Likhaan Exclusive Content

by Joseph F. Nacino

Any overview of Philippine Speculative Fiction needs to look at not only at its current shape and form but also the context of its rise. 

Thus, it may seem that Philippine Speculative Fiction had its start in 2005 when writer Dean Francis Alfar came out with the first volume of the Philippine Speculative Fiction series. However, there were already a number of stories in Philippine literature published before 2005 that would fit in the same category. 

by Emil M. Flores

The komiks, long part Philippine popular culture, has gone through a number of phases. What was once known as the “literature of the masses” since the 1950s practically disappeared in the new millennium. Now, through the efforts of dedicated creators, the komiks has found new life in the digital age. 

The Komik Strip and Komiks Magasin

     The first comic strip by a Filipino is “The Monkey and the Tortoise” by Jose Rizal published in Truebner’s Record in London in 1889. It was part of a piece on Asian folktales.

Nais kong simulan ang pagninilay na ito sa ganitong tanong: paano nga ba?  Pagninilay ang metodo ko, isang pamamaraan na hinuhubdan ng pagpapanggap; at bakit?  Sapagkat mambabasa lamang naman din ako—isa sa maraming kasapi ng masasabing “lipunan” ng mga mambabasa sa Filipinas ng nilalang na tinatawag na “Panulaang Filipino” (Mayroon nga ba nito?  At nasaan?  Baka isa rin itong “pangangailangang katha” ).  Hindi ko mithing magpanukala ng nakayayanig, basta-basta maglista ng mga akda at pangalan (at bumigkas ng libak o papuri), o magpatuloy ng pagtatala sa tumatakbo pa namang kasaysayang pampanitikan.  Samantalang ibinabahagi ko ang nakayanan kong basahin at pag-isipan sa loob ng ilang taóng pag-aabang sa tula, inuusisa ko rin ang okasyon ng aking pagtatanong.  Na isang mas mainam na pamamaraan ng pagsusog sa pagtatanong hinggil sa “lagay” ng panulaan—kung ang ibig sabihin natin ng “lagay”ay ang katayuan nito, o kung papaano ito inaanyuan ng kasalukuyang pagsusulat.  May kinalaman din sa saysay ng salitang “lagay” ang “kinalalagyan” o lunan ng isang bagay, marahil sa isang pag-usad, pagsulong (o pag-urong, hindi kaya?).  At kung idadawit pa ang Espanyol na anyo nitong “estado”, baka hindi na rin maiwasang idawit, ngayon pa lamang, ang pagiging nakalugar ng usapin ng pag-uusisa sa lagay ng panulaan, sa pook na bumibigkas, nanalinghaga dito.  Ang pagtatanong hinggil sa “lagay” ng “Panulaang Filipino” ay nakasalalay kung gayon sa lapot ng kahulugan ng salitang ito na nagtatangkang pulsuhan ang tula bilang isang mahalagang praktika ng pagpapakahulugan.  Kailangang dumaan tayo sa pakikipambuno sa salitang ito upang higit na mapalitaw ang saysay ng panulaan para sa kasalukuyang panahon, at sa kasalukuyang mga makata.  Sa pamamagitan nito, mauusisa natin nang husto ang orisonte ng mga posibilidad ng mahalagang tanong ng tangkang paliwanag na ito: papaano babasahin ang Panulaang Filipino ngayon? 

 

Before I share with you “how I sold my soul to the devil,” let me detail what other people think about me in the last decade that I have pursued my literary writing. I have been asked a couple of times where I teach and if I am Bob Ong. It is flattering to know that people assume that I teach in college. Having the title of a professor tagged to my name yields an aura of confidence on my expertise. But no, I don’t teach in college. I don’t have MA units. And I am not Bob Ong.

Right after I turned my tassel to my left side when I received my bachelor degree in Journalism at Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Sta. Mesa, Manila, I was hired as a grade school teacher at a private school in Makati. A fresh graduate that I was, they let me handle an advisory class, take over the student publication as adviser, and coach our representative to the National Quiz Bee. Because the students were from well-off families, I had a taste of what they could offer. I begged for a sleigh after receiving Christmas gifts from my students. Little did I know that those tokens of gratitude will take their toll come deliberation of grades. So in 2002, when summer vacation came, I was at a crossroad.

Is Creative Writing a good take for an undergraduate degree? What about as a high school "major"? Three real-life students from the Philippine High School for the Arts answer.

WHY STUDY CREATIVE WRITING AT PHSA?

By Aika Riguera

Faced with this question, a creative writing major at a prestigious arts school might feel an uncomfortable twinge in her chest. After all, one would like to think that the late nights spent wading through seas of critical analyses and assigned stories are all endured in pursuit of some kind of sparkling, grandiose purpose: sadly, this is not always the case.

The reality is many writers who have achieved blockbuster success for their works did not need to pick up more than one critical essay or even write a graded short story, during their high school years. J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter began to write by the time she had become a mother, and Stephenie Meyer had a full-fledged family by the time she sat down and began to type out the first two pages of the Twilight Saga. On the other hand, how many PHSA creative writing graduates have made so much as the national bestseller list? Next to none.

100% BEBENTA ITO!

Hindi ko inakalang magiging koleksiyon ng sarili kong mga sanaysay ang It’s A Mens World. Sa pinakasimpleng pag-uugat, nagsimula talaga ito as a book project, pero hindi akin kundi sa isang grupo.

Taong 2008 noon nang mag-publish ang Psicom ng Pinoy version ng Chicken Soup for the Soul, ito ay ang Sopas Muna. Binubuo ito ng mga sanaysay na isinulat ng aming grupo, ang Panpilpipol. Pagkaraan lamang ng ilang buwan mula nang mailabas ang Sopas Muna, ang sabi sa amin ng Psicom ay isulat na raw namin ang Sopas Muna 2. (Hindi ako naka-monitor sa sales pero para abisuhan kami ng ganito, I guess, bumenta ang Sopas Muna 1.) Agad kaming nag-meeting, ang mga taga-Panpilpipol: ako, Wennie, Jing, Rita, Haids at Mar. Dito pinag-usapan kung ano ang magiging tema ng Sopas Muna 2 (childhood ang napagkasunduan) at tulad ng dati, tag-aanim na libong salita kami para makasapat sa 24,000 words per book na takda ng Psicom. Sa anim na libo, bahala nang mag-budget ng number of words per essay ang bawat writer sa amin. Kung gusto kong anim na tag-iisang libong salitang sanaysay ang ipasa ko, puwede. Kung gusto kong isang mahabang sanaysay composed of 6,000 words, puwede rin naman. Ito ang naisip naming rule sa Sopas Muna 1 para may variety sa length of works sa loob ng aklat, at ito na nga rin ang napagkasunduan namin para sa part 2 ng nasabing aklat.

 

Ang luntiang nayon na pinagmulan ko

Ay di na matatanaw sa sasakyang ito;

Sa hinaba-haba’t tagal ng tinakbo,

Tanawi’y iba na… ngayo’y kulay abo.

Marahil lumalabong mata, katandaan, o distansiya ang nagpakulay-abo sa dating luntiang Noveleta ng sikat na makatang si Teo Baylen. Marahil hindi mapigilang urbanisasyon. Ngunit mas kapansin-pansing sinasabi sa mga linya ng tulang Matuling Sasakyan na mayroong pagbabago.

When considering putting up a small press, knowing why you want to is the first order of business. It is easy to romanticize the making of books (and it is certainly a great pleasure to work out of passion) but a small press is part art and part business, and both parts require pretty serious work. But with a clear primary purpose, you could put every little trouble in perspective.

Do you want to produce books because the work of your friends are turned down by other publishers? When you think hard, how certain are you that it’s not a vanity press that you’re making? Do you want to produce books because it’s sort of totally cool?

The best way to start talking about e-publishing and how it affects Filipino readers and writers is to mention that it is fast becoming one with publishing as we know it. People who used to "write books" are now actually writing "content," which can be available in print, ebook, audiobook, and a variety of formats. Lovers of reading worldwide have embraced this, especially the ebook format which has been hyped as the so-called competitor of print. In 2011, both Amazon and Barnes and Noble announced that they sell more ebooks than print books. 

Parents have often said that if we want to strike it rich, don’t be a writer. In reply, their idealistic children would then rattle off names like JK Rowling, Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer, and other high-profile names to defend their choice. After college, many of these wide-eyed writers would find themselves working in magazine or newspaper publishing, advertising, in the communication department of some company or NGO, or, God forbid, working as freelance writers.

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