Should the Stars Return

Fiction by | December 11, 2016

It was the night that the stars returned and the first person to see them was Oskar Abebi. From his vantage point on the pavement, lying with his back flat on the street called Yoruba, he recognized the constellation. “The Hunter…” he whispered to no one in particular. The name escaped his bloodied lips as by compulsion. The giveaway was the line of three stars that made up the Hunter’s belt. From there he could trace the stars that hinted at the legs, then the outstretched arm and the club.

It was a Friday night and the traffic of shoppers and passers-by on Temple Market was starting to pick up. Oskar desperately wished one of them would stop by to help him up so he could share his discovery. But they all avoided him and each other studiously. They walked around him as they zipped past in all directions. One or two even stepped over his legs when they found no other path through.

Oskar wobbled to his feet. All the while his gaze remained up, his jaw slack as more pinpoints of light appeared in the sky. Over there: the Hero. And over there: the Twins. And over there: the Bear. And over there: the Lover. Despite himself, despite his cracked skull, Oskar laughed.

“Do you see? Do you see?” He pointed a crooked finger up at the sky. When no one paid him any heed, he broke taboo and grabbed the nearest passer-by the sleeve of her pleather coat. She yelped, then hissed and glared at him. “Look!” he insisted, jabbing his finger upwards. “Stars!”

The last time he had seen stars he was a boy. How long ago was that? Forty years? Fifty? It was on Ye-Ye’s farm, where they had electric lights only three hours each night and so there was nothing to do but look up at the sky and tell stories. Then came the city, and the stars were drowned in neon, glass, and steel, stabbing at the heavens as if to keep them at bay.

“Stars!” he repeated to the woman. His insistence finally made her look up. A few others, puzzled by the commotion, paused in their steps and did the same.

The stars were growing brighter by the minute. They pierced through the haze of artificial light of the city. More and more constellations became apparent. Oskar laughed giddily. “The Bull!” “The Lion!” “The Maiden!” “Look! Don’t you see?” “There! The Sisters!”

Those who paused followed his finger as he pointed, trying to make out the shapes. Then one of them, a young man wearing a rebreather cowl, broke the spell when he shrugged and walked on, disappeared into the crowd flowing into Yoruba East. The others followed suit, one by one at first, then in staggered groups, until the bustle was as it was before.

The woman wrenched her arm free and called Oskar a rude name as she walked hurriedly away.

“Stars…” the old man said again, but weakly. They were very bright now, so bright, you could almost feel their heat. The soup of humanity that gathered around Temple Market on Friday evening continued to thicken, and now people were jostling each other at the elbows and occasionally stepping on each other’s toes.

“Stars…” the old man said, one last time. Then he too was swallowed by the market.

Dom is a project manager of a small software development team in Davao.

Invitation to Book Launch of 'The Bohol We Love'

Events by | November 29, 2016

Book Launch PosterMarj Evasco, esteemed writer and friend of the Davao Writers Guild, sends this invitation for the launching of the essay anthology, The Bohol We Love:

The 25 Boholano writers included in the anthology and I cordially invite you to the book launch of THE BOHOL WE LOVE. It is the 7th in the “Place and Memory” series of Anvil Publishing, Inc.

In keeping with the spirit of the times, we are trying to keep our carbon footprint low with this electronic invitation.

Please feel free to share it with family, friends and extended relations who may be interested to come to Bohol and join the celebration, and get a copy of the book.

It will be carried by National Bookstore branches in the Visayas, Mindanao and Manila next year. On the Dec. 3 event, the book will be available at a special launching price.

Also please feel free to post the invitation on your social network platforms.

Thank You!


Launch of the book will be at The Governor’s Mansion, Tagbilaran City on Dec. 3, 2016 at 3PM. Book launches for Visayas and Mindanao are slated for 2017.

Invitation to Art of Poetry MOOC Meetup

Events by | April 8, 2016

Ateneo de Davao is hosting the Art of Poetry MOOC Meetup, to be held this Monday, April 11, 2016 at the Miguel Pro Study Center (Ateneo Community Center), from 3:30PM to 5:30PM. We would like to invite poets, whether aspiring or published, to this informal get-together.

You can sign up via the Facebook event page.

A brief background: Art of Poetry is a free six-week online course conducted from Boston University. Course consists of video lectures, online discussions, and reading assignments Ateneo will host three face-to-face meetups to coincide with this event.

You won’t need to have signed up for the course to join the meetup, although we hope the meetup will encourage you to join course.

Announcing the Fellows for the 15th IYAS National Writers Workshop

Events by | March 22, 2015

The IYAS National Writers’ Workshop of the University of St. La Salle, Bacolod City, has selected 15 Fellows for 2015, out of 72 applicants nationwide.

The fellows for fiction (in English) are Deo Charis Mostrales and Arnel Murga; (in Filipino) Heidi Sarno; (in Hiligaynon) Meryl Panuncio; and (in Cebuano) Mechelle Centurias.

Fellows for drama in Filipino are Eljay Deldoc and Bernalyn Sastrillo.

The fellows for poetry (in English) are Catherine Regina Borlaza, Elijah Maria Pascual and Maria Camille Rivera; (in Filipino) Juleini Vivien Nicdao and Aldrin Pentero; (in Cebuano) Adonis Enricuso and Dave Pregoner; and (in Hiligaynon) Patrick Jay Pangilinan.

The IYAS Workshop Director is Dr. Marjorie Evasco and the panelists for this year are Ms. Grace Monte de Ramos-Arcellana, Mr. Glenn Mas, Mr. Danilo M. Reyes, Dr. Dinah Roma-Sianturi and Mr. John Iremil Teodoro. IYAS Founder and Project Director Dr. Elsie Coscolluela also sits in the panel.

This year, the visiting writer who will be in the panel is Tim Tomlinson of the Asian American Writers Workshop of New York City.

The IYAS National Writers’ Workshop is co-sponsored by the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center of De La Salle University and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and will be held on April 26 – May 2, 2015 at the Balay Kalinungan Complex of the University of St. La Salle, Bacolod City.

Announcing the Fellows for the 54th Silliman University National Writers Workshop

Events by | March 22, 2015

The 54th edition of the Silliman University National Writers Workshop is slated to start on 11 May 2015 at the Rose Lamb Sobrepeña Writers Village in Camp Look-out, Valencia, Negros Oriental.

Twelve writers from all over the Philippines have been accepted as regular workshop fellows.

The fellows for poetry are Aimee Paulette O. Cando of Quezon City (University of Santo Tomas), Angela Gabriele R. Fabunan of Olongapo City (University of the Philippines-Diliman), Darylle Luzarita Rubino of Polomolok, South Cotabato (University of the Philippines-Mindanao), and Mohammad Nassefh R. Macla of Davao City (University of the Philippines-Mindanao).

The fellows for fiction are Luis Manuel Diores of Cebu City (University of San Carlos), Patricia Corazon F. Lim of Quezon City (Ateneo de Manila University), Kristine Abelink Patenio of Murcia, Negros Occidental (University of St. La Salle in Bacolod), and Rodolfo Eduardo T. Santiago of Quezon City (Ateneo de Manila University).

The fellows for creative nonfiction are Jona Branzuela Bering of Cebu City (Cebu Normal University), Rowena Rose M. Lee of Manila (University of the Philippines in Mindanao), Miguel Antonio Lizada of Davao City (National University of Singapore), and Edmark Tejarcio Tan of Quezon City (University of Santo Tomas).

Khail Campos Santia of Malaybalay, Bukidnon (Silliman University) will join them as a special fellow for poetry. The names of other special fellows from around the Asia-Pacific region will be announced later.

Four alternates have also been chosen in case any of the regular fellows declines the invitation: Christian Jil R. Benitez of San Mateo, Rizal (Ateneo de Manila University) for poetry, Edmond Julian Y. Dela Cerna of Davao City (San Pedro College) and Matthew Jacob F. Ramos of Cebu City (Ateneo de Manila University) for fiction, and Fritzie D. Rodriguez of Balaga City, Bataan (University of the Philippines-Diliman) for creative nonfiction.

The workshop, which traditionally lasts for three weeks, is the oldest creative writing workshop of its kind in Asia. It was founded in 1962 by S.E.A. Write Awardee Edilberto K. Tiempo and National Artist Edith L. Tiempo, and was recently given the Tanging Parangal in the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining by the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

An Accident in Moscow

Fiction by | February 1, 2015

After she had some time to think about it, Alyona convinced herself that, in the end, there was really nothing she could have done about it. Sure, she had had a couple of shots of vodka, but not enough to get her tipsy. Larisa, on the other hand, was totally wasted, and that was why Alyona had to drive Larisa’s Samara, a car whose idiosyncracies she wasn’t familiar with. There was the rain, too, and that was why she had pulled Larisa away from the party. The rain made the cobbled roads slippery. The streetlamps flickered on and off and she couldn’t see very well. Not to mention that Larisa, on the passenger seat, must have been dreaming she was still with Dmitri and kept groping her leg. Yes, she had a drink, it was dark, she was distracted, but still…

That man appeared out of nowhere. She wasn’t driving that fast. He had stepped in front of the car. Was he even looking in the right direction? No, he had been looking the other way. He must have been inostranets — a foreigner. She had stepped on the breaks, but the slick road took out some traction from the Samara’s tires.

Continue reading An Accident in Moscow

Call for applications to the 15th IYAS National Writers’ Workshop

Events by | January 21, 2015

The University of St. La Salle-Bacolod (USLS) is inviting young writers to submit their application for the 15th IYAS National Writers’ Workshop which will be held on April 26 – May 2, 2015 at Balay Kalinungan, USLS-Bacolod.

Applicants should submit original work: either 6 poems, 2 short stories, or 2 one-act plays using a pseudonym, in two (2) computer-encoded hard copy of entry, font size 12, double-spaced, and soft copies in a CD (MSWord). Short stories must be numbered, by paragraph.

These are to be accompanied by a sealed size 10 business envelope, inside of which should be the author’s real name and chosen pseudonym, a 2×2 ID photo, and short resume. Everything must be mailed on or before February 16, 2015.

Entries in English, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Tagalog or Filipino may be submitted. Fellowships are awarded by genre and by language.

Fifteen applicants will be chosen for the workshop fellowships, which will include partial transportation subsidy and free board and lodging.

This year’s panelists include Grace Monte de Ramos-Arcellana, Glenn Mas, D.M. Reyes, Dinah Roma-Sianturi, John Iremil Teodoro and Marjorie Evasco as Workshop Director.

Please submit your application to: Ms. Rowena Japitana, IYAS Secretariat, Special Projects Office, University of St. La Salle, La Salle Avenue, Bacolod City. For inquiries, please email

IYAS is held in collaboration with the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center of De La Salle University-Manila and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.