UP Press to launch The Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2005 – 2010

The University of the Philippines Press is launching “The Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2005 – 2010” this Thursday, February 28, at 5:00 p.m. at Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman, Quezon City.

The book is a selection of some of the best short stories from the first five years of the nationally- and internationally-acclaimed annual anthology series, Philippine Speculative Fiction. PhilSpecFic, as it is affectionately referred to, is the centerpiece of one of the most vibrant movements in contemporary Filipino literature, nurturing and encouraging Philippine authors to ply their craft in the realms of fantasy, horror, science fiction, magic realism, folklore, alternate history, and other related ‘nonrealist’ genres and subgenres.

“The Best of…” is edited by Dean Francis and Nikki Alfar, who have shepherded both the annual anthology and the Filipino speculative fiction movement from their inception. The husband and wife are recipients of multiple Palanca and other literary merits, and have been gratified to see several pieces from the PhilSpecFic series garner recognition as well—notably FH Batacan’s ‘Keeping Time’ (first prize winner of the Philippines Free Press award) and Asterio Gutierrez’s ‘Big Man’ (first prize winner of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature).

For a consistent eight years now, Philippine Speculative Fiction has been drawing yearly submissions from both literary luminaries and fledgling writers. As a representation of the anthology’s first half-decade, The Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2005 – 2010 comprises:

‘The Secret Origin of Spin-man’ by Andrew Drilon
‘An Introduction to the Luminescent’ by Pocholo Goitia
‘The Sign of the Cross’ by Russell Stanley Geronimo
‘The Singer’s Man’ by Rebecca Arcega
‘Carbon’ by Paolo Chikiamco
‘The Ascension of Our Lady Boy’ by Mia Tijam
‘Parallel’ by Eliza Victoria
‘Feasting’ by Joshua L. Lim So
‘Reclamation’ by Angelo R. Lacuesta
‘Pedro Diyego’s Homecoming’ by Apol Lejano-Massebieau
‘Six from Downtown’ by Dean Francis Alfar
‘Sky Gypsies’ by Timothy James M. Dimacali
‘A Retrospective on Diseases for Sale’ by Charles Tan
‘Revenge of the Tiktaks’ by Noel Tio
‘The Maiden’s Song’ by Kate Osias
‘Keeping Time’ by FH Batacan
‘Sink’ by Isabel Yap
‘Frozen Delight’ by Marguerite Alcazaren de Leon
‘Brigada’ by Joseph F. Nacino
‘The Flicker’ by Ian Rosales Casocot
‘Bearing Fruit’ by Nikki Alfar
‘Dino’s Awesome Adventure’ by Carljoe Javier
‘The Sparrows of Climaco Avenue’ by Kenneth Yu
‘The Death and Rebirth of Nathaniel Alan Sempio’ by Alexander Osias
‘Sidhi’ by Yvette Tan
‘Mang Marcing and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ by Vincent Michael Simbulan
‘A League of Champions’ by Ronald Cruz
‘Hopscotch’ by Anne Lagamayo
‘All We Need is Five Meals a Day’ by Jose Elvin Bueno
‘Just Man’ by Rica Bolipata-Santos

The book will be launched alongside nine other titles from UP Press, including “Hoard of Thunder”, a fiction anthology edited by Gemino H. Abad and also containing stories by the Alfars. The launch is open to all.

UP DECL’s Profernalia 2 this March 1

Profernalia 2 is back. Drop by FC Gallery 2, Bulwagang Rizal, UP Diliman, on March 1st for pre-loved books, journals, and baked goodies! Mementos and memorabilia from your favorite DECL teachers are up for grabs. The proceeds will benefit the incoming DECL scholars of AY 2013-14.

For more information, contact Prof. Lorie Santos at lorie.santos@gmail.com

UP Press to launch ten new titles this February 28

The wealth of creative, scientific, and scholarly knowledge in the country will be made even richer on February 28, 2013 with the launching of ten new books from the University of the Philippines Press or UP Press. The mass launch will be at the Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman, at 5pm.

Lovers of fiction will surely take delight in three short story anthologies that showcase the depth and vitality of the Filipino writers’ imagination. Hoard of Thunder: Philippine Short Stories in English 1990 to 2008 Volumes I and II edited by Gémino H. Abad form part of a six-volume historical anthology of Philippine short stories written in English. Edited by Dean Francis and Nikki Alfar is a collection of the best short stories from the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres, The Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2005-2010.

Science and technology experts in the country continue to enrich the already vibrant field through their written works of insights and instructions. The Foundation Course in College Chemistry by Marcelita Coronel-Magno, a textbook with a teacher’s manual companion, covers the basics in learning and teaching Chemistry. Filipino scientists and engineers here and abroad share their work experiences and philosophies toward the appreciation of the value of science to society in Science Philippines Volumes I and II, edited by Gisela P. Padilla-Concepcion.

Students, professionals, and laymen interested in Archaeology, Anthoropology, History, and Law and Politics will also find engaging reads in UP Press’ newest books. Anthropologists and archaeologists seeking to delve into and develop regional archaeological studies may find a helpful reference in Andrea Malaya M. Ragragio’s book, Archaeology and Emerging Kabikolan. The Filipino seamen and the critical role they play in worldwide maritime trade are examined and analyzed by Kale Bantigue Fajardo in his book Filipino Crosscurrents. The topic on the separation of law and politics focusing on Supreme Court leading cases on constitutional laws is the subject of Pacifico Agabin’s The Political Supreme Court. Gat Andres Bonifacio’s life and heroism are celebrated in a screenplay and sarsuwela in the book, Supremo by Domingo and Edna May Landicho.

Whether it is fiction, science, or any topic on the social sciences, enthusiasts and serious readers alike will always find a worthy Filipiniana read in a UP Press publication.

For inquiries, please call the UP Press Bookstore at 928-4391 local 112 or log on to uppress.com.ph or email uppressbooks@gmail.com.


Rio Alma, maglulunsad ng bagong aklat ng mga ‘speculative’ na tula

Ilulunsad ang kapana-panabik na bagong aklat ng tula ng Pambansang Alagad ng Sining para sa Panitikan Rio Alma, sa Marso 8, 2013, 5 nh, sa UP Vargas Museum.

Pinamagatang “Ang Romansa ng Pagsagip ng Osong Marso” (UST Publishing House) ang aklat na ito na maaaring kauna-unahang “speculative poetry” sa panulaang Filipino ay may kasamang salin sa Ingles ng makatang Marne Kilates.

Upang dumalo, mag-log on sa Facebook Event Page ng Paglulunsad:https://www.facebook.com/events/215749745238339/.



In its continued effort to promote a culture of reading and lifelong learning among the Filipino people, the NBDB initiates a series of training sessions and workshops in partnership with various government agencies, local government units, non-government organizations, and the private sector. Recent Booklatan sa Bayan programs were conducted in Currimao, Ilocos Norte and Taguig City. 

Each Booklatan session is made to suit the audience’s needs. Examples of topics are the K-12 curriculum, compiling teaching materials in the mother tongue, reading appreciation, library management, storytelling, contemporary literature, storytelling, creative writing, and many other book-related topics.

The NBDB is looking for teachers, librarians, writers, and other professionals who are willing to share their expertise with a wider audience. Those who are interested may get in touch with THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR at oed@nbdb.gov.ph. Send us your CV with a cover letter that indicates what topics you would like to discuss and if you are willing to go to a Booklatan session outside of Metro Manila.

Jun Lana Palanca-winning play opens casting call

Jun Robles Lana’s upcoming film “Barber’s Tales”, a 1997 Palanca award winning screenplay that has been selected for the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum this year is now opening casting calls. 
Set in a remote province at the onset of Martial law in the early 1970s, the story revolves around the free-spirited and newly widowed Marilou who inherits their town’s only barbershop from her husband – a business that has been passed down by generations of men in her husband’s family. 

Having no other means to support herself, she musters the courage to run the barbershop, a traditionally male trade. However, despite the skills she gained from years of observation and being an assistant to her husband, as a female barber she fails to attract any customers. 

Nevertheless, things take an unexpected turn when Marilou gains the trust of other women in her community… 


Marilou- mid-30s to early 40s, a widow struggling to find acceptance in a male-dominated small town; vulnerable with unassuming sexuality


Cecillia- mids 30s to early 40s, beautiful but unstable mayor’s wife; delicate, sensitive

Tessie- mid 30s to early 40s, a spinster who devoted her life to raising her nephew; stern but compassionate

Susan- mid 30s to early 40s, Marilou’s best friend, funny, very amenable and family oriented

Rosa- 20s, small town prostitute; loud, bossy and rough

Edmond- 18-20 (male), country raised and city educated, naïve and idealistic

DATE: March 1, 2013 (Friday) 
VENUE: Emperor 2 Function Room
Imperial Palace Suites, Timog cor Tomas Morato QC

For inquiries: email octobertrain@gmail.com


PANAWAGAN PARA SA PAGPAPASA NG ABSTRAK PARA SA AMBAGAN 2013: Pambansang Kumperensiya sa Paglikom ng mga Salita Mula sa Iba’t Iba

Sa pakikipagtulungan ng Ateneo Institute of Literary Arts and Practices (AILAP) at ng Kagawaran ng Filipino ng Paaralan ng Humanidades ng Ateneo de Manila University, nag-aanyaya ang Filipinas Institute of Translation (FIT) sa mga iskolar, guro, at masusugid na tagapagtaguyod ng wika na magpása ng abstrak para sa gaganaping “AMBAGAN 2013: Kumperensiya sa Paglikom ng iba’t ibang Salita mula sa mga Wika sa Filipinas” sa ika-25, 26, at 27 ng Hulyo 2013 sa Ateneo de Manila University.

Ang proyektong AMBAGAN ay proyekto ng FIT na ginaganap tuwing ikalawang taon mula noong 2009. Ang pinakaunang kumprensiya nito ay ginanap noong ika-5 at 6 ng Marso 2009 na kinatampukan ng mga panayam ng mga eksperto hinggil sa mga salita mula sa mga wikang Bikol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Ilokano, Ifugao, Kinaray-a, Magindanaw, Maranao, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Tagalog, Tausug, at Waray. Kumikilala at tumatalima ang proyektong ito sa probisyong pangwika sa Artikulo XIV, Seksiyon 6 ng Konstitusyon ng Filipinas na nagsasabing “Ang wikang pambansa ng Pilipinas ay Filipino. Samantalang nalilinang, ito ay dapat payabungin at pagyamanin pa salig sa umiiral na mga wika ng Pilipinas at sa iba pang mga wika.” Nagpapanukala ito ng isang estratehiya sa pagpapayaman ng wikang Filipino—ang paghalaw mula sa kaban ng bokabularyo ng iba’t ibang wika sa Filipinas upang ilahok sa korpus ng wikang pambansa.

Isang magandang halimbawa ng salita mula sa isang umiiral na wika sa Filipinas ang pay-yo (may varyant na payaw at payew) ng mga taga-Cordillera. Sa mahabang panahon, karaniwang mababása sa mga teksbuk sa araling panlipunan ang bansag na rice terraces o hagdan-hagdang palayan para tukuyin ang ehemplong ito ng katutubong teknolohiyang pang-agrikultura. Kamakailan na lamang naging popular ang paggamit ng salitang pay-yo dahil na rin sa pagtatampok sa konsepto ng wikang Filipino bilang wikang patuloy na nililinang batay sa iba’t ibang wika sa Filipinas.

Ang mga salitang tulad ng pay-yo ay hindi lamang mahalaga dahil sa pagbibigay sa atin nito ng pantumbas sa mga konseptong karaniwang ipinahahayag natin sa wikang banyaga. Higit na makabuluhang itampok ito upang tuluyan at ganap na makilala natin ang ating mga kapatid sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa at makilala natin ang ating sarili bilang mga Filipino.

Sa pagpapása ng abstrak na hindi lalabis sa 300 salita, kailangang maghanay ang mananaliksik ng mga salitang may natatanging kahulugan sa kultura at kasaysayan ng pinagmumulang etnolingguwistikong pangkat. Kailangang maipaliwanag ang metodong gagamitin sa pangangalap, pagpapakahulugan, at pagbibigay ng halimbawang gamit sa pangungusap o karaniwang pag-uusap. Kailangan ding mapangatwiranan kung bakit mahalagang maging bahagi ng korpus ng Pambansang Wika ang mga salitang ito.

Ang huling araw ng pagpapása ng abstrak ay sa ika-15 ng Pebrero 2013. Ipadala ito kalakip ang pangalan at institusyong kinabibilangan o kinauugnayan ng nagpadala kay Dr. Michael M. Coroza, Direktor ng Ambagan 2013, sa email adres na ito: mcoroza@ateneo.edu. Pormal na ipababatid kung natanggap ang inihaing abstrak sa ika-28 ng Pebrero 2013. Kapag natanggap, dapat na masulat at maipása ang buong papel sa ika-30 ng Abril 2013.

Para sa iba pang detalye o mga katanungan hinggil sa paglahok sa kumperensiyang ito, maaaring makipag-ugnayan kay Propesor Romulo P. Baquiran Jr., Pangulo ng FIT, o kay Bb. Eilene G. Narvaez, pangkalahatang koordineytor ng mga gawain, sa numerong 547-1860. Maaari ding bisitahin ang website ng Filipinas Institute of Translation na sawikaan.net at/o magpadala ng mensahe safilipinas.translation@gmail.com.


The Sky Over Dimas now a major play

DLSU Harlequin Theatre Guild presents the adaptation by Tim Dacanay of the Palanca award winning novel, The Sky Over Dimas, written by Vicente Garcia Groyon. The play will star Mr. Toby Alejar and Mr. Redjie Jimenez as George Torrecarion.

Below are the schedules:
March 21, 2013 – 6:30 PM
March 22, 2013 – 10:30 AM, 3 PM, 6:30 PM
March 23, 2013 – 10:30 AM, 3 PM, 6:30 PM

It will be shown at the Teresa Yuchengco Auditorium. Tickets are PHP 200 each. For inquiries, contact KYLE BULUT at 0917 896 2239.

The Harlequin Theatre Guild is the premier theatre organization of De La Salle University which aims to raise the social consciousness among audiences through theatre.

New Year Elegy



In some cultures, clocks are stopped

when there’s a death in the family.


My wristwatch insists on ticking.





How to write an elegy,

at the top of the page.

Consider whom to address—

the deceased or the bereaved—

what verb tense to use,

whether you can immerse

yourself in the language of grief

without flailing.





How can you not be present while tonight’s fireworks

cheer up the sky like a young girl’s pom poms,

like jackstones whirling before the starry descent?





She hurled the ball and stones

into a trash can years ago,

rejecting her loss the way

she refused the blindfold,

the bluff. Here lies the girl

who turned the pages of a book

while we salvaged her toys

and stood still behind doors,

not wanting our bodies

to be touched and identified.






Between Christmas and the cemetery

was a long night, a phone ringing in the still of it,

a voice quivering to the cusp


of a goodbye, a gunshot muffled by tinted windows,

pillowed dreams. Here’s where it ends,

says her limp hand. Here’s the lengthy epilogue


where the rest of us grope for a lamp each night

as if it were an explanation, begging her to emerge

from the shadows of our interrupted sleep.





Since you were a master of the angle, the frame,

let’s play a game. Use this scene to shoot


an episode called How easily guilt festers

into blame. Would you pan across the chapel


and zoom in on your ex-lovers muttering

in their separate corners? There she is,


your last beloved, hesitating by the door.

There’s our uncle, blowing cigarette smoke


in her face, a signal for us to walk out.

Whom would you have called the culprit/s?







Fact: more people die

during the holiday season

than at any other time of the year.

Evidence: other mourners filling up

this hallway, that bathroom.


In the next chapel: men guffawing,

keeping their dead company

with a bottle of gin, getting drunker

by the minute in another dialect.


I march up to them. Let me in

on the joke, I say. They look

like they’ve just seen a ghost.





Endings are my specialty. What keeps me going

is not faith, but curiosity. Here’s to us who see

the stories through, whose victories are few,

who wish to shake her awake in the casket,

to slap the hands of strangers’ children

pointing to where the bullet

had burrowed its way in.





A tumor lodges its way into the head, like a bullet.

A bullet lodges its way into the head, like a tumor.


We were taught to read well: if a character suffers

frequent headaches, they must be critical. If a gun


is introduced, it must go off before the story ends.

Such eager students, obeying the rules of the narrative.









What would you like us to revise

now that you are simply a she,

was? Shall we say you joined us

in the next game two decades ago?

That you believed in an elsewhere

with popcorn and front row seats

to the rest of our lives? On this side

of the screen, we count the seconds

down to the new year, while fireworks

keep falling from the face of the sky

and new ones keep shooting up

like thrown jackstones before being

picked up and kept warm in someone’s

hand, one tiny piece at a time.

At the Travel Agency, I Find

myself parceling thoughts into paragraphs
to be mailed, as if he had already left.

One: after three flights of stairs,
how could he have guessed which
was the right room, there being no sign
on the door?
Two: his sense of direction
has nothing to do with the compass-
shaped lighter in his pocket, yet another
Three: white squares
on walls where maps must have hung,
tour brochures still on monobloc chairs,
steel cabinets perched on trolleys,
all make up one story: even this place
is in the process of moving.
(A traveling
travel agency, like a garage sale
in a real garage.)
I think of a neighbor
who parked her car out on the curb
while strangers rifled through silverware
and books, furniture and shirts: a houseful
of detritus in the driveway, selling for less
than their worth.
She looked on with resolve
(or was it nonchalance?), her eyes saying:
No room for baggage; I am bartering
my heart for another life.
And now he—
who is neither neighbor nor stranger to me—
what would he say in this, my story
of the last errand?
(That he has been
a tourist all this time? That his hunger
for border-jumping is insatiable?)
I sit at the edge
of my chair, waiting for—there it flickers,
as an agent hands him his plane ticket—

the look of a child asking if it is all right
to leave, as if permission were mine
to give.
I watch the agent reading,
taking forever to turn the page. I want to ask
where the maps are, to see the red dots—
like the lit ends of cigarettes—in place
of the cities we love.
Instead, I make my knuckles
crack a code into the air: Leave already,
so you can write to me. I need
to read your version of this story.