and beyond

Reactions to Marte were of varying intensity and ran the gamut from “It’s astonishing!” to “This play should never have been staged”. Having written at least four books now out in the market, I’m not a stranger to less than stellar reviews. Still, I was surprised by how the negative-to-harsh reviews affected me. Is my confidence crumbling? Is my thick skin no longer thick enough?

Then it hit me. I write prose fiction. With prose fiction, the book or story is marked in my head as DONE following publication, and becomes psychologically separate from myself.

Above all, it is static. Interpretations of the text may change, but the text, every time you flip the page, remains the same.

Not so with theater.

I sat through four out of six shows of Marte and each one of them was different. An actor forgets a line or adds a line, the lights are changed to enhance a scene, the director changes a blocking instruction. A prop falls, gets snagged on a costume, goes missing. A fantastic performance tonight may be middling in the matinee show the next day. And vice versa! With theater, until the very last curtain call, you can’t breathe easy, you can’t relax, because until then you are not done.

It was the most physically and psychologically demanding creative project I have ever worked on.

And I loved it.

My deepest gratitude to everyone who joined me (willingly or unwillingly) in this production journey.

Marte class picture.

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On the way to (Tagaytay) CCP.

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Wok-Inn!

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Pre-show warm-up in Buff aka Backstage Extension c/o Direk Nic Pichay.

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With my family before the last show.

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Full house!

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And a proposal.

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Love you Team Marte!

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Further reading:

5 new plays–and 5 nerve-wracked new playwrights

Another Baptism By Fire At The 12th Virgin Labfest

Virgin LabFest 13 Revisited:

Ang Sugilanon ng Kabiguan ni Epefania

Ang Bata sa Drum

Mula sa Kulimliman

* * *

What now?

Onwards and upwards.

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The Philippine Readers and Writers Festival 

August 26 to 28, 2016

Raffles Makati

Manila International Book Fair

September 16 to 18, 2016

SMX Convention Hall

See you around!

six and twenty-nine

Jaykie and I recently celebrated our sixth anniversary and my twenty-ninth birthday. Confetti! Sampaguita garlands!

Thank you to Manix Abrera for this great sketch.

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Thank you to J for the books.

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J took me to a nice steak restaurant (wherein I ordered a pasta) and I bought a bunch of Halloween-themed donuts that I was not supposed to be eating.

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I had a quiet, carefree birthday this year. Just the way I like it.

And now, a word from Tits Palmer*:

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*from Kate Beaton’s fantastic Hark! A Vagrant

quezon city food trip, or quezon city, you’re so far away now that you may as well be a province, or we had to book a hotel room to do this

Our group’s original plan was to go to Cebu. Book a hotel room, play games, eat. Then one of us suggested: well, why don’t we start with Quezon City? With the traffic and the horrible road constructions happening simultaneously in Metro Manila, QC may as well be Cebu, in terms of distance.

On the first week of September, we booked a hotel room in Red Planet Hotel (formerly Tune Hotel, photos later) because there was a promo on Agoda, making it cheaper and affordable. The site says it’s 30 minutes away from the airport. The only sane response to this is hysterical laughter and some tears.

Day 1

First stop: Steveston Pizza in UP Town Center.
Recommendation: Black pizza (Honey glazed chicken breast, fig Gorgonzola and mascarpone mousse, walnuts and arugula julienne)

QC Food Trip Day 1

QC Food Trip Day 1

QC Food Trip Day 1

La Lola Churreria, UP Town Center
We enjoyed the chocolate-dipped churros. They’re served cold, with a chewy center.

QC Food Trip Day 1

Photo taken while in Xocolat, waiting for Jammi to finish getting papers from the printer. Check out Jammi’s page here. She does tarot readings, sells crystals, and teaches classes on Reiki.

QC Food Trip Day 1

Photos taken in Red Planet Hotel. The room is small, but we didn’t mind. (I would probably mind if we paid full price. The price point is similar to Remington Hotel, which is located near NAIA 3.)

QC Food Trip Day 1

QC Food Trip Day 1

For dinner, we walked to Don Andres, a Peruvian restaurant.

Don Andres

Courtyard Building 26

Sgt. Esguerra Ave South Triangle

Quezon City (02) 364-4145

We recommend everything. QC Food Trip Day 1 Day 2

Breakfast at Breakfast & Pies.

Breakfast & Pies

39 Malingap St

Teacher Village – West

Quezon City

Some of the dishes we tried:

Ultimate Bacon Rice

Day 2

Huevos Rancheros  Day 2

Caramelized Spam (I had the rice removed, which probably confused everyone in the kitchen because it took them a while to get the order right.)

Day 2

Pieesss. They have a lot of great desserts, but I really enjoyed their key lime pie. We also checked out Pipino, the vegetarian restaurant next door. Day 2

We dropped by Uno Morato so I can buy some poetry books and play Barbarossa. Look!

Day 2

Barbarossa is a deck-building game featuring moe art. Jammi showed me some alternate cards featuring actual girls and they freaked me out. Let’s just stick with the moe.

Day 2

Day 2

Day 2

Day 2

My tiny book haul from Uno Morato.

  • Dark Hours, 10th Anniversary edition, Conchitina Cruz
  • Mula, Rosmon Tuazon
  • Shall We Be Kind and Suffer Each Other, Mark Anthony Cayanan

Day 2

We moved to Ludo to play some games, and dinner was at Full Belly, but I was unfortunately not able to take photos.

My poor belly and wallet needs a break now.

see you at the 36th manila international book fair!

I will be at the 36th Manila International Book Fair on Saturday, September 19, sharing the 3 to 4pm time slot with Jack Alvarez, author of Ang Autobiografia ng Ibang Lady Gaga and one of my co-Fellows at the UP National Writers Workshop.

See below for the map. Visprint books will be sold at a discount at Booth 78! Do drop by.

visprint booth

In other book-related news:

  • Dwellers is nominated for Best Novel at the Filipino Readers Choice Awards. Click here to vote for your favorite reads from 2014.
  • Visprint is going to the Frankfurt Book Fair this year from October 14 to 18. If you’re going to the fair (lucky you! shut up!  you’re making me envious!) and want to pre-order some books, read on below:

We’re attending this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair from October 14 to 18!

If you’re in Germany, we’re open to taking orders for Visprint titles to be claimed at the book fair. Send your orders to bestbookproposal@visprint.net by SEPTEMBER 20.

Use the Subject Line “Frankfurt Book Fair Book Order”
Include contact details, including: your name and contact number. We will reply with payment options and pick up date/time.

things i love, summer edition

I turn my head and suddenly it’s June. I don’t write blog posts as often as I used to; I often find myself composing essays in my head but it appears that I enjoy doing that more than actually posting them. That should give me more energy for my fiction, I suppose. What’s new? I found a new old job (long story), got a new haircut, slowly melted in the heat. I hear we’ll see the end of humanity in a hundred years (the prediction was old — made circa 2010 — but the linked article is new, saying an old thing about carbon emissions, to which no one ever listens). I feel happier and more content than I’ve ever been, and I see the irony in this.

Well, since we humans are still around, here, some things I love:

Acacia Hotel Manila

J and I, for his birthday weekend, were looking for a nice place to unwind when I found Acacia Hotel‘s deal on Deal Grocer. We got two vouchers to stay for two nights in their Executive Suite, buffet breakfast included. The hotel is located in Alabang. Great location, great service, excellent amenities. Everything looks new and clean. (And they offer Aromatherapy pillows, which I like.) I recommend you check it out.

We made plans to take a dip in the hotel pool, check out the spa, use the gym, and so on and so forth, but of course we ended up just staying in the room to watch movies or heading out to eat sushi. Also, we realized that we like Alabang and wouldn’t mind living there. If only it weren’t so expensive, and so far from everybody and everything.

– Sink into your own much raved-about custom-made, memory-foam “dream bed”.
– Bathe in a sublime bathroom with separate rain shower and bathtub.
– Prepare hot meals in your own kitchenette and take advantage of suite perks such as personalized butler service.
– Then, enjoy other first-rate amenities that are deliciously part of your stay: Wi-Fi access, flat screen TV, a full-sized executive desk, an electronic DND panel and safety deposit box, among others.
– Lounge around the beautiful swimming pool and spa, bask in natural daylight or romantic moonlight at the gorgeous Samanea outdoor garden, or discover the newest in dining experiences on this side of town with the hotel’s restaurants.
– With Acacia Hotel’s sophistication, style, and signature authentic Filipino hospitality, you don’t need to go out of town to experience a luxurious getaway.

Acacia Hotel Manila

5400 East Asia Drive corner Commerce Avenue,
Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang,
Muntinlupa City 1781

Telephone: ++63 2 7202000 / ++63 2 5885888
Mobile: ++63 917 5281504 (room reservations only)
Email: enquiry@acaciahotelsmanila.com

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I love the toiletries.

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20150605_220605Butterbeer from Early Bird Breakfast Club

Also recommended: their grilled cheese and tomato soup, their Yin-Yang Champorado, their French toasts.

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20150601_190754Love Letter: Batman

J found this by chance in Hobbes & Landes in BGC. I’ve played the original Love Letter, but I enjoyed this variant more! I took this home and my siblings got obsessed with it.

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20150610_201954Page-turners

like this one

20150531_142439along with Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch (until autumn 2014) and Stjepan Šejić and Ms. Marvel by Sana Amanat, Stephen Wacker, G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona.

This speaker

that I didn’t buy but took a picture of while in the store because I thought it looked really cute.

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Will Read for Feels’ ‘5 Filipino Speculative Fiction Authors to Watch’

Hands-down, one of our most prolific authors in the field is Eliza Victoria. Whether you crave science fiction, fantasy, or horror, Victoria has a story for you. She’s also written in a variety of formats, whether it’s short stories, novelettes, novella, poetry, and soon, comics. The only format that currently eludes her is the novel, but she has a large body of work to tide you over. It’s not just the sheer volume that makes Victoria stand out, but how consistent she delivers interesting and compelling stories.

Selected Bibliography:

A Bottle of Storm Clouds (Visprint/Flipside Publishing)
Project 17 (Visprint/Flipside Publishing)
Unseen Moon (Eliza Victoria)

From “Guest Post: 5 Filipino Speculative Fiction Authors to Watch” on Will Read for Feels. Thank you Charles Tan, Anne, Liana, and Marian! Please click through for more links and recommendations.

chasing tales vol. 1 on flipreads

Chasing Tales Vol. 1, which has my story “Fairy Tales”, is now available on Flipreads. Thanks MoarBooks for the opportunity! It was available in print for a short while — kindly contact MoarBooks on Facebook if you want to order print copies.

Chasing Tales, Volume 1: Fantasy Night features short stories and excerpts from the upcoming novels of Eliza Victoria, Carlo C. Flordeliza and Erika M. Carreon. Done in coordination with the Chasing Tales Speaker Series, these stories come in accompaniment of the first installment, Fantasy Night.