Fiction by | September 28, 2014

It was 3 AM when the Man-Who-He-Should-Have-Been entered the room. Maita was asleep on the couch, so Alfredo was alone to meet him.

“Hi,” Alfredo-Who-Should-Have-Been said.

“Hi, yourself. I guess it’s time.”

“Yes it is.”

Alfredo-Who-Was looked at Alfredo-Who-Should-Have-Been from head to toe. He was about 50, the same age as he. He had a slight paunch and his shoulders were a bit rounded. He had on a dark suit and his hair was combed neatly. Alfredo-Who-Should-Have-Been looked back at him. For a long time, they said nothing.

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To Enter Valhalla

Fiction by | September 14, 2014

One moment Dr. Gumatao was in the operating room and the next, he was standing on a grassy hill gently sloping towards a long wooden building. Noel felt a presence to his side. He turned, and saw the tallest woman he had ever seen. She stood a full head over him, and she was wore a multi-hued tunic and brass bangles on her wrists and ankles. On her left she propped up a wooden shield almost as tall as she was. Instinctively he held up his hand with the thing that he gripped there. It was a moment before he realized, with much embarrassment, that it was his scalpel. A tiny scalpel.

The woman flashed a wide toothy smile. “Greetings, Awang, and welcome!”

Awang? He had not been called that since he was a child, and only by Nana, who never accepted his Christian name. “How do you know…?”

“Here you are known by your true name.”

“Where is here? What is this place? Why am I here?”

“Here is Tambaran. In your heart of hearts you know what this place is. You are here because you have been found worthy.”

Continue reading To Enter Valhalla

Truth Serum

Fiction by | August 24, 2014

Warning: the following story contains strong language and profanity.

Carlos Agape, bagman for the Batangas Cartel, sat on the high-backed wooden chair, his hands held down with leather straps on its arm rests. A slime of drool and vomit trailed down from the corner of his open mouth to his neck. His head was tilted back and his breathing was shallow.

“God, that took a while, but it was worth it,” Jose said with a yawn and pushed himself away from the desk. The desk was littered with notebooks and spreadsheets. On one side was the tape recorder, still running; on the other was the medical bag with vials of sodium pentathol and syringes.

“Pretty risky move back there,” Bert said, “That triple dose almost killed him.”

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USLS Announces the 14th IYAS National Writers’ Workshop

Editor's Note, Events by | January 13, 2014

Announcement from the IYAS workshop:

The University of St. La Salle-Bacolod (USLS) is inviting young writers to submit their application for the 14th IYAS National Writers’ Workshop which will be held on April 20-26, 2014 at Balay Kalinungan, USLS-Bacolod.

Applicants should submit original work: either 6 poems, 2 short stories, or 2 one-act plays using a pseudonym, in one (1) computer-encoded hard copy of entry, font size 12, and soft copies in a CD (MSWord). Short stories must be numbered, by paragraph.

These are to be accompanied by a sealed size 10 business envelope with the author’s real name and a pseudonym, a 2×2 ID photo, and short resume, which must be mailed on or before February 15, 2014.

Entries in English, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Tagalog or Filipino may be submitted. Fellowships are awarded by genre and by language.

Fifteen applicants will be chosen for the fellowships, which will include partial transportation subsidy and free board and lodging.

This year’s panelists include Rebecca Añonuevo, Grace Monte de Ramos-Arcellana, Genevieve Asenjo, D.M. Reyes, John Iremil Teodoro, and Marjorie Evasco as Workshop Director.

Please submit your application to: Ms. Rowena Japitana, IYAS Secretariat, Special Projects Office, University of St. La Salle, La Salle Avenue, Bacolod City. For inquiries, please email iyasliterary at

IYAS is held in collaboration with the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center of De La Salle University-Manila and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Ateneo de Davao Writers Workshop 2013

Events by | May 22, 2013

The Ateneo de Davao Writers Workshop will be held at Room C301, Ateneo de Davao University from 27-31 May 2013.

Distinguished writers such as Macario Tiu, Don Pagusara and Jhoanna Cruz are the panelists. They will also share their expertise during the craft lectures. Dominique Cimafranca, Rhodora Ranalan and Hazel Hamile, Creative Writing and Literature teachers of the university, will sit as guest panelists.

The fellows for this year’s AdDU Summer Writer’s Workshop are the following:

Sarah Samodal
Jhecel May Lovitos
Lionell Marañan
Louie Angelo Lim Ang
Frank Lloyd dela Cruz

Jose Martin Castrillo
Tiffany Motilla
Isabel Francesca Sambrano
Abdul Jabbar Marohom
Kristine Soria

Loreto Estor
Rachelle Corrine Estrellada
June Nicole Olayres
Kristina Clavero
Sean Año

The keynote speaker for this year is a renowned Filipino poet and Professor Merlie M. Alunan from the University of Visayas in Tacloban City, who will also launch a book during the workshop at the Ateneo de Davao University.

The workshop welcomes a number of observers who wish to learn the craft of writing.

Book Launch of “Pagdakop sa Bulalakaw”

Events by | May 14, 2013

pagdakop inviteAteneo de Davao University will host the book launch for Visayan poet Merlie Alunan’s latest collection of poetry, “Pagdakop sa Bulalakaw ug uban pang mga balak”, on May 29 (Wednesday) at its Jacinto Campus.

Alunan, a highly-respected writer in Philippine literary circles, is a professor at the UP College-Tacloban as well as an associate of the UP Institute of Creative Writing. She has received numerous awards for her writing including multiple Palanca Awards, the National Book Award, Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas, and the Thornton Award, among many others.

“Pagdakop sa Bulalakaw” is Alunan’s fourth book of poetry, and the first written in her mother tongue. The poems in this collection were originally conceived and written in Cebuano, then translated by Alunan herself into English. A few poems have also been translated into Waray. The book is published by the Ateneo de Manila University Press.

The launch of “Pagdakop sa Bulalakaw” starts 3:00PM at the F-705 Finster Building of Ateneo de Davao. Davao writers Dr. Macario D. Tiu of the Philippine Women’s College and Nino Soria de Veyra of UP Mindanao will present their reviews of the book. Alunan will be on hand for book signing after the event.

“Pagdakop sa Bulalakaw” retails for P450, but will be available at special discounted price of P400 during the launch.

The Feud

Fiction by | December 30, 2012

feudIf you must know, The Feud began because of the mango tree, the mango tree that stood between our house and the Lopezes’ house. Well, not quite in between. You see, if old lady Mameris — from whom we had bought the houses — had only planted the tree right smack along the property line, then there might not have been any trouble to begin with. I think that might have been her plan. As things turned out, the tree took root a few feet inside the Lopezes’ garden.

Now, if it weren’t for the tree, our properties would have been perfect twins. Mrs. Mameris had built the houses for her children, and so they looked exactly alike, only built in reverse, as in a mirror: a spacious garden; a two-car garage; dining room, living room, and hobby room on the ground floor; four bedrooms on the second floor; exterior painted darkwood and teal. Sadly, the Mameris children preferred life in Canada, and so their widowed mother had no choice but to sell, and a good bargain we got for them, too.

Come to think of it, like the houses we lived in, the Lopezes and my family also mirrored each other in uncanny ways. Henry Lopez and I both worked as area managers (I in softdrinks, Henry in detergents); his Sally and my Diane had put their careers on hold to be stay-at-home wives; and their Westley and our Bridget had both just entered the third grade. We bought our houses within weeks of each other. While no one could say that we were close, we maintained friendly relations with each other. Friendly, that is, until the Feud.

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