reading the universe (esquire philippines, september 2014)

I did not mention Jammi by name here, because at the time she wasn’t doing a lot of readings and I did not want to bombard her with eager clients. But now, with the lovely Stone & Moon up and about, and the new year coming, I thought it’s time to share this story online, as a way of expressing my gratitude to Jammi.

This essay first appeared in an issue of Esquire Philippines, the one with the Eraserheads on the cover. You know the one.

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Photo credit: Stone & Moon

A friend of mine does Tarot card readings and past life readings. As a catastrophist whose main instinct is to think the worst possible future in any given situation, I found the past life reading more appealing than a reading about my future. What’s up ahead? Probably something fun and rosy, but if the Tower (which signifies sudden change, chaos, disruption) shows up in the spread, it’ll just add more stress and despair in my already stressful and despondent brainspace, so no thank you. Let’s just look back and see if once upon a time I were a princess. Or a serial killer. Or a serial killer princess.

So there we were one rainy Sunday, sitting at a small table in her and her husband’s apartment. “Which of these decks would you like me to use?” she asked. One deck was old and already turning brown on the edges. Her first deck, she said. Another deck was bigger than the average deck, almost as large as a notebook, and had bolder colors. The third deck was a beautiful lavender. The lavender cards complemented the purple scarf covering the table. We just needed a reed diffuser and a bead curtain and we were all set.

Kidding aside though, I came to her with an open, very curious mind. I had just one other reading, years ago, care of a housemate in college who only used the Major Arcana (the 22 main cards of a Tarot deck) and read the cards with a guidebook opened on her lap, like a doctor glancing at a medical textbook during a surgical operation. Is this the appendix or the spleen?

The cards said Yes to my specific question then, but having forgotten what I had actually asked, I couldn’t test her reading’s accuracy. But then, it’s not about accuracy, or proving that the cards told “the truth”. The future is not set in stone, my friend said, which I wholeheartedly agreed with. The Universe might say Yes, but if you didn’t act to achieve this Yes, the opportunity would just dissipate. As is the case with elusive taxicabs, the last cupcake on the table, that one moment when you could have expressed your gratitude to a now-estranged friend.

The most popular reading request, unsurprisingly, was a reading for love. My friend said clients would come to her and ask, When will I find a boyfriend? It was not the right question to ask, my friend said. Instead of demanding When, why not ask, What I can do to invite love into my life? All you needed was a little shift in your thinking. A more proactive stance before the Universe.

I was pretty secure with my love life, so I didn’t request a reading for that. (Also, if the cards screamed BREAK-UP IMMINENT, it would just ruin my Sunday.) I chose the lavender deck, because it looked pretty. While I shuffled the deck, my friend said she once did a past life reading for another friend, on that friend’s birthday during a full moon, at midnight. Birthday, full moon, midnight. As a fantasy writer, and as someone who belonged to a family that believed in the supernatural, this sounded to me like a (very interesting) recipe for disaster. “I wasn’t ready for it,” she said. After the reading she was so drained and thirsty she had to drink more than ten pitchers of water.

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Photo credit: Esquire Philippines

It wasn’t a full moon that Sunday, so we should be okay. She told me the reading would present just one past life (“Because we have several”) that most likely affected an aspect of my present.

I wouldn’t bore you with the details, but the past life reading required a large spread consisting of several sections. In the section for love, she said I was patient.

“Really?” I said. Me? Patient?

“You should give yourself some credit,” she said. “The things you simply find annoying is probably the last straw for other people.”

She said this was because I was secure in the belief that my partner and I would go through life together. “You look at the big picture,” she said, pointing at a Major Arcana that said The World, “instead of focusing on the little details that annoy you or trouble you.”

She paused at a new section. “I think this refers to your writing,” she said. She said my stories dealt with dualities, and truths, and uniting two meanings to reach an understanding, even if in the end this didn’t always happen, or even if the meaning reached was not always acceptable. “This is interesting,” she said, after another excited pause. She said the inspiration for my stories came from past lives. I was not creating stories. I was remembering them. “And whenever you get stuck,” she said, “that’s your soul telling yourself, ‘Wait, that’s not how it happened.'”

Wasn’t that beautiful? Of course, my initial reaction was Story idea! because I was shameless and considered everything and everyone fodder for fiction. But it was a beautiful thought.

She turned over the final cards one by one.

In the past, she said, I was a boy. The son of a member of the royal family and a female servant. I lived in Russia, somewhere cold and dreary. The narrative was predictably as dark and melodramatic as a telenovela (or a Russian novel): boy’s family is slaughtered, boy escapes, boy becomes a man, man becomes a leader, man believes life is just a series of trials until he meets a younger man (Ooh!) and falls in love and realizes that life is beautiful and it is worth believing in something. Politics leads to the man’s lover’s death, but the man bears no ill will toward his lover’s murderers, believing that he and his lover will meet again. On his deathbed, the man makes a deal with God.

All he asks is the chance to meet his one true love in every lifetime hence.

“And that’s why you’re so patient,” my friend said, pointing at The World again, miming a tear falling down her cheek.

The most distant galaxy ever discovered was 13 billion light years away, born just 700 million years after the Big Bang, its light expanding with the expanding Universe. Our own Sun is nothing but a dot, hardly visible, next to the red hypergiant VY Canis Majoris. We are a speck of dust in the eye of a galaxy. It is impossible not to be awestruck and humbled, whatever belief system you adhere to.

And yet there is nothing wondrous about the children being bombed to pieces in Gaza, nothing magical about the 729 people that have bled to death due to the Ebola virus. Nothing small about any of these things.

I have been writing about dualities, come to think of it; about how life, compared to the bright expanse of the Universe, could be both insignificant and immense. I couldn’t unite these two truths, and maybe I never could. Maybe that was not the point.

There was no way to prove or disprove the existence of a former me, of the tragic man in Russia who had made a deal with the Universe. Who knows. Maybe our consciousness could survive death and time, and travel through the centuries and back again. It was an interesting idea, and I’ve always been partial to interesting ideas.

On the ride home, my boyfriend got caught up in the semantics of it. “All he asked was a chance to meet his lover,” he said. “Meet, not necessarily be with. Maybe you’ve already met your true love before and –”

“Oh, it’s you,” I said, cutting him off.

The speck of dust, being stubborn, as always.

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34th national book awards (national museum, manila)

I had fun at the National Book Awards–and not just because my novel, Dwellers, received an award, or that my publisher, Visprint Inc., won Publisher of the Year, or that the awarding was held in the beautiful Old Senate Hall, but because I was able to spend time with my favorite people. And also, there was food.

On the way to the venue.

34th National Book Awards

There were seating arrangements! I was on the front row. I told J to sit next to me, but he squirmed and felt awkward and eventually moved to the back.

34th National Book Awards

34th National Book Awards

The last time a corsage was pinned on me was in college. :) X number of years ago.

34th National Book Awards

34th National Book Awards

The ceremony opened with the Singkil, performed by the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group and National Book Award-winning author Kanami Namiki (Ramon Obusan, Philippine Folkdance and Me, Anvil Publishing).

Photos below from the NBDB Facebook page.

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Here’s the citation from the National Book Awards: “Speculative fiction works best when the transition from the real world of the reader into the fictive universe of the author is seamless. Under the masterful hand of Eliza Victoria, we are drawn into a mystery, as two people find themselves forced to deal with circumstances beyond their uncanny abilities. Deftly written with elements of horror and suspense, Dwellers is a more than worthy addition to the growing Philippine literature of the fantastic.”

Photos from Dean Alfar:

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The trophies were made by Lawin Abueva, son of National Artist Napoleon Abueva.

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We climbed onstage with Ms. Nida Ramirez to receive the Publisher of the Year award. Cheers!

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Publisher of the Year Award

CITATION: Hindi matatawaran ang galing ng Visprint, Inc., sa pagpili ng mga aklat na makakaaliw sa mambabasa habang itinataas ang antas ng pag-unawa nito sa mga pangyayari sa ating bansa. Hindi lamang pagpili, kundi paghubog ng mga manunulat, pagpapalawak ng merkado, at pagsakay sa takbo ng sensibilidad ng taumbayan. Marami at malalim at mapangahas ang mga inilathala ng Visprint sa nakaraang taon.

And here’s Ms. Nida’s speech:

Labing apat na taon na po ang nakalipas nang unang tumuntong ang Visprint sa larangan ng book publishing.

Dahil naglakas loob na magtiwala si Bob Ong sa kabila ng zero experience namin–kakayahan sa pagiimprenta lamang po ang aming pinanghahawakan–at sa pangakong personal siyang magbabahay-bahay upang ilako ang kanyang libro, sakaling tanggihan ng major bookstores, sinuong namin ang masalimuot na mundong ito. Bob Ong, kahit hindi mo itinuloy ang pagbabahay-bahay, ni ayaw mo ngang magpakita. Pero dahil sa ‘yo ay nabuksan ang napakalaking pinto para sa maraming manunulat, para sa iyo ang award na ito.

Sa mga bossing namin na pikit mata at bukas bulsang nagtiwala sa mga proyektong pinasok namin, Sir Nido at Sir Efren, para sa inyo ang award na ito.

Sa mga manunulat, lalo na sa UVAS (ang United Visprint All Stars), sa patuloy na pagtitiwala sa Visprint ng inyong mga obra, at sa pakikiisa sa ating mga misyon–You make Visprint look soo darn good! Para sa inyo ang award na ito.

Sa mambabasang Pilipino, maraming maraming salamat po. DAHIL SA INYO ang award na ito.

Sa NBDB [National Book Development Board] at MCC [Manila Critics’ Circle], sa pagpapatamis ng aming paghihirap, maraming salamat po.

 

With Manix Abrera (14, Kikomachine Komix), Tepai Pascual (Maktan 1521) and Kyra Ballesteros hiding behind a clutch.

34th National Book Awards

Messing with the photo wall. Photo from National Book Award nominee, Karl de Mesa (Radiant Void).

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The National Book Award trophy as a very heavy clutch.

34th National Book Awards

The National Museum at night.

34th National Book Awards

Thank you once again to the NBDB, MCC, Visprint–and my books’ readers, as always.

34th National Book Awards

34th National Book Awards

stories from the filipino readercon 2015

This year’s Filipino Reader Conference was held in De La Salle University. I’ve never been inside the campus. The massive Henry Sy Hall reminded me a bit of Singapore’s National Library.

We weren’t able to leave early enough to catch the Conference opening and the first few panels. I’m not on any panels this year; it felt good to just attend the event as an audience member. (For one thing, I was late but didn’t have conniptions.)

Filipino ReaderCon 2015

Filipino ReaderCon 2015

Filipino ReaderCon 2015

Filipino ReaderCon 2015

We attended the “Supporting the Authors You Love” panel, facilitated by Paolo Chikiamco.

“Supporting the Authors You Love”
It’s tough to make a living from being an author, but many authors have untapped allies in their struggles – their readers. While it’s harder for an author to stand out in this day and age, it is also easier than ever for readers to take a more direct hand in supporting authors. The voices of readers have more sway than ever before. This panel is for readers who want to exercise this power wisely, in supporting authors, both as individuals, and by championing pro-author issues. The panel will also include a response from readers, who will speak with regard to what authors (and publishers) can do to help readers help them.

Panelists: Kim Villanueva, Beverly Siy, Mina V. Esguerra, Tepai Pascual
Facilitator: Paolo Chikiamco

Filipino ReaderCon 2015

Filipino ReaderCon 2015

What can readers do? Personally, just sharing my website link and mentioning my books to friends (with or without a review) already means a lot. There are a lot of books out there; it’s easy to get buried (or be pushed into a dark unseen shelf) and fall into obscurity. A book sometimes does not get sold not because it’s bad, but because LITERALLY no one knows it exists. So if a reader acknowledges that my book exists, that’s already a big deal.

We also attended “Live Reading with Gio Gahol and Rachel Coates hosted by #romanceclass”. This is a live reading of excerpts from local romance novellas, which sparked a discussion between J and I.

(Warning: digression ahead.)

We were trying to figure out why I don’t read as much romance novels as the average attendee in that activity. (Most of the audience members were female.) I told him that most of the romance tropes do nothing for me, most of the time: the lingering looks, the blow-by-blow description of the kiss, the description of the physical male form that caters to an ideal, which is not necessarily my ideal. This may be an effect of my fierce need to protect the personal, as in, Well, that’s nice, but you don’t need to tell me that.

I told J that I probably just demand other things from the romance stories I read. I’m thinking: I didn’t have a high school sweetheart. Or a college sweetheart. (J and I met when we were both already working.) I was a cynical and pragmatic teen, and still probably a cynical and pragmatic adult, so most romance stories to me seem staged. Un-honest. (In case it’s not clear – and before I get hate mail – this is not a criticism of romance and romance writers. This is an exploration of why most novels in the genre does not work for me.) What works for me: humor. Humor, for some reason, always seems honest to me. Or rather, I don’t need to worry about authenticity in something that is funny, so I can relax and just enjoy the story instead of demanding more from it.

We also asked, Is romance a luxury? Most of the stories read had middle-class protagonists. We realized that most of our local romance stories have at least one upper- to middle-class character; either they’re both middle-class or one belongs to a lower class to heighten the dramatic possibilities. If you write a romantic story with poor characters, will that still be labeled “romance”? They will be faced with problems different from the problems faced by middle-class protagonists like where to go get coffee, or what to do about the snotty wedding planner, or what hotel to book for that vacation abroad, or which gym to go to. Without recognizable romance tropes, that story will be labeled “drama”. What if the protagonists live in a war zone? “Drama”. Romance is airy; romance is not cash-strapped. It requires a light hand that can push away the concerns of the world, so the individual can focus on variations of this single question: does he/she love me back? In some scenarios, this question is the least important question to ask. So, is romance/romantic love a luxury?

I’m sure there are more arguments for or against this claim, but for now, moving on!

UPDATE! Following is a(n accidental Facebook) conversation between me, J and Mina Esguerra.

Mina: Eliza Victoria Eee awesome post! Answering here because kalat na sa Twitter.

“If you write a romantic story with poor characters, will that still be labeled “romance”? They will be faced with problems different from the problems faced by middle-class protagonists like where to go get coffee, or what to do about the snotty wedding planner, or what hotel to book for that vacation abroad, or which gym to go to.”

Yes, as these are tropes found specifically in contemporary romance featuring middle class characters, but not in, say, paranormal romance or historical American Western, or historical Regency, or Precious Hearts in some cases, but those have their own tropes as well.

“Romance is airy; romance is not cash-strapped. It requires a light hand that can push away the concerns of the world, so the individual can focus on variations of this single question: does he/she love me back? In some scenarios, this question is the least important question to ask.”

This is, sadly, the generalization of romance that I get most often. (I can say that any reader of romance will say it’s not all airy, that people in romance are also poor, but I’ll step back from that because it’s exhausting.) The thing with romance genre books though is that it pre-supposes that the reader finds this a valid question. Those who don’t, will not read the book. As I do, when I encounter books or entire genres that do not resonate at all. The questions they pose there I understand are important to them though.

“So, is romance/romantic love a luxury?”

Yes — as much a luxury as fantasy, poetry, crime fiction, horror, any fiction is to me. Is there a way to discuss this without inadvertently shaming women for wanting read about love and acknowledging desires? (It’s an actual question! I don’t want to go there. I like discussing romance in a shame-free way.)

Me: Thanks for answering Mina! And yes I have to acknowledge we were discussing contemporary romance. Sumakit ulo namin ni Jaykie while discussing this, we should’ve roped you in. Idea for a panel? Hehehe.

J: Interesting topic ito sakin! Lately kasi I notice stuff that appeals to young women tends to get dismissed (e.g. “mababaw ang AlDub”) and I find it kinda unfair, so ayun mej marami na kami napag-usapan haha

I think where we left off is trying to determine what is considered Romance and what isn’t. I mean, I like Charlie Kaufman movies and I certainly think there’s romantic elements to them, but I don’t think they get categorized as Romance really? Except Eternal Sunshine, but maybe not even that.

Mina: As far as publisher guidelines are concerned, it has to be romance as the A plot, ie main conflict is a threat to the romance, and the climax is a resolution to the romance. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books, for example, despite having a lot of romantic elements, do not climax in romance resolution so they are not romance novels, and the author herself won’t call them that. Nicholas Sparks novels, same thing, as those normally resolve the romance and climax at something else (like death). There are structural elements also and beats that have to be met. Many Wattpad to print stories for example are not strictly romances, structurally.

Mina: Chick lit will for example resolve the main character’s dramatic arc often independent of the romance, ie a promotion, validation at work, winning something, so they’re not strictly romances either despite a romance element present.

Mina: Oh and there’s also the romantic suspense subgenre where there’s usually a threat to their lives and the characters are in conflict situations/actual peril, but romance still main plot

Me: Nito ko lang na-gets ang difference ng Chick Lit at Romance! (Some people lump them together, which confuses me!) Salamat!

J: Oh so follow-up question, the resolution could be anything that addresses the indefinite status of the relationship, right? So if the ending is that they decide not to be together it’s still ok?

Mina: Oh but happily ever after is actually a requirement (for many romance publishers) and they won’t accept a submission without it. There’s a debate on this because self publishing, so authors can do what they want and some aren’t ending their stories happily anymore. But then the debate is, what’s the point of this 150 page journey if the answer is no? Did you pull a bait and switch on the reader who had very solid expectations of what they were paying for? The compromise is the “happy for now” which is a decision to stay in a loving monogamous relationship but isn’t a proposal or a wedding

J: Ah, that’s interesting. Ang naisip ko kasi ay baka may story na tipong two people are very much in love, but ultimately they mutually decide the relationship isn’t feasible? But yeah, valid point din na parang bait and switch nga yung ganyang ending

Mina: Eliza – That took me a while din! and I was already writing the books when I figured it out huhu

Mina: Thank you for asking! I like talking about this. grin emoticon The formula and rules naman are being tested a lot and I read the books that are testing it, but hit or miss. I usually don’t enjoy them as much especially if they sacrifice romance for whatever other agenda.

J: Your responses really add some much needed context for me Mina so thanks! Your expertise is very much appreciated. Another follow-up! Are happy endings more a prerequisite of written work, or does it apply to other forms of Romance media? I ask because I think of a number of films that don’t necessarily have happy endings (not even the “happy for now” variety), but I think would still tend to be categorized as romance. An example for me would be Once, which has a romance A plot, and I think does follow the Romance beats consistently (if somewhat more muted), but doesn’t end with a relationship for the two main characters.

In fact I feel like a lot of romantic films written by males tend to follow suit–somewhat more muted expressions of love, coupled with not-necessarily-happy endings. I think I’d place Being John Malkovich under that category, and Woody Allen films also.

Mina:  I haven’t seen Once! I know I should huhu. But I’ve seen Begin Again and if it’s similar (I’ve been told that they are?) I wouldn’t call it romance genre based on the movie I saw. If that were a book it would get backlash in the reviews, and there would be requests for it to be categorized as “Women’s Fiction” or “Contemporary Fiction” instead (if mostly male POV). A romance book written Woody Allen-film-style would get the same response I think.

But yes these will probably be categorized as Romance in other media. I suspect that their creators will often say in interviews that they’re “not just romance” though precisely because they’re getting some backlash for being bland romance. “Muted” romance I wouldn’t call romance at all; if I were into horror I’d think an author who specialized in “mildly scary” just wasn’t being edited by the right people.

Thanks, Mina!

Filipino ReaderCon 2015

Filipino ReaderCon 2015

Also signed some books!

Filipino ReaderCon 2015

A cute calamansi muffin from Chris Mariano, author of Cover (Story) Girl.

Filipino ReaderCon 2015

Filipino ReaderCon 2015

My ReaderCon haul:

Filipino ReaderCon 2015

  • Janus Silang comic book by Carljoe Javier and Natasha Ringor, based on the novel by Edgar Calabia Samar (Anino/Adarna)
  • Likhaan Volume 9, which has a story of mine. Received from Kyra by way of Gabby. Thanks!
  • The Merchant of Venice, from the ReaderCon loot bag
  • Cover (Story) Girl, signed by Chris
  • Mockingjay, from the ReaderCon raffle
  • Ang Subersibo nina Adam David at Mervin Malonzo (Anino/Adarna)
  • Muros #1 by Paolo Chikiamco and Borg Sinaban (Studio Salimbal)
  • The Garbage Artist by Andrew Drilon (Studio Salimbal)
  • Hukbong Sandatahan ng Kahaggardan! by Manix Abrera (Visprint)

Congrats to Honey, Tina, Paolo, Mina and the rest of the ReaderCon committee! It gets bigger every year.

2016 poems + filipino readercon

November’s coming to a close, and I’m ending it with a couple of acceptances, a writers night, and a reader conference.

  • UK-based Neon Literary Magazine will be publishing my poem “What Waits” in a 2016 issue. Thank you to editor Krishan Coupland. You can read a poem of mine here, published in Neon’s 34th issue. You can read Krishan’s interview with me here.
  • Singapore-based Kitaab will be publishing my poem “Tiny Tragedies”. My thanks to poetry editor Desmond Kon.

The 9th Likhaan volume, edited by Luna Sicat-Cleto, Eugene Evasco, Isabela Banzon and Charlson Ong, and which includes my story “The Seventh”, will be launched during Writers Night at the UP Executive House on November 26. Read the details here.

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The 5th Filipino ReaderCon will be held this Saturday, November 28 at the Henry Sy Hall, the De La Salle University in Manila. Register here  and check out the panel descriptions here.

‘dwellers’ wins best novel in english at the 34th national book awards + a new poem + #talkflip

Exciting stuff! Dwellers wins Best Novel in English, and Visprint is awarded Publisher of the Year. Thank you to Visprint, the National Book Development Board, the Manila Critics Circle, J and my family, and the little book’s readers for their attention and kindness. Congratulations to all the winners. The full list follows.

Dwellers by Eliza Victoria (Cover)

The National Book Development Board (NBDB) and the Manila Critics Circle (MCC) are pleased to announce the winners of the 34th National Book Awards (NBA). Below is the list of NBA winners for books published in 2014:
LITERARY DIVISION

FICTION CATEGORY – NOVEL
(English Language)

Dwellers, by Eliza Victoria, Visprint, Inc.

FICTION CATEGORY – NOVEL
(Filipino Language)

Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon, by Edgar Calabia Samar, Adarna House, Inc.

FICTION CATEGORY – SHORT STORIES
(English Language)

Wonderlust, by Nikki Alfar, Anvil Publishing Inc.

NONFICTION CATEGORY
(English Language)

Ramon Obusan, Philippine Folkdance and Me, by Kanami Namiki, Anvil Publishing, Inc.

ESSAYS CATEGORY
(English Language)

Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Earthquakes and Tsunami, by Rey Ventura, Ateneo de Manila University Press

ESSAYS CATEGORY
(Filipino Language)

iStatus Nation, by Joselito Delos Reyes, Visprint, Inc.

ANTHOLOGY CATEGORY
(English Language)

Agam: Filipino Narratives on Uncertainty and Climate Change, edited by Regina Abuyuan, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities

ANTHOLOGY CATEGORY
(Filipino Language)

Ang Labingtatlong Pasaway, by Jun Cruz Reyes, Visprint, Inc.

LITERARY CRITICISM/LITERARY HISTORY CATEGORY
(English Language)

The Postcolonial Perverse vol. 1, by J. Neil C. Garcia, The University of the Philippines Press

LITERARY CRITICISM/LITERARY HISTORY CATEGORY
(Filipino Language)

Talab: Mga Sanaysay sa Wika, Panitikan, at Pagtuturo, by Rebecca T. Añonuevo, Ateneo de Naga University Press

POETRY CATEGORY
(English Language)

Hidden Codex: Fictive Scriptures, by Jose Marte A. Abueg, University of Santo Tomas Publishing House

Time’s Enchantment and Other Reflections, by Marne Kilates, Ateneo de Naga University Press

POETRY CATEGORY
(Philippine Language except Hiligaynon/Kinaray-a)

Kundiman sa Gitna ng Karimlan, by E. San Juan, The University of the Philippines Press

POETRY CATEGORY
(Hiligaynon/Kinaray-a Language)

Tikum Kadlum, by Federico Caballero and Alicia P. Magos, The University of the Philippines Press

GRAPHIC LITERATURE CATEGORY
(English Language)

Rodski Patotski: Ang Dalagang Baby, by Gerry Alanguilan (story) and Arnold Arre (illustration and color), Meganon Comics Publishing House

GRAPHIC LITERATURE CATEGORY
(Filipino Language)

Tabi Po (Volume 1), by Mervin Malonzo, Visprint, Inc.

GRAPHIC LITERATURE CATEGORY
(Wordless)

14 (Silent Comics) by Manix Abrera (writer and illustrator), Visprint, Inc.

TRANSLATION CATEGORY

Manila Synod of 1582: The Draft of Its Handbook for Confessors, translated by Paul A. Dumol, Ateneo de Manila University Press

NON-LITERARY DIVISION

FOOD CATEGORY

Country Cooking, by Michaela Fenix, Anvil Publishing, Inc.

SOCIAL SCIENCES CATEGORY

Rido: Clan Feuding and Conflict Management in Mindanao (expanded edition), by Wilfredo Magno Torres III (editor), Ateneo de Manila University Press

PROFESSIONS CATEGORY

The Adventures of a PR Girl, by Bettina Rodriguez-Olmedo, Anvil Publishing, Inc.

LEISURE CATEGORY

Buti Pa Ang Roma, May Bagong Papa, by Noreen Capili, Anvil Publishing, Inc.

ART CATEGORY

Journey of a Thousand Shuttles, The Philippine Weave, by Norma A. Respicio, National Commission for Culture and the Arts

SCIENCE CATEGORY

Birds of Cebu and Bohol Philippines, by Nilo Arribas Jr., Bobby Kintanar, and Raul Benjamin Puentespina, University of San Carlos Press

HISTORY CATEGORY

Sakdalistas’ Struggle for Philippine Independence, 1930-1945, by Motoe Terami-Wada, Ateneo de Manila University Press

JOURNALISM CATEGORY

Vantage Point: The Sixth Estate and Other Discoveries, by Luis Teodoro, The University of the Philippines Press

DESIGN

Manila Synod of 1582: The Draft of Its Handbook for Confessors, design by Karl Fredrick M. Castro, Ateneo de Manila University Press

LANGUAGE STUDIES

Ambagan 2011: Mga Salita Mula sa Iba’t Ibang Wika sa Filipinas, by Michael M. Coroza and Galileo S. Zafra, The University of the Philippines Press

PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR

Visprint, Inc.

Source: National Book Development Board

Other exciting things:

Live twitter chat eliza victoria

singapore – day three and departure

Read about Day One here.

Read about Day Two here.

Our feet were killing us!

But we grinned and bore it as we proceeded with our last day in Singapore.

We had breakfast at the local branch of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf inside Bugis+. I love that they gave us a huge mug.

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We checked out early so we could travel to Little India. We took the bus from St. Joseph’s Chapel to get to the Little India station.

Lunch at Apollo Banana Leaf. J remarked that the Indian food here tasted as good as the Indian food we get back home.

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Haji Lane. To get to Haji Lane from Little India, hop on a bus that will stop at Parkview Square and walk. Every bus stop has a map, so finding the right bus won’t be that hard. You can also use this link to plot your way around.

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It’s a narrow street with some cute shops.

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Hmm.

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Back to Changi Airport and then home.
We’ll be back Singapore. (Well, we’d better; thanks to my paranoia and over-budgeting I still have some Singaporean dollars left!)

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While clearing Immigration, an airport personnel read the message on my shirt, “Everything has beauty.”

“It’s true,” she said. “Here you go, beautiful.”

singapore – day two

Read about Day One here.

I woke up early the next morning and was surprised to find that most of the shops were still closed.

Huh.

We ended up having breakfast at a fast food restaurant. (We didn’t know the hawker stalls in Albert Center were nearby and were already open.)

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We checked out the National Library.

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Here’s the entrance to the Children’s Section.

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After that, the Bras Basah Complex.

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It’s like a nostalgia trip. As in “oh my god remember Childcraft?”

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Next, the Singapore Art Museum. Entrance is S$10 each.

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This is my favorite installation: “Raising Spirits and Restoring Souls” by Zulkifle Mahmod, Singapore’s national anthem “distilled to its percussive beat” through speakers placed around the room. I love the use of pipes in this installation. The sound produced by pipes in an old house is the kind of sound you can deny (“don’t worry, it’s just the pipes”).

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A note on Progress.

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Another great installation, “Every Point of View” by Matthew Ngui.

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Stand at a certain point and the message will reveal itself.

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Orchard Road.

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Laksa once again once more for lunch.

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This is a shot of the National Library at night. It’s huge! And pretty. #butipasila

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After shopping for pasalubong, we stopped at a Doner Kebab stall at Bugis Village for dinner, S$10 for three kebabs. Yum.

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Day Three!