The LIKHAAN: UP Institute of Creative Writing (UP ICW), in partnership with local queer writers and performers, is launching the first episode of its GANAP series, “KABOG: Pride Under Quarantine.” The episode is set to launch on June 27, 2020 (Saturday) at 7:00PM.

GANAP: Literatura at Musika sa Gitna ng Pandemya is part of the UP ICW’s online projects in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a series of online performances by artists coming from the local literary community, some of whom are members of the UP ICW itself. Preceding this inaugural episode  was the launch of the Freelipiniana Online Library, which took place on June 15, 2020.

While Freelipiniana’s digital archives are meant to address the inaccessibility of Philippine literary texts during the pandemic, GANAP seeks to create a space where literature enthusiasts can gather and enjoy literary functions in the safety of their homes. For performers, GANAP is an avenue where they can freely express their own experiences and thoughts with regard to the issues the country is facing in the midst of this global crisis.

One such issue is the postponement and reorganizing of Pride protests and festivities this June. Due to pandemic safety measures, queer folks and allies of the LGBTQ+ community are being encouraged to find safer avenues to come together in celebrating diversity and in speaking up about the unique struggles the community is facing under a pandemic-stricken Philippines. KABOG provides a stage where queer writers and artists can perform poetry that speaks of and for the LGBTQ+ under quarantine: isolation from their beloved communities, the repercussions of a militaristic approach on an already vulnerable population, the unbearable yearning for love and companionship, and so on.

This episode will feature the following performers:

Nerisa del Carmen Guevara is an Associate Professor at the University of Santo Tomas, where she teaches Creative Writing and is a Resident Fellow of the Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies. She is the author of Reaching Destination: Poems and the Search for Home (UST Publishing House, 2004). She was the recipient of the Carlos Palanca Award for Poetry in 1999. Her poetry has been featured in various international publications and anthologies, including Cha Asian Journal (Hong Kong, 2018); The Achieve Of, The Mastery: Filipino Poetry and Verse from English mid-90s to 2016 (Manila, 2018); The Comstock Review (New York, 2018); Tomas Journal (Manila, 2018, 2019); and Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine (Hong Kong, 2020), among others. Her performance art has been exhibited worldwide in PERFORMATURA (Manila), SIPA International Art Festival (Philippines), Biennale Jojga Equator V (Indonesia), LAPSody (Helsinki), and Grace Exhibition Space (New York), among others. Her some of her performance pieces Elegies and Infinite Gestures are currently archived in The Live Art Digital Agency (London).

J. Neil C. Garcia teaches creative writing and comparative literature at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, where he serves as Director of the university press and a Fellow for Poetry in the Institute of Creative Writing. He is the author of numerous poetry collections and works in literary and cultural criticism. Between 1994 and 2014, he coedited the famous Ladlad series of Philippine gay writing. Other important anthologies that he edited are Aura: the Gay Theme in Philippine Fiction in English, published in 2012, Bright Sign, Bright Age: Critical Essays in Philippines Studies, 2017, and the forthcoming Busilak: New LGBTQ Poetry from the Philippines. He is the director for the Philippines of Project GlobalGRACE: Global Gender and Cultures of Equality, a world-wide research and arts consortium sponsored by the Research Councils of the United Kingdom and Goldsmiths, University of London. He is currently at work on “Likha,” his seventh poetry book.

John Iremil Teodoro is from San Jose de Buenavista, Antique. He is an Associate Professor and the Graduate Program Coordinator at the Literature Department in the College of Liberal Arts of De La Salle University. He is also the Associate for Regional Literature of La Salle’s Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of San Agustin in Iloilo City, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a Doctor of Philosophy in Literature from DLSU. He is a multi-awarded writer in Kinaray-a, Filipino, Hiligaynon, and English. He is the author of more than 12 books and his collection of short essays Pagmumuni-muni at Pagtatalak ng Sirenang Nagpapanggap na Prinsesa won the National Book Award from the Manila Critics Circle and the National Book Development Board. Teodoro is also a scholar of Hiligaynon Literature. He contributes reviews, travel pieces, and cultural reportage to AGUNG, The Daily Tribune, and Liwayway magazine where he is writing a regular column on books and the importance of reading. He is presently the Secretary General of Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL or the Writers Union of the Philippines.)

Romulo P. Baquiran,  Jr. teaches literature and creative writing at the College of Arts and Letters, UP Diliman, Quezon City. He has published several books of poems –Mga Tula ng Paglusong (Poems of Entering the Water, 1992), Onyx (2003), and Kung Nanaisin (If You Like, 2009). In 2017, he came up with a collected work and some new pieces with Ibig (Desire).  He will read “Lungkot” and “Tatlong Hiling.”

Carlomar Arcangel Daoana is the author of five collections of poetry, with The Elegant Ghost (University of the Philippines Press, 2019), as the most recent. The initial poems of the collection received First Place honors in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. His poems have been anthologized in the Vagabond Asia Pacific Poetry Series (Sydney and Tokyo), Naratif Kisah (Kuala Lumpur), and 11 x 9: Collaborative poetry from the Philippines and Singapore (Singapore).    George Town Literary Festival (2019). Daoana teaches at Ateneo de Manila University’s Fine Arts Department.

Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz is Associate Professor of literature and creative writing at the University of the Philippines Mindanao. Her first book, Women Loving. Stories and a Play (2010) from De La Salle University and Anvil Publishing, is the first single-author collection of lesbian-themed works published in the Philippines. In 2015, her stories were published as an eBook entitled Women on Fire. She has received Carlos Palanca Memorial Literary Awards for her writing. She edited Tingle Anthology of Pinay Lesbian Writing, forthcoming this year from Anvil Publishing, Inc.

Metro Manila Pride would have been held on the 27th, and if not for the existing public health crisis, queer folks would have taken to the streets to speak their loudest. Celebrations have been moved to online platforms, and this year’s grand Pride march has needed to be changed into an online gathering. The premiere episode of GANAP is our participation in this socially distanced act of togetherness. Virtual though it may be, it will be just as proud and queer!

Tara, samahan niyo kami sa aming GANAP ngayong Sabado!