Call for Applications for 2017 Davao Writers Workshop

Editor's Note | August 2, 2017

The Davao Writers Guild is now accepting applications to the 2017 Davao Writers Workshop to be held on October 27 to 31, 2017.

Fifteen (15) fellowships are available, five (5) of which will be given to writers from outside Davao City but limited to residents living in Mindanao.

Applications are for the following genres: short fiction, poetry, essay, and play. They may be in English, Tagalog, or Binisaya. Entries should either contain 2 short stories (1,000 to 5,000 words), 2 essays (1,000 to 5,000 words), 2 one-act plays, or 5 poems.

Entries must be the applicants’ original works and should have not been accepted to another writers workshop or included in a creative writing thesis. Applicants should be a resident of Davao City or any part of Mindanao. Applicants should have not been an alumnus of the previous Davao Writers Workshop or a fellow to any of the national writers workshops. Accepted fellows will be given free board and lodging for the duration of the workshop.

Applicants are to:

  1. Fill out the application form
  2. Sign the certification form
  3. Attach the electronic copy (.doc, .docx, or .rtf file) of the manuscript
  4. Send certification form and manuscript to davaowritersworkshop[at]gmail[dot]com with subject: “DWW2017 Submission”

Deadline for submission is September 15, 2017.

For inquiries, please send a message to davaowritersworkshop[at]gmail[dot]com.

The 2017 Davao Writers Workshop is organized in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the University of the Philippines Mindanao.

You may find the Application Form and Certification Forms on the following links:
Application Form
Certification Form (.docx)


Fiction by | July 30, 2017

Lola Myrna is a soft-spoken 70-year-old woman who lives with her toddler grandson, Jimboy. She has ash-gray hair, and she keeps mostly to herself.

Lola is well-known in their neighborhood for adoring only two things in this world: her garden and her only grandson.

Her garden is simple but well-kept. It complements the two-bedroom bungalow that sits on it, like a pretty porcelain figurine on a birthday cake. Adjacent to it are two Guava trees and a Calamansi tree which provide shade against the afternoon sunlight when Lola is having a siesta.

Lola used to give her grandson a bath with leaves from the Calamansi tree whenever he had fever. She plucked several leaves and mixed them with the hot bath water. It smelled really good, and she believed it made him feel better.

Beside the Calamansi tree, there are also rows of Santan shrubs on garden, and its red and yellow flowers are in contrast to the greenery.

Like most quiet summer afternoons, today Lola is enjoying her siesta under the shade of the Guava trees while Jimboy is idly playing around near her. She rests on a Rattan rocking chair that creaks every now and then, and beside her sits a glass of Calamansi juice that sweats furiously.

Continue reading Jimboy


Poetry by | July 30, 2017

Nadaanan ko ang dati nating
Tinatambayang kainan.
Napatigil ako.
Hinanap ko ng tingin kung saan
Tayo madalas pumuwesto;
Sa gilid ng pintuang
Dinadaluyan ng ating pinagsaluhan,
Nariyan pa rin.

Sa lugar na ito kita unang Nakitang ngumiti.
Mga ngiting para sa akin lang
At inangkin ko ito na para bang
Ang lahat ng mga bagay sa mundo
Ay umiikot lamang
Sa maliit nating binuong espasyo.
Palagian nating kasama sa pagdiriwang
Ang dalawang mainit na tasa ng kape
Isang platito ng pancake at
At mga daliri nating magkakapit.

Nasa harap kita
Kaharap mo rin ako.
Marami tayong natuklasan
Habang nakaupo
At ninamnam ang katihimikan
Ng bawat isa.
Para bang ang pag-iral ng oras ay kay bilis

Pero tiyak alam nating pareho
Na sa pagitan nitong
Mabilis na takbo
Ay siya namang kaybagal
Nating pagtanggap
Na maghihiwalay rin tayo
Matapos ang lahat-lahat.
Umaasang babalik muli
Dito sa ating dineklarang puwesto:
Ang ikaw at ako.
Ubos na ang pancake
Malamig na ang tasa ng kape
At ako nandito pa rin
Nakakulong sa espaysong
Binuo natin

Na ngayo’y pilit kong
Malimutan sa tuwing ako’y mapapadaan.

Raymond Ybanez was a fellow for fiction at the 1st CDO Writing Clinic and the 10th Palihang Rogelio Sicat. He is also a candidate member of the Kataga – Online, Samahan ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas. He’s currently a member of NAGMAC ( Nagkahiusang Magsusulat sa Cagayan de Oro).

How the World Explains My Mother’s Illness

Nonfiction by | July 23, 2017

Nothing was more consoling than hearing the whirr of the stretcher’s wheels on the tiled floor as the stretcher approached our room. She dozed with eyes half-closed, letting out breaths to assure us that her sleep meant survival. Four lanky men lifted her body to place her on the hospital bed. It was easier to carry her after her dramatic weight loss. The skin on her limbs wrinkled like the ones on a dried calamansi. The nurse handed me a small transparent jar with my Mamang’s cut-out small intestine floating in the formalin solution. In front of me was a green wall, warm enough to shout of vitality and hope. Mamang’s desperate rhythms of air also seemed to say, ‘Nak, Mamang is okay. At times like this, it’s hard to say we could lose her anytime. Hard to say.


She had never been sickly before an intestinal obstruction. Papang thought her diligence slowed her down. She would take her meals at nine, two, and half-past eight. After dinnertime, she would head straight to the sink to wash the plates and glasses, wipe the dining table, and scrub its dark spots. Then at morning, we would find her at our sari-sari store. I’d often see her accommodate all kinds of customers: ladies her age back-chatting their neighbors, men asking for a beer before midday and promising to pay before dusk, and Ilonggo kids who do not know what snacks were good for them.

I was convinced she was too busy that she forgets herself at times. Mamang often complained about her ulcer. She brought a tiny White Flower menthol balm everywhere she went. I remembered how many times I would wake up at midnight by her footsteps. She paced around the kitchen and the lounge room. I could sense that she was trying hard to conceal her noise, but I could also imagine her eating snacks perhaps to bear the pain she had. Her favorite midnight snack is a biscuit so crunchy you could hear her teeth breaking it in two. Her spoon often hit her ceramic mug while she stirred her hot milk.

Despite all that, she was fit enough to have her belly cut open thrice. Mamang would cook vegetables. She cooked the best pinakbet. The slices might be of irregular sizes, but the okra and string beans were cooked to perfection. I may not have learned how to speak Ilocano, but she made sure we’d be known as one by the food we preferred to eat.

There was one dish of hers that I hated though: ampalaya with egg. She’d slice the ampalaya thickly, and wouldn’t bother soaking them in a bowl of water and salt. I’d much prefer them squeezed out of their green bitter juice, but Mamang disagreed. She said that that would remove the vegetable’s nutrients and anti-diabetes effects. She said I might as well eat eggs with garlic and onion, without the ampalaya.

Continue reading How the World Explains My Mother’s Illness


Poetry by | July 23, 2017

You and I piled words like how
we did with floral cut-outs
on a sanded surface.
One word after another,

iterations of
– or bits of both.

What was it that glued
them together – our words?

When I look back,
I see exquisite words-art,
stunning in its

Jearvy R. Lanohan teaches literature and writing at the Philippine Science High School Southern Mindanao Campus. She was a fellow to the 2011 Davao Writers Workshop.


Poetry by | July 23, 2017

My sister’s skin is amber
Like my mother’s.
and her mother.
And the proud women before us.
Kissed by the yellow
Burning globe,
Cooled by tropical rains.
Warmed by days
In the river.

My sister keeps
On asking me
“Why am I dark?”
I told her
“When you were born
You took the sun
And kept it inside you.
You gave it a home.”
She clutched her chest
And answered
“Do you know how
To take it out?”

She wants
To take out
The sun within her.
The same warmth
Which makes her cheek blush,
The same warmth
That leaves pink traces on your skin.
The same warmth
That makes her smile light up the room.
So I tell my sister,
“You can’t. You don’t have to.”

Because you are
Every inch
Muscle and bone
Of great women before you.
Your hands can take the stars,
And your voice can name them.

Mirrors and gazes don’t define you
Don’t live your life through their eyes.
You are literature untold.
You are stories made every day.
Your body. You being. Your life.
Your choices.
You make them.
Your life is yours to live.

Don’t take the sun out inside of you
For people
who know nothing about
Your skies.
Or for people
Who wish to make clouds
On sunny days.

Your warmth makes the world
Less cold.
Don’t take out the sun inside you.
Don’t let them kill your fire.
Stand firm,
And watch them burn.

Adeva hails from Cagayan de Oro City. She took up Bachelor of Secondary Education – Major in English in Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan. She is currently working on her Masters in Education thesis in the same institution. She teaches English in Xavier University Junior High School. She is connected with NAGMAC (Nagkahiusang Magsusulat sa Cagayan de Oro) and has been a fellow in the 1st Cagayan de Oro Writers Workshop. When not crying over her thesis, she paints, practices Karate and sleeps.

Tomb on Top of the Hill

Poetry by | July 16, 2017

I know exactly how she feels.

That old fat hen with white feathers
her five little chicks following her
she searches for food with her calloused feet
her chicks imitate her as they walk uphill.

It is a cold morning, all is busy
to notice the danger perched on a tree.
Silent as it can be, targeting from above;
the healthy chick is eyed by the crow.

The hen so occupied with the bounty of soil,
the chicks are inexperienced of the upcoming toil.
The crow seizes the moment for a perfect meal,
it goes gliding and its claws clasp a chick.

The hen runs to rescue her chick, clacking, leaping
She follows the black bird that stole her nestling.
Is she angry, or simply begging?
A mother that fights or a mother that pleads.

The hen stops running at the tomb on top of the hill
Still looking upwards, but the crow has disappeared.
She walks back to her four other chicks
who are trembling and chirping under the taro leaves.

Life is unfair. The evil don’t always fall,
the innocents may suffer. Like my firstborn,
who died five hours after his delivery–
only five hours to breathe, then he ceased on struggling.

The loss will linger, like the smell of disinfectant
in the hospital, while my boy
was in the incubator, breathing unevenly–
a day before he was burried in the tomb on top of the hill.

Soon enough, the hen will know exactly how I felt.

Sara Kaye Recentes is an undergraduate of BA English in UP Mindanao. She lives in Malasila, Makilala, North Cotabato. She writes poems and short stories—some are her own experiences, others are what she observes. Writing enables her to somehow understand the complication of life.

Jealousy Incarnate

Poetry by | July 7, 2017

do not bring me to territories
marked by talons of birds you have caged
do not try to mask warning signs
they have left for uninvited guests
I will feel their presence
in every sip of coffee
in every corner of the room
I will feel your memory of them
every word that comes out of your mouth
will be reminiscent of the times you have spent with them
and I will be the uninvited guest
they have sealed exits
laid traps
and left poison for
I will be the uninvited guest
they do not want making home of their territories
I am the uninvited guest
who dares to rest her head on your chest.

Krizza Jan D. Ceniza is an AB Mass Communication student from Ateneo de Davao University.

Balak Alang sa Balakiro

Poetry by | July 7, 2017

Nakita tika nga gahangad sa langit,
gitutokan ang mga gagmay nga suga
nga gakipat-kipat sa itom nga kisame,
samtang ako, naglingkod gawas sa among payag,
kamulo pod ug tan-aw sa akong nag-inusara’ng kahayag.

Mikusog ang hangin og mihalok sa atong mga panit
ug ang kumpas sa mga gangis
mialingawngaw gikan sa mga kahoy.
Susama sa siyaok sa akong dughan,
kusog apan ako ra ang nakasinati.

Imong nakaplagan akong duha ka mata
nga gisuroy ang imong matag kurbada.
Ug mipiyong ko sa makadyot,
Apan sa akong pagpuklat,
Nawala na ka. Hain ka na?

Mikusog ang hangin og mihalok sa akong panit
ug ang kumpas sa mga gangis
mialingawngaw gikan sa mga kahoy.
Susama sa siyaok sa akong dughan,
kusog apan ako ra ang nakasinati.

Christian G. Perez studies BSE English at Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro City.

Liham at Laya

Poetry by , | July 2, 2017

Tayo ka sa kama, hanapin muli ang nagpalimot sa sakit
napagod na ang utak sa pagpipilit
kunin sa kusina, may tabletang sayo’y magpapapikit
“Puro ka pasakit,” sabi ng ama mong malupit

Isang oras na
ngunit hindi ka pa nagbago
titig ka sa pader, tingnan ang salitang sinulat ng iyong mga kuko
natuyo na ang dugo sa mga marka nito
hawakan ang mga ukit, basahin muli kung anong sinulat mo
“Tanga, bobo, ipokrito…” naluma na ng bandalismo

Dalawang oras na
ngunit hindi ka pa nagbago
kuha ka ng papel, isipin kung anong isusulat
nainip na ang mga salitang ‘di mo naisulat
tasahan na ang lapis, siguraduhin ang huling salita ay babakat
“’Di mo ako kilala,” ang mga unang salitang dapat bumuklat

Tatlong oras na
ngunit hindi ka pa nagbago
patawarin mo ang iyong ina, siyang nagsabing mag-ingat ka
napaos na ang paalala n’yang ‘di mo naalala
mahalin mo na siya, kahit ilang oras na lang ang natitira
“Pero alam mo kung ano ang kaya ko,” nasira na mga tinago mo sa kanya

Apat na oras na
ngunit hindi ka pa nagbago
imikan mo na ang iyong ama, siyang dating may humahagupit na suntok
ngunit nanlambot na ang braso, mga buto’y marupok
kamustahin mo na siya, baka sa wakas ngiti niya’y sa’yo pumatok
“Alam kong ‘di ko kayang mag-isa,” naluha ka na sa ala-alang minamasahe niya ang iyong batok

Limang oras na
ngunit hindi ka pa nagbago
labanan mo ang antok, mundo’y siguradong iikot’ikot
ngunit ang mata mo’y mabigat, pilit mong kinukusot
mamaya ka na pumikit, madumi pa ang iyong suot
“Pero alam kong kinaya ko nang wala ka,” nasulat mo sa papel mong gusot-gusot

Anim na oras na
ngunit hindi ka pa nagbago
sabihan ang iyong kapatid, huwag makalimot sa isa’t isa
nasanay na siyang wala ka, natutulog nang mag-isa sa kama
ipaalalang h’wag gumaya, baka matulad sa’yong pinipilit mag-isa
“Uuwi pa ba ako?” laging tanong sa sariling nagsasawa na

Pitong oras na
ngunit hindi ka pa nagbago
pakinggan ang ‘yong tagapayo, siyang payong mo sa gitna ng ulan
siyang magsasabing kaya mo, pansamantalang kandungan
halukayin sa isip kung paano ka titigan nang ‘di tinitingnan
“Hindi mo ‘ ko naiintindihan,” hindi kailanman

Walong oras na
ngunit hindi ka pa nagbago
isauli ang sapatos ng kaibigan, kumupas man ang kulay
nariyan man siya’y nag-iisa ka sa buhay
maging taingang-kawali sa mga salaysay
“Kasama ka sa lagi at hindi,” iluluwa ang sikretong ‘di dadalhin sa hukay

Siyam na oras na
ngunit hindi ka pa nagbago
tawagan ang iyong dating kasintahan, boses niyang inaasam marinig maghapon
napagod na ang araw, peklat na ang sugat noon
tanungin mo siya, kailan siya nakaahon
“Alam kong naduwag ako noon,” pinutol mo ang linyang sa iyo’y lalong magbabaon

Sampung oras na
ngunit hindi ka pa nagbago
tanggalin ang takip, mawawala na rin ang hinagpis
asul ang kulay ng ninanais
ibuka ang palad, ibuhos ang tamis
“Hindi na ako mamanhid sa sakit,” isang tuldok at bitawan ang lapis

Labing-isang oras na
ngunit hindi ka pa nagbago
isilid sa puting sobre, halik ang ipansiil
malaking halaga ang siningil
yakapin ang dilim, aninong ‘di masupil
“Nais ko lang maging malaya,” linamnam sa huling butil

Labing-dalawang oras na
ngunit hindi ka pa nagbago.

Al Lorgentina Gallardo is a Bachelor Of Science In Accounting Technology student at Ateneo de Davao University, born and raised at Toril, Davao City. Neal Andrei A. Lalusin is a Bachelor In Business Teacher Education student at Polytechnic University of the Philippines, born and raised at Alaminos, Laguna. They are two kids estranged by seas, dialects and cultures brought together by life, pain and friendship.