Arejola, Carlos A.

Carlos A. Arejola writes poetry, drama, essays, and stories for children in Bikol
Central, Filipino, and English. He directs plays, translates, and has initiated projects
advocating for writing in the vernacular, cultural heritage, and the arts. He is also an
active figure in the Bikol lecture circuit.

As writer and author                                                                                              Arejola is the author of eight books of plays, poetry, and illustrated children’s storybooks. His works have appeared in national magazines, textbooks, literary journals and anthologies published by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Society of St. Paul, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, University of San Agustin, Ateneo de Manila University, and the University of the Philippines. His poetry appeared
in the 1995, 1996 and 2001 editions of Aklat Likhaan ng Maikling Kuwento at Tula, a
series compilation of the best of Philippine writing published by the Likhaan: UP
Creative Writing Center and UP Press. His writings in Bikol have appeared in Bangraw;
Burak, Balay Ibalon’s annual anthology; Girok, the landmark Bikol erotica collection;
Sagurong 100 na Kontemporanyong Rawitdawit sa Manlain-lain na Tataramon Bikol
published by De La Salle University; An Tambobong nin Literaturang Bikolnon
published by Sumaro Bikolnon, Inc. and the literary section of Bikol Reporter.

He was a Writing Fellow for Poetry in Filipino at the UP National Writers Workshop in
1998 and the Iligan National Writers Workshop in 2000. His works have won the Don
Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, Gawad Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino,
and the Homelife Poetry Prize. His book of plays, Sayod Kong Tataramon/ Tuwiran
Kong Sasabihin (NCCA, 2009) was a finalist for the Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book
Award in 2010 and is credited to be Bicol’s first published collection of plays. He was a
recipient of a Citation for Literature from the Dr. Melchor T. Villanueva Centennial
Awards in 2007. The Municipal Government of Pili, Camarines Sur also awarded him
the Mayoral Distinguished Award in 2008, the year the award was founded.

He is a member of Sumaro Bikolnon, Philippine Center of the International PEN, and
the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL).

As editor and translator
He co-edited Yudi Man Mga Osipon para ki Nunuy asin Nini (NCCA, 2009), an
anthology of Premio Tomas Arejola-award winning stories for children; and is the co-
editor of The Pronoun I: First Person, Singular (Pintakasi Media Arts, 2017) and
Gotikong Bikol (Sentro ng Wika at Kultura-Region V, 2017). The Pronoun I is a
collection of monologues in Bikol, Filipino, English and is a collaboration of three
campus-based theater groups, the Teatro Aliento de Ateneo of the Ateneo de Naga
University, Teatro Ladawan of Central Bicol State University of Agriculture and Teatro
Ragayano of the Ragay National Agricultural and Fisheries School.

His Bikol translations of Maria Luisa F. Reyes’s poetry in Filipino appeared in the
landmark Sipat Salin Transfigurations (Talindaw Publishing House and Sanata Dharma
University, Indonesia, 2011). Hawla, his Bikol adaptation of Trifles by Susan Glaspell
was staged by Teatro Ragayano in 2016, one hundred years after the iconic play’s 1916
premiere in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Teatro Ragayano also staged Kuwintas, his
Filipino adaptation of Linda Ty Casper’s fiction The Transparent Sun, in 2017.

To reach out to Bicolano children who speak in the other variations of the Bikol
language, Arejola accompanies his children’s storybooks in Bikol Central with
translations in English and Filipino. The multilingual books for children are published by
Pintakasi Media Arts, an independent media outfit he put up in 2015. The outfit is slated
to produce video documentaries and short films in the future.

Cultural work
Arejola was elected Southern Luzon representative to the National Committee on
Literary Arts of the National Commission for Cuture and Arts for two terms, and sat in
the NCCA-NCLA Executive Committee from 2008 to 2013. It was during this time that
he first convened the Pintakasi kan Literaturang Bikolnon, then the Bikol satellite event
of the Taboan: Philippine Writers Festival. The 3-day Bikol literary festival is still being
carried out annually today.

The first books of writers Merlita Lorena Tariman, Jose Jason Chancoco, Honesto M.
Pesimo, Jr., Aida Cirujales, and Lourdes Lobis-Nieva saw print during his term through
an NCCA publication grant.

He has collaborated with groups in the academe, government and civil society in
undertaking the Bukambibig Literary Performance Series, the Pagtukdo-Pagsurat
Bikolnon: Teachers-Writers Conference (forerunner of Pagsurat Bikol), the Bikolinismo
Outstanding Bicolano Artist Search, Gipaw Rapu-Rapu Arts Camp, and other important
initiatives, including the Premio Tomas Arejola sa Literaturang Bikolnon and the Juliana
Fajardo Workshop sa Pagsurat Bikol. He founded the privately funded literary prize and
writers’ workshop in 2004 but have shelved them due to funding issues in 2016. The
two initiatives were cited by the Naga City Mayoral Awards in 2007 and by the UMPIL in

He is the founding chair of the Pili Cultural Heritage Society and spearheads its flagship projects, namely the Cultural Heritage Seminar for Teachers, George Curry Conference,
Pili Cultural Mapping Project, and the Dai Magin Dayo sa Sadiring Banwaan Pili Pride
Tour, a free guided tour that brings students, teachers, government officials and
employees to his hometown’s landmarks and historical sites. The advocacy group was
a recipient of the Pili Mayoral Recognition Award in 2015.

He is a co-founder of Teatro Ragayano and is currently its artist-in- residence. Among the plays he has directed for the theater group include Kuwintas; Hawla, and Panaghoy ng Kalikasan, an adaptation of Emerlina Gagalac Regis’ Palanca-winning play
Dalawang Mukha ng Kagubatan. Teatro Ragayano has actively sought partnerships
with civic and cultural groups to advance its advocacies. One such partnership was the
conduct of the 21 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence undertaken with the Zonta
Club of Naga City and Camarines Sur in 2016. Teatro Ragayano has also conducted
playwriting and theater production training seminars for DepEd Ragay District, and was
a finalist in the Best Cultural Group Category of the 2016 Aliw Awards.

Involvement in the lecture circuit
He has been a speaker at the Philippine PEN Congress, Taboan: The Philippine Writers
Festival, Kasanggayahan Heritage Lecture and other cultural and literary forum all over
the Philippines, including conferences and training seminars of the College Editors
Guild of the Philippines, DepEd, CHED, DILG, Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, and the
National Library of the Philippines. He was a panelist at the Indictment of Child Labor by
the Arts, an interdisciplinary panel discussion organized in 2013 by the Center for Civil
and Human Rights of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

Recent Works
1. An Enot na Puon nin Kalunggay/ The First Moringa Tree (Illustrated children’s storybook in Bikol and English) Pintakasi Media Arts, 2017

2. Boom Boom Boom An mga Aki kan Camarinezoom Trilogy
Book 1. Si Miriam asin an Saiyang Pansamhod, Panlampaso, Pantrapo asin Pansalod nin Ati
Book 2. Si Bebe, si Boboy asin an Saindang Pankagkag, Pansighid, Pansalod nin Ati asin Magkakambal na Sundang
Book 3. Si Cookie, si Nonoy asin an mga Aki kan Camarinezoom (Illustrated storybooks for children in Bikol, Filipino and English) Pintakasi Media Arts, 2016

3. An Amiga kong si Joni/ My Friend Joni (Illustrated storybook for children in Bikol and English) Pintakasi Media Arts, 2016

4. An mga Aki na Parakabod/ An mga Batang Mananala ng Ginto (Illustrated storybook for children in Bikol and Filipino) Pintakasi Media Arts, 2016

5. Wala Akong Bitbit na Sawiang Puso Tuwing Nagalalakbay (Poetry in Filipino) Ateneo de Naga University Press, 2015

6. Sayod kong Tataramon/ Tuwiran kong Sasabihin (Plays in Bikol and Filipino) National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2009

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