Wednesday, June 17, 2009


National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose bombarded our minds that “writing is teaching” during the Taboan: The First Philippine Writers Festival 2009 at the Pulungang Recto of University of the Philippines' College of Arts and Letters last Wednesday morning.

In the afternoon Dr. Jose Dalisay, the Likhaan: U.P. Institute of Creative Writing Director, invited us to participate not just as panelist but as a moderator of the discussion entitled Workshopping The Workshop. With us, as ex-Likhaan Director, was Dr. Christine Godinez-Ortega and Dr. Anthony Tan of Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology; Vince Groyon of De La Salle University's Bienvenido Santos Creative Writing Center; and Dr. Benilda Santos of Ateneo de Manila University's Institute of Literary Arts and Practices.

What made it special was presence of Dr. Marjorie Evasco of the Silliman University National Writers Workshop in Dumaguete, Dr. Elsa Coscolluela of the Iyas Creative Writing Workshop in Bacolod, Dr. Victor Sugbo of Viswrite in Tacloban, and Phil Harold Mercurio of the Lamiraw Creative Writing Workshop in Calbayog who shared the success stories of their workshops.

In a way, that is why we failed to conduct a creative writing workshop for the first Pangasinan and Ilocano Writers’ Conference on February 11, exactly at the same time, at the University of Pangasinan.

But, Mrs. Jose, Madame Tessie, granddaughter of Dagupan's former mayor, gave us a second chance when she invited us to ride with them – from U.P. to U. Pang.

Our organizer, Madame Norma Liongoren, did some adjustments with U. Pang. president Dr. Catalino Rivera and his team: Dr. Ofelia Rayos and Dr. Joseph Mejia, and Prof. Juliet de Vera; and arrangements with her brother Teodulo Crisologo and her sister Mira Luz “Bing” (sans Bong) Crisologo -- so everything was back on track.

Originally, it was slated last year, December 4, during the birthday of Dr. Jose, yes, he previously had four honorary doctorate degrees!

But, he was abroad so, finally, U. Pang. was able to confer honoris causa (or “for the sake of honor” in Latin) to Pangasinan's pride, Francisco Sionil Jose, last February 12.

As if a blessing in disguise, it fell on the celebration of its 83rd Foundation Anniversary with a bang!

So they offered both the personal and professional help for their teachers and students of creative writing, journalists and other writing enthusiasts from Pangasinan.

Why the theme Creative Writing: Towards the Enrichment of Pangasinan and Ilocano Literature?

It was answered by smash-hit seminar of Dr. Ma. Crisanta Nelmida Flores, a Pangasinan culture expert and head of U.P. Office of Extension Coordination; Dr. Melba Maggay, playwright and president of Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture; and Santiago Villafania, poet and a U. Pang. alumnus, who delved into Writing History and Fiction in Pangasinan, Creative Writing in the Local Setting, and Poetry Writing in Pangasinan, respectively.

The University of Pangasinan Language Institute director, Nigel Cabison, reiterated its relevance: “Creative writing is an art that seems to be gradually fading as far as Pangasinan writing is concerned. Some local writers believe and feel that they are trendy when they use Tagalog and English as media in writing literary pieces, but at the expense of their native language. Pangasinan as a language is apparently losing ground insofar as “use” is concerned. More and more Pangasinenses now use Tagalog, Ilocano, and other languages rather than Pangasinan as media of communication at home and elsewhere. Although there are some organizations now which are making a lot of effort to encourage wider use of the language, a more aggressive campaign is needed in order to broaden its use.”

Last Friday, on the Tagalog side of Luzon, in Lucena City, during the MSEUF Inc.'s Foundation Week celebration, we caught the launch of the Commemorative Stamp of Dr. Manuel S. Enverga (1909-2009) at their Library Complex with no less than Chief Executive Officer Hector R.R. Villanueva, Postmaster General of the Philippine Postal Corporation, as their guest of honor.

Welcoming him was, Wilfrido Enverga, former congressman and governor; Madame Jazmin Enverga, Vice President for Administrative Affairs; Madame Naila Enverga Leveriza, President of MSEUF, who graciously toured us around the Enverga Museum and Archives, with Jose Mendoza and Dr. Benilda Villenas.

Then we served as judge to Ms. Enverga 2009 bombshells!

Elizabeth Karl Suazon of the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences won with Mariel Maano of the College of Arts and Sciences and Jesza Mariel Decena of the Tourism and Hotel and Restaurant Management as her runnerups.

Director Celso Jaballa created a show highlighting Banyuhay Dance Troupe to MSEUF Concert Singers to MSEUF Chamber Band violinists and saxophonists to Enverga Heartthrobs escorting all 11 candidates on the University Gymnasium stage.

Earlier that week, Ambeth Ocampo, the National Historical Institute director, enveiled the historical marker in honor of Dr. Manuel S. Enverga.

This coming Friday, by the way, playwright and production designer, Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio, University Professor Emeritus of U.P., will have a second explosion when she collaborates again with her daughter, director Amihan Bonifacio-Ramolete and theTeatrong Mulat puppeteers as well as poets/musicians Cynthia Alexander and Joey Ayala for the Sita and Rama: Papet Ramayana. Aside from February 20,10 a.m. and 3 p.m., it will also be restaged on February 21, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Tanghalang Batute, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City. For tickets, please call 921-9773, 0918-9032040 or e-mail

Condolences to poets Rebecca, Roberto, and Ruby Anonuevo who dropped the bomb when they texted us that their mother Loreto died last February 11. She was cremated during Valentine's Day at Arlington East in Pasig City.

Dr. Jose's keynote speech just imploded in me: “All of us know that our country does not realize how important literature is or the arts for that matter. We know that we will never earn enough with our writing and we will be lucky if our families understand this for our greatest support comes from our loved ones.”

3-8 years old: Who's got the most beautiful toy?
9-18 years old: Who's got the highest grade?
19-25 years old: Who's got the sexiest GF or BF?
26-35 years old: Who's got the loveliest wife or husband?
36-45 years old: Who's got the bigges income?
46-55 years old: Who's got the hottest lover?
56-70 years old: Who's got the deadliest disease?
70 and above: Who's got the most elegant memorial service?

Forgiveness is the fragrance that flowers give when they are crushed.

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