaspiritual ng pangalan, lualhati is glory tapos bautista is spanish word for baptism/baptist. ang nickname ni mam ay hati at ineng. interesting ano?

Andrea Pasion-Flores- fictionist sa ingles, noong bata ako, i used andrea to introduce myself to strangers. i just love this name, i don't know why. parang napakadramatiko kasi niya, e. it's so unme hahaha malayo sa sarili ko parang ganon. sosyal, parang ganon. anyway, pasion ay espanyol para sa salitang passion or life, at flores ay espanyol para sa mga bulaklak. o di ba winner, life flowers?!

ba't ko ba to ginagawa? wala. natutuyuan na ako ng idea sa isang article na kailangan ko nang isulat. last year pa ang deadline, tipong ganyan.