Call for Entries to the 4th Satur P. Apoyon Tigi sa Mubong Sugilanong Binisaya

Editor's Note | March 13, 2019

The Davao Writers Guild is now accepting entries to the 4th Satur P. Apoyon Tigi sa Mubong Sugilanong Binisaya.

Named after renowned journalist, writer, and former Davao Writers Guild president Satur P. Apoyon, the contest welcomes short fiction in Binisaya by Mindanao-based writers. Works will be judged according to their command of language, writing technique, relevance to contemporary society and culture, and originality of vision.

Three winners will be awarded with cash prizes during the 2019 Davao Writers Workshop in November. The first prize winner will receive P5,000.00, while the second and third prize winners will receive P3,000.00 and P2,000.00, respectively.

To be considered, applicants should submit one (1) short story written in Binisaya. An entry should be double-spaced, on 8.5 x 11 inches bond paper, with approximately one-inch margin on all sides. The page number must be typed consecutively (e.g. 1 of 20, 2 of 20, and so on) at the center of the bottom margin of each page. The font should be either Palatino or Garamond, with font size 12. An entry should not exceed thirty (30) pages. The author’s name should not appear on the entry. An applicant is only allowed one (1) entry.

Entries should be accompanied by 1) an accomplished Application Form (submitted through the linked Google Form) and 2) a signed Certificate of Originality of Work.

Both the entry and the Certificate of Originality of Work should be attached as PDF documents in an email to, with subject line “Entry to Satur Apoyon Contest”.

All requirements must be complete at the time of submission. Failure to comply with these instructions will automatically disqualify the entry.

Deadline of entries is on 31 August 2019. For more information, kindly visit For further inquiries, please send an email to, or message our official Facebook page.

Fat Man and Drying Pond

Poetry by | March 10, 2019

Mercy for our gasping gills-
We’re disowned by the rain, In vain
Fat man,
     Sprinkle some love into our mucked fins
     Just a little lick of liquid life

Our younglings dried for the flies
And our scales turn opaque –
As we are baked in mud we commune in death

Mercy for our gasping gills
Strike the broken ground for spring to flow,
In puddles of death, free us.
The sky has cursed our ponds to dry
     Please don’t curse us too
If you will take our forms for food
     We’re glad to offer you
Just let us breathe
     In water clean
          For an hour or two,

Poor fish,
Meshed in blackening pond weeds,
     I cannot take you as my food,
     Your septic flesh is searing now
          I’ll be dead before I chew
          Your sick fins chucked some stinky muck onto my lips
               Your brood lay drying closing to dying
          As I held you in the under the sun.
               Your jady color disappears

But fish,
I tell you this –
More cursed than you know.
This heaping fat is sucking dry my heart and inner core
I’ve not shown love,
Not even to my own,
I’ve been to hopeless wars
          And did my time
               Burying bodies during storms.

Ang Panaad ni Romeo (Unang Bahin)

Fiction by | March 10, 2019

Natandog ang pagbati sa magtiayong Romeo ug Grace pagkakita sa liboang katawhan nga nanagtindog, nanaglingkod sa bleachers aron mosaksi sa gipahigayong meeting de avance sa plasa sa munisipyo sa Tagpongan. Kini ang ulahing higayon nga magsukdanay og katakos ang duhang mingdagan pagka-mayor; si Romeo, nga kandidato sa Uswag parti ug si Luis Duhayco sa LDP (Luis Duhayco Parti), ang nangatungdanang mayor nga midagan sa ikatulo niyang termino.

Sa walang bahin luyo sa bantawan, naglingkod ang nagkadusingot nga mayor samtang gipaypayan sa iyang asawa ug mga alalay taliwala sa nag-alirong niyang mga kapartido. Ang gisul-ot ining ugis nga barong, nahimong see-through; mipilit sa tumog niyang lawas. Matagkaron ug unya, sige kinig inum og tubig ug panarapo sa nawong.

Wala maglangan, gianunsiyo ni Berting, ang tagdumala sa maong okasyon, nga sugdan na ang programa. Gisugat sa lanog nga palakpak ang partido ni Mayor Luis dihang minggawas sila gikan sa luyo sa bantawan. Dako ang ngisi sa mayor samtang iyang gisubay sa panan-aw ang gapunsisok nga mga tawo. Giwara-wara niya ang iyang mga kamot isip pagtimbaya kanila. Nahimuot si Romeo nagtan-aw sa busdik nga tiyan sa kaatbang nga kandidato. Wa damha, kalit nanaog sa bantawan si Mayor Luis unya giduol ang usa ka babaye nga naglaylay sa iyang anak. Iyang gikuha ang bata ug gihalokan ang aping niini. Mihugyaw ang mga tawo pagkakita sa gibuhat sa mayor. Migara pagsamot ang mayor, iyang gikugos ang puya unya nanukad atubangan sa nagpangidlap nga mga kamera. Nahimuot ang puya sa iyang gibuhat; kalit nga gikumot niini ang tambisong ilong sa mayor. Ug didto misulbong ang makabungol nga suliyaw sa mga nanan-aw. Bisag nasakitan, mibuhig hilaw nga pahiyom si Mayor Luis samtang giuli sa inahan ang bata.

Sa dihang nakalingkod na ang mayor, misibaw na pod ang tingog ni Berting ug iyang gipailaila ang partido ni Romeo. Wa pa gani nahuman ang tigpamaba sa iyang pamulong, dili na mabangbang ang kabanha sa mga tawo. Mas madasigon kini tandi sa grupo ni Mayor Luis.

Continue reading Ang Panaad ni Romeo (Unang Bahin)

Old Church

Poetry by | March 10, 2019

You were never demolished-
Your posts are planted deep into this heart-
Foundation as thick as Puma Punku blocks.

I bring you with me like a burning birthmark persistent
In solitude and desolations-
I seek for your strong doors.
Your smell of dark fragrant moss and earth alive-
Like flowers of your grounds of rest and frolic and peace
Twisting on your iron gates.

Your trees I took them they stand like royal guards
Listening to countless pastor screams and prayer.

Humming melodies of John and Charles up until dark.
We were your little children always singing in the middle of services, saying bible verses like
Matthew 5 verse 5 “blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth”.

We ate your hosts and drank your juice behind your lighted cruciform.

As I take my verses in other churches
Your bells still toll
Even when I pass by your new face I still feel your ghost-
Your hallowed hall where the bats sleep,
The nests of birds you keep,
All are holy on your ceiling,
Holy on the wood wormed pews

And elders, they’re like embers burning,
I kept them in.
Their shadowy smiles linger on –
Old Church!
I seek for you in the darkest night falls –
I longed for you in my rest
Let me rest in the afternoons where the light enfolds you

Gerald Castillo Galindez is the winner of the 2017 Cotabato Province Poetry Contest. A graduate from the University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, North Cotabato, and currently teaches at the Senior High School Department of Notre Dame of Tacurong College, Sultan Kudarat. He is a fellow for Poetry in the 2018 Davao Writers Workshop.

Davao Artists Give Tribute to Tita Ayala during LitOrgy

Editor's Note | March 4, 2019

Davao artists gathered to give tribute to the late poet Tita Lacambra-Ayala during LitOrgy: Asterisks in Bloom at Suazo Bar on February 23.

The event, that has been on-going since 2009, always sparked curiosity. Delivering the foreword of the event, Laura Elizaga, daughter of Tita Ayala, said that hearing LitOrgy reminded her of enlightenment and “something live, wild, uninhibited and therefore authentic.”

“So,” Laura Elizaga concluded, “LitOrgy is an enlightened celebration of art, literature, and music through live performance.”

20 artists performed during the event. Each of the 16 readers presented works of Tita Ayala from her renowned books like Sunflower Poems, Ordinary Poems, Adventures of a Professional Amateur, and Friends and Camels in a Time of Olives. Some translated her works from and to their local languages. Four of them played their original compositions.

John Bengan, president of the Davao Writers Guild and professor at UP Mindanao translated “Flowers of Youth” and “Collisions” to Binisaya. UP Mindanao professors, Jombits Quintos and Darylle Rubino translated “Tulang Simponiko” to English and “Sunflowers” to Hiligaynon, respectively. This is to grant Tita Ayala’s life wish of having her poems translated.

John Bengan also shared an incident when Tita Ayala went to UP Mindanao a day earlier for a film viewing. She sat in Bengan’s Literary Translations class, instead. She told him that she would love to have her poems translated to the local languages.

Cristina Elizaga, Tita Ayala’s granddaughter, shared that although Tita was indeed the artist that became a pillar of arts in the country, she was also the loving grandmother who always insisted that Cristina accompany her to Davao Writers Guild meetings.

“Thank you for giving her this purpose,” she said.

“Tita was a bold person. She wouldn’t have been able to do all the things she did if she wasn’t bold,” Angely Chi, one of the organizers of LitOrgy, said during her closing remarks. “If there is something else you want to do apart from LitOrgy, dare to do it.”

LitOrgy: Asterisks in Bloom is organized by the Davao Writers Guild, Young Davao Writers, and UP Literary Society. It is also a fund-raising event for Tita’s independent publication The Road Map Series. (Grace Tangaro)

For more photos from the LitOrgy: Asterisks in Bloom, please visit our Facebook photo album here:


Poetry by | February 24, 2019

Naisip mo noong isda kang
ipinalit sa nawalang
ipinagbuntis na kapatid. Ayon sa iyong ina,
pag-ahon niya sa ilog naramdaman
ang pagkawala. Walang
bangkay sa lamay ngunit inaliw pa rin nila
ang mga sarili ng mga bugtong
upang walang talukap na bumagsak,
matiyak lamang na hindi tuluyang
makuha ng busaw ang nawala.

Ayon sa matatandang Tboli, isda ang kapalit
sa kinuha. Walang iniwan,
ayon sa iyong ina. Ilang taon pa
ang lumipas nang ikaw naman
ang dinadala. Hindi ka niya
hinele tungkol sa busaw nang hindi lumaki
sa kasamaan. Itinatago niya sa loob
ng tirahan ang hagdan pagdilim
nang hindi maakyat ng inaasahan.
Lumaki kang mulat
sa takot na walang katiyakan
ang anyo at nagugunita lamang
ng mga salita.

Sa salita nagiging tao ang mga isda,
iyong natutuhan malaon.

Malaon, nagdalaga ka
at nagdalantao. Isang takipsilim
nang nagtupok ka sa tabi ng puntod
ng kapatid na walang pangalan.
Ayon sa iyo, pagtayo mo naramdaman
ang pagkawala. Busaw, ikaw.
ang iyong ina. Là,
olow mungol ngawóyen.
Laen luluken?
Walang isda.
Mayroon lamang lansa.

M.J. Cagumbay Tumamac is a writer and reading advocate from southern Mindanao.

Lolo’s Toy Parrot

Nonfiction by | February 24, 2019

When I was a kid, lolo (my grandfather from my father’s side) used to have a life-sized parrot that looks so real. Its’ feathers are so soft and the beak and claws look so sharp that if you touch it, it could really hurt you if it’s not in the mood. The parrot always mimicks what lolo says and most of the time lolo likes to make fun of the people passing by his store. Lolo has a small sari-sari store located in front of an elementary school. Thus, most of lolo’s customers are kids. Everytime a kid buys in his store; it is mostly because of the parrot. The kids are curious to see the parrot; they thought it was really the real thing just like how I thought it was back then.

Lolo was a strict father according to my father. He implements curfews and takes education seriously. He told my father that the only inheritance that he can give is education as he doesn’t have many properties. He is a firm believer that education is the key to a successful life. He even handed down that belief to us his grandchildren at a young age where at that time we could not fully understand what he means. That is why occasionally when we visit him, my brother and I always bring with us our papers from school with a one hundred percent mark because not only he would be so proud of us but he would also feed us with anything in his store plus his favorite Royal True Orange drink. During the time when the parrot is still functioning, I’d remember him smile and say to his parrot, “Very good Abi” and the parrot would mimick him in a high pitched voice.

This was our routine- me and my brother everytime we visit lolo, until one day, the parrot stops functioning. Lolo said the parrot died because it is already old. The way lolo said it made me sadder than learning I will never see and hear from the parrot again. Even if in that time I already knew that the parrot is just a toy, because of my curiosity, my father told me the truth, I saw in that instant lolo’s grief- he cared so much for that nonliving thing. That somehow made me realized that even though lolo appeared to be strict, scary at times and strong, he has a soft side- he cared so much for everything and everyone he loves. When we got older and we can only visit him once every three months or fewer times than that because we are busy with school, the first thing he would ask us after we put our head in his hand is how we are doing in our studies and when we answer him that we are doing well, he would smile, pat us in the back and tell us to continue to study harder.

Perhaps the memory of the parrot is the memory that I have chosen to share because this is where I saw lolo the most human. The parrot brought out his cheerful, funny bright side but also showed his compassion. He was a man of few words but when he opened his mouth to tell his stories about his childhood, his adventures as a police officer specially his encounter with the New People’s Army at the time where the town he was assigned to was attacked by the NPA and he was the one who made the shot that made the NPA go away immediately, his eyes always sparkled with excitement and delight. That is why even though I already familiarized his stories, I’d always show my interest in listening to him.

Indeed, it is a wonder how an absence even of one thing such as the toy parrot or a person such as lolo make such a big impact to those who were left behind. After the toy parrot is gone, the store got a little silent and after lolo’s death, the house seemed a little empty. The ‘duyan’ or hammock where he used to sit all the time to watch a boxing show or a Kuya Germs movie or a Fernando Poe movie is no longer at the sala but transferred into the second floor. Also his youngest daughter who worked faraway for a very long time decided to go home and settle down and my cousins and I got closer to each other after his death. We used to see each other once every 2 to 3 years but now, we are seeing each other more than once a year. It is amazing even though lolo is gone, he continues to bind us all together and even though we can no longer see him, we can still feel that he is still looking after us.

Abi Andoy is a licensed real estate appraiser and is working in a Municipal Assessor’s Office in Surigao. She is an alumna of Ateneo de Davao University and she writes occasionally.

Balak na Maikling Dokumentaryo tungkol sa Isang Binatilyo sa Badjao Village

Poetry by | February 16, 2019

ayon na rin kay Jade Mark Capiñanes sa sanaysay na “Abal”

Sisimulan natin sa katotohanan na pangkaraniwan
sa iyo ang lalim ng Dagat Celebes. Mula nang isilang,
iyo nang karugtong ang buwan at araw na nagsasalítang
umaho’t sumisid. Babanggitin natin ang estadistikang
nasisid ng isang katulad mong Sama ang limampung dipa.
Ipapakita kang inaabot lamang ng dalawang mata
ang pababang araw. (Iyong unang talâ: hindi magalugad
ang tinataguan ng buwan at araw sa loob ng dagat
at di madalumat ang pagkakaiba ng lalim at lawak.)

Tutunog ang bangkang hindi sa ama mo at mangingibabaw
ang kaniyang tinig, “Malalaking barko ang aming kaagaw.”
At uuwi siyang dala ang nahuling apat na tulingan.
Daratnan ka niya at ang iyong inang nalunod sa iyak
ng siyam na batang ang dalawang suso ay nais malasap.
Isadula natin ang isang gunita: Pasko sa siyudad
at nanlilimos ka kasama ang ina at bunsong kapatid.
(Pangalawang talâ: may antig ang lamlam sa titig ng paslit
kaya kailangan na ang iyong ina ay laging magbuntis.)

Magpapanggap tayong hinahagilap mo ang baryang hinagis
ng kasama naming magpapanggap namang turistang naakit
sa aya ng lumang restoran na dáting ika’y tinangkilik;
ánitó, lalalang ang tanaw ng dagat ng mga gunita’t
ipapanatag mo, ang táong may hasang, ang pagkabalisang
baka hindi ka na muli pang lumutang. Katulad ng isda
sa isang akwaryum, pangamba at aliw ang iyong halaga.
Aabangan namin sa rabaw ng tubig ang iyong hininga’t
magpapalakpakan sa iyong pag-ahon na hawak ang barya.

Lulusong kang muli upang makakalap ng mga biyaya
gaya ng mamukuk, tayum, at iba pang ipinantadhanang
maipaalala ang danas ng pait sa natuyong dila.
Papakinggan natin ang isang eskolar: dagat din ang lungsod
para sa lahi mo—kinakalap lamang ang mga kaloob
na iniluluwa ng bato sa taob, ng kotse sa katok.
(Pangatlo mong talâ: saklap ang katumbas ng ilap at alat—
humaharurot lang ang mga sasakya’t madulas ang igat.)
Aahon ka ngayong may asim ang tiyan at pakla ang búkas.

Babalikan natin ang dokumentaryo ng isang banyagang
tinunton ang lahat ng suson at sulok ng dagat at lupa
sa layong masukat ang dulo ng hangi’t hininga sa bagà.
Ganito ang tagpong natunghayan niya sa pusod ng dagat:
sa linaw ng bughaw at bigat ng tubig, mayroong liwanag
para sa sumisid na si Santarawing nakadaop-palad.
(Pang-apat na talâ: hindi kailangan ng mga patunay
paano sinunog ang iyong katawan ng init ng araw
at ang iyong buhok ay pinusyaw nito at naging bulawan.)

Iikot ka ngayon sa pamayanan mo upang mapatibay
ang katotohanang wala na sa dagat ang lahat ng bahay.
(Panghulí mong talâ: hindi mo matukoy ang ilang pangalan
ng búhay sa dagat gamit ang wika mong nalimot ng dila.)
Hahantong kang muli sa ulo ng dagat at dulo ng lupa,
hindi malulula sa lumalabo mong mundong dambuhala.
Ating wawakasan na gagambalain ng iyong pagsisid
ang daloy ng dagat. Habang nasa ilalim, kami’y nakatitig,
maririnig lamang ang iyong hiningang bubula sa tubig.

M.J. Cagumbay Tumamac is a writer and reading advocate from southern Mindanao. An earlier version of Balak na Maikling Dokumentaryo tungkol sa Isang Binatilyo sa Badjao Village was awarded second prize in Talaang Ginto in 2017. It was also published in an independently published zine titled Sbu, Maitum, Dadiangas.