Tuesday, December 28, 2010

EXIS Teaser

So here I've written a book. But what is it about? I've been told by some folks that they're intrigued, but they have no idea what to look forward to, so here goes.

In EXIS, I'm presenting four Sci-fi (read: bizarre) tales. The very first is a novella, and the other three are short stories. Here are the back-of-the-book blurbs for each story, in the order in which they appear:

  • Two lovers seek to find their place in the perfect society—a little town in Laguna where there are no strangers, marriage has an expiration date, and everything must be shared...even parents.
  • While the gods of a forgotten age have deserted the world, one remains and awakens a young man to prophesy to a deaf world.
  • Despite having discovered the key to humanity's end, two demon siblings face an identity crisis.
  • In a universe where gods and humans trade roles, the greatest creature ever made breaks free from her confinement, only to be confronted with the greatest bondage of all.
Hopefully, you've found any one of these stimulating enough to want to go get a copy and open the damned thing. But EXIS will come out in ebook first before print. To make it get into print faster, I'm crossing my fingers to up my good fortunes and make lots of ebook sales. :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Short Story Collection Nearing Release

I've had a number of setbacks which delayed the release of my book. But after persevering with numerous revisions with my editor Antonia Tiranth, I am at last nearing it's completion and release. I made a previous post about my signing a contract with eTreasures Publishing, which is based in Marianna, Fl. But the ebook version of "EXIS: gods, ghosts and battered cellphones" wasn't released on time. Anyhow this may be a blessing in disguise since I still don't have a U.S. Tax ID. I haven't had time to go to the US Embassy due to some problems with my passport, which I've also had to fix despite my busy work schedule. I look forward, though, to my book coming out on January 2011, because I already have a (tentative) cover.

Cover art by Jason Angeles and Cate Jose


Monday, December 20, 2010

Now Reading: The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey

The Rowan is the first book of McCaffrey's Tower and Hive collection, which I'm only now beginning to explore. I've read a couple of her Pern novels, which I've enjoyed and reread a number of times, until I developed a stronger liking for  science fiction. Well her dragons are 'scientific', but in my opinion, she leans more toward fantasy in her Pern novels. It may be that I'm getting nerdier by the day, that's why I'm liking sci-fi more, or I must have previously read too much fantasy that I've become too used to all the sword and magic tropes.

Anyhow I'm not done with this book yet, but I felt strongly enough about it to make a post. Gotta say I'm hooked. I've searched some reviews and most of them are positive. I like following the life of this young telepathic girl called The Rowan. And I'm totally intrigued at the thought of exploring a world where pschokinetic abilities, not to mention clairvoyance, run the system, thereby sidestepping the usual "speed limit" in space travel.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Law of Motion, released by Damazine

It's the first poem I ever had the guts to submit to the market. Thank you, Damazine for accepting and publishing it.

If you, reader, happen to drop by here at my humble blog, please do check out my poem, "Law of Motion."

Getting your work out there and published has an odd feeling, like freedom. It feels as if the work is no longer mine, and I can just let go of it totally, complete with whatever feelings I had for it when it was still in writing. After freedom, though, comes challenge. What now? How do I move forward from this?

It's a process, I guess--one of growth. From here I must write of other things that may be of relevance to others in the future. Of course relevance is a subjective term. What I think matters may be completely well, the opposite. Anyhow, I'll keep doing this till I hit upon something, like say, a star.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Unexplained Weightloss

Usually I'd be rejoicing at getting skinny, but this is weird. It started with all the stress brought about by the different events we were handling during Resorts World Manila's Grand Fiesta Manila 2010. I dismissed it as just the stress of things getting to me.

Then a week later, it was still happening.

And now it's still happening no matter what or how much I eat!

No, I don't think it's that Fashion Slimming Coffee my officemate gave me, because I drank only one sachet when he dared me to try it out (and that was a week ago). I'm thinking of getting a check up, just don't have the time O_o

My Dad (and his mom and dad) had diabetes, making me a candidate for Type 2. I might just be paranoid, but I think it's better to be on the safe side.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Upcoming Appearances

No, it's not I who will be appearing, but some of the pieces I've written a while back. These works, I've either submitted months ago or have only recently decided to submit at last (because I did not have the courage to even try).

"Laws of Stone" will appear in one of the anthologies that will be published by the Library of Science Fiction & Fantasy. This antho is entitled “Rockets, Swords, and Rainbows: New Stories of Fantasy,” and it’s got a queer slant. When I wrote my story, I wasn’t really thinking about whether it’s queer or straight or what, but when this got workshopped in Dumaguete, this aspect appears to be very strong. Fortunately, “Laws of Stone” is a perfect fit for this antho (cover below).

I didn't expect this work to be accepted anywhere since it's so darned long. Not really a short story, not really a novelette, certainly not a novel. I have this thing with writing such long short stories. I try to keep them short and sweet. But in the end, the story takes control of the wheel and things just don’t go where I originally planned.

Here’s a teaser of my story:

In the world called Spheria, there are two clashing cultures—the Pilgrims and the so-called Unbelievers, of which include the Draconic races. The two factions have a history of warfare, but have finally achieved a precarious peace with the Pilgrims’ dominance in the war. Two friends, Rael and Uliel, are on a Pilgrimage to become more powerful warriors, but little do they know that the Unbeliever territories have maintained their hostility toward Pilgrims and don’t give a damn about such things as diplomatic immunity. When Rael and Uliel are enslaved by a power greater than their own, they are faced with a struggle not only for freedom but for their very lives.

Secondly, my poem "Laws of Motion" will be published in the ezine called Damazine. I usually keep my poems hidden, but I felt I should try it out. I guess trying really pays of, literally and figuratively speaking. I’ll probably try submitting my other poems in the near future, so I’ve already taken down the ones I’ve placed in this blog.

Funny how both of these works begin with "laws" and were even accepted within two consecutive days. Is this a sign I should go to law school? :b

I was complaining about how bad luck comes in 3’s, but it seems it’s time for me to shut up with all this negativity, because the good things come in 3’s as well. Still waiting for the 3rd good news, if it hasn’t already come.

Will post more updates. Ciao.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Turn of Events

All this entering the workforce thing being a big change. It's real. At least for me.

I'm doing a lot of writing for Resorts World Manila, and I find that I'm enjoying it. Aside from learning guerrilla HTML (as in trial and error hehe), I get to check out the casino, and can I just say, I've been waiting for a chance to walk up and down these smoky (cigarette smoky) aisles for a long time, but it's only recently that I've reached the age where I can actually enter the place. It's not much different from an arcade, only I get to imagine under-the-table scenes like in the movies. I don't see mafia-worthy faces, though. Everyone just seems to be having fun. It's too bad we're not allowed to play, would like to try out the real thing and not those online games. However, I've found that I have to stop my ADHD tendency to press every button I see (i.e. Slot Machines). I bet that if I just get one chance, I'll get lucky. I have pretty good luck at these things, (and bad luck for everything else?).

In any case, the point I was making before I was distracted by my own thoughts is that, although I get to do a lot of writing, I pretty much have zero time for fiction. Here I am, blogging, which takes away another 10% from the time I could have spent writing the next page of a story I've already started but have now hidden away in some mental drawer and compartment of my PC.

What's funny is that I seem to thrive in such conditions--When I'm actually NOT free to write. It's like my mind has a panic button screaming "you must write!" and then it starts formulating all these story lines. I remember this is what happened back in school, when we were doing our thesis, and I at the same time, was finishing my first novel.

It remains to be seen whether I can finish my next story collection and novel in such conditions.

Pressure might be good after all.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Published in Philippines Graphic Magazine

Kinda forgot to post about this. Was published in the October 4, 2010 issue of the Philippines Graphic Magazine. "Topheth No More" appears in the fiction category, under a rather plain-sounding name: Anne Abad. I've been so busy at work I don't have much energy left to update my online life.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


It took me a while to write this. I might have blocked it from my mind. Might have needed time to process what I saw. I didn't know what to do or what I could do about it.

Let me tell you about an old man along the East Avenue-Edsa Intersection.

I see him everyday, while on my way to the MRT station. He's there early, laying out his goods on a dilapidated wooden box. I've noticed that he sells random stuff, tweezers, hard candies, cigarettes, and those little hair ties that look like telephone cords. He's usually not the one I notice, since there's this lady vendor who's always surrounded by these cute, chubby cats that sleep by her side. Day after day.

But last Saturday. I saw the old man. Really saw the old man. He had just bought a packet of fried peanuts from a fellow street vendor. He was walking back to his spot, to his box, when his packet of nuts fell from his shaky hands. The salt, the bits of garlic, and the brown nuts scattered on the ground, ground that had been treaded on by the busy bees of the Filipino work force.

The old man bent down, hurriedly picking up every last piece that fell from his brown paper bag of peanuts. He hastened to put every salvageable bit into his mouth.

And wow, look at me, I had no idea what to do. Was I to help him pick up the sullied food and go my way? Was I to give him money? But what if he got insulted, since, technically, he wasn't a beggar, but a vendor? I thought of looking for the place where he bought those peanuts and getting him a new packet, but I was too caught up in thinking "What should I do?" until it came to the point that I chickened out.

I was scared of helping the old man. And now it's haunting me. Because I remember what happened, but I've forgotten what the old man looks like. And I'm scared that if I remember, I wouldn't know what to do again, because helping just one man doesn't change the fact that there are all those other vendors on that sidewalk. And I will see them every morning. I will see them when I go home.

And there is nothing I can do for them.

I will probably keep living this make-believe life, thinking things will turn out for the better. But it won't.

Not when it's just my life getting better.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


The 10th Ateneo National Writers Workshop, organized by the Ateneo Institute of Literary Arts and Practices (AILAP) with the support of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Office of the President, Ateneo de Naga University (AdNU) will be held on October 24-28, 2010 at the AdNU Campus, Naga City.

Twelve fellows have been awarded fellowships. Six slots were exclusively given to writers from the Bicol Region and writing in the Bikol languages. Covered by the fellowship are the fellows' board and lodging, a modest stipend, and the opportunity to learn from an esteemed panel of Atenean writers and critics. The fellows for this year's workshop are:

For poetry in English: Alyza May Timbol Taguilaso (Quezon City); For poetry in Filipino: Noel T. Fortun (Las Piñas City), Maureen Gaddi dela Cruz (San Pedro, Laguna); For fiction in English: Glenn Diaz (Manila City), Michelle Abigail Tiu Tan (Quezon City); For fiction in Filipino: Arnold Matencio Valledor (Panganiban, Catanduanes); For poetry in Bikol: Gerry Rubio (Virac, Catanduanes), Adrian Remodo (Naga City, Camarines Sur), Eduardo Uy (Gubat, Sorsogon), Richard Madrilejos (Tabaco, Albay), Rodel Añosa (Ticao, Masbate); For fiction in Bikol: Jimple Borlagdan (Tabaco, Albay).

Panelists for this years workshop would include prize-winning writers like Benilda S. Santos, Alvin B. Yapan, Marco AV. Lopez, Michael M. Coroza, Frank Peñones and Carlo Arejola to name a few. This year's workshop is co-directed by Kristian Cordero and Yolando Jamendang, Jr.

Congrats to everyone!

Friday, September 10, 2010


I was relatively happy. I'd just come from a reunion with three of my bestest friends--Maris, Bianca, and Nikka. I needed this break. We all did. We hadn't been able to see each other as much, what with them going to medschool, and me having to go to the office every single day. Day before yesterday, we met at Trinoma, ate a Japanese lunch in Oki Oki till we burst our tummies, then went to Bianca's house to get singing, guitaring, and drumming to Rockband. We were too tired to go home so we decided to just sleepover after having a pizza-dvd marathon.

When we parted ways, I felt trashed--the way I did before we met up. I was walking my usual, on my way to the GMA-Kamuning MRT station. But while walking I noticed the emptiness of my surroundings. The one or two people who passed me by might as well have been ghosts. The streets were quite empty save for a few cars and buses. Dead leaves were rolling over my feet. Empty.

Then I realized the emptiness wasn't coming from this external space, but inside me. It's that same feeling that crops up within me from time to time. I feel like I can paint/write/run...do everything I want, but at the end of all this movement and activity, there's only stagnation.

Empty. Is not the word for my surroundings. My mind was simply describing the state of my soul. And when I tried to reach down deep into this "soul," I couldn't find it either. There was only that void. I wonder if others feel this as well. Or others see this in me that's why they treat me in certain, unpleasant ways, like I'm not worth a second thought (or that's just Self-pity rearing its ugly head in my depressed state).

Why, when all is quiet and peaceful, there is not actually peace but emptiness? The vacuum of space may very well be just a reflection of our lives. We move in orbits within this nothingness of existence. Sometimes our orbits might intersect, but the time is too short to form any real ties. In the end we go our separate ways.

Is this always the case? Will God go His separate way, as well?

I wish I hadn't thought of these things. Events in the past few days may have precipitated this agitated post.

Maybe I was burned out. Maybe I wasn't sure about myself anymore. The ups and downs of my moods have always been hell to deal with. I know I will feel better again. But it comes to a point when what I feel doesn't matter anymore. I just want answers to these (seemingly) unanswerable things.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

I've gone back to the classics recently, and found the experience very enriching, especially with Kate Chopin's short novel--The Awakening.

The book is short but the language is gorgeous. Chopin gives us a vision of the Creole society and its air of aristocratic resignation. Edna Pontellier, an American, marries Leonce Pontellier and dives into the Creole world. I began reading the book with thoughts of feminism hovering over my head. I expected outright scenes of the oppression and repression of women. However, as I progressed in my reading, such preconceptions fell away. Leonce is an adoring husband who, while watching Edna closely, lets her do as she pleases, even flirt with other men as she does in Grand Isle. Narry a word is spoken, nor signs of jealousy arise from Edna's seemingly inappropriate behavior toward other men. Yet it appears that it is exactly this silence that points to the bondage of Edna's awakening spirit to the Creole society's idiosyncratic logic and mores.

Edna appears apathetic at the beginning. Her marriage is peaceful, but it is as placid as a stagnant lake. She takes everything as they come, after all, she can pretty much do what she wants. It is when Edna goes to Grand Isle that Edna's soul is stirred from slumber. A certain duality becomes apparent--the city and nature. In the city, Edna is wrapped in an illusion of freedom, never realizing that she can only move within society's mores. However, in Grand Isle, nature takes its hold of her when she develops an infatuation toward Robert Lebrun--a passion verily absent in her manicured home life.

The sea is a recurring theme. Its inexorable flow whispers of both its sensous touch and its deathly grip. When Edna chooses the sea at the end, the act becomes the climax of her emancipation. She takes hold of her life, as only nature herself can do. The story becomes a gripping tale of how the act of dying can become one's ultimate awakening.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Art's Spirit and Permanence

I thought perhaps I'd grown tired of drawing and painting, but I guess they're just a part of me. After leaving them behind for sports, and later on writing, I've come back to their open arms. Luckily, they've readily accepted me, for they haven't left me in a stream of amnesia where I couldn't even remember how to hold a paint brush anymore.

Sure, it felt awkward at first. I felt like I was going back to an old skin that I wasn't really ready to shed yet. There were lots of reasons why I stopped, all the while calling it a "hiatus." I was just really disillusioned, and by people I expected would support my craft. I've come to realize I no longer need their approval, not when I can earn my own money now to buy the stuff I need.

Some recent stuff I made are too large to scan, but I made this one entitled "Smoke Screen" while I was brainstorming in the office. Scribbling helps me clear my head, but I didn't want to waste my time (and ink and paper) making doodles when I could make actual pieces that are at least worth looking at.
Jason (aka Song) transferred this design onto a T-shirt for Design by Humans.
Great job really, those red accents made the work real fiery, what I had intended I just didn't have red ink and my Chinese brush with me (I think that's a bit too much to lug along in the office).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Chronicles of the Hidden Thief

Silly, silly day. After a long day running around preparing my documents for employment, I got hungry. The most natural response of the body to stress. Hunger. Or simply craving.

I was looking for something good to eat, so after riding the MRT from Taft to Quezon Avenue, I went to the station mall called Centris. It's under SM, too, if I recall correctly (and I never do trust my memory). I went to the supermarket and saw a Merced Bakeshop. One thing immediately came to my mind:

Pineapple Pie

Merced, I presume, is really old since I remember my mom buying their dollop-sized egg pan de sal and chocolate beehive since I was around five. We'd dip the pan de sal in hot chocolate and be happy for the rest of the day. After a few months, though, the bakeshop started to become really rare. Now I find them only in small malls and hospital cafeterias like those in the Philippine Heart Center. I miss seeing my face smothered with their beehive's marshmallow icing!

Anyway, back to the pie, I gave the cashier lady a large bill so that I could break it into barya. I didn't want to commute without change since the Manongs almost always presume the change is their tip. However, the cashier lady said she was short on change and asked, "okay lang po ba kung kulang ng P1.50?"

Curtly, I said, "No, it's not okay."

Because it isn't! Couldn't she run to the other counters to get change? Yes, I was pretty pissed. I was hungry, okay? My mind is cloudy with vicious intent when I am. Well anyway, she didn't seem to plan on doing anything about it, so I told her to just cancel the order. Then I left.

 After a few seconds, I was back, because I left my cash! Silly me.

I decided to just go home, dejected at what happened. I took a cab, and when I was comfortably seated, I rummaged through my bag to check my wallet. And (oh, silly, silly me) guess what I found inside. See that there picture?

What the hell is that? Yes, yes, that's the pie!!
I forgot to return it! Yet I ate it, thrilled at my unintentional thievery. What an adventure.

I do plan on going back tomorrow to pay for the darned thing. I'm just having a good laugh now. I bet I can use this for a new story! 

I'm hoping I didn't put that cashier lady in trouble. O_o Ima apologize for it awright.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Writing, Painting, Bumming...

Of those three, bumming would make up more than half of my life ever since I graduated this March. My laptop crashed at the airport, when I was about to leave Bacolod (after a six-hour bus-ride from Dumaguete). I lost all my recent files since I didn't update my backup copy. At first I was just staring at my laptop, devastated at the fact that I'd lost the four short stories I'd started but haven't finished. Also lost my nonfiction piece where I wrote about Siquijor.

But for some reason, I was relieved. I started to just chill. Two days after it sank in that I really, really did lose those darned pieces, I was happy. I never thought that losing something important can actually be liberating. See, I feel as though I've gotten into a rut. I keep writing, and the more I write (and oh do I write a lot!), the more I get weighed down by everything I've already written. All those stories felt like a hundred-pound weight on my back. I wondered if that was how tortoises felt.

I couldn't seem to go beyond what I've already made.

I don't understand why it happened, but the spontaneity I had when I took writing seriously a year ago was quelled. My finished works became shackles, my memory of them a steel ball I'd been dragging by my ankles. What's already there was burned not only in my hard disk but my brain.

I remember how, when I began, I would write in a frenzy. It all came out so easily. Didn't even need to discipline myself. I was writing out of instinct, sitting and typing from 7am to 12mn (with eating and bathroom and jogging breaks of course). Perhaps that was the time my muse really took over. Though come to think of it, I'm not really sure what a muse is, what my muse is.

When I was in Bacolod, my cofellow, Jordan mentioned something about three sources for one's art: The duende, the angel, and the muse. I guess he was referring to Federico Garcia Lorca's theory of this triune inspiration. I found an ebook of Lorca's book "In Search of Duende" and am planning to read it one of these days, though I'd much prefer a real book version I can hold and use as a pillow to sleep on.

The duende seems to be the one that had me in its grips back then. Lorca uses Goethe's words in defining the duende as ‘A mysterious force that everyone feels and no philosopher has explained.’
It has a visceral effect on both the creator and the audience. Like the trance music I love listening to, it just takes you away, letting you ride the cadence of light and life. Duende sounds very much like Greek energeia and daimon, then.

Meanwhile here are the other two, the angel and the muse, summed up as light and form: 

"The angel dazzles...there is no way to oppose their light, since they beat their wings of steel in an atmosphere of predestination."

"The Muse stirs the intellect, bringing a landscape of columns and an illusory taste of laurel, and intellect is often poetry’s enemy, since it limits too much, since it lifts the poet into the bondage of aristocratic fineness..."

 It appears that artists are supposed to subdue these two. I think I have a vague understanding of what Lorca means. Maybe it's about not letting the angel sweep us off our feet and direct our hands in weaving our destinies. Maybe it's about holding on to the ground when the muse tries to lift us up to the pedestal overlooking the world's glory and folly.

Maybe its about letting our souls accompany earth and life as it is churned out in this cycle of fire, tears, blood, and death.

Maybe I'm talking too much.

All I really want is to have that ease again. And I seem to be contradicting myself since what I'm writing now is just gushing out of me, mental diarrhea.

I'm guessing all I really needed to do was to sit down and write. Forget about all those lost files. Forget about those stories I've already written.

Time to create new things.

Beautiful things.

A thing is new only once. Beautiful things happen only once. Maybe that's why Lorca wrote "[t]he duende never repeats itself, any more than the waves of the sea do in a storm." That's something I should never forget.

And now I should download iTunes, Adobe, etc. again to get my laptop back (close to) the way it was.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

If I had super powers, I'd boss Chronos around

Before Farewell

Where is forever?
Is it on the same spot
I am standing on right now,
or perhaps that clock
taunting me from the wall?

If I move my foot, form
circles on the ground,
I can go on
and on like that clock.
I see you all doing the same;
the bags at our feet invisible
only the circles we are drawing.

None of us budge.
We are right
where we want to be.
Time has never moved.
We were the ones
who left it behind.

I miss my cofellows from both the Iyas and Dumaguete workshops. I don't usually write poems but I have nothing better to do hahaha!
1st Poetry Reading Session of Silliman Fellows at Sidlakan, Obviously we had fun (photo by Misael Ondong)

Iyas Fellows at Negros Showroom (photo by Jordan Carnice)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Prophecy of the 49th

First posted this as a note on facebook. Now am bloggin' it haha (photos c/o Oscar Serquiña, unless otherwise cited):

The Oracle has spoken. 5 yrs after the 49th Silliman National Writers Workshop...

Verse 1: The Batch Mascot
NomNom has evolved into a bug-eating kangaroo and will be featured in Kuya Kim's Matanglawin (I don't remember who took these photos, but they're cute, and you can find more of Nomnom in Facebook)

Verse 2: The Poets

Gian Paolo Simeon Lao = Is the songwriter for the band he established, The Parting

Dominique Allison Santos = Has become the co-owner of Jhutz Cafe

Jacob Dominguez = Has become the lead actor for Oscar's first movie

Oscar Serquina, Jr. = Is the director of the movie "I still believe in True Love"

Verse 3: The Fictionists

Aaron James Jalalon = Upon acquiring his Ph.D. in Creative Writing, leaves everything behind to be the lead singer for the band, The Parting

Jenette Ethel Vizcocho = "The Netty" is the famous leader of the song-and-dance trio, Jejegals

Gilda Ysobel Galang = A convict in Munti, her crime is kept confidential

Anne Carly Abad = Has transferred to another world

Gino Francis Dizon = Has published the book "Fabulous Fabulous Feofle of Angeles"

Jose Carlo Flordeliza = Has been recorded in the Guiness Book of Records for building a house using his abundant supply of books

Ida Anita Del Mundo = Has made a pact with the Palasekan to start a music school. If she doesn't do what she must, there are grave, GRAVE consequences.

Samantha Echavez = Has been declared Cosmo's "Covergirl of the Year"

Verse 4: The Creative Non-Fictionists

Kelly Marie Tulio Conlon = Has established an institute for Latin Dance in Davao

Miro Frances Capili = This Palanca Hall of Famer is not only a singer-dancer, but has been the choreographer of Jejegals ever since it was established (photo removed for safety purposes)

Christina Mae del Rosario = Has chronicled the Jejegals' adventures and conquests in the bestselling series, "jUm3j3j3 DiAri3s Powhz"
I'll prolly be usin' these photos to make the portrait sketches for our batch tshirt. Any complaints, say em now heehee:)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Silliman Workshop Day 16-slash-17

I have another ghost story to tell.

I wonder, though, why these things have been happening a lot. It began in Bacolod. Of course, I wasn't the one who saw the so-called White Lady back in Balay Kalinungan, it was Alyza, my co-fellow in the 10th Iyas Workshop. Still, the spirit did hover over my head, and the fact that I didn't see it wasn't comforting in any way.

Here in Camp Lookout/Writers Village, we have cabins assigned to us. Four people to each cabin, which has two rooms with a double-deck bed each. We slept early since we were scheduled to go to Antulang the next day--Wednesday, which is outing day. We had to get up at 6am and leave by 7.

In the Jasmine Cabin (so named because we planted a Jasmine tree just outside), we were five, and it was my turn to sleep on the floor (I had a bed, of course). For some reason, I was roused from sleep at 3am in the morning. It wasn't Day 16 anymore, but Day 17 when I woke. I could here typing just outside our rooms, where there was a small "reception" area, like a living room. I thought Miro was still typing in the wee hours. Through the open door, I called out, asking her why she was still typing. I'd thought, "napaka sipag naman naman nito". I believe she was finishing her piece for the 49th Dumaguete antho.

It was dark, mind you. I thought I saw her sitting there. There was no electricity. It was stuffy in the room. When Miro didn't answer, I stood up, stepped outside our room.

"Why are you typing in the dark?" I pressed. Until I realized it. Her Mac Book was on standby. I could still hear the sound of typing. Through the shadows, I could actually see the keys moving. But there was no one seated on the monobloc chair before it. No one was using the Mac.

That was when I freaked out.

No, I didn't scream. My mind just went blank, as though I couldn't comprehend what I'd just witnessed. "Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god..." That was all I could blurt out as I ambled back to our room. Netty woke up because of all my oh-my-god-ing, and the typing stopped.

She asked me what was wrong. She told me she couldn't, didn't hear anything. She was obviously confused about who the hell I was talking to out in the hallway. So was I.

I don't know who I was talking to.

I frickin' don't wanna find out.

I decided to transfer rooms, just to the other side. I didn't want to sleep in our room, on the floor. I was scared the "entity" had followed me.

Grr. I don't even have the proverbial third eye. Hopefully, that thing won't happen again. Hopefully, I won't get up in the middle of the night talking to thin air. Not again. :<

Monday, May 17, 2010

Silliman Workshop Day 15

Director's Dinner


Sweet & Sour Fish


Fried Pork thingy

Pancit Canton

Creeeeeaaaammmy Mango-Jelly thingy

Four Seasons to wash it all down

A hillock of a stomach


(Photo-op with Mom, Edith Tiempo)

Photo c/o Oscar Serquiña

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Silliman Workshop Day 13: Siquijor

Oh my goodness, I've just begun writing about this day when I realized how serendipitous it is that this is the day my co-fellows and I went to Siquijor!


Wow, that's pretty...cool (creepy), isn't it?

I've heard lots of stories about Siquijor. Aside from being told that going to this island is an age-old tradition of the Silliman Writers Workshop, I've heard that this is where the mangkukulam reside--their headquarters. If Harry Potter has Hogwarts, Juan Dela Cruz has Siquijor. Yes, and the tuition is probably much, much lower since it is in pesos, though I'm not sure if they use the same currency. For all I care, they may prefer babies and human liver. :)

Of course, Juan is much cooler, since he practices both the dark and "white" arts. There are said to be mambabarang in the island, a type of mangkukulam that utilizes insects  (barang) to perform magic. I've heard stories about people dying from strange diseases, and when their relatives look at their corpses, they see insects--wasps, ants, centipedes (you get the picture)--coming out of the victim's mouth.

Another story I heard is from my co-fellow, Gel, who told me about what happened to her friend. Apparently, once you get to the island, you're supposed to bite the tip of your little finger. Otherwise, the witches and fiends can easily put a curse on you. Gel's friend forgot to bite her finger, and what happened was that she (or was it "he") fell really sick. That person was brought to an albularyo, a practitioner of (mostly) the white arts. The albularyo held out a water-filled glass over the body of the victim, just letting the glass hover around in circles, and within minutes, the glass was brimming with insects.

See? Is Hogwarts all that cool?

I meant to just blog about a normal day. About me leaping from a cliff in Salandoong Beach and nearly cracking my pelvic bone against the water's surface. About the oldest Balete Tree in the Island. About the fields of brush, coconut, and bananas. About the oldest convent in the Philippines (Can't quite remember the name).

But as I run out of time in this internet shop, I guess maybe I'll just google it later and add pictures and edit this darned entry. I hope the internet back in Writers Village has been revived, cuz really, I can't even facebook properly with that thing. The cicadas are sending far stronger signals than the Smart Bro. Haha.

Monday, May 10, 2010

SiIliman Workshop Day 9

Time sure flies. Hopefully I haven't gained too much weight, what with all the chocolate cake and coffee and vodka/gin (The Bar) and pulutan... so much for my healthy lifestyle, which has now turned into a DISTANT memory. haha :D

Been doin' some running, though, despite the crazy terrain of this mountain. The paths are inclined at quite an unhealthy angle. I'm trying to maintain my running fitness, which I'd previously honed for a marathon, but with Dumaguete, I'm having too much fun karaoke-ing and eating to worry as much as I used to about my body!

Well, I guess it's somehow a relief. A change. It ain't good to be obsessed about anything. Including writing.

Today I picked out a few things that caught my eye. Funny, cuz it was a fly on a plate, an image that caught my mind's eye's attention during our morning critique session.

I noted down the first words/phrases that I can, probably, later turn into a poem or some interesting insight that can be good content for a story. As Mom Edith Tiempo said, "Content is content!"

Here are the words/phrases that first came to mind:

The fly, vultures swooping, circling, mound of rice, spoon on one side with a leftover grain, fork facing the spoon, plate with the ragged edges lined with silver, oil pooled in globules at the edge

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Post-Iyas Creative Writing Workshop: Balay Kalinungan Thriller

Poster c/o Jordan Carnice

I've been in the mountains--Valencia, Dumaguete--for the past few days, and internet has become quite a rare commodity, like drugs you'd get only from black markets...or your neighborhood druggie. Now I have a chance to blog about my last workshop. Later on, I will blog about Dumaguete, haha, if I'm not lazy.

It's been some five or so days since I attended the 10th Iyas workshop in Bacolod. I am beginning to miss the scrumptious food of Balay Kalinungan, the two-bed room with the white lady that hovered over my head, and of course, the people--my co-fellows and the panelists that left us with all sorts of quotable quotes.

There, I was able to re-bond with my highschool friend, Alyza. It's funny how it felt like deja vu. It's as if nothing has changed and we're still doin' our artsy stuff, talking about boys like a bunch of giggly girls (alright, delete giggly).

I've met a bunch of great people, writers in the regional language--Jess, Elsed, Paul, Glenn, Sim... It was such an eye-opening experience to get a glimpse of the sensibilities of those from different areas of the Philippines. I tended to have quite a myopic view of Philippine lit, but now I'm amazed at the plethora of material available to us, only we don't get the chance to explore them. It made me wish I could speak and write at least one more Filipino language aside from my rather poor tagalog.

I'll never forget my tangential encounter with a ghost. I was quite lucky to be knocked out with booze, since I didn't get to see the "white lady", whatever the hell that is (spirit, elemental, some levitating buddha, who cares; it's freaky). It was really like being in a thriller movie. I think it was in Day 2 when, after closing the lights and rolling in for sleep, suddenly something falls, and we hear a clatter in the room. My roommate and I ask each other "was that you?" And of course none of us had moved. I opened the table lamp, and it flickers, along with an electrical buzzing.

The lamp died, plunging the room in darkness.

Alyza and I were screaming like birds (chickens?) until we got that goddamed light to open again. We then found out that a cup had fallen to the floor. Problem is, from its position on the table, it couldn't have fallen. Nope. It just couldn't. Anyhow, that must have been the spirit's paramdam already.

The next day, that's when it happened. That's when the frickin white lady hovered over my head. The freakiest part is that my roommate thought I was reading manuscripts in the dark. She saw the "entity" moving from side to side, like how a little girl does when waiting for her cotton candy. The lady was wearing this translucent, billowing white cloth, eerily radiant in the moonlight. Moonlight that shouldn't have been there since we kept our curtains closed, yet found them open upon opening the table lamp. A number of other things were out of place in our room--the cabinet was open, some things were misplaced...

Well that's one experience I really felt like writing about. About the critiques I got for "Doble Kara" my long short story, basically I need to improve the dialogues, the flow of the plot (the panelists said it's pretty flat), characterization, setting, umm the others are in my notebook. Haha.

Anyhow that's probably it for this post. It was great. The piaya was great. And wow that was random.

P.S. Here's a pic of everyone, c/o vernan jagunap:

Friday, April 23, 2010

49th Dumaguete National Writers Workshop

This, I just got from Panitikan.com:

National Writers Workshop Director-in-Residence Rowena Tiempo Torrevillas, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and Silliman University are pleased to announce that the following young writers have been accepted as fellows for the 49th National Writers Workshop scheduled on 3-21 May 2010:

For Poetry
Gian Paolo Simeon Lao (Ateneo de Manila University)
Dominique Allison Santos (University of Santo Tomas)
Jacob Dominguez (University of Santo Tomas)
Oscar Serquina Jr. (University of the Philippines-Diliman)

For Fiction
Aaron James Jalalon (University of the Philippines–Mindanao)
Jenette Ethel Vizcocho (University of the Philippines-Diliman)
Gilda Ysobel Galang (Ateneo de Manila University)
Anne Carly Abad (Ateneo de Manila University)
Gino Francis Dizon (Ateneo de Manila University)
Jose Carlo Flordeliza (De La Salle University)
Ida Anita Del Mundo (De La Salle University)
Samantha Echavez (University of the Philippines-Diliman)

For Creative Non-Fiction
Kelly Marie Tulio Conlon (University of the Philippines–Mindanao)
Miro Frances Capili (University of the Philippines-Diliman)
Christina Mae del Rosario (Ateneo de Manila University) 

Can't wait to meet everyone. And see the beach. And some non-metro manila sky. And some historical sites maybe...

Of course that's not all I'm after. I may be lazy, but I'm certainly dedicated to my craft and improving it. I'm done with my week-long hiatus watching anime and TV series. Back to work. Back to life.

10th IYAS Creative Writing Workshop

I got this list from La Salle, Bacolod's site:

The Fellows for Fiction in English are: Fred Jordan Carnice, Roselle Jimeno, Vernan Jagunap, Francis Dizon and Anne Carly Abad (English), and Arbeen Acuña (Filipino).

The Fellows for Poetry are: Gian-Paolo Lao, Alyza Mary Taguilaso, Charmaine Carreon (English), Arbeen Acuña, Noel Fortun, Rogerick Fernandez (Filipino), Paul Randy Gumanao, Glenn Muñez (Cebuano), Elsed Togonon (Kinaray-a) and Simplicio Gadugdug (Boholano).

The panelists for this year are Dr. Dinah Roma-Sianturi, Dr. Elsie Coscolluela, Dr. Genevieve Asenjo, Dr. Danilo M. Reyes, Dr. Anthony Tan and Prof. John Iremil Teodoro.

The IYAS Creative Writing Workshop is sponsored by the University of St. La Salle and the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center of De La Salle University and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

The 10th IYAS Creative Writing Workshop is set on April 25- May 1, 2010.

Quite late due to my never-ending laziness, but anyway, it's good to spread the word since it's free haha. I'll make another post for the list of Dumaguete Workshoppers for 2010 :D

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Iyas and Dumaguete Workshops

Well, I'm getting excited. I made it to both the 10th Iyas Creative Writing Workshop and the 49th Dumaguete National Writers Workshop. A bunch of people I know will be there as well, kinda like a reunion.

I'm leaving this Sunday and haven't really decided whether or not to send something to this year's Palanca writing contest. I'm just getting lazy these days, and I'd rather watch all those shows I missed while finishing college. Sigh...Never thought I'd have so much free time!

Anyhow, I've still got to finish this big ass painting my grandmother requested from me. It's been so long since I used oil paint that I thought I'd have a hard time handling it. But I guess once you get the feel of it you never forget the skill. Kinda like riding a bicycle. :D

I'm gonna have to update this blog more often as the release of my first book--my anthology of stories--gets near. Can't wait! And I can only hope this laziness lifts. :b

Monday, March 15, 2010

Signed Contract for My Book

Hard work does pay off, little by little. I'm quite excited, I just signed a contract with eTreasures Publishing, which is based in Marianna, Fl. It's for a short story collection tentatively entitled: "ΕΞΙΣ: gods, ghosts and battered cellphones,"

Exis is a Greek word. All my Ateneo Education has taught me to appreciate Greek. "The word EXIS denotes the natural power and wholeness of each thing.
According to Speusippos, EXIS is the tendency of the PSYCHE (Soul) which determines the EINAI (Being)of each PROSÔPON (Persona)." Got that from Vlassis G. Rassias; I downloaded a guide from the net. Really interesting, why didn't I think of doing this while I was still in school? LOL

My eBook's expected release is June 15, 2010
While the print version, if things go well, on September 15, 2010.

I hope I find a day job already. And I wonder what happened to all those resumes I sent out during the Ateneo Job Fair!

I lost my phone about a month ago, and that may be the reason why no one's contacted me again, what luck I have!! And I've already gone through the interviews!

Oh man...well maybe there are better things in store. I really do hope so...

I'll go try job street. Sheesh, I'm into my first few weeks of unemployment and I'm already restless. I haven't even gone through the graduation ceremonies yet.

Still, I smile. :)


Monday, March 8, 2010

Berserker Time!

NOOO!! I realized that the deadlines for the IYAS and Dumaguete workshops are just a few days away!!!! I've been slacking darn it.

Well, I really wanna get into Dumaguete, but I noticed they're requiring works to be notarized. Mehn, I don't even have ink to print my stories, and the airmail is costly as well. Looks like I'm gonna go scavenge for a few days, LOL.

Can I just pray for a windfall? Yeah fine I made some story sales, but the money just drains away like toilet water (oop, ok that's yucky). I'll have to stay up late to finish these half-finished babies! :'(

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I miss Final Fantasy!

Just a few days ago, my friends and I were having dinner. Then while having desert, our inner child jumped out of the depths of oblivion and we just started talking about Final Fantasy again. I felt so nostalgic since I've always been an FF fan, but when college life came, I've completely lost track of this "Final" game that keeps having a next installment, and another, and another (Whew!).

The very first FF game I played was FF VII, with Cloud Strife, Tifa Lockhart, Aerith Scarborough, etc. and well I'd have to mention the bestest and baddest guy ever--Sephiroth. This FF remains my fave. The Chocobo races were the best. I loved exploring the planet with the golden one as well. (Sigh...). I even watched Advent Children, and I was not disappointed. This FF series is pretty consistent with a sort of "environmentalist" voice that doesn't have that yucky didactic, save-the-fairies quality.

Then came FF VIII, with my big crush, Squall Lionheart. This seemed too centered on romance, but hey, loved the effects and summoning GF's. This is my second fave.

FF IX is YUCK, well I didn't like the small people, plus Zidane just wasn't all that cool, especially when I look back and compare him to Squall and Cloud and Sephiroth (yea, yea, he's a bad guy, but still!)

FF X, hmm, great effects, plus it's interesting how the characters can somehow breathe underwater. Then again Tydus looks like Zidane, so yuck. In any case, the story was great. So this goes to third place :)

Haha, funny how I just start reminiscing about these things. Darn, with college done, I might just go back to gaming!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Expanded Horizons Feb

Yey! "Songs of Urban Phantoms" is out! It's over here: http://expandedhorizons.net/magazine/?page_id=1179
Thanks to Dash and Prezzey :))...Whew. Still waiting for the results of my novel ms reviews. This sure stresses me out...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Iyas and Dumaguete Workshops

Oh dear, got some catching up to do for my writing!

Be One of the 15 Fellows of the 10th IYAS Creative Writing Workshop. This will be held on April 25-May 01, 2010 at the University of St. La Salle, Bacolod City.
• Applicants should submit original work: either 6 poems, 2 short stories, or 2 one-act play using a pseudonym, in five (5) computer-encoded copies of entries; font size 12, bound or fastened, in separate folders, and soft copies in a CD (MSWord).
• These are to be accompanied by a sealed size 10 business envelope with the author's real name and pseudonym, a 2x2 ID photo, and short resume, which must be mailed on or before March 12, 2010.

more details: http://panitikan.com.ph/

Plus this from http://www.su.edu.ph/49th_writersworkshop.html:
Call for Submission of Manuscripts to the
Silliman University National Writers Workshop

The Silliman University National Writers Workshop is now accepting applications for the 49th National Writers Workshop to be held May 3-21, 2010 in Dumaguete City.
This Writers Workshop is offering fifteen fellowships to promising young writers who would like a chance to hone their craft and refine their style. Fellows will be provided housing, a modest stipend, and a subsidy to partially defray costs of their transportation.
To be considered, applicants should submit manuscripts in English on or before March 19, 2010 (seven to ten poems; or three to five short stories; or three to five creative non-fiction essays). Manuscripts should be submitted in hard copy and on CD, preferably in MS Word, together with a resume, a recommendation letter from a literature professor or a writer of national standing, a notarized certification that the works are original, and two 2X2 ID pictures.
Send all applications or requests for information to Department of English and Literature, attention Dr. Evelyn F. Mascuñana, Chair, Silliman University, 6200 Dumaguete City.

Well of course, I'm posting so I will feel the urgency
I haven't been writing much lately since I've been sending out query letters for my darned novel. WHEW.
Oh Heavens, I need blessings!!! :O

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ACCEPTANCE from Morrigan!!!

Whew, after days of getting rejections, I got an acceptance for this horror piece "It Takes Seven". Ms. Notley's letter goes:


         I am pleased to inform you that your story has been accepted for publication by Three Crow Press.                I will be following up with a PDF contract which can be either digitally signed or returned in the post. (... and the other part talks about payment)
        Thank you and welcome to Three Crow.

       Reece Notley

Yipeeeeeeee!!! :))  Morrigan Ezine's website can be found here: http://www.morriganezine.com/

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

REAL mango popsicle

I was hungry and had this great idea, but it's nothing that can be copyrighted. Truth is I don't even know why I'm blogging it! Just got a whole mango, popped it in the freezer for a few hours, popped it OUT of the freezer, peeled the skin off, and voila! Just skewer it with a fork or knife so you don't mess up your hands--Mango-sicle ;b Don't let it thaw though, cuz then you'll have mango MUCK instead.

>< MMMM, brainfreeze!

Funny, I was looking for a picture of a skewered mango and found this one from http://homecooking.about.com/od/howtocookbasics/ss/cutmango_2.htm
(kinda looks morbid):

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Buys from Books for Less

Yey, new books, but of course it's not like I have time to read them yet.

1)"The Soprano Sorceress" by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.:
been reading him since high school. It's funny how he starts so slow, yet I stay with him anyway. The last one I read, "The Order War" was much slower than the "The Magic Engineer". There's world-building at the beginning of "The Order War", but it kinda feels like ramblings after a while. The protagonist, Justen, is mostly just doing the mundane, everyday things, including a long scene where he shares a meal with his brother Gunnar, and Krytela, some attractive woman. Anyhow, I did finish it, and it's pretty good. The magic comes out gradually, so much so you eventually get absorbed in it.

2)"The Rowan" by Anne McCaffrey:
I've read some of the Pern novels, "Moreta: The Dragonlady of Pern" is so-so. Can't remember the others now, still have this darned headache from flu!!! Maybe that's why I remembered the Moreta novel, it's about the flu HAHAHA

3) "The Good New Stuff" edited by Gardner Dozois, and anthology of adventure sci-fi (can't believe I got this for just 75 pesos)
Yeaaaaah, already read "Goodbye, Robinson Crusoe" by John Varley, interesting idea, not your usual 2nd childhood. "Swarm" by Bruce Sterling, loved it. "The Blabber" by Vernor Vinge (Nooot baaad at all!!!!!!!! didn't see that ending, plus there are gender implications, too), "The Blind Minotaur" by Michael Swanwick (I think I should re-read this; wasn't concentrating)...

Darn feel like my head's gonna blow.

Got this other offer for my book, but the contract doesn't look good. I'll have to continue looking. Oh my head; I'll dream of getting into places like Ace, Tor, Del Rey. . .zzzzzz

Friday, January 8, 2010


I seem to get a cold each month. I take vitamins though, and oh well, so much for that. Sick again, fever and sniffles.
Recently all I've been doing is editing (yet again) my novel. This must be my fifth draft. For some reason, I'm obsessed with rewriting some parts. I recently found out that there are quite a number of publishers who don't like what is called "head-hopping" or shifting from one POV to another. I've seen this done in many books though, and I usually don't mind it much since the story is still okay. And it's pretty hard not to shift when using an omniscient third person. Guess I just have to watch out, I realize it does get confusing sometimes when there's too many POV's