Sunday, February 13, 2011

Taboan Day 3

And so, because some good things must come to an end, we say farewell. It was a blast, folks, and an honor to make it happen. Make your own festival, we said. You did. See you next year!

As for me, the best part of the day was seeing Tita and Aida so happy. That alone would have made it all worthwhile.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Taboan Day 2 Notes

  • Attended the session on "Writers and their Advocacies" with Luchie Maranan, Mario Miclat, and our very own Paul Randy Gumanao.  Between such heavyweights, Paul comported himself very well and did us proud.  Hearing Mario Miclat speak convinced me even more that I should get his book "Secrets of the 18 Mansions".  I did, and I got it signed.
  • Also in the book loot: Criselda Yabes' "Peace Warriors" and "Below the Crying Mountain"; Jun Balde's "100 Kislap" (which I shall likely give to Paul); Xu Xi's "The Unwalled City"; Rony Diaz's "At War's End".
  • Jimmy Abad gave me his book. Autographed, of course.
  • I took Kristian Cordero, Adrian Remodo, and Nerisa Guevara to Ateneo de Davao to catch a bit of Jimmy Abad, Carlo Flordeliza, and Ida del Mundo's talk.  Jimmy had the audience of students and teachers enthralled.  On the way back, Nerisa we got to talking about Bert and Ernie, along with some expert analytical dissection from Nerisa.
  • Attended the session on "How to Write a Bestseller" which was, ironically, the most poorly attended session.  No matter.  Small as the audience may have been, the exchange was most enlightening.  My takeaway: what sells best are small books, newsprint, less than 100 pages, cheap, humorous or romantic, plot-driven, and in Filipino.
  • Aicha and Jesh came. Good to see them again.
  • Poetry night was a blast.  Thanks to Ianne and Paul for hosting.
  • Again, the SALEM org from Ateneo de Davao provided the backbone for the whole operation.  Kudos, guys! 

Taboan Day 2 Pics

Some more pics of Taboan.

At Taboan

As I write this, we've just closed the second day of Taboan, the Philippine International Writers Festival here in Davao.  I can let out a sigh of relief and gratitude that the first two days have gone by more or less smoothly.  True, there have been minor hiccups here and there, but on the whole, I think the delegates and the guests are happy.  So long as they're happy, I'm happy.

Taboan has been no mean undertaking for us at the Davao Writers Guild.  This week, we brought in some sixty writers from all over the Philippines (and three from abroad) to Davao City for a three-day festival / conference.  On paper, the conference consists of panel discussions, speeches, and performances; in reality, well, anything goes.  Writing may be a solitary art, but most writers are social creatures, more so than others.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Taboan Day 1 Notes

It's eleven o'clock and I'm tired. Before I hit the sack, I thought I'd write out these short notes on how the day went, lest I forget. Opening day was a success. Many delegates said as much. For that I'm grateful and glad. There were a few hiccups that could have been avoided with some foresight and better planning, but we managed to work our way around them.
  • I'm proud of how the Ateneo de Davao students stepped up. We did not have any definite plans for their duties, but when we needed them most, they were there. Responsive, charismatic, dedicated, and full of initiative, the Society of Ateneo Literature & English Majors (SALEM) were the gears that kept the show going. I'll list out their names in full in a later post, but I want to thank Glyd, Karlo, and Ianne for taking the lead. Mad props to you, guys!
  • More than the past two Taboans, ours was a student event. They came from all schools: Ateneo, UP, MSU-IIT, Holy Cross.... Everywhere I looked were young faces: not just the staff but among the audience. Nor were they passive participants, they engaged the panelists with questions and opinions.

Taboan Day 1

Some pics of Taboan Day 1. Today was a success. I can say that not out of my own judgment, but because everyone else said so. Oh, yeah, there were a few hiccups here and there, but we took it all in stride and improvised.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Taboan Day 0

I wish I had pictures to show, but between the periods of waiting and running around, the thought of snapping shots slipped my mind. This is one of those days where a lot is happening, but can only really be said to be interesting to me.

Suffice to say: the writers whose trips I booked for Taboan all arrived safely. A few of them backed out at the last minute, but I already expected as much, and that number was actually lower than what I thought it would be.

Over the past few months, I've been corresponding with these folks. I fear that sometimes I might have come across as abrasive (not something I want to be as many of these writers are senior and venerable.) But for all that, it feels really good to finally get some faces to those names and email addresses.

And yeah, I can now go to any part of the Philippines and be assured of friends and acquaintances. That's a fine exchange to all this hard work.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

A Note from Davao

Hello.

In case you're wondering, yes, I'm still here. If I haven't been writing, it's for the reasons I will soon enumerate. I've come to dislike personal revelations in spaces like this (that's what my blog is for), but because I've been away for a while, I feel a brief recap is in order.

I started teaching full-time with Ateneo de Davao University last year. While teaching pays less than what I used to earn working for a multinational, I get much more fulfillment out of the work. Young people make me feel and think young. As far as dividends go, no consulting or sales job can match that. And while there are still administrative headaches to deal with, I have perspective now and can see it for the silliness that it is.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

A Dry Season

It's now February and looking back at the previous month I can't help but feel disappointment in myself. Just when I planned to write more for my new year's resolution, I've actually written less. My mojo is gone.

I find a touch of irony in all this. This semester, the Humanities Division invited me to teach a class in Creative Nonfiction, a task I gladly accepted and have not regretted. But now that I am teaching students to write, critiquing their work, and offering sage advice and how to improve their art, here I am, arid and dry for ideas and inspiration, weighed down by literary lassitude. Did I say I was disappointed in myself?

And a bigger irony still: I am doing the drudge work for Taboan, an international literary conference to be held in Davao next week. The job has taken the better part of a year, in which time I've written up the conference sessions, put up the web site, contacted writers, arranged for plane tickets, and communicated developments to delegates. It's a worthwhile project (I tell myself), one not likely to be repeated for a long time to come. Imagine if you will: writers from all over the Philippines and a couple of guests from abroad, converging in Davao to talk about literature!

But as for myself? Nada. All this work, it seems, has sapped my creative energies. Honestly, I feel a little bitter: writers are not the easiest group to work with, not where organization is concerned. And here I am, juggling a dozen different jobs in addition to teaching, taking up my Master's studies, and planning my wedding.

I wanted to write an upbeat piece to ease myself back into the writing groove. This is what's coming out. Well, writing takes you where it will. I should be glad that all these feelings are coming out.

I swear: immediately after Taboan, I am going to lock myself in my room and play video games for a week.