Monthly Archives: October 2011

Friday ∗ 28 Oct 2011

because literature IS serious business

It seems like a foregone conclusion: how else would Singapore do a writers’ festival but with seriousness and business-like professionalism? What’s striking about the first few days of the Singapore Writers’ Festival (SWF) though is this: while business sense would dictate the selling of books in relation to the event, there’s also a clear sense here of going beyond that. And the SWF does so by showing us how literature and writing might on the one hand be celebrated as… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 25 Oct 2011

on Digging In The Dirt, an exhibit

and how art criticism fails in this country. stop talking to the artists! start looking at their work! The endless gaze in Digging In The Dirt In literature we always say the author is dead, a convenient and highly questionable concept really that allows the reader a pretense of reading only the text, ignoring as much as possible the notion of the writer as center of truth. In reviewing art, it still seems like a contradiction to do an interview with… Continue reading »


it must have a lot to do with the conversations. on the last 24 hours we didn’t have yet, before a flight was cancelled and rebooked, before you try and fit in seven months of self into bags, i watched not with wonder but distance: your back was turned to me as you washed the dishes, 10 beers between us, you tell me to stay put. your word upon word upon word become a slow reveal, weighing heavier and heavier… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 24 Oct 2011

poverty ain’t a blessing

The Church and reproductive health by Juan Miguel Luz When RH is portrayed as a great evil and when women and men who choose to pursue RH measures, notably contraception, are deemed to be sinners by Church leaders, this is neither fair nor informed. The greater sin would be to bring any number of children into a world of poverty.When parents do so with no means to provide adequately for them nor provide them a chance at a decent quality… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 23 Oct 2011

do something

<…> Enjoy the stories, admire the craft. Then put it in your backpack and go. As far as you can, for as long as you can afford it. Preferably someplace where you have to think in one language and buy groceries in another. Get a job there. Rent a room. Stick around. Do something. If it doesn’t work out, do something else. Whatever it is, you will be able to use it in the stories you will write later. And… Continue reading »


it must have a lot to do with the conversations. over those introductory cups of coffee it was a lesson in first meetings: (1) choose a quiet(er) place, (2) remember to pee before it begins, the better to (3) prepare for a four-hour conversation. measure the time spent sitting across each other, compare it to the time spent in each others arms. get a ruler: how far is the distance between us as we walk the streets? how many minutes to… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 17 Oct 2011

on naming Ballet Philippines as the Phil Nat’l Ballet Company

and questions on national and cultural, and the crisis that is Philippine dance, that can only resonate for the rest of culture industry in this country. excerpt from the piece by Myra Beltran: <…this> greatly changed environment <…> also signals that the bill can be examined in terms of its assumptions about the “national” and “culture” (Philippine culture). These are the discourses which inform the bill. These discourses summoned by the bill then imply that a deeper discussion on this… Continue reading »

celebrating the production of Peter Pan

A text like Peter Pan banks on wonder, given an audience of children who would be overwhelmed by the idea of flight. But it also banks on an adult audience that can go back to an amount of youthful innocence, given the familiar. Of course this familiarity can also be this text’s undoing, owing to its many versions, some more iconic than others (think Robin Williams as Peter). Any staging / rendering / version then can only really be successful… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 16 Oct 2011


it must have a lot to do with the conversations. there’s the limits of a text message, like a finish line i refuse to cross, so i stop right before it, and begin again. you call it eloquence. i edit myself. you call out to me through the tiny box that you complain is too small a space, appearing just above your right hand as we chat. the tiny box ain’t so bad i argue, and isn’t it above your… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 10 Oct 2011

Kuya and OPM

this was previously published in Metakritiko when it was still cool and fearless (haha). and because i don’t like repeating myself, and we were brought up to not talk about ourselves, am posting it here as tribute to pinoy music on the one hand, birthday greeting on the other. for Kuya, without whom this blog (and therefore my writing) wouldn’t be possible, and who should really be writing more often, too. cheers! Mix Tapes for the Story of Distance: or OPM? Music… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 09 Oct 2011


it must have a lot to do with the conversations. when it can be had about the billboards that riddle the streets, where capital and colonialism, consumption and crises, become par for the course, of that long stretch of EDSA that cradles the car from one city to the next two, as it shifts from quiet residential to sprawling Manila, the dip in the tone, the way that it sounds, onomatopoeic i say, a conversation you’ve been having with your… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 07 Oct 2011

the writing responsibility

because i’ve been thinking about, which is to say struggling with, writing and self-centeredness, this can only be serendipitous: a piece on poetry, but which is really about writing, from mabi david: To write is to come to an awareness, says Carolyn Forché, which I believe wholeheartedly. I write because it is the way available to me of thinking about the world, of apprehending experience. Thus is the self implicated in the poem. We must write with vigorous self-reflection and… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 05 Oct 2011

Luisa Mallari-Hall, teacher

in April 2000, Prof. Luisa Mallari-Hall died in a plane crash, along with her husband and two children. she was a wonderful woman/teacher/friend/human being whose teaching continues to resonate with me, 15 years since she was first my teacher in 1996. these two essays were written soon after she died, the first one for a SEA newsletter, the second one i read at the tribute put together by the DECL in U.P. in 2010, i give birth and lose a… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 04 Oct 2011

Tinarantadong Asintado FTW!

In the age of doing Manila runs of foreign plays versus doing the more creative task of adapting these for local audiences, Dulaang UP’s Titus Andronicus: Tinarantadong Asintado can only be valuable. Directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio and adapted into Filipino by Layeta Bucoy, what’s remarkable about this work is that it does justice to the Shakespeare original while delivering a contemporary narrative that by all counts is a success. The moment pop/street music filled the theater, the moment the clown… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 02 Oct 2011

give Ate Guy a break, or what’s wrong with that cig?

Let it be said that Superstar Nora Aunor’s comeback is by all counts a success, if we are to measure it not by media mileage or product endorsements, not by tell-all interviews in every darn showbiz talk show or by grand statements about home being where the heart is. Ate Guy’s return has been about none of this and that is precisely a measure of this comeback’s success. Because would she be the unbeatable popular culture icon that she is,… Continue reading »

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