Call for Applications for 2018 Davao Writers Workshop

Editor's Note by | August 11, 2018

The Davao Writers Guild is now accepting applications to the 2018 Davao Writers Workshop to be held on November 14-18, 2018.

Fifteen (15) fellowships are available, five (5) of which will be given to writers from outside Davao City but limited to residents living in Mindanao.

Applications are for the following genres: short fiction, poetry, essay, and play. They may be in English, Tagalog, or Binisaya. Entries should either contain 2 short stories (1,000 to 5,000 words), 2 essays (1,000 to 5,000 words), 2 one-act plays, or 5 poems.

Entries must be the applicants’ original works and should have not been accepted to another writers workshop or included in a creative writing thesis. Applicants should be a resident of Davao City or any part of Mindanao. Applicants should have not been an alumnus of the previous Davao Writers Workshop or a fellow to any of the national writers workshops. Accepted fellows will be given free board and lodging for the duration of the workshop.

Applicants are to:
1) Fill out the Application Form.

2) Secure a signed Certification Form.

3) Secure the electronic copy (.doc, .docx, or .rtf file) of the manuscript. Kindly include all entries in one document, and name your document as “[Last Name]_Manuscript for 2018DWW”.

4) Send your manuscript and certification form to
davaowritersworkshop@gmail.com with the subject: “DWW2018 Submission”.

Kindly use only one email address in the application process.

Deadline for submission is September 15, 2018. For inquiries, please send a message to davaowritersworkshop@gmail.com.

The 2018 Davao Writers Workshop is organized in cooperation with the University of the Philippines Mindanao.

Errand Man

Fiction by | August 5, 2018

Evanswinda squatted on the washroom floor, scrubbing gently the clothes she had been washing. Left alone in the washroom of the Granada’s residence, she hummed to herself a song she heard in passing. The whirring sound of the washing machine and her soft humming broke the quiet morning in the household. She would have wanted to chuck the clothes she had been scrubbing inside the machine beside her if not for Ma’am Rissa’s instruction to wash them by hand because of the delicate fabric. She couldn’t afford to be scolded again in fear of losing her only job. A metal design on a dress shaped like a heart that she had failed to notice scraped her wrist. She yelped in surprise and quickly rinsed the shallow wound off with the soapy water. She continued washing, paying no attention to the stinging sensation while she scrubbed.

Ma’am Rissa’s daughter Christine, a young woman in her twenties, sauntered to the washroom and told Evanswinda to finish quickly before lunch came. As briefly as she came, she left. Still, she went ahead in washing the clothes slowly. She barely slept that morning after the talk she had with her husband Tiyong last night. She had gone to visit her parents in Maco yesterday. There was a fiesta in Maco that day and she accompanied her mother in the market to carry the vegetables, pancit canton, and a few slices of meat they bought. Obliged to lend a hand in cooking along with washing the dishes, she almost had no time to rest that day. She had been worn-out and couldn’t wait to go home. Her home was in Sto. Niño. This had been her home ever since she married Tiyong. Sto. Niño was not as clean and peaceful as the home she had in Maco, but she had become attached to the place after living there. The houses were disorganized with feeble attempts of fixing the leaking roofs and holed plank walls. The black canal surrounding the purok gave off a putrid smell. It was as if the canal has died and had been left there to rot. Of course it was not the shabby image of the town that she had liked, but the place full of life and sound despite the lives most residents had.

Evanswinda only had a few minutes of rest when she arrived home. Sitting up on the bed, she massaged her sore arms when her husband came. He had gone straight to their room to change and had ignored her unintentionally. His face, darkened by the sun, scrunched up in worry. Tiyong was out of sorts that night, staring unto nothing in particular and seeming to forget the food offered before him. Evanswinda felt offended for she had frantically prepared the table upon his arrival. After preparing for bed, he took his wife’s hand and spoke up what had been bothering him.

“It had been long since we lost the little one,” he started.

“It had only been two years,” said Evanswinda.

“That had been long enough,” he said. “Why don’t we start again?”

Continue reading Errand Man

A Prayer for My Father

Nonfiction by | July 22, 2018

I was taught how to pray before I knew how to write. But my father made me learn both at the same time.

While my mother wanted me to memorize the Lord’s Prayer at the ripe month of six months, my father, a non-Catholic, had explained that a prayer only consists of four words: Thank, You, God, and Amen.

That, my father explained to her daughter, who would one day tell him she is a lesbian, is all you need in prayer.

So when I had learned from my CLE teacher in Grade 2 that a prayer had four parts instead of four words, I was skeptical in making my own prayer. I remembered thinking that my father knew prayers so well, maybe that was the reason the Lord’s Prayer started with an “Our Father”—to honor fathers. Years later, I would learn that the “Our Father” in the Lord’s Prayer was a form of adoration.

Being the ambitious kid who wanted to have the best written prayer, I told my teacher I didn’t know where to begin. Years later, I would take up a degree in Creative Writing and would still ask that same question—especially when I write about my father. My then late-30s teacher wrote the acronym A.C.T.S on my paper with her veiny hands and said, “This might help you write.”

I. ADORATION

A prayer must always start with adoration. Think of it as a letter heading. Put an addressee so that the letter wouldn’t get lost.

I had to make sure my prayer was heard by God and no other deity. It is meant to be sent. My CLE teacher told us to always start the prayer by saying His name or an adjective that connotes praise before His name. It shows respect to His power.

I hated myself for not having an adjective to describe my father. I felt like I had no respect for him since I couldn’t associate him to an adjective. Maybe generous? Because he gave me the toys I wanted and the books I wanted to read. As early as two years old, he knew I preferred books to toys.

Continue reading A Prayer for My Father

Ang Mahiwagang Lagusan

Fiction by | July 15, 2018

Ang Sitio Tinago ay dating tirahan ng mga katutubong Mawe. Dito nagpapakita ang isang mahiwagang lagusan papunta sa kuweba ng paraiso na iilan lang ang nakakapunta. Nagbubukas ito tuwing nagiging kulay dugo ang araw. Subalit sa paglipas ng panahon ay kaunti na lang ang natirang Mawe at naging kuwentong bayan na lamang ang paraiso.



Madalas na ngayong binabagyo ang lugar dahil pinutol na ang mga puno at tanging nag-uumpukang mga bahay na lamang ang matatanaw mula sa mga burol. Sa dulo ng Sitio Tinago nakatira si Ligkaya at Apo Maye. Sila na lamang ang natitirang mga Mawe sa lugar at ang lupang kinalalagyan nila ang natatanging kakahuyan na naiwan sa buong sitio. Takot ang mga tao na pumunta roon dahil isa itong libingan ng mga yumaong katutubo at sino mang lumapastangan ay makakatikim sa galit ng mga pumanaw.



Malapit si Ligkaya sa kalikasan dahil alam niya na kung wala ang kalikasan, wala rin ang tao. Si Apo Maye ang nagturo sa kanyang magtanim at makiramdam sa kinikilos ng kalikasan. Naging palaruan na ni Ligkaya ang gubat at araw-araw siyang pumupunta ditong mag-isa. 


Isang araw, habang naglalakad siya papasok sa kakahuyan ay napansin niyang tila nagkulay dugo ang langit at nag-iingay ang mga ibon. Biglang nagdilim ang paligid at napatingala siya sa kalangitan. Nakita niya ang isang napakalaking ibon na lumilipad sa himpapawid. Namangha si Ligkaya at sinundan niya nang sinundan ito. Nagpapakitang gilas ang ibon at ipinagaspas nito ang napakalapad na pakpak na may matingkad na kulay at ito ay nagpalutang-lutang sa hangin.

Continue reading Ang Mahiwagang Lagusan

Slip

Nonfiction by | July 1, 2018

When mothers go bald, children would start to think that there is something going on. I guess it is a spur for every child, or perhaps it is only a way of thrusting into my mind that I wouldn’t think differently; that the curious mind of a six-year-old would think of the bald boy in school whom she laughed at, and then she would look at her mother again. She would look at her twice, thrice, until there would only be her mother and the void. Finally, it would sink in that her mother is beautiful even without her crown of black hair, and that she need not wear a hat.

It all started with a slip. I hunkered down to my mother who was lying on the bathroom floor, naked. Her lips were pale and her eyes were half open. A little while ago, mama and I were bathing together in the bathroom. She lathed me with soap from head to my tiniest toenail until she could consider me clean. Clean, for her, was the immaculate whiteness of our bathroom tiles and the dustless walls and windowpanes inside. I flushed stark and dark against the bleached background, and was a disappointment in her sight. She rubbed my brown skin patiently until it reddened, and then she washed the soap and body dirt away.

“Maryosep! Kang kinsa man kang anak?” My mother just disowned me and continued complaining that if only my father listened to her and refrained from taking me every weekend to Cuaco beach, that according to her standards was a place no better than a garbage dump, her only child would have had fairer skin. In a fit of pique her rantings caused, I defended Papa and proved her how cool he was by telling her how he threw me from a dock into the water without my floaters on for me to learn how to swim. It provoked her more and made her address my father by his full name.

Kani jud si Samuel Ruiz,” she paused to catch some air, “Bantay ra gyud na imong amahan pag uli niya.” She can threaten my father freely while he was still not home yet from work. Her fury flared as she ruthlessly scrubbed my knees. I tried to calm her down with the assurance that Papa always got my back and would never allow the sea to take me away. Her mouth kept on blabbering about the said matter as if she did not hear me or deem my excuses considerable. She stood up from a squat and lost her balance.

I thought she fell asleep. The sight of my mother lying against the white tiles disturbed me after long seconds passed. I felt the cold seeped into my soles as slow as the pace of panic. I called her name a few times and paused for a moment, then I screamed for help. 

Continue reading Slip

A Siege Means No Classes

Nonfiction by | June 24, 2018

Grey and black smoke rose from the city like leaning towers. Gunshots and explosions replaced the sounds of crickets in the evening. The smell of fire spread everywhere. War and death were right in front of me.


The Zamboanga Siege lasted for about two and a half months, causing destruction and death. It’s been four years now, and the world has moved on to worry about other deaths and destructions. What was previously a top news story is now forgotten by many.


I remember it in fragments. It was a carelessly developed plot that led to no profound meaning. The situation was straight out of a disaster film made solely for enjoyment. Except, of course, this was in no way a movie, and in no way fun.

Continue reading A Siege Means No Classes

Orange Hope

Poetry by | May 27, 2018

Antares placidly fades
from the deep and high blanket,
He absconds from being one
of the many faces in the crowd.
He will be the brightest one,
But not on this sky, langga.
Not this one.

Dark and deep blanket embraces
flush-tainted, vast spread;
the transition is both breath-taking
and dangerous.
Inevitable change has come to him
but he’s not afraid.
If anything, he’s excited.

Your overwhelming orange smile
rises from the east.
Whooping, screaming,
greeting delight and passion;
waking up what’s sleeping within
and fueling my dim ignition of hope.


Al Lorgentina is a BS Accounting Technology student at Ateneo de Davao University. She was born and raised in Toril, Davao City.

The Many Faces of Hope, Part 2

Nonfiction by | May 27, 2018

(Second part of the Keynote Speech delivered at the 44th Congress of the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) and the 31st Gawad Alagad ni Balagtas held in Roxas City on 28 April 2018 with the theme: “Kadulom kag Kasanag: Panitikan ng Pag-asa.”)

Kanya, another image of the bird na lumabas ay ang ibong malaya. Ito yong inawit ng mga makibaka-huwag-matakot na ang bokabularyo ay dominated ng tatlong “ismo” monsters. Sa kanilang paningin tayo ay nakakulong sa malaking hawla ng tatlong “ismo” at “isang dipang langit” lang ang ating nakikita.

Ang daming mga Messiah ang nagsulputan, isa na si Marcos who viewed the oligarchs and communists as the evil causes of our poverty, declared Martial Law, and offered the New Society as the sinalimba or hope of Filipinos. In turn, ang mga ismong activists viewed Marcos as the biggest demon in Philippine society. Nag-mutual demonization. Kaso, mas makapangyarihan si Marcos at pinaghuhuli, pinagtotortyur, at pinagpapatay ang mga aktibista. After twenty years nagcrash ang New Society and was replaced by Hope who wore yellow at EDSA. But it went phht very quickly.

One government after another has come and gone, offering hope in the form of millennium goals that went up in smoke, a kagang-kagang jeepney, matatag na republika na madaling nalosyang, and another sinalimba labelled “kayo ang boss ko.” But the country’s situation has worsened. We’ve mangled our Constitution several times, but the diaspora continues, not only to the States but also to Arab countries where our so-called heroes could end up being murdered and hidden in a freezer.
I continue to be stunned by our poverty figures. Lanao del Sur (ARMM) – 74.3%, Sulu (ARMM) – 65.7%, Sarangani (Region 12) – 61.7%, Northern Samar (Region 8) – 61.6%, Maguindanao (ARMM) – 59.4%, Bukidnon (Region 10) – 58.7% etc, etc. Nationwide, it’s still a shocking 25%. Self-rating surveys say 50% of Filipinos feel they are mahirap.

Continue reading The Many Faces of Hope, Part 2