‘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:

(English Language)

Dwellers, by Eliza Victoria, Visprint, Inc.

(Filipino Language)

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

(English Language)

Wonderlust, by Nikki Alfar, Anvil Publishing Inc.

(English Language)

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

(English Language)

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

(Filipino Language)

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

(English Language)

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

(Filipino Language)

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

(English Language)

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

(Filipino Language)

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

(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

(Philippine Language except Hiligaynon/Kinaray-a)

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

(Hiligaynon/Kinaray-a Language)

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

(English Language)

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

(Filipino Language)

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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Visprint, Inc.

Source: National Book Development Board

Other exciting things:

Live twitter chat eliza victoria

after lambana update + new poem + new story + surprise!

So! Some announcements.

1. I have a new story called “At the Diazes’” in LEAP + , magazine of the Asia Pacific Writers & Translators.

ESSAY : Filipinos write back by Jose Dalisay Jr.
FICTION: The Passport by Noelle Q. de Jesus
POETRY : A colony by Allan Pastrama
POETRY : If to measure the brief length of the plane by Allan Pastrama
POETRY : Octopus by Enrique S. Villasis, translated from Tagalog by Mikael de Lara Co
POETRY : Sing Like You Mean It by Joel M. Toledo
POETRY : Man vs. Himself by Joel M. Toledo
ESSAY : American Visa by Jack Wigley
FICTION: At the Diazes’ by Eliza Victoria
POETRY : Zoo Sonnet by Isabela Benzon
POETRY : Brief Letter by Isabela Benzon
ESSAY : The Functional Value of Plain Jane by Augusto Antonia Aguila
POETRY : Beneath the Underdog by Jessica Hagedorn
POETRY : The Evolution of Bruno Mars by Jessica Hagedorn
POETRY : The Day a Storm with my Mother’s Name Came by Kristian Sendon Cordero, translated from Bikol by Marne Kilates
POETRY : The Sorrow of Ancient Fire by Kristian Sendon Cordero, translated from Bikol by Marne Kilates
INTERVIEW: The 5-Spot Interview: Andrea Pasion-Flores by Tim Tomlinson
INTERVIEW: The 5-Spot Interview: J. Neil C. Garcia by Tim Tomlinson
POETRY : The Sadness of a Tongue by Genevieve L. Asenjo, translated from Kinaray-a by Ma. Milagros Lachica
POETRY : The Water I Love is a Stranger by Genevieve L. Asenjo, translated from Kinaray-a by Ma. Milagros Lachica
MEMOIR: Sa Loob by Sandra Nicole Roldan
POETRY : How Our Towns Drown by Gemini H. Abad
ESSAY : Arsenal by Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz
FICTION: Dai vidas du’l grandu investigadores: El caso du’l toro perduto by Dean Francis Alfar. (From The Lives of the Great Detectives: The Case of the Missing Bull)
POETRY : Charcuterie by Krip Yuson
POETRY : Disguise by Krip Yuson
POETRY : A country of bees by Brylle B. Tabora
FICTION: Enough of This is True by Ian Rozales Casocot
POETRY : One Life by Carlomar Arcangel Daoana
POETRY : Self-Help by Carlomar Arcangel Daoana
FICTION: Stress Management by Glenn L. Diaz
POETRY : Ballistics by Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta
POETRY : País Tropical by Marne Kilates
ESSAY : A List of Advice for Traveling to the Country Your Family Departed by Laurel Fantauzzo
FICTION: An excerpt from “First Job” by Gabriela Lee
POETRY : The Traveller’s Song by Jose Rizal, translated from Spanish by Marne Kilates

This is one of the pieces in the collection of interconnected science fiction stories that I have been working on. Another piece is “The Target”, which will be included in the tenth volume of Philippine Speculative Fiction.

Click through to read, and of course feel free to share the link.

This is how it begins:

Chi was going through an inconvenient personal crisis that evening, and so he could hardly focus, or care, when the representative from the family said, “You’re not the Chief Engineer?”The girl, the homeowner’s eldest daughter, looked like she just stepped out of a cocktail party. Black dress, white pearls, no-hands glowing blue deep in her ear, probably the party host urging her to come back. Her, whatever her name was. Joanne told him on their way there but now he couldn’t remember. “Good afternoon,” the Hestia SmartHouse’s front door chirped, for the third time since the moment they arrived on the front porch.“There are no visitors listed in the log for this hour. Please enter the passcode to let yourself in.”

“No, ma’am,” Chi told the client, and out of nowhere came her name. Georgia. Georgia Diaz.

“He’s tied up in meetings at the moment and sends his regrets.”

“Ma knew the Chief Engineer,” Georgia said. “The lady who took my call said he’d come here personally.”

“We’re Senior Engineers, ma’am,” Joanne said. Stress on the senior, making it sound like Chief, only without the fringe benefits. “We’ve got you covered.”

They got the call an hour ago. Georgia planned to just drop by the house for a minute or so, grab a shawl she forgot in her room, when she was greeted by an empty house. She was afraid her family—her parents, her younger sister, and three younger brothers—got locked up in one of the rooms, activated the SoundEraser, and forgot the passcode to deactivate it. It had happened before, Georgia said. One time her mother forgot to close the door to the master bedroom, and her youngest brother, aged seven, slipped inside, locked the door, and accidentally soundproofed the walls. A bedroom in a Hestia SmartHouse could let you in but wouldn’t let you out without a passcode. It was one of the SmartHouse’s Anti-Theft features. Families had caught burglars that way. Or cheating husbands. Unfortunately, with the SoundEraser up, Georgia’s youngest brother had already screamed himself hoarse for two hours and his sisters didn’t even hear a peep.

Sometimes the SmartHouse is just too smart, Joanne had said with a shrug. It happens. Aside from the SmartHouse, Hestia Industries also designed manacles and jail cells, so it was a no-brainer, really.

2. I will have a new poem in an upcoming issue of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly.

3. We won’t be able to release After Lambana in time for Komikon this month, but we will have this out by early 2016. Here, let me distract you with some art from Mervin Malonzo.


4. I will have a new novel out from Visprint before the year ends. We’re done with the copyedits, and I’m just waiting for the cover and chapter art. More about this later.

See you!

robots and humanity (speed magazine, january 2014)

The following essay originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of Speed Magazine. 


What if we had robots? What if we had robots when Yolanda (Haiyan) struck? Imagine a quadripedal military robot carrying medical and survival equipment, helping residents evacuate, carrying loads surpassing the weight our own soldiers can feasibly carry. Imagine a bipedal robot swimming against the current and pulling survivors to safety, or else digging through the rubble and pulling out the dead so the bodies can be reunited with their surviving loved ones. Imagine little insect-like robots suturing wounds and applying gauze.

Sounds fantastic, but even a storm the size and strength of Yolanda seemed far-fetched, until it wasn’t.

Robots figure prominently in the world of Project 17, the science fiction novel I wrote in 2012 and which was published and released by Visprint in September 2013. In February 2013, I saw this article which said that Francis Tolentino, chief of the Metro Manila Development Authority, is thinking of having “robot traffic enforcers”. “The Robocop will spell the end of the kotong cops,” he says. I shared this with my publisher, amused, because this was what I was thinking when I started writing the novel.

Corruption is an insidious, perpetual problem in this country. Its roots run deep. Every single one of us has been touched by a form of it, from the petty (traffic cop asking for “pang-meryenda” with a smile and a knowing wink so he won’t write you a ticket) to the systemic (politicians who had managed allegedly to appropriate billions of pesos of taxpayers’ money). Some of us have even been participants, handing over that hundred-peso-bill just so we can shift gears and go on with our day.

Humans are fallible. They have desires and motivations, connections and limitations. Why do cops ask for bribes? We can consider several factors: 1) they are underpaid; 2) they have family with needs that exceed the salary they can bring home; 3) the system allows it (i.e. they can get bribes without legal repercussions due to poor monitoring and public participation –  some people actually offer it to wiggle out of tough situations).

Now, let’s go back to Mr. Tolentino’s robot traffic enforcers. You can’t bribe a robot. You can’t “appeal” to its good nature. It won’t be moved by your tears, and they won’t complain to you about their poor salary. Actually, they don’t have salaries, same way your cell phone is not on your payroll despite the fact that it works so hard for you.

Will having these robots lower the rate of corruption? Maybe? Maybe it can improve traffic, make those buses waiting for passengers move along faster on EDSA. But consider the hurdles before we can even get such a project approved. Who will build it for us? How do we go about bidding the project to private entities?

Remember the government’s $329-million National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with China’s ZTE Corp.? The project, which aimed to link government offices throughout the country, was alleged by whistleblowers to be overpriced (in the hundred millions) to cover kickbacks. It was eventually scrapped.

The path to a world without corruption is, well, paved with corruption.

Technology is a tool. It can negate our fallibility, or magnify it. Advances in medicine such as minimally invasive surgeries now equip doctors with the technical and technological ability to remove kidneys through a single tiny incision, while the availability of the semi-automatic assault rifle (among other factors) gave us the heart-wrenching tragedy of Sandy Hook.

What will stop politicians from accepting bribes so our hypothetical quadripedal military robots will reach certain families first? What will stop them from sticking their names on the face of our fantastic bipedal robot? From making the robot surgeons turn away women seeking post-abortion care because abortion is a sin?

A high GDP and technological advancements will mean nothing if we – and our officials – continue to act without conscience and compassion. Robots can’t help us there.

Only our humanity can save us.

Eliza Victoria is the author of the short story collection A Bottle of Storm Clouds and the science fiction novel Project 17, both published by Visprint. Visit her at http://elizavictoria.com.

For more information about Project 17, please click here.

36th manila international book fair: notes, tips, photos

My endless gratitude to those who dropped by Booth 78 (Komiket x Visprint) to say hi, buy books, and have their copies signed. I’m not a fan of crowds, but I always leave book events like this energized and pumped to write more.

Here are a few photos I was able to take. I wanted to take more shots but I was carrying a shoulder bag and a bag heavy with books, and the crowd. Oh, the crowd.

Before we headed to SMX, we went to the new Beni’s Falafel branch in SM MOA (South Building, near Gonuts Donuts if I remember correctly). Thank you to Honey de Peralta for the tip! If you’re in the area, you should try Beni’s Falafel.

Manila International Book fair 2015

Here is Booth 78 busy with buyers.

Manila International Book fair 2015

Manila International Book fair 2015

The Visprint x Komiket / Komiket x Visprint catalogue! After Lambana is already listed here. Hala ka, Mervin.

Manila International Book fair 2015

That empty spot was where copies of Dwellers used to be. The Visprint ladies said they bring 20 copies of each title every day. When I left, there was only one copy of Dwellers left for the day. Thank you, readers!

Manila International Book fair 2015

Jack Alvarez’s boots were so high and so awesome the guards thought he was going to the cosplay event. Probably my favorite story of the day. Haha!

Manila International Book fair 2015

3D printer. I enjoyed watching it at work, when a guy behind me said, “Last year pa kaya ‘yan.” E di ikaw na updated!

Manila International Book fair 2015

Manila International Book fair 2015

Saw this in passing. It was lovely, but didn’t get to buy it.

Manila International Book fair 2015

Signed copies.

Manila International Book fair 2015

Manila International Book fair 2015

Finally, my book fair haul:

  • Lunatic, Meganon Comics, various authors
  • Sixty-Six, Anino/Adarna, Russell Molina and Ian Sta. Maria
  • Janus Silang books 1 & 2, Adarna, Egay Samar
  • Histories, Ateneo Press, Charlie Samuya Veric
  • Cover (Story) Girl, Visprint, #romanceclass series, Chris Mariano (first read this as an ebook)
  • Piko, Anino/Adarna, various authors
  • Smaller and Smaller Circles, Soho Press, bought at the National Book Store booth, FH Batacan
  • Ang Autobiografia ng Ibang Lady Gaga, Visprint, Jack Alvarez
  • Married Women, Ateneo de Naga Press, bought at the Ateneo Press booth, Maryanne Moll

Manila International Book fair 2015

Manila International Book fair 2015

Manila International Book fair 2015

Some notes/tips:

  • The huge National Book Store booth has a good system for payment. Lots of cashiers, a single line, a la SM Hypermarket. Anvil, which shares space with NBS, has only two cashiers, I think.
  • Booth 78 is too small for signing, but I’m happy to see a lot of readers.
  • I don’t understand the booth numbering system. A map would be handy. I feel like I have missed a lot of interesting booths because I can’t figure out where everything was.
  • I do wish the aisles were wider, with seats where weary attendees can take a break and rest their aching feet.
  • Bring water. Definitely.
  • Wear a comfortable pair of shoes.

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.

notes from the philippine literary festival 2015

    • There were still a lot of people despite the INC rally blocking EDSA. Probably people from the South of Metro Manila? Happy to see the crowd.
    • The moment I sat in the Visprint area, someone approached me to have copies of my books signed. Buena mano! Salamat, Kevin.
Photo from Kevin.


Philippine Literary Festival 2015

Philippine Literary Festival 2015

Photo from EK
  • Our first stop was at the “Translation: A Creative Act” panel in the Namayan Room, with John Green English to Filipino translators Luna Sicat, Julz Riddle, Bebang Siy (who was cosplaying Margo Roth Spiegelman) and Ronald Verzo, moderated by Anvil’s RayVi Sunico. Happy to sit next to Elyss Punsalan. It was an excellent talk about the difficulty of translating not just language, but class, culture, and nuances in perspective. (How do you translate “fuck” when the word “sex” is used in the same sentence? How do you translate “state” when we don’t have an equivalent in Filipino? Do you use “lalawigan”? “nayon”? Why do American authors love using “my” — my floor, my bed, my room — and how do you translate that without sounding awkward in Filipino? How do you translate the “poverty” of living in a trailer park, when some Filipinos live in houses smaller than these trailers? How do you translate a story that is not believable to you, as a Filipino author and reader?) I really enjoyed it. Sulit ang pagpunta sa Makati.

Philippine Literary Festival 2015

  • Book signing pa more. Thank you Anne and the others who dropped by.


  • Before the night ended, Mervin Malonzo and I were able to share a few pages from After Lambana. We were in a corner of Ballroom 2, sharing the time slot with Meganon Comics.
    Photo from Meganon Comics’ Tepai Pascual.

    Photo from Tepai.
  • Sharing with you some snapshots here (from pages 10, 14, and 16). Some people in the audience expressed excitement, so that’s promising!

Lambana, the realm of the Diwata, has fallen, the Magic Prohibition Act has been signed into law, and there is something wrong with Conrad’s heart. Only magic can delay his inevitable death, and so he meets with Ignacio, a friend who promises to hook him up with Diwata and magic-derived treatments, illegal though this may be.

But during the course of the night, Conrad may just discover Lambana’s secrets – and a cure to save his life.

from After Lambana

from After Lambana 2

from After Lambana 3

Thank you to the National Book Store and the Visprint team for making this happen. Sa uulitin!

‘dwellers’ is best novel finalist for the national book awards, and other writing news

In this post: National Book Awards, Philippine Speculative Fiction, Voyage to Bathala, Best of the Net, Philippine Literary Festival, Filipino Readercon, goddess fan art, #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy.

2015-08-15 21.41.381. First off, my short novel Dwellers is a finalist for the 34th National Book Awards (Best Novel in English). Thank you to the NBDB (National Book Development Board) and the MCC (Manila Critics’ Circle) for the honor, and to Visprint for giving my words a home. My congratulations as well to friends and other fellow finalists. You can see the entire list here.

This is my second nomination. Last year, Project 17 was a finalist for the same category.

To know more about Dwellers (what’s it about, where to buy online and in the bookstores), click here.

2. My story, “The Target”, will be appearing in the upcoming tenth volume of Philippine Speculative Fiction. This is part of a collection of interconnected science fiction stories that I’m working on, and I’m excited to share this one piece of it with you. Thank you Dean and Nikki! Here’s the full TOC, from Rocket Kapre. PSF10

A Long Walk Home – Alexander M. Osias
A Report – Sarge Lacuesta
A Small Hope – Gabriela Lee
For Sale: Big Ass Sword – Kenneth G. Yu
Children of the Stars – Francis Gabriel Concepcion
Fisher of Men – Razel Tomacder
Hunger – Lakan Umali
IT Girl – AJ Elicaño
Lamat – Noel Tio
Marvin and the Jinni – Raymund Reyes
Mechanical Failures – Jose Elvin Bueno
Mene, Thecel, Phares – Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
Night Predators – Joseph Montecillo
Oblation – Richard Cornelio
Santos de Sampaguita – Alyssa Wong
Soulless – EK Gonzales
The Dollmaker – Joel Pablo Salud
The Last God of Cavite – Andrew Drilon
The Owl and the Hoopoe – Renz Torres
The Run to Grand Maharlika Station – Vincent Michael Simbulan
The Target – Eliza Victoria
Thunderstorm – Cyan Abad-Jugo
When the Gods Left – Kate Osias

3. Another story of mine, called “At the Diazes'”, also from this set of interconnected stories, has been accepted for publication, but I’ve yet to hear more about that, so let me get back to you.

4. Southern Pacific Review has nominated my poem “Stargazing” for Best of the Net 2015. Thank you! Click on the link to read the nominated poem.

5. Read my stories “The Missing”, “Maybe Another Song at Dusk”, “The Handmade House”, and “Voyage to Bathala” in one volume. Voyage to Bathala and Other Stories is part of the Encounters series published by et al and edited by Dean Alfar and Sarge Lacuesta.


6. I will be attending the second day of the Philippine Literary Festival 2015 to sign books and maaaybe give a sneak peek of the comic book Mervin Malonzo and I are working on. Come visit!

Admission to the PLF at the Raffles Hotel in Makati from August 28 to 30 is free of charge, but seats are limited. Thank you to Nikko over on Facebook for this image.


7. I served as panelist in last year’s Silliman University National Writers Workshop, and it was such a fun (grueling) experience. They are now accepting manuscripts. Read more here.

The Silliman University National Writers Workshop is now accepting applications for the55th National Writers Workshop to be held 9—27 May 2016 at the Silliman University Rose Lamb Sobrepeña Writers Village.

This Writers Workshop is offering twelve fellowships to promising writers in the Philippines who want to have a chance to hone their craft and refine their style. Fellows will be provided housing, a modest stipend, and a subsidy to partially defray costs of their transportation.

To be considered, applicants should submit manuscripts in English on or before 30 September 2015.

8. The Filipino Readercon team is up and about and organizing the Readers’ Choice Awards, with a slight change in rules this year. Watch out for that.


9. Alternative Alamat editor Paolo Chikiamco shared this fan art with me. “Tala’s Spectacles” and “Alunsina’s Mask”, based on characters that appeared in my stories in that volume (“Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.” and “Remembrance”). “Ana’s Little Pawnshop” also appears in my short story collection, A Bottle of Storm Clouds (a phrase lifted from the story). Art by michstar090. Maraming salamat!

Image link: http://michstar090.deviantart.com/art/Tala-s-Spectacles-552978428
Image link: http://michstar090.deviantart.com/art/Alunsina-s-Mask-551325575
Image link: http://michstar090.deviantart.com/art/Alunsina-s-Mask-551325575

10. Subaybayan ang hashtag na #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy sa Twitter o Facebook, kaakibat ng pagdiriwang ng Buwan ng Wika ngayong Agosto.

Heto ang mga itinatampok kong akda para sa photo-op na ito (iilan lamang sa mga nahila galing sa lalagyan ng mga aklat):