To a man writing poetry, flowers are beautiful. To women writers like Marra PL Lanot, flowers are far more dynamic. They can bloom. They can wilt. They can be revived. Flowers are powerful symbols of change.

It is this spirit that Lanot embodied in her writings as a poet, essayist, and journalist. As she explored the writings of women—from Latin-Americans to Filipinos—she resonated with the struggle against inequality. She wrote in spite of literary standards dictated by men. She joined literary festivals with feminist writers abroad, transcending language barriers to unite under a common struggle. Lanot went on to be one of the founders of Women Writers in Media Now, which would produce Filipina, one of the first anthologies of women’s writing in the Philippines. 

In our special Akdang Buhay documentary for women’s month, Lanot shares with us her beginnings as an English major who pursued her dreams in journalism to speak against conventions that stifled her and her fellow women. From her first time writing in Filipino about the local riot police to her workshop love story with Pete Lacaba and their efforts to fight back against Martial Law, Marra PL Lanot shows us that “there’s nothing wrong with being rebellious.”

Oh, and she shares about her love for cats, and some insider info on what really went down with Nick Joaquin and his National Artist award. 

The documentary will premiere this March 31, 2022, 6PM. Stay tuned! 



Akdang Buhay is a series of interviews with recognized stalwarts in Philippine literature, constituting a digital collection of oral histories of nationally important authors whose life and work form part of the literary bedrock that shapes and informs our national memory.


Joi Barrios-LeBlanc is a poet, activist, scriptwriter, translator, and professor of literature. Her most well-known work is “To Be a Woman is To Live at a Time of War,” which depicts the Filipino woman’s experience and calls to fight inequality.  She has been awarded with the TOWNS award for her outstanding service to the Philippines.