Tag Archives: cdo

Mindblowing Seminar

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Mindblowing Seminar

September 13, XU AVR 1, Cagayan de Oro City –  I was very fortunate to have participated in “Over A Cup of Coffee: A Talk with the Writers” –  ‘a literary discussion with the leading local writers of Mindanao.’ Said leading local writers who shared their journey in their specific literary field are Dr. Maria Elena Paulma , Dr. Steven Fernandez, Prof. Rogelia Garcia, and Prof. Arlene Yandug.

The talk was organized by XELLO (Xavier English Language and Literature Organization – a student organization for ELL and English major students in Xavier University) spearheaded by Kristen Senajon. (She also has a blog. Please check her out right here.)

Dr. Paulma started the talk by sharing the introduction of her dissertation. She was suppose to discuss about fiction but she ended up telling her process of writing in general. I didn’t actually take a lot of notes. I was too drawn listening to her. She has this aura that commands attention, not the kind that drill seargents have, but more like the kind Mother Mary had (if ever I did meet her).

One of the things she said that really struck me the most was the quote she shared by Butch Dalisay, “The knowing is in the writing.” Indeed, whenever I write, there’s always this sort of discovery that unfolds before me. Truths that I’ve never actually thought of in my waking moments. Thoughts that have lain dormant in my subconscious.

She also said how a writer’s best friend is the trash can. Haha! How true. Or if you’re more of the techie kind, the recycling bin, which is virtually a trash can.

There is also this dichotomy of creation and destruction in writing. I can’t seem to find the right words to explain how this phenomenon happens but let me paint a picture:

I’m writing. Pen on my right hand. A clean sheet of paper under it. I scribble words that come from my brain and down to my fingertips. Just as I’m about to put that last dot that ends the paragraph, I crumple that ink-filled sheet of paper and shoot that to my make-believe ring, which actually is just a trash can.

I know the picture I painted kinda sounded lame but….I tried.

I asked Dr. Paulma how she overcomes that fear of sharing to much of herself in her writing. She answered me with “It’s like jumping into a cliff. You just have to do it.”

The second part of the talk was about Poetry discussed by Prof. Yandug. She focused more on the structure of poetry and how line breaks are there to make the reader ask questions at the end of every line.

She used William Carlos Williams’ poem entitled Poem (As The Cat) to explain how line breaks work. As far as I could remember, she explained it like this:

As the cat                                 what?
climbed over                            climbed over what?
the top of                                 top of what?

the jamcloset                           and then?
first the right                            right what?
forefoot                                    oh okay, and then?

carefully                                   and then?
then the hind                           the hind what?
stepped down                         stepped down where?

into the pit of                           pit of the what?
the empty                               empty what?
flowerpot                                oh okay, the cat is safe. Yippee!

Now that I think about it, poetry is about suspense.

She also shared her poem entitled “Going Back to the Island”. The poem was published in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. If you like to read the poem, click this.

After reading the poem, some of the participants almost cried. Even the host of the seminar, my friend Abby, almost cried.

I asked Prof. Yandug if she thought of ever performing the poem while writing it and she said she never thought of it. My first question was only a set-up to invite her for the Poetry Night and she definitely said yes! It actually pays to have a very thick face.

The third resource speaker that day was Prof. Rogelio Garcia. He’s more fondly called as Sir Roger to colleagues and students. I first met him when NAGMAC (Nagkahiusang Mambabalak sa CDO) conducted a poetry workshop back in July. But, his reputation did precede him. Most of my friends who are English majors have been fawning about him; telling me how he is such an inspiration. And I do agree he is an inspiration.

He discussed the literary genre Creative Non Fiction (CNF) – the youngest literary form in the bunch and focused on discussing the memoir CNF. He also showed the guidelines of CNF (I’d rather not enumerate them here.) and how different memoir CNFs are from autobiographies and biographies. Simply put, CNFs are true accounts of someone’s life (or in a memoir – true accounts of YOUR life) but written artfully whereas autobiographies and biographies are more informative and concerned in dates and times.

Did my explanation make sense? I do hope so.

Last and definitely not the least was Dr. Fernandez – the rock star of Mindanao drama and the DEFENDER OF OUR HERITAGE. Seriously, he actually did get an award from China.

Instead of showing slides and discussing his topic, which was playwriting, he opted to make things more interesting by making us – the participants – ask questions first.

Someones asked him when he started performing, to which he answered that he started performing ever since he was born. And he said all of us perform. We perform at home, in school, in meeting, even that time when we were in the seminar. Even he was performing before us.

Performance is a part of our lives.

He was asked many questions to which he answered very wittingly. Even fellow resource speaker – Sir Roger – asked him questions about his craft. He was asked how he deals with writers’ block to which he answered “sex”. The crowd jeered!

He shared his experiences is the source of his creativity. His quotable quote that day was “You write what you know.”

The seminar was closed by Zara, one of the organizers, with an encouragement: “Writing is for the brave. Be brave.”

I hope this seminar has sparked the young local writers of our city. We badly do need it to uplift and promote our own heritage. As what Dr. Fernandez said, “It’s our own culture. Nag-iisa lang ‘yan. We have to defend it.”

And with that, I will now jump into the cliff (figuratively, of course).

Peace out!

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Retro Book Review: The Kobayashi Maru of Love and the quest in obtaining the said book

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The first time  I heard about Carljoe Javier’s The Kobayashi Maru of Love (hereon in referred to as KMoL), a friend of mine shared a photo over at Facebook about its book launching. Mind you, that was back in 2010. I  couldn’t go there coz the venue was in the nation’s capital and I was (still am) in Cagayan de Oro City. Ever since I saw the book cover, I swore to myself that I will get a hold of it one day.

I eventually found out that the book was self published and there was an astronomical possibility that it wouldn’t reach Mindanao, let alone my hometown. You know what I did? I searched the author’s name on Facebook and chatted him up asking him how to get a hold of his book. I think I even said “Please help out a fellow geek.” Now that I think about it, what I did was utterly humiliating. But wouldn’t you know it? He replied and said that I could look it up at Fully Booked and National Bookstore branches or ask Visprint for copies.

Two years later, I was scheduled to spend January 2012 at Cebu where I knew there was a Fully Booked branch over there. I did PM their FB page but I was inquiring on Up Dharma Down’s (hereon in referred to as UDD) Capacities album. Well, they did reserve the album for me. I even had a spat with another customer but that’s another story.

So I wandered around Fully Booked and was amazed at how the place was so huge and so full of books. There was no place like this back home. I found books I’ve been looking for years. But I didn’t get them all. I was broke. Haha.. Still am. But I left the place with UDD’s Capacities and Javier’s KMoL. Talk about broken hearted.

Imagine what it would be like reading a man’s collection of short stories about being dumped out of a long  term relationship while listening to Capacities. (Try reading it with Luna or Indak and you’ll know what I mean). It was heart wrenching.

KMoL is divided into three parts.

Part I is about the persona’s (or the author’s) compromises he has done to please his partner. It was suppose to be a template for a book about how their relationship endured even though they were polar opposites; he was a geek and she was a preppy popular girl. He wrote KMoL instead because well, she left him.

Part II is a collection of short stories each chronicling seven days after the break up. All of the entries are named after a day of the week. The stages of grief was aptly displayed in the chapters. My favorite entry was “Thursday” because he talked about the dreams he has built with the girl and how he has come to terms with the fact that they will not be fulfilled anymore.

Part III is about how the persona bounced back from the break up and meeting other people and spending time with friends. (Wew. There are a lot of ands in that sentence.) The one with the plan of picking up a girl in the comic book section of Fully Booked has potential but the execution sucked. Instead of having his eyes on the prize, he and his friend were stunned at a Superman cape being displayed in the store. They were so enamored at the cape; one girl even scoffed at them for being such nerds.

That’s why I love reading this book. Even if you’re not a hard core geek, you can still sympathize with the author because he talked about his views about being broken and how the bounced back from that. Of course, he didn’t do that alone. He had friends to lift his spirits up playing Guitar Hero and spending his time at Comic Alley (where he bought a Emma Frost action figure to telepathically spite his ex).

Two years later and I still read it on a whim. I read it chronologically. Sometimes I just pick out my favorite entry. Either way, I keep it in my bag daily coz I never know when boredom strikes.

Grab a copy at the nearest Fully Booked and National BS branches.

See what I did there?

Peace out!

 

Long Overdue

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So, another poetry night in our town just passed by. The night had a lot of feels. So much feels! It didn’t help that the theme was “Beginnings and Endings”. Well anyway, here’s a poem I performed that night with a friend. I actually wrote this immediately after a long overdue conversation I had with a long time friend.

 

To make it clear, two people performed this; yours truly and Dennis (thanks for obliging to performing it with me. I know it was sooooo last minute but we made it work. hehe) Dennis read the italicized ones and we read the bold ones together. I bit different form the performed one.

 

Here it goes.

 

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When you

– the boy who was your coffee buddy down at Dunkin Donuts ‘til the break of dawn, who checked on you whenever you went home late, who treated you out for cinnamon rolls just coz you were craving for them and I only had ten bucks in my pocket, who was your pseudo-bodyguard when you walk the city streets at night, who played the guitar just to hear you sing, who wrote you the first handwritten letter you’ve ever gotten from a non-relative human male life form –

 Told me my beauty –

  is gentle yet fierce

 My hair –

  mimics the waves of the sea

 My name –

  rhymes with “hi”

 And said –

  “My world stops when you laugh.”

 I laughed. How could I have missed that?

  I laughed. Coz when I offered you forever, you gladly kicked your shoes and ran with me on the beach barefoot.

We kicked the sand ‘til they kissed the waves–

  I laughed.

We laughed. We were two parts of the soul. Two sides of the same coin.

I was the warm to your cool

the yin to your yang

the wild to your calm

the peace to your chaos

the light to your dark

I laughed. You said you’d name our children Luke and Leia.

  But you begged me no. So we made a deal.

No juniors. No mixing our names together. No geekdom references.

  But fortune never smiles on people who say “No”.

 Let’s just hold off on our nerdazzle, shall we?

Okay, deal.

 There’s always something sad in piers and airports.

They always have someone leaving; always have someone get left behind.

But, we made it work.

 I wake up, grab my phone and tell you good morning.

  Come high noon, I tell you I’m in a meeting.

Good morning! How are you? Fine, you? Good! Are you in a meeting? Yes, gotta go. Okay, take care. God bless. God bless. – (repeat thrice)

 Where are you?

  Overtime.

 Where are you?

  Work.

 Where are you?

  With friends from work.

 Where are you?

  Night out.  Where are you?

 I’m right here. I was always right behind you. Ready to give you a hand, an arm, a shoulder, an eye, an ear, my pieces, my soul. Me.

  But you couldn’t.

–Where are you? –

 I’m right here.

  I was in the concrete jungle.

 I’m right here.

  I was making ends meet.

 I’m right here.

  I was lonely.

 I’m right here.

Where are you?

I’m right here.

Not with you

  I jumped from one dream to another.

 While I scrambled my way to catch up to you. I only had one plan.

  I had a grand plan but not

To be with you.

  But I offered you forever.

 I offered you me.

I’m sorry.

Even if we burned bridges, we could always find a way to zip line through the ridges

I could still retrieve it through the recesses of my mind.

[# here is a constant mobile number being said again and again by Dennis]

 I could still recite it (#) like an empty prayer.

 My lips (#) stored it in its muscle memory.

 Amazing (#), isn’t it? (#)

 (#)

 The number you have dialed is either invalid or not in use.

I laughed when I found out her beauty –

  is gentle yet fierce

  her hair –

  mimics the waves of the sea

  her name –

  rhymes with “hi”

Sometimes I hold my breath, close my eyes and see

The time I held your hand, the time we kicked the sand, the time we tanned and the time we planned

I kept them in my hand and willed myself to go back.

But we couldn’t.

I can only see our memories like a movie reel before me.

Cut. Edited. Pristine.

This time we have both our lives ahead of us. Time to let go. Got to move on. Keep moving forward. Look back once in a while. But never stop moving forward.

 

***********************

 

Next #cdopoetrynight soon!

 

Peace out!

March Poetry

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After a successful Poetry Night that NAGMAC (Nagkahiusang Mambabalak sa Cagayan de Oro or loosely translated as United Poets of CDO) organized, I thought of making poetry a daily habit. Each day for the entire month of March, I will try to make at least one poem. AM I up to it? I dunno. But what better way to make this a habit than to do it 21 times, right?

Wish me luck.

Peace out.

Different Houses

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Building dreams together is one of the perks of being in a relationship. It makes me look forward for the future. But when the relationship gets awry….
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She met a boy who wished for a simple home in a suburban neighborhood. No qualms and chaos. Just there to have peace and quiet. Now, he is gone.

She almost fell in love with a man who wanted a house on top of a century-old tree. He would build his own tree house and put a sun roof so all the light would come in. Now, he is pursuing someone else.

She fell in love with a man who dreamt of a Pi-shaped house with her. A white Pi-shaped house with an Olympic size swimming pool in between the elongated parts of the house. Now, he is with someone else.

The tragedy of it all? They never asked her what she wanted.
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In all fairness, I still don’t know how my ‘dream house’ would look like. o.O
What does your dream house look like?

Peace out!

Poetry Night in CDO Soon

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I’ve had the honor to perform in Xavier University’s Recite Night, organized by Xavier Center for Culture and the Arts (XCCA) and Xavier English and Language Organization (XELLO) in coordination of the celebraton of National Arts Month in the Philippines, last February 6, 2014. I was awestruck at all the talents. The poetry these young artists have are phenomenal. A couple of poems even made me cry.

And then I remembered there was this Poetry Night somewhere around Cagayan de Oro (CDO). I don’t remember where it was exactly so I made a status in Facebook. Lo, and behold, a friend commented on my status. And the rest was history.

We’re organizing a poetry night here in CDO on Feb 28, 8pm at the Chaibodia Resto Bar. It’s gonna be exciting. Musicians will play. Poets will perform. Artists will be in one place. 

I’m getting giddy!! 

 

Peace out!

Would it?

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I wrote this when I was ‘past the point of no return’ and started noticing that I still liked the things he liked even after we broke up. I know some of my friends hate certain things simply because these remind them so much of their exes. I saw myself not hating these things at all, no matter how much I wanted to, if only to forget him.

***********************
Would it matter if I still love the things you made me love?

I still love the coffee down at the bakery where we used to share a cup. I still love the book you bought me at the thrift bookstore when I didn’t have enough money. I still love the film you made me watch because you said it was amazing. If I still love the things I associate with you, then does that make me still love you?

I found a place that serves better, and I mean way better, coffee than that bakeshop. I bought a book and have actually read it more than a couple of times. I watched a film that made me laugh, cry, and love my life even more when I got out of the cinema. But I still love the things you love, does that make me still love you?

Would it matter if I still love the things you made me love? Maybe. Maybe not.

I’m with good company, if ever you’re wondering. Nope? Oh, my bad.

***********************

Well?
Peace out!

from a fox

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I got inspired by ee cummings. How he didn’t capitalize on the i’s really fascinated me. SO here is my attempt at it.

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i once met a little prince

he had cute little eyes

and cute rosy cheeks

unlike his adorable appearance

he was mean and scary

he shouts at people with his mighty roar

and hurts people for no reason at all

but behind the shouts and roar

lies a warm and fuzzy heart

so i gave him hugs and kisses

to show him that he is loved

and so he loved me back

with hugs and kisses too

then he grew warm and gentle with the other people

and just like everything small

he grew up to be a bright young king

with a scepter and crown for ruling the land

so he had responsibilities to keep

and had no time to visit me

so i waited and waited and waited

hearing the clock go tick and tock

and that’s how i taught him patience

and that’s how i taught him how to love

and be loved by someone like me

********************

Peace out!

Handkerchief

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I wrote this when I was cleaning my room and I found le ex’s hanky. dun dun dun dun….

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Handkerchief. That handkerchief. That red tribal-printed handkerchief was all he left her; was all she kept. She threw everything away; those gifts, those letters, those poems, those promises, except for that handkerchief.

To tell you honestly, he didn’t give her the handkerchief. She stole it form him. Or maybe he knew she took it. He just didn’t bother getting it back from her.

That’s what he did. He stole her. He robbed her of her innocence and she gladly gave it away. Was it still stealing?

Memory. At some point, a stimulus will cross her path and activate those neurons in her brain to tap the black box of forbidden and ill-forgotten dreams. Like a movie reel, the past plays before her like an unstoppable force of reckoning.

That handkerchief. That red tribal-printed handkerchief. She is burning it.
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Have I ever written anything not sad? I dunno. I suck at writing happy things. >_<

But what do you think?
Peace out!