Archive for the ‘Features/Interviews’ Category

Lower Myths and Current Events: An Interview With Eliza Victoria

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 3 - 2012

Eliza Victoria’s fiction and poetry have received prizes in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature and the Philippines Free Press Literary Awards. She’s contributed to many of our projects here at Rocket Kapre, including Usok, Ruin and Resolve, and Alternative Alamat. She took the time to answer a few questions about her first solo book “Lower Myths”, which was just released digitally last week.

Why did you choose “Lower Myths” as the title of this novella collection?

I’m not sure if I first read this in a book or online, but some historiographers make a distinction between what they perceive as two kinds of myths. B?rendran?tha Datta discusses it here: “classical”/literary myths are considered “higher myths” while oral/folk myths are considered “lower myths”.

The myths that I’ve always loved are oral myths, and their creatures and characters appear in this volume.

Did you intentionally set out to write novella-length fiction, or were these simply the length you felt that the stories needed to be?

I distinctly remember making notes on these stories and thinking that the plots couldn’t be contained within 5,000 words (the length of an average short story). So yes, I guess the intention is to write longer stories. I didn’t think “novella”, I just thought they’d be “long”.

Did you notice any difference in the writing of novella-length fiction, as opposed to shorter stories? Were there any peculiar difficulties/benefits to the novella?

Working with a longer word count could give you a fake sense of freedom. You’ll write scenes the story doesn’t really need, go overboard with descriptions, etc. What I’m saying is, there’s no difference really. It just so happened that the novella was the length the stories needed.

BUT I have to say one difficulty to the novella is IT’S HARDER TO SELL. I once spoke with a print publication, and they told me that they love Lower Myths, but it’s not marketable. Most publications want short stories, or full novels. Good thing Flipside picked this up or this won’t see the light of day.

Was there any particular reason you chose to package these two novellas together? Do you feel that they somehow interact with each other, thematically? (An early review mentioned that the stories “visit both sides of the fence…”)

The stories mention the same creatures and at moments occur in the same setting.

“Trust Fund Babies” involves a war between families of witches and fairies. What kind of research did you have to do for this story?

I am a fan of mindless, mob movies. Just gleeful, plot-driven action. And I am fond of detective fiction. Whatever research this story needed, I’ve already done in the past I suppose.

Why did you choose fairies and witches in particular, as opposed to other available creature/sorcerer groups?

The story begins in the Cagayan Valley, and the stories my mother and grandmother (who are both from Cagayan) tell me “from back home” almost always involved witches.

As for fairies, I’m just fond of diwata.

Was “The Very Last Case of Messrs. Aristotel and Arkimedes Magtanggol” (where an aristocrat and his daughter consult sibling lawyers about a mysterious crime) inspired by any real life events?

If I told you what real-life event inspired this story, I’ll give the plot away! A clue then: turn to the news.

The book also features some fine illustrations. Can you tell us a bit about the artist, and why you chose to include artwork?

The inclusion of artwork (by Lester Banzuelo) was the decision of the publishing house. But [the illustrations] lovely, aren’t they? I really love the cover too [illustrated by Lester Banzuelo and designed by Adam David].

“Lower Myths” is an ebook, but you also have a print collection of short stories coming out later this year. Can you talk a bit about the differences and/or similarities in the publishing process for a digital book and a print book? How did you choose which collection to pitch for print/digital?

I pitched this collection for digital because it might be easier to sell a short book as an ebook than its dead-tree equivalent. And, as I’ve mentioned, I don’t think print publishing houses are keen on accepting novella collections.

As for the differences, print books take longer to produce, and are more expensive. During revisions, a digital book will be returned to you as a Word file with Track Changes on. Meanwhile, my short story collection was returned to me as a print-out, a hefty package with the comments penciled in. As someone who is used to working on a computer, the process seemed archaic to me (I had to sit on the floor so I could flip through the MS without ruining the pages, and take notes on a separate piece of paper). But it was beautiful! It was very romantic. It’s been a while since I last saw an editor’s handwriting.

“Lower Myths” can currently be purchased at Amazon or Flipreads.

Photo credit: Karen Lucero of the National Book Development Board

Philippine Speculative Fiction 6 Review: Hub and Intro

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 1 - 2012

Yes, I know that reviewing an anthology which contains one of your own stories is not something that is regularly “done” in the world of literature, but after weighing the pros and cons in my mind, I’ve decided that the disadvantages of appearing like a self-promoting lout are outweighed by the benefits of promoting more critical attention focused on Filipino authored speculative fiction.

The authors of Philippine speculative fiction (the category, not the anthology) have been producing an ever growing number of stories since the first PSF (the anthology) volume was released, and I think it’s essential that criticism keep pace. In the field of komiks, I’ve been open about my agreement with the position that robust komiks criticism is necessary to push the field forward, and I feel the same way about prose spec fic. I’ll begin with PSF6 because it is the most recent spec fic anthology, and because I’ve found that while I did not like all of the stories in the anthology, each one is worthy of discussion.

And, as a discussion requires more than one person, I’m happy to announce that I will be joined in this commentary by Mia Tijam, one of the best writers in the field, and someone who isn’t a contributor to PSF6. Mia and I have very, very, different sensibilities, and we thought we’d play with the form of our reviews a little: one of us will write a stand-alone review of a story, and the other will then do his/her review by playing off the initial review (and then a little back-and-forth during the revision process). This is our attempt at having a dynamic element, while keeping it from becoming a total free-for-all, which is what would happen if we merely transcribed our conversations.

This post will serve as a hub for all our PSF6 reviews, as we work our way down from the first story of the TOC, so I guess this is where I’ll make my disclaimers: it shouldn’t need to be said, but nothing here is meant to be the final, authoritative, word about the story– comments and rebuttals are highly encouraged; yes, some of the authors are friends of ours, but we try not to let that affect our judgment, or even our tone; we can’t promise to be nice–as someone who pays people to savage my own stories, I have a bias toward the helpful and harsh as opposed to the watered down and useless–but we promise to take each story seriously; authors are welcome to comment, but, that being said, if you know you’re sensitive to criticism, please advance only when you’ve hardened your heart (after all, this is part of what it means to display your work in a public realm).

All clear? Great. Let’s go.

[Review index under the cut]

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PSF6 Review: On Wooden Wings

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On February - 23 - 2012

Since the author’s not into self-mutilation (and for the sake of objective delicadeza), Paolo’s sitting this one out and my bold type is being turned over to Don Jaucian (critic and film buff, proprietor of pelikula.tumblr.com and geeksturr.tumblr.com/) who’s been steadily hanging out his critical cajones out there and here.

Don, I hope you charge Paolo Chikiamco for this because he really pays people to have fun while savaging his stories haha.

Wait, so I’ll get paid for this? Hahaha. Anyway, the beginning kind of threw me off. Too much jargon and terms that needed explaining, which can be a problem for the readers who aren’t really familiar with the culture discussed here.

The beginning did not hook me in at all, especially with the opening line. And just looking at the pages, I had to condition myself to read the story, sighing to myself, “Oh boy this is gonna be a long one…” I had to try several times to get myself to sit through it because it just wasn’t getting me.

I was actually afraid it’ll continue to be like that for the rest of the story. The approach is like a cloying hard science fiction story: here are facts, terms, historical allusions piling on top of each other. Quick, Google them!

— Hahaha! Well there’s that overload that shuts down my brain then onto a re-boot to make sense of it all. My problem was that this process was happening in a stumbling loop because my cliché bell was also clanging tsk tsk

But some of the terms become clear as you go along with the story or maybe some readers will just disregard some of the terms and stick with the flow of the story.

—- Sometimes I do react like the “some readers” that you’re referring to. Especially when I’m not so familiar with the terms. It’s like chatter and my brain says “Action na! Bilis!”

Exactly! But then again, I guess it’s also one way to familiarize with the Muslim culture, especially on their culture and education. You can tell Paolo did a lot of research on this.

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PSF6 Review: “Villainoguing” by Joseph Montecillo

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On February - 9 - 2012

This post is a part of our story-by-story review of Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 6. You can see the introductory post, and our disclaimers here. Bold font is Mia Tijam, everything else is Paolo Chikiamco.

The traditional (think Golden/Silver Age) superhero story is one of those story types that draws from a small pool of highly recognizable elements, and requires a very healthy suspension of disbelief.

— sigh, I wish we weren’t gonna do this to this one… but hell yeah, especially if the reader were me, ayayay

That’s not to say that I don’t think you can write a good, straight-up one–Lou Anders’ “Masked” anthology has a few–but simply that few writers make that attempt. It’s tough, like writing a straight-up humor piece.]

— An attempt at a straight-up humor piece about superheroes and villains = ridiculous and funny reality. Right.

I think that it’s this combination of factors that makes it so common in contemporary literature/media to see attempts at deconstructing the genre and its tropes. In movies, this frequently takes the form of light-hearted parodies (Megamind, Despicable Me) where the ridiculous nature of many of the genre’s tropes are used for comedic effect (even works that aren’t straight up parodies take pains to draw a line between what works in a 1940s Batman comic, and what would work “in real life”–see the treatment of capes in The Incredibles).

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PSF6 Review: “A Smell of Mothballs” by Maria Elena Paterno

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On February - 2 - 2012

This post is a part of our story-by-story review of Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 6. You can see the introductory post, and our disclaimers here. Bold font is Mia Tijam, everything else is Paolo Chikiamco.

Except for a jolting transition after the 3rd paragraph on the first page and “dull thud” making my bell wince, I found the story smooth, short, and sweet. There were still cliché phrases but this story showed when such articulation is just appropriate like in the usage of “woke with a start” or “…looked at him uncomprehendingly”. Because to do otherwise would make the story’s language suddenly turning verbose. Though the latter is still kind of making me wince given that it is an isolated line and therefore draws implied significance.

What I enjoyed craft-wise in this story was the ability of the author to hone in on very specific environmental/sensory details in order to give more reality and particularity to a scene. “…[s]troked the space between the inside of the elbow and the surgical tape that held the tube down…” If you’ve been in the hospital much/recently, you know exactly where that spot is. Another: “There was a smell of old coffee beans and spiders lurking in corners.” (I’d like to think that last is intentionally ambiguous.)

Man you haven’t been to old houses in the provinces much, huh? There’s a smell exactly like that in bodegas (or what we call in Bicol as zaguan). Can also be smelled in old aparadors. Think of the smell of old spiders as a thicker smell of dust, add that smell of coffeebeans, et voila! C’est par la:  It doesn’t make you sneeze.

[Pao: Our “ancestral home”, so to speak, is on a farm. I guess the spider smell was overpowered by the chicken poop, er, coop.]

One thing that bothered me about the opening scene–I’ve mentioned this before–is the non-identification of the POV character with a proper noun until the third paragraph. As I said, maybe it’s a bias from my time in the slush fields, but if basic information is withheld from me, I expect it to have been done for a reason, and there didn’t seem to be any need not to just say “So Simeon woke with a start…” (And I don’t think you sacrifice in media res by a clear identity.)

Double-checked that. The way I see it, if proper noun were used in the first paragraph, the beginning would lose that sensation of emerging from sleep. The use of proper noun would make the POV too conscious, because as it is the POV’s panning from internal subconscious to waking to groggy alertness.

[Pao: Ah, I see your point. But then why not introduce it in the second paragraph? Protagonist seems fully aware by then.]

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PSF6 Review: “Prisoner 2501″ by Philip Corpuz

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 26 - 2012

This post is a part of our story-by-story review of Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 6. You can see the introductory post, and our disclaimers here. Bold font is Mia Tijam, everything else is Paolo Chikiamco.

This is a story by a (publishing) virgin… Congratulations young dude, you are not a virgin anymore! And you win the award for the most marked so far (see http://aremantha.blogspot.com/2011/11/rhum-coke-night.html#more for exhibit A, first page. You should see pages 48 and 50.) Let’s start with the POV: the “I” here is a schizo, it swings from and to—

A) I-as-3rd-person omniscient (the “I” speaks like the narrator)

B) I-as-1st-person-limited (the “I” speaks of internal reality/train-of-thought/the character)

C) I-as-Author (it’s the author unaware that he has become the storyteller acting as the storyteller with an “I”)

Examples:

A)    The first line of the story; in fact, the first couple of paragraphs in the story.

B)     Page 46, after the first Click, the lot of those paragraphs.

C)    Once the furor died down. See that’s the language/vocabulary of the author, not the “I” character.

What say you, Counsel?

For me, this was overshadowed by other concerns during the first reading, but on second reading I see that schism, though I’d conflate (A) and (C) into one–not sure that I know enough about the POV character to have a firm grasp about what is or is not in his vocabulary. (Though that’s not to say some word choices didn’t jar me – the use of reclusion perpetua, for instance, since that’s a legal term that doesn’t gel well with an “eternity” of punishment…)

It’s the difference in the constructs of the “I”. Think of I as A, B, C— these are three different characters/realities/perspectives. The problem then is that the story is using “I” and an “I” intrinsically will only have one identity unfolding that identity’s reality. But the “I” here is playing Holy Trinity, hahahaha.

It’s less of a POV issue for me, as it is an immersion issue.

Dude, POV is immersion. Latter is dependent on former. How in the world can a reader be immersed in the story without the POV?

[Pao: You need a POV for any story of course, but I think you can be immersed in a story with a mishandled POV. I don't think it'll happen often, but it is possible, if the thoughts/reactions that the reader is shown remain authentic.]

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Interim Goddess of Love: Interview with Mina Esguerra

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 24 - 2012

Mina Esguerra is one of the Filipino authors most beloved by the blogging community, partly because she writes excellent “chick lit” stories in a Philippine context, and partly because she maintains a regular online presence. Her next romance novella is a YA book with speculative elements, so I jumped at the chance to have her on the blog for a short interview.

Tell us a bit about your new book, “Interim Goddess of Love”:

Interim Goddess of Love is my first YA romance novella, and it’s about Hannah, a sophomore scholarship student at a college just outside of Metro Manila. Her world changes pretty much overnight when her friend (and not-so-secret crush), reveals to her that he’s actually the god of the sun, and that he needs her to temporarily be the goddess of love. Because the original goddess is missing. It’s the first volume of what I’ve planned as a series. (Operative word is “planned” of course.)

In an interview last year, you mentioned how your first novel pitch was for a YA story that was not picked up. What made you decide to return to that genre now? How do you approach writing a YA novel as opposed to one that is not aimed at that market?

Before getting published that first time (My Imaginary Ex, a chick lit novella), I had only ever really written YA — stuff that was more Sweet Dreams- and Sweet Valley-ish. Writing chick lit now, I actually still take my YA concept and just age the characters by five to seven years. My books are not very “adult” or raunchy. (My mother will disagree, but anyway.) I’ve also used a lot of flashbacks to college, so I feel like I never really left that comfort zone.

I pay attention to readers mentioning my books in social media though, and I noticed that they’re young. Teenagers. Younger than I’d expected since the stories are about twenty-somethings.  So I thought maybe I could work on a story and keep the characters teenagers too, instead of aging them. That’s how Interim Goddess of Love started.

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Alternative Alamat Interview: Andrei Tupaz

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 18 - 2012

For our second Alternative Alamat contributor interview this year, I’ve spoken with Andrei Tupaz, author of “Offerings to Aman Sinaya”. Andrei used to work as a primary school teacher in the Philippines but now lifts heavy boxes of produce and stocks shelves five days a week at a supermarket in Wellington, New Zealand.  In his spare time, when he isn’t recovering from all the lifting he does at work, he works out at the gym, or spends time with his wife doing extremely productive things like lazing about near the Wellington wharf, watching shows and movies, or acceding to his body’s gastronomic demands.

Without spoiling anything essential, could you tell me a bit about your story?

My story focuses on a fishing tribe, and their relationship to the sea goddess Aman Sinaya.  It also asks and “answers” the question: “If Aman Sinaya, goddess of the sea, really existed, what kind of offering would she accept from those who fish within her domain?”

Did you draw upon any specific personal experiences in writing this story? Experiences of the sea, of love, or a clash between old and new?

I guess an experience that I drew upon is the time my friends (including my then girlfriend and now wife) and I swam with whale sharks in Donsol. I wore a life vest because I couldn’t swim (I knew how to paddle but couldn’t stay afloat).  We saw four whale sharks.  The first one I saw (was it really the size of a bus?) went straight toward me, and then veered away at the last second.  If I stretched out my hand I would have touched the whale shark’s snout (touching the whale shark would have been wrong of course); it felt like I was that close.

I still can’t truly put into words the awe and amazement I felt swimming with those whale sharks. Our guide, a man in his forties, was an incredible swimmer and diver. Seeing him, and the other men in the bangka we hired, move so effortlessly around the bangka, and in the water – that also affected me. Another experience that probably “jumpstarted” the story was seeing a high school friend’s photo of the sunken cemetery in Camiguin, with the iconic cross rising out of the ocean.  My friend had composed the photo so that the cross was in the upper third of the photo.  On the lower third of the photo, there was a bangka moving towards the cross.

What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most fun for you?

The part of the writing process I like most is the start – when the screen is white and devoid of any text. Because then I can write anything, and it doesn’t have to make sense or be coherent.  I like writing short 250 to 500 word ‘freewrites’ about a concept I have (if you’re ‘freewriting’ about a concept, is it still a freewrite?), because it feels like I’m just indulging in my imagination, but to turn that concept into a whole story… ahh that’s hard work.

That’s how Offerings to Aman Sinaya actually came about…out of a 500 word ‘freewrite.’  I wrote about a parent telling a bedtime story to his child, of fishermen diving to the bottom of the sea, to pray to a statue of the Virgin Mary. Funny how the original freewrite had such a Catholic motif.

What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most difficult for you?

Creating a coherent story.  I had written so many “what if” versions on the idea of giving an offering to a sea goddess, with so many different characters, that I had a hard time choosing what the plot was going to be about.

How were you first exposed to Philippine mythology?

I learned about some folktales from my parents and carers (including stories of aswangs and the like), and read a bit of Lam-ang in high school, but I only really started learning about Philippine myths and legends when I bought a copy of Damiana Eugenio’s Philippine Folk Literature: The Myths.  Sadly, I lost my copy of the book before I could finish it.

Is there any myth, epic or legend that you wish would be adapted into a novel, or comic, or movie?

Bernardo Carpio maybe?  Also Maria Makiling, because the tales about her are so varied; sometimes she’s extremely kind, sometimes a lover who has been spurned, at other times a forbidding and dangerous guardian of her domain.

Who is your favorite character from Philippine mythology, and why?

Bernardo Carpio, because he was named after a hispanic character, and yet was supposedly seen by the Katipuneros as a symbol against Spanish oppression.  Also Maria Makiling, for the reasons stated above.

As always, remember that you can purchase Alternative Alamat at any of the following vendors:

      Alternative Alamat Interview: Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

      Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 4 - 2012

      It’s a new year, and for the first interview of 2012, it’s my great pleasure to present a short question and answer session with Rochita Loenen-Ruiz. Rochita  attended the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop in 2009 as that year’s Octavia Butler Scholar. Her work has been published in print and online, both abroad as well as in the Philippines.  Some  of  the  publications  she  has  appeared  in  are:  Weird Tales  Magazine,  Fantasy  Magazine,  Apex  Magazine,  and  the Philippine  Speculative  Fiction Anthology (second and fourth volumes). She has stories coming out in the Second Apex Book of World SF and Realms of Fantasy.  She is currently working on a tribal sf novel.

      Without spoiling anything essential, could you tell me a bit about your story?

      The inspiration for this story came from reading the poetry in Mangyan Heritage. I had an exchange with the curator of the Mangyan Heritage Institute and I expressed my desire to use the poetry in some of my work.

      Harinuo’s love song was an experiment in combining mythic storytelling and the Ambahan. In a certain sense, Harinuo’s Love Song resembles the story of the Star Maiden. It’s not the same though.

      What made you think of using elements from Mangyan poetry and Ifugao folklore in the same story?

      To be honest, I didn’t set out with a definite plan. I was reading the poetry and I allowed myself to be led by it to the story which turned out to be based on Ifugao folklore. I suppose this was influenced by my absorption in tribal lore at the time of writing. I was very much inspired by the poetry of the Mangyan and wanted to showcase it against a background that was much more familiar to me which was the Ifugao culture.

      What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most fun for you?

      What I enjoyed the most about writing this story was how it just flowed. I wasn’t really concerned about whether it was publishable or not. I just wanted to put the words on the page. To me capturing that image and the feeling was very important. In writing this story, I didn’t pay attention to the conventions of story writing. I think I was more immersed in the language and the rhythm of the language. I was not so much concerned with writing a traditional story as being true to the spirit of the telling.

      What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most difficult for you?

      Letting go and sharing it with readers. As I said, it was very much a personal experiment. Stuff like this isn’t easy to let go of. I guess, it’s also because it exposes the artist’s vulnerable soul.

      How were you first exposed to Philippine mythology?

      I think that we grew up with it in a certain sense. It’s kind of impossible to be unaware of certain mythologies when you grow up in a tribal area. Later, I became more fascinated with Philippine myths and I wanted to read more and more that was Filipino.

      Is there any myth, epic or legend that you wish would be adapted into a novel, or comic, or movie?

      Aponibolinayen and the Sun.” It was this tale about a maiden who got married to the sun. I liked that story a lot.

      Who is your favorite character from Philippine mythology, and why?

      I am rather fascinated by the character of Bugan. Perhaps because this name is the default for a lot of female characters in Ifugao mythology. In any case, I find myself speculating on Bugan and wondering what if she was a recurring being. I’m still pondering on it and I know I’ll probably write something about that sometime in the future. But to me, Bugan is fascinating because the myths connected to that name allow the imaginer to travel diverse pathways and still in a sense remain tied to the original tale.

      Alternative Alamat Interview: Celestine Trinidad

      Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 27 - 2011

      Alternative Alamat” is now available from Amazon.com, Flipreads.com, and iTunes. I’ll continue to speak with the contributors to gain some insight into the stories found in the book. Celestine  Trinidad  is  a  newly  licensed  physician  who  still  tries  to  read  and  write  as  much  as she  can  in  her  (now  unfortunately  very  little)  free  time.  Her stories have appeared in other publications such as Philippine Genre Stories, Philippine Speculative Fiction IV,  Philippines Free Press,  and  Usok.  Much  to  her  own  surprise,  she  won  the  Don  Carlos  Palanca  Memorial  Award for Literature in 2008 for her short story for children “The Storyteller and the Giant”.

      Without spoiling anything essential, could you tell me a bit about your story?

      Maria Sinukuan, guardian deity of Arayat, is called upon to solve the murder of a young woman from one of the towns under her care. One of her suitors, Juan, insists on tagging along, much to her annoyance. But nothing is as it seems in this mystery—not even her suitor.

      I know that you’re a fan of Maria Sinukuan. What is it about Maria Sinukuan (as portrayed in the legends) that makes her so appealing to you?

      I like that she is such a strong character—she is called “Sinukuan”, after all, as proof of the strength of her power. According to Damiana L. Eugenio’s Philippine Folk Literature Series (“The Legends”), she was able to defeat everyone who put her power to the test, even those who were said to possess an anting-anting. The young men who came to woo her never stood a chance with her. I love the kind of attitude that I think she would have, based on these legends. She seemed like the kind of character who wouldn’t take crap from anyone, and who can be ruthless, but only if she felt you deserved it. (And yes, it was said that she did turn people into pigs!) I would greatly respect such a person even in real life, though I would probably be very careful not to make her angry.

      What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most fun for you?

      The banter! Mixing someone like Maria with someone as irritatingly persistent and as enigmatic as Juan seems like a recipe for disaster, and that, of course, is fun to write.

      What part of the story–or the writing process–was the most difficult for you?

      As with every story I write, I always struggle with the middle of the story, since I already knew how to write the beginning and also the ending, but it’s always such a difficult journey writing what goes on in between. I wouldn’t want to give away too much so the mystery is already predictable, but I also wouldn’t want to give away too little that the reader would feel cheated. It’s a struggle, yes, but a challenge I actually enjoy.

      How were you first exposed to Philippine mythology?

      When I was still very young I liked watching this series on TV, “Ora Engkatada”, which my grandmother appeared in (she played Lola Torya, the grandmother who read from the big book of magical stories, hehe). And then later on, since my parents saw that I liked the fantasy genre so much, they bought me this book entitled, “Mga 55 Piling Alamat ng Pilipinas”, by Pablo M. Cuasay, a collection of various origin legends, which I loved reading even back then.

      Is there any myth, epic or legend that you wish would be adapted into a novel, or comic, or movie?

      It’d be great if Juan and Maria could be made into a movie, haha! Since I do plan on making this into a series.

      Seriously though, there’s this a lesser-known legend about a woman named Tonina, who due to trickery on the part of the other wives of Rajah Solaiman, was raised away from the palace, not knowing she was a princess. But in the end, she managed to save two kingdoms from the invading Spaniards, and reclaim her birthright. (There is also a part there where she cross-dresses and almost defeats her future husband in a duel.) I think having a movie on that would be pretty epic!

      Who is your favorite character from Philippine mythology, and why?

      Maria Sinukuan is my favorite out of all the goddesses, but you probably expected that, didn’t you?  I like female characters that defy conventions, or even redefine them.

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