Showing posts from November, 2019

Becoming a WILA member

Participants and panelists of the "Women in Disaster"  Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop in 2015  (Photo by Dr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu) Four years ago, I sat by the edge of the horseshoe seating arrangement in a workshop that would propel my membership application to the Women in Literary Arts-Cebu. To my right was poet Mrs. Ma. Milagros “Gingging” T. Dumdum. In 2018, she successfully launched a book of poems titled Falling on Quiet Water (Haiku Sequence) . She is also a former president of WILA. To my left was Prof. Lilia T. Tio, associate professor of the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu College of Communication, Art and Design. She received the Gawad Paz Marquez Benitez 2019 from the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas or Umpil. Before me was a panel of first-rate experts and award-winning writers: Dr. Marjorie Evasco, Prof. Susan Lara, Prof. Victor PeƱaranda, and retired Judge Simeon Dumdum Jr. The room we occupied at St. Mark Hotel for the Women in Disaster creativ

13 short stories of hunger, desperation, arrogance

You can attribute my past lack of knowledge on Filipino artists to the degree I completed in college where I was so focused on media and its relationships with the world. Even as a child, I was already reading books by foreign writers. When I took some units in literature during my erratic journey to some sort of a postgraduate degree, I missed the opportunity to sharpen my knowledge on Philippine literature. This changed a little when I hoarded as many as I can Filipiniana books I stumbled upon at Booksale a few years ago. And I started reading more. One of these hoarded books is The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker , a collection of 13 short stories by Gilda Cordero-Fernando . I first read A Love Story from the same collection as my participation in the #DealMeIn2019 challenge. In the past week, I finished reading the rest, often taking pauses in between short stories and engaging in a bewildering reflection that the previous short story read demands.

The noirish faces of Manila

The recent book I finished reading was Manila Noir , a collection of 14 noirish short stories that paint various black realities that happened (and likely still happening) in the City of Manila, the capital of my country, the Philippines. Edited by Filipino novelist Jessica Hagedorn, the collection displays a throbbing vein of bleak existence that densely populated cities like Manila cannot seem to shake off.  Like in most cities, the rapid economic growth in Manila comes with a price; it leaves behind many poor people who believed in the city as a greener pasture. Yet they struggle to live, to survive, to catch up. Others turn to drugs, sex, and bribes to live through one more day. The 14 writers in Manila Noir  succeed in portraying them as cynical characters who dream and scheme their way to greatness...or degradation. Mostly degradation. This led me to the question: What is noir? The word only brought to my mind the American crime film Sin City. Noir, I’ve checked Merr