Thursday, July 31, 2008



Institute of Creative Writing (ICW), 2nd floor Bulwagang Rizal,
College of Arts & Letters, UP Diliman, Quezon City Email:

Seminar on teaching the national language through Filipino poetry

In commemoration of Buwan ng Wika 2008, a seminar on poetry and the Filipino language will be held on 27 Agosto 2008, Wednesday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at the TARC (Thomas Aquinas Research Complex) Seminar Rooms 1 and 2, University of Sto. Tomas. Entitled Tulawikaan, the event will feature a series of fora with writers and experts from Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika at Anyo (LIRA), an organization of poets writing in the Filipino language established in 1985. The speakers include noted poets and academics Prof. Vim Nadera, Jr. of UP Diliman/UST, Prof. Michael Coroza of the Ateneo de Manila University/UST, Prof. Romulo Baquiran, Jr. and Dr. Lilia Antonio of UP Diliman.

The seminar will focus on poetry as a vehicle for teaching the Filipino language. Among the topics that will be discussed are the history of the Filipino language, syntax, linguistic variety, and alternative approaches and methods for encouraging students’ creativity through literature. It is open to teachers, language professors, researchers, writers, and other scholars of the Filipino language.

The seminar fee is P800 per participant (including seminar kits, certificates, lunch and snacks). A discounted rate of P700 is available to those who pre-register and make their payments on or before August 18. For more details, please contact En Villasis (0922-4596365), Dai Miranda (0926-7135021), or Bebang Siy (3814592) or email

Tulawikaan is presented by LIRA and the Department of Languages of the University of Sto. Tomas, in celebration of Buwan ng Wika 2008.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Inaanyayahan ko po ang lahat na makinig sa programang Tabak at Sampagita sa Radio Balintataw ng DZRH. Kasama ko si John Torralba. Pag-uusapan namin ang mga tulang pambata, luma at bago. May mga musika ring kaming pinatugtog na may kaugnayan sa bata, mga awitin ng ASIN at Ugoy ng Duyan, bersyon ni Chin-Chin Gutierrez.

Isang linggo po ito, ngunit kami ay nasa araw ng Miyerkules, 9pm hanggang 930.


Maraming salamat po!

Genaro R. Gojo Cruz

Genaro Cruz was a speaker of the Writers' Guild's Series of Fortunate Events in 2007.

Monday, April 14, 2008


See you guys there!

Friday, March 21, 2008


The Iligan National Writers Workshop is accepting manuscripts on its 15th year this year.
Fifteen (15) slots, five each from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are available for writing fellowships to the INWW.

Applicants are required to submit five poems, or, one short story, or, a one-act play in Filipino, English or in Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a, Waray (with translations) and Chabacano along with the applicant’s biodata, two 2X2 photos and a certification that his/her work is original. For short stories or plays, please submit a hard copy and a 3.5 diskette with the manuscripts encoded in MS Word 7.0.

Unpublished works are preferred. Writing fellows will be given free board and lodging, honoraria and a travel allowance. Applications must be postmarked on or before April 15, 2008.

No applications or manuscripts will be accepted if sent by fax or e-mail. Applicants are also advised to keep copies of their manuscripts since these will not be returned.

Send all applications to the 15th INWW Director, Christine Godinez-Ortega c/o OVCRE, MSU-IIT, Iligan City. For more information call Pat Cruz tels. (063) 3516131; or e-mail: or

Thursday, March 20, 2008


With the success of two preceding contests, the Embassy of Japan, in conjunction with the UST Haiku Group, is holding the third Haiku Contest with the theme “Pinoy Haiku: Mga Taludtod mula kay Inang Daigdig (Verses from Mother Earth).”

The contest is open to all Filipinos living in the Philippines or abroad. The message of the haiku must deal with the appreciation of the environment, respect towards nature, or any observation about the natural world. Contestants may submit a maximum of two entries in either Filipino or English. However, entries written in Filipino or Tagalog must have an English translation. The entry form may be downloaded from the Embassy of Japan website.

Deadline for submission of entries is on June 12, 2008. Entries may be submitted by mail to:

2008 Haiku Contest
Japan information and Cultural Center
Embassy of Japan, 2627 Roxas Boulevard
Pasay City, 1300

Or via fax: (632) 551-5784

Or through e-mail to: or
Top three poems and ten honorable mentions will be awarded at the award ceremony, which will be held at the Embassy of Japan in July.

For more information, please contact the Japan information and Cultural Center, Embassy of Japan at (632) 551-5710 or visit the website: to download the entry form.

Haiku is a form of poetry that developed in Japan from about 400 years ago. It is a short verse of 17 syllables, divided into units of five, seven, and five syllables. Pinoy haiku has 19 syllables divided into units of three lines having seven, five, and seven syllables each. This fixed-form with rhyming the first and the last lines is ideal for Filipino poetic tradition considering its similarity to tanaga and ambahan in versification.


LIRA is now accepting sign-ups for its next poetry clinic. All those who are interested must submit five (5) poems in Filipino along with a short bio-data and one 1×1 ID picture, sent to or dropped off c/o Prof. Vim Nadera at the UP Institute of Creative Writing, 2/F Faculty Center, UP Diliman, 1101 Quezon City.

All submissions should be in on or before April 30, 2008.

The regular clinic period is from June to August and will be held every Saturday and Sunday from 9: 00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


The University of the Philippines Press (UPP) Bookstore in UP Diliman is turning five years old this March. And we are sharing our joy with loyal patrons by holding a month-long sale.

Visitors to UPP Bookstore - Diliman will enjoy discounts of up to 80% on UPP titles (even our latest titles will be sold at a 20% discount) and 5% on non-UPP titles. Similar sales will also be held in other UPP Bookstore branches in Baguio, Cebu, and Davao.

UPP Bookstore - Diliman is at the ground floor of Balay Kalinaw, Guerrero corner Dagohoy Streets, UP Diliman, Quezon City. Store hours are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. A lunch break from 12:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. is observed. For inquiries, call (02) 920-2313.

UPP Bookstore’s regional branches, operating hours, and contact details are as follows.

UPP Bookstore - Baguio
2/F Isabelo de los Reyes building, UP Baguio, Baguio City
Monday to Friday, 9:00 - 12:00 a.m., 1:00 - 6:00 p.m.
(074) 442-5703

UPP Bookstore - Cebu
1/F Arts and Sciences Building, UP Cebu College, Lahug, Cebu City
Tuesday and Friday, 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 1:00 - 6:00 p.m.
(032) 233-9034

UPP Bookstore - Davao
2/F Terraza Milesa Building, Anda corner Rizal Streets, Davao City
(082) 222-2223
Tuesday to Saturday, 9:00 - 12:00 a.m., 1:00 - 6:00 p.m

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The achievements of Arthur C. Clarke, unique among his peers, bridge the arts and sciences. His works and his authorship have ranged from scientific discovery to science fiction, from technical application to entertainment, and have made a global impact on the lives of present and future generations.

Arthur C. Clarke is the son of an English farming family, born in the seaside town of Minehead, Somerset, England on December 16, 1917. In 1998, his lifetime work was recognized by H.M. The Queen when he was honored with a Knighthood – formally conferred by Prince Charles in Sri Lanka two years later.

After attending schools in his home county, Arthur Clarke moved to London in 1936 and pursued his early interest in space sciences by joining the British Interplanetary Society. He started to contribute to the BIS Bulletin and began to write science fiction.

As with so many young men at the time, World War II interrupted in 1939 and he joined the RAF, eventually becoming an officer in charge of the first radar talk-down equipment, the Ground Controlled Approach, during its experimental trials. Later, his only non-science-fiction novel, Glide Path, was based on this work. After the war, he returned to London and to the BIS, becoming its president in 1947-50 and again in 1953.

In 1945, a UK periodical magazine “Wireless World” published his landmark technical paper "Extra-terrestrial Relays" in which he first set out the principles of satellite communication with satellites in geostationary orbits - a speculation realized 25 years later. During the evolution of his discovery, he worked with scientists and engineers in the USA in the development of spacecraft and launch systems, and addressed the United Nations during their deliberations on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Clarke's work, which led to the global satellite systems in use today, brought him numerous honors including the 1982 Marconi International Fellowship, a gold medal of the Franklin Institute, the Vikram Sarabhai Professorship of the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, the Lindbergh Award and a Fellowship of King's College, London. Today, the geostationary orbit at 36,000 kilometers above the equator is named The Clarke Orbit by the International Astronomical Union.

After leaving the RAF in 1946, he resumed his formal studies and was awarded a Fellowship at King's College, London where he obtained first class honors in Physics and Mathematics in 1948.

In 1954, Clarke wrote to Dr. Harry Wexler, then chief of the Scientific Services Division, U.S. Weather Bureau, about satellite applications for weather forecasting. From these communications, a new branch of meteorology was born, and Dr. Wexler became the driving force in using rockets and satellites for meteorological research and operations.

At the same time, Clarke has been the author of many books, articles and papers. The first story he sold professionally was "Rescue Party", written in March 1945 and appearing in Astounding Science in May 1946. He went on to become a prolific writer of science fiction, renowned worldwide and with more than 70 titles to his name. Among his many non-fiction works, “Profiles of the Future” (1962) looked at the probable shape of tomorrow's world and stated his “Three Laws”.

In 1964, he started to work with the noted film producer Stanley Kubrick on a science fiction movie script. Four years later, he shared an Oscar nomination with Kubrick at the Hollywood Academy Awards for the film version of “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Then, in 1985, he published a sequel, “2010: Odyssey Two” and worked with Peter Hyams on the movie version. Their work was done using a Kaypro computer and a modem, linking Arthur in Sri Lanka and Peter Hyams in Los Angeles, leading to a book “The Odyssey File - The Making of 2010.”

In television, Clarke worked alongside Walter Cronkite and Wally Schirra for the CBS coverage of the Apollo 12 and 15 space missions. His thirteen-part TV series Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World in 1981 and Arthur C. Clarke's World of strange Powers in 1984 has been screened in many countries and he has contributed to other TV series about space, such as Walter Cronkite's Universe series in 1981.

Clarke first visited Colombo, Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) in December 1954 and has lived there since 1956 pursuing an enthusiasm for underwater exploration along that coast and on the Great Barrier Reef. In recent years, he has been largely confined to a wheelchair due to post-polio syndrome, but his output as a writer has continued undiminished. He passed away last March 18, 2008. He will be terribly missed.


Article by Arvin Abejo Mangohig

Rica Bolipata-Santos’ Love, Desire, Children, Etc.: Reflections of a Young Wife won this year’s Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award. Published in 2005 by Milflores Publishing, Inc., the book is a collection of essays which Dr. Neil Garcia praised for its “candor, grace and humor.”

At ceremonies held at the UP Diliman Bulwagang Rizal last December 8, Garcia announced the winner, who was congratulated by UP ICW Director Vim Nadera and Atty. Gizela Gonzalez-Montinola. Bolipata-Santos received a P50,000 check and certificate. She delivered a short acceptance speech as her children rejoiced at her success, her youngest son joining her onstage and bowing like a performer, further endearing them to the audience. She described herself as a “closet writer,” talked about the sheer joy of writing as her hand moves across the page, and described her delight when Antonio Hidalgo of Milflores said he was extremely interested in publishing Love.
The award is the only such prize that recognizes literary debuts of Filipino writers and was established in memory of Gonzalo Gonzalez. Previous winners are Elena Sicat, Luna Sicat-Cleto, F.H. Batacan, Sarg Lacuesta, Vince Groyon and Kristian Cordero. This year’s panel of judges was composed of Garcia, Jaime An-Lim and previous winner Vince Groyon.

Below is the transcript from Garcia’s presentation of the winner and other nominees:
"The six finalists for this year’s Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award are:
First, Salamanca, a novel by Dean Alfar. This is the only avowed book of fiction to make it to the short list in what has turned out to be the year of creative nonfiction. A verbal conjuration of the magical realist sort, Salamanca is a campy verbal adventure written in Alfar’s trademark rambunctious and irreverent prose. In typical postmodernist fashion, this fabulation’s impressively scintillant surface—its medium—is quite possibly already the innermost depth of its message."

Second, Barbara-Ann Gamboa Lewis’s Barefoot in Fire: A World War II Childhood. This charmingly illustrated, book-length memoir reads like a compelling little novel, whose narrative carefully imparts to the reader a sense of its precocious narrator’s unfolding life—a life that is by turns impressionable and courageous, vulnerable and steadfast, reckless and prudent. Like other memorable books of the same genre, Lewis’s Barefoot in Fire is an eloquent indictment of the utter evil of war, as well as a moving study of the indomitable human spirit.

Third, Science Solitaire: Essays on Science, Nature, and Becoming Human by Maria Isabel Garcia. This book, possibly the first of its kind in the history of Philippine literary publishing, is an interesting collection of nonfiction essays about science, written in a generous and accessible language. In essay after essay, the author strikes the reader as being at once a naturalist and a philosopher—a student of creation, who intimately participates in the very thing that she observes, and who seeks, in the world’s tangible and mutable forms, the harmony and meaningfulness that affirm our deepest sense of being.

Fourth, Kapwa: the Self in the Other by Katrin De Guia. This beautifully produced and capaciously heavy book emerged out of the multi-talented author’s dissertation in Filipino Psychology. A singular achievement in intelligent fellow-feeling and scholarly sympathy, De Guia’s Kapwa is at once an academic inquiry into the Filipino concepts and rituals of the shared inner self, as well as an intricate interweaving of six, richly textured biographical essays on culture-bearing Filipino artists, whose complex worldviews and lifeways the author painstakingly and passionately brings to light.

Fifth, Helen T. Yap’s From Inside the Berlin Wall. A series of letters to her family back in the Philippines, Yap’s book traces a narrative arc that articulates the “Pinoy abroad” perspective in a way that is remarkably different from the garden variety travelogue, probably because the author actually resided rather than merely toured in the strange and estranging landscape of East Germany, right before the end of the Cold War. This experience afforded Yap the time to piece together her book’s fragmentary but finally singular vision—that of a temporary Filipino exile’s haunting and haunted inner world.

And finally, the sixth finalist and this year’s winner of the coveted Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award is…Love, Desire, Children, Etc.: Reflections of a Young Wife by Rica Bolipata-Santos.

Published in 2005 by Milflores Publishing, Inc., Bolipata-Santos’s first book is a rewarding collection of thirteen thematically unified essays that addresses with uncommon candor, grace, and humor some of life’s more mundane realities and mysteries: love and desire, marriage and children, family and friends, teaching and writing. The author treads the uneven terrain of the quotidian with an open compass, unafraid to confront and scrutinize even her own intimate fears and insecurities and confusions. Again and again, in these luminous little personal narratives, what triumphs is a clear-eyed self-understanding, which is utterly convincing because it is earned at the cost of so much soul-searching and inner struggle. In these provocative and well-shaped essays, Bolipata-Santos (following the words of Peter Walsh from Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway ) has taken hold of fragments of her public and private life and turned them round, slowly, in the light, to discover designs that are finally comprehensible, startling, consoling, and wise.

A deeply celebratory book worthy of the Madrigal-Gonzales Best First Book Award.
Congratulations to all author-finalists, and congratulations to our winner, Rica Bolipata-Santos.

Note: Rica Bolipata-Santos was the very first guest speaker of the Writers Guild's A SERIES OF FORTUNATE EVENTS (Writers Workshop Series).

Thursday, January 10, 2008



Ni Rey Tamayo, Jr.

Minsan ako’y kumubli sa tabing ng ilusyon,
Upang takasan ang nahirating kabiguan.

At ang nagpupumiglas
na luha sa mga talukap ng mata,
ay ‘di ko magawang pigilan sa pagdaloy.

Tanging kong karamay sa aking hirap
Na waring hindi naglilikat, ay ang umid kong tinig
Na humihibik sa pagtangis.

Anupa’t niyayamot ako ng dalamhati,
Nilansag ang buo pulutong ng aking ligaya.

Ang aking mukha ay namamaga sa pagtangis,
at nasa aking mga pilik-mata
ang anino at silo ng kamatayan;

Pilit kong nililimot sa aking isipan,
Ang humuhulagpos na pag-asa
Nang iwan ako ng nalalabing hibla ng buhay.


Happy New Year! It’s that time of year again!

CANVAS invites you to join its 4th Annual Romeo Forbes Storywriting Competition. This year's contest is based on an original untitled oil on canvas painting by Joy Mallari (pictured above - click on the picture to see a larger version).

In addition to receiving P30,000.00 in cash and a trophy, the winning author will also see his/her story rendered and published as a full color children's book in mid-2009.


1. The 2008 Romeo Forbes Children’s Storywriting Competition is open to all Filipinos.

2. Entries must not have been previously published, and all entrants must warrant the originality of their submitted entries.

3. Writers may submit only one entry, in English or Filipino, which shall be of 2,000 words or less.

4. There is no particular theme, other than the use of this year’s contest piece by artist Joy Mallari as the inspiration or basis for the entry.

5. The CANVAS children’s story writing competition shall be awarded points by a select panel of judges based on the following criteria:

* Originality and Storyline (30%)
* Quality of Writing (30%)
* Imagery (30%)
* X-Factor (Judges’ discretion) (10%)

6. Judging Process.

* CANVAS shall first shortlist the ten (10) best stories, copies of which shall then be forwarded to the CANVAS Fellow.
* The CANVAS Fellow shall then shorten the list further to seven (7) stories, and may provide comments on any or all the stories for consideration by the panel of judges.
* A panel of judges shall collectively choose the winner from the final set of stories.
* If the judges cannot come to a consensus on the winner, they shall take a vote and the entry that gains the most number of votes shall be declared the winner.
* Neither the judges nor the CANVAS fellow will see the entrant's name until the winner is chosen.

7. Entries must be submitted by email, as a Microsoft Word attachment, to with the subject heading 2008 ROMEO FORBES CHILDREN’S STORYWRITING COMPETITION. Entrants must include a cover sheet with their name, mailing and email address, and telephone number. Only the story title should appear on all pages of the entry.

8. The deadline for submission of entries is 5:00 p.m. (Manila time), Friday 21 March 2008. Entries received after the deadline, even if sent earlier, will no longer be considered for the competition. CANVAS shall not be responsible for entries which are not received, or which are received after the deadline, due to technical failure or for any other reason whatsoever.

9. Subject to Rule 14 below, by submitting an entry, all entrants thereby agree to authorize CANVAS to post such entries on its website or blog, as CANVAS deems fit, and free from any payments, royalties or fees whatsoever.

10. There shall be only one winner, who shall receive a cash prize of PhP 30,000.00 and a trophy for his/her entry. The winner shall be responsible for all applicable taxes.

The winning writer shall also be entitled to five (5) free copies upon publication of the book.

The winner shall grant and transfer to CANVAS all intellectual property and publication rights to the story, including the right to translate, adapt and/or make modifications thereto. (Please see our short note on why we have this rule.)

It is hereby understood that the cash prize to be awarded to the winner shall include consideration of such intellectual property and publication rights to the story, and the writer shall not be entitled to any other royalties or fees from earnings, if any, that may result from future publication of, derivative works, licensing of, or other transactions on the same.

Except for the right to publish any received entry on its website and/or blog, CANVAS shall not retain any other rights to entries that are not selected as the winner, except where separate agreements are reached with the writers.

11. CANVAS shall exercise full and exclusive editorial and artistic control over the publication of the winning entry and resulting book.

12. While it is the full intention of CANVAS to publish the winning entry as a full-color children’s book, CANVAS reserves the right not to publish the same for any reason whatsoever.

13. The winner of the CANVAS storywriting competition will be announced on or around 21 April, 2008. The winner will also be notified via email on the same announcement date.

14. CANVAS reserves the right not to award the top competition prize in the event that the judges decide that no entry was received that is deserving of the top prize. In such event, however, CANVAS shall have no right whatsoever over all entries that were received; and shall not publish any entry, in its website or in any other venue, without the prior written consent or agreement of the author.

15. The decision of the competition judges shall be final, and no correspondence or inquiries into the same – including requests for comments/feedback on received entries – shall be entertained.

16. Employees of CANVAS, 1/of Gallery and members of their immediate family, as well as the CANVAS Fellow’s immediate family, are disqualified from participating in the competition.

Visit the CANVAS website

Monday, December 31, 2007


September - December 2007

+ REFLECTIONS. Dylan Gozum reviews the Guild's teacher training programs.

+ IN FOCUS // Odie Gementera of the Camera Club of SPi talks about a craft we all love - photography.

+ A SERIES OF FORTUNATE EVENTS. The Writers Dream Academy calls it a wrap.

+ REVIEW. Resident cineaste Ed Saludes raves about filmmaker Raya Martin.

+ HARD COPY // The Guild's literary and news magazine finally makes a debut.

{Meet and greet Direk Floy Quintos}
{One of SPi's own stars in New Voice Company's INTO THE WOODS as Rapunzel}

{SOPAS MUNA} October 2007
{TWISTED FLICKS} November 2007
{TWISTED TRAVELS} December 2007

+ STANZAS OF STILLNESS. Rey Tamayo Jr.'s poetry hits where it hurts most.



Sunday, December 30, 2007


Teachers all. With Guest Speaker Rita Dela Cruz.


by Dylan Y. Gozum

This year marks the second year that the Writers Guild has opened the Writers Workshop Series to public school teachers who are under the supporting embrace of our very own SPi Foundation. The Toastmasters Club, in a fresh bid for a greater sense of purpose, also did a series of workshops with teachers, although in the field that they are known for: public speaking.

For the Guild's part, we focused mainly on starting the teachers on how to write because if there are two things that have started to die in the Philippine Educational System, it's reading and consequently its twin, writing. I have no hard data to back up this claim, but if the results of the annual profiency exams for students are of any indication, it is pretty obvious that something is sorely lacking. The results of the English proficency exams for teachers are also at an all-time low. I had a chat with former Writers Guild contributor, Mahros Abano, who has returned to teaching and she says that the education system is delayed by 20 years. In what terms she didn't specify, but one look at graduates of public schools then and those of today speaks a lot about this gap in the information school children today receive.

I do not blame the teachers. With almost non-existent public libraries, where will they get new information other than what's written in their textbooks? And oh, don't even get me started on the textbooks. It's a tragedy on a scale never before seen in this country. Also, at Php 9,000/month salary, we do not expect teachers to spend a centavo on internet research or at the very least subscribe to magazines.

In our last workshop, our participants were shocked to know that a Php 300-priced book is already "reasonable" considering that most books in the Philippines are usually Php 300 and above. The latest Harry Potter book which came a few months ago was priced at Php 1,400.00 - four times the daily mininum wage of a Metro Manila-based worker. Surely, at their current salaries, public school teachers won't be able to have access to anything new at all, unless they are sent to the annual summer training for teachers in Baguio. My late mother, who worked for Plan International, once described a meeting of English Grammar teachers as "pandemonium, bordering on insanity." It was a meeting of the old versus the new school of Grammar and it took a day to settle differences in the usual grammar practices. I can imagine a lot of egos got bruised that day.

So why writing? Because writing allows a person to use the power of language to express one's thoughts. Filipinos do not relish the idea of speaking formally in public. Unfortunately, neither are we writers or readers. If we can only sing more often (if and when singing becomes our usual mode of communication), maybe we'd get much farther than where we are today. The entry of the texting language doesn't help either. Some say it's not how it's written but how it is expressed. Maybe. Maybe we can do away with basic sentence construction as long as we make ourselves understood. In fact, an office secretary of ours who just left for Dubai emails me in - surprise - SMS language! It was both worrisome and amusing. SMS language has become second nature.

So again, why do we teach writing? Because to be a writer, one also has to be a reader. In fact, one has to be a voracious reader - to quote guest speaker Rita dela Cruz - if one wishes to make a career out of writing. You can say that we are trying to hit two birds with one stone. We may not be able to convert the teachers to a writing career in a workshop or two, at least we can start them on reading. I cross my fingers and hope that their school libraries have books for adults. The classics would be my first requirement. Harry Potter is a no no. Bob Ong, no. Paolo Coelho, only on one's spare time. But for serious readers, one must never miss out on the rich language that classics offer.

Again, why writing? Because knowledge breeds knowledge. It's important - nay, a requirement - for teachers who teach English and Filipino subjects to be writers, too, because what's the use of teaching grammar if one can't use it? Let us teach our teachers teach their students how to harness the power of the written word and use it to advance themselves. The future will be waiting for their well-written job application forms, essays in contests, speeches during family gatherings, or even something as mundane as a Friendster or Facebook testimonial. Use knowledge to fight ignorance which promotes proverty. Use the power of the written word to secure and protect human rights. Use the ability to write to seek redress or earn a promotion at work or to articulate needs, wants, and aspirations. Over and above, use writing as a form of self-expression because through this one can find amusement, fulfillment, or life direction. Writing can be a voice for those who cannot speak out loud.

20 years of backlog can be a daunting thought. I hope that we are doing our own contribution in slowly closing this gap. We owe it to our children.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


The Second Season of the Writers Guild's Series of Fortunate Events finally ended last November 10, 2007. This wraps up all seven topics for this year's Series.

Guest speaker Bebang Siy (in white dress) with some members of the Guild.

The Series opened with a bang - quite literally - with Popular Literature (Ghost Story & Mini-Mystery) given by Beverly Siy. She is the current president of LIRA, the national group of poets who write in Filipino. Despite the typhoon that was raging during that time, Bebang's fun character gave the workshop its much needed warmth.

Next came Rita dela Cruz's Introduction to Essay Writing (Panimula sa Pagsulat ng Sanaysay) on August 25. This is was the first in the series which was attended by public school teachers from Carmona and Tagaytay, both in the province of Cavite. Their attendance was arranged by our office partner, the SPi Foundation headed by Ms. Lucy Aguila.

Guest speaker Sir Alfredo (in green shirt) and some members of the class.

We were very lucky that our September 1-speaker, Alfredo B. Diaz, was in Manila for his Masteral at the University of the Philippines Diliman and he lost no time in infecting us with his humorous stories during the Humorous Creative Non-Fiction workshop. Mr. Diaz is a professor at the University of the Philippines Visayas which is based in Miag-ao, Iloilo. He also is a member of the Theatre Arts Guild of the University of the Philippines (TAGUPCI). He is one of several authors who have come together to form the anthology entitled My Fair Maladies. A copy of this book can be borrowed from our Readvolution Bookcase B.

Following Mr. Diaz's workshop is the Introduction to Writing Short Stories (Panimula sa Pagsulat ng Maikling Kuwento) last September 22 by Haidee C. Pineda, also of the University of the Philippines Diliman. This is the second topic under the Starter Kit banner and thus was also attended by public school teachers.

Guest speaker Jay Fernando (in dark glasses) and some members of the scriptwriting class.

Last October 26, we were likewise honored to have been given the chance to learn from Ricardo P. Fernando III. At 17, he won First Prize at the 53rd Palanca Literary Awards for his entry on Futuristic Fiction in Filipino entitled "Bagong Developments sa Pagbuo ng Mito ng Lungsod". Mow 23, he currently is a head writer at ABS-CBN. The workshop topic was Scriptwriting for Drama on Television.

Guest Speaker Winnie (last row, 2nd from left) and members of the class.

Rounding up the Starter Kit Series was Wennielyn F. Fajilan's Panimula sa Pagsulat ng Maikling Kuwentong Pambata (Introduction to the Art of Writing Stories for Children) last October 20, 2007. The participants were taught the basics and were given tips on how to engage the children's imagination with exciting stories. Mss. Siy, Fajilan, and dela Cruz are all contributing writers to the anthology entitled SOPAS MUNA (Isang higop sa Mainit na Sabaw ng Buhay). A copy of this book can be borrowed from the Readvolution Bookcase B.

Leah Ruth Racelis of Healthcare smiles as she receives her certificate from Jessica.

Going twisted with Jessica!

And finally, to close the entire Second Season was Jessica Zafra of the TWISTED Series fame. Her topic was The Personal Essay. Ms. Zafra is a three-time Palanca winner for her short stories (Portents, 1991; Bad Boy Robin, Baad, Baad Boy, 1993; and Black, 1994) . Her visit to SPi happened last November 10, 2007. The participants were made to watch the critically-acclaimed Cinemalaya film, ENDO. Take-home messages from the workshop were: read, stop watching television, keep a journal, be open-minded because everything is material, and develop an interest in other art forms, i.e. art, film, etc. Copies of her books are available in the Readvolution Bookcase B.

All in all, the Series saw the attendance of ____ particpants, both from within SPi and from other companies and schools. The Series of Fortunate Events (Writers Workshop Series) is held every year by the Writers Guild of SPi. This year, it opened under the auspices of the Writers Dream Academy and is supervised by Jose Perseus Canivel, the Workshop Manager.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


On behalf of SPi's Writers Guild, we thank you for your generous donation of books.

We have received the following new titles:

Janet Evanovich – Three to Get Deadly
Janet Evanovich – Four to Score
Janet Evanovich – High Five
Janet Evanovich –Hot Six
Janet Evanovich – Seven Up
Janet Evanovich – Hard Eight
Janet Evanovich –Ten Big Ones
Janet Evanovich – Eleven on Top
Patricia Cornwell – Trace
Sophie Kinsella – Shopaholic / Ties the knot
Sophie Kinsella - Shopaholic and Sister
Carl Hiaasen – Basket Case
Kathleen Woodiwiss – A Season Beyond A Kiss

Your kindness will surely enrich a lot of people.

Thank you!
Maria Pilar R. Manzano
Writers Guild

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Photo source:

Muling ipapalabas ang pelikulang TRIBU sa UP Cine Adarna (Film Center) sa ika-8 ng Disyembre 2007, ganap na alas-7 ng gabi.

BACKGROUND: Nagwagi bilang Best Full-length Film ng Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2007, isinisiwalat ng TRIBU ang dahas, rubdob, at salimuot ng Tondo sa pamamagitan ng pagtatanghal ng buhay-gang. Sa pamamagitan ng pagkuha ng mga artista mula mismo sa mga residente ng Tondo at sa mga kasapi ng gang mula rito, higit na napaigting ang pagpaparanas ng pelikula — mula sa madilim ngunit sa isang banda ay makulay na gulo ng lugar, hanggang sa musika ng rap.

WRITER: Ang TRIBU ay isinulat ni Jim Libiran, na siya ring direktor ng pelikula. Nagwagi rin ito sa kategoryang Full-length Screenplay ng Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature 2006. Para sa tiket at sa karagdagang impormasyon, maaaring itext si Pam Maranca sa 09197971213 o mag-email sa

P100 ang isang tiket.

POST-SCREENING: Magkakaroon din ng mini-concert ng mga gangster-rapper na mapapanood sa pelikula at isang symposium ukol sa buhay-gang.

Ang pagpapalabas ng Tribu ay bahagi ng Human Rights week celebration sa UP Diliman. Ang film showing na ito ay handog ng UP Cine Adarna at LIRA, isang organisasyon ng mga makatang nagsusulat sa wikang Filipino. Bahagi ng kita ay mapupunta sa pagpapagamot kay Tata Raul Funilas, isang manggagawa mula sa UP at kasapi rin ng LIRA na may karamdaman sa bituka at tiyan.

Friday, November 30, 2007


The Amado Hernandez Resource Center in cooperation with the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts present

Mabibili ang ticket sa ticketworld o sa Cultural Center of the Philippines ticket booth. Para sa detalye, tumawag po lamang sa (02)412.0909 o 0916.790.0671.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


A selection of works by noted Spanish artist Juvenal Sanso will be on display at the Ayala Museum from November 23, 2007 to January 13, 2008. Entrance fee is only PHP 150.00. Free entrance to Ayala Museum members.

Sanso was born in Reus, Catalonia, Spain in 1929 but moved to Manila five years later where his family had a wrought-iron business. He paints in watercolor, acrylic and his favored ink and dry brush medium.


Click on photo to enlarge.

Para sa tickets, tumawag lang po sa 4120909 at 09167900671. Mabibili na rin sa Ticketworld.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


By Jo Herrera

From what she does to borrowers who won’t return her books to her writing habits, Carlos Palanca awardee and author of the best-seller Twisted series Jessica Zafra dishes on her life, likes, and who she would trade places with.

PinoyCentric: What makes you happy nowadays?

Jessica Zafra: Small things, like an unexpectedly good movie (Sunshine) or a great find in a bargain book bin (Gerontius) or an excellent restaurant no one’s ever heard of (I’m not telling, or else I’ll never get a table).

PC: Are you the type who keeps reading materials in her bathroom? What do you have?

I used to keep magazines in the bathroom (back issues of National Geographic seem to be a favorite among friends), but my cats developed the nasty habit of knocking things into the litterbox.

PC: Which among the books that you’ve written is the most personal? What made it so?

The short story collection, I think. Manananggal Terrorizes Manila. I wrote (or started) many of those stories in college, when I knew I wanted to be a writer, but wasn’t sure anyone would read me. So writing them was like leaping into the void.

PC: How many books have you lent and were never returned? How might you have discouraged this habit of borrowers?

Dozens. I used to get annoyed, then I realized that since I’d already read the books, it didn’t matter. True, I only lend books to friends now, and since I also borrow their books, I have hostages. When I really like a book, I force it on people. Recently I practically force-fed James Salter’s Last Night to a friend.

PC: Are you working on something now? Do you mind sharing what it’s about?

I am working on the second draft of my novel. Like all first novels, it’s a thinly veiled autobiography. I don’t usually do drafts. I don’t enjoy rewrites. If it works, it works, if it doesn’t, throw it away. However, I wrote the first draft from beginning to end during a one-month period of unemployment, so I literally did not know where it was going. Now I’m trying to make sense of it, plugging up the holes in the structure and so on.

PC: Do you have any writing rituals?

It’s easier to write when I’ve spent the whole day doing nothing, or things not related to writing. If I have an early-evening deadline, I’ll go out and watch a movie first, or have a coffee with friends. If I can’t think of anything to write, I take a nap, and when I wake up I usually have something in mind.

I prefer to write longhand. I carry a bunch of notebooks around—one for ideas and bits of information, one for my novel, and one for articles, the stuff that pays the bills. When I type up the drafts, I make corrections. Then I press send and forget about them.

PC: What do you say about critics’ claim that you went commercial and, supposedly, sold out?
I’m a professional writer, meaning I write for a living. I don’t teach, work at a newspaper, or write advertising copy; I support myself entirely by selling articles. Selling! My work is by nature commercial.

I think the readers have over-romanticised my career. Maybe they expect writers to live in a garret and starve. Very charming and nineteenth century. I don’t like suffering, and I avoid it as much as I can.

PC: Is there a character that you identify the most with? Who would that be?

Nah, I contain multitudes.

PC: Would you like to meet my brother? (I’m kidding. You probably won’t, unless you like spending your free time in Vegas . . . every year.) Seriously, how does Mr. Right look to you?

What makes you think he’s not sitting in front of me rolling his eyeballs?

PC: Do you fantasize about having children?

No, I don’t like children. I have to be able to take off at a moment’s notice, and you can’t do that if there are spawn.

PC: How do you spoil your cat?

Treats and toys. The weekly dose of catnip. They’re not very cooperative. I buy them a toy from the pet store, and when they see it they plotz over the box and ignore the toy.

PC: Who was (or is) a very influential person to you?

Teodoro Locsin, Jr. (Teddyboy), my former publisher, has been a major influence. I was somewhat nicer before I started writing for Today. Also, he’s a great believer in the classics, but he’s always on the lookout for a well-written thriller.

PC: Where are the Zafras from, originally?

My parents are from Bicol. I was born and raised in Manila. There’s a town in the Extremadura in Spain called Zafra, complete with medieval castle. Never been there.

PC: What have you learned about yourself in the past few years?

That everything turns out the same whether I get worked up about it or not.

PC: What could you have said to Ewan McGregor, in person?

Fire your agent. Get better career advice.

PC: If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would that be, and well, why?

Charles Darwin on the HMS Beagle, researching what would be the most important book ever written.

PC: What is the song of your life?

“Camelot” from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Editor’s note: Jo Herrera has written for business magazines and taught English and literature at St. Scholastica’s College and De La Salle University in Manila. She has an MA in Creative Writing from UP Diliman. Now based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Jo is doing research on contemporary Philippine culture.

Article reprinted from

Friday, November 09, 2007


Click on photos to enlarge.


INTO THE WOODS. The cast includes Angela Padilla (far left, last row) of SPi's Corporate Communications.
Photo by NVC.

The New Voice Company is proud to announce the stellar cast for its upcoming musical INTO THE WOODS, which goes onstage at the Music Museum from November 9 to December 8th.

INTO THE WOODS, with music by Stephen Sondheim and book and lyrics by James Lapine, combines the well-known fairy tales of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Little Red Riding Hood with the story of the Baker and his Wife who desperately want a child. Unfortunately, the Baker and his Wife have been affected by a spell that has left them childless by a witch and must perform various missions involving the characters in the other fairy tales to break the spell. The Baker and his Wife must bring the witch a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold. Once the characters have accomplished their goals, however, they learn about the pitfalls of greed and gluttony. Finally, they learn about the need for community and unity and the power of wishes and dreams.

Leading the heavy weight cast of this Tony and Grammy award winning musical are theatre veteran actor Michael Williams - who plays the Baker, and musical theatre star Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as the Baker's Wife - both of whom are the show's catalysts and who drive the story into a magical web of spells and wishes. Lynn Sherman stars as the Witch who sings one of the show's most popular songs - Children Will Listen.

The romantic leads of the musical looking for their "happy ever after" are Cinderella and her Prince charming - played by young rising theatre leading lady Cathy Azanza, and acclaimed theatre actor Jamie Wilson, respectively. Seasoned musical theatre actor John Mulhall plays the other dashing Prince who falls in love with a maiden in a tower.

INTO THE WOODS is about wishing and the sometimes unforeseen consequences of getting your wish, but it's also about the journey through life's experiences and how the young grow up along the way. The "children" of the story are Rapunzel, played by exciting new actress Angela Padilla, Jack in the Beanstalk, played by teen heartthrob Joaqui Valdes, and Little Red Riding Hood, played alternately by Julia Abueva and Crisel Consunji.

Completing the cast are some of the top names in Philippine theatre, television and film. Tommy Abuel plays the Mysterious Man, while some of the country's top actresses - such as Juno Henares and Mads Nicolas, play the Wicked Stepmother and Jack's Mother respectively. Acclaimed dramatic actress Missy Maramara plays the Narrator, while exciting new actresses Mika Margolles and Maita Ponce play the Wicked Stepsister - Lucinda and Florinda. The rest of the cast include Red Concepcion, Amiel Mendoza, Mica Pineda and China Tapia.

The show is directed by NVC Associate Artistic Director Rito Asilo, choreography by Dexter Santos, Set Design by Gino Gonzales, Light Design by Martin Esteva, and Musical Direction by Ceejay Javier. Rossana Abueva is the show's Executive Producer, with Monique Wilson as Artistic Director.

INTO THE WOODS is produced with special licence from Music Theatre International, and is presented in cooperation with Aquabest, Revlon, Dream FM 106, Teriyaki Boy, NU107.5, Sound Design, Burger King, Energizer, Crescent Moon Café and Lanelle Abueva-Fernando Studio Pottery.

h For tickets, show buying, block buying, student and group discounts and sponsorship, call the New Voice Company office on 8966695, 8965497 or 8990630, email or visit Tickets are also available at all Ticketworld outlets (T: 891-9999/ ).

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Tuloy sa Pagtakbo

Darating ang isang pagkakataon
na ating babakahin ang mga luhang
kikitil ng ating pansamantalang kaligayan.

Tayo'y papasok sa isang saligutgot
na daigdig ng kawalang malay; Upang
tungkabin ang ating ulirat.

Ulirat ng kahapon na susubok
ng ating katatagan sa buhay.

Ngunit, ‘di dapat umatras sa laban
O kaya'y tumalikod sa nakaumang

Ating harapin ng buong tapang
at sa dakong huli'y tiyak din ang
ating tagumpay.

Patuloy nating takbuhin ang landas
sa ating harapan.
Kahit na marami pang suligi na

Tuloy lang sa pagtakbo.
Tuloy ang laban.

Rey Tamayo Jr. is from ____.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Welcome to SPi, the home of the Writers Guild! Our complete address is Pascor Drive, Sto. Niño, 1700 Parañaque City. The landmark is Casino Filipino which is just right across the NAIA 1 terminal. Please see map below for directions on how to get here. You can click on the image to enlarge it. Go on. Give it a try! :-)

For visitors coming from

QUEZON CITY, MANDALUYONG, MAKATI, ETC.: Take MRT up to Taft Station, take a bus to Baclaran where FXs bound for Sucat are easily available.

MANILA: FXs bound for Sucat regularly ply Taft Avenue.

CAVITE, LAS PIñAS: Take bus up to Coastal Road. FXs bound for Sucat wait for passengers infront of KFC Coastal Branch.

SUCAT: Well...

Saturday, October 27, 2007


PinoyCentric and Manila Gay Guy, with the help of Gibbs Cadiz, are inviting 20 bloggers to “Theater Talk Atbp,” with multi-awarded writer-director Floy Quintos.

This informal, animated, and interactive chikahan session on theater appreciation will be on October 27, Saturday, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the PLDT/Smart Exhibition Hall of the PETA Theater Center on 5 Sunnyside Drive, New Manila, Quezon City.

This is a rare opportunity for bloggers to learn from someone who has had extensive experience in theater, television, show business, and the arts.

{ Mr. Quintos’ professional practice ranges the field, from Ballet Philippines to Kuya Germs, from directing a Vina Morales concert one moment to staging the UST Conservatory of Music’s acclaimed production of Tchaikovsky’s opera “Eugene Onegin” the next. He’s guided the ditzy show-biz talk show “StarTalk” to its 12th year and appears on TV as one of the judges in “Pinoy Pop Superstar,” while also churning out well-written, highly contemporary theater pieces like “Laro” (Schnitzler’s “La Ronde” set in Manila’s gay milieu) or “St. Louis Loves Dem Filipinos” (about the export of Filipino tribesmen to the St. Louis World Exposition in 1904). He runs his own art and antiques gallery, even as he’s also one of the most in-demand directors around for corporate shows, product launches and the yearly velada of Assumption alumnae and their like." }
By Gibbs Cadiz

This event is free, and we won’t starve you (yes, there’s free merienda and we’ll be raffling off some stuff too!), but we only have slots for 20 bloggers, so head on over to this site and register. (In case the 20 slots have been filled, please register anyway and we’ll try to accommodate you when someone backs out at the last minute.)

Our only condition is that you blog about this experience. We promise it will be priceless. See you there!

Caricature by Richie Mendoza
Poster by Norman Nimer


Please click to enlarge image.