Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Podfiction: “Reunion” by Eliza Victoria

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 3 - 2011

Pakinggan Pilipinas recently released their May story: “Reunion” by Palanca Award-winner (and Usok contributor) Eliza Victoria. You can find the story here. Here’s some background to the story, from the author herself (from the Pakinggan Pilipinas Facebook page):

I remember I was ironing my clothes one day and, as what usually happens during empty, boring hours, I began thinking of a story I might write next. I realized then that I haven’t actually written anything “epic” – meaning, anything big in scope, a story with a long timeline and several settings.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Children’s Crusade, and I wanted to write a story that would start with that. I read about the cholera outbreak in Manila while at work, and I wanted to put that into the story, too. I thought it was a mess.

At the time I only had this vague story idea involving two young men trying to look for each other through the centuries. For several weeks I wondered what their relationship might be. One day I decided they would be brothers. But who are they? I asked myself. And why are they looking for each other?

When I was able to sufficiently answer these two questions, I hunkered down to write the story.



Launch: Philippine Speculative Fiction 6

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 1 - 2011

I’ve just received word that the sixth volume of the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology, edited by Nikki Alfar and Kate Aton-Osias, and published by Kestrel DDM, will be launched on May 28, 2011, Saturday, 5PM at the UView Theater, Fully Booked at Bonifacio High Street.

If you’re at all interested in science fiction, fantasy, and horror written by Filipinos, do try to come — it’s one of the rare times local authors, editors, and fans are gathered in one place. The launch also traditionally occurs before the volume sees widespread distribution, so if you want to snag a copy, this is the best time to do so. The launch itself is an informal, informative, and typically hilarious affair — you can check out some videos I took of last year’s launch to see for yourselves.

The anthology includes my steampunk (woodpunk?) story “On Wooden Wings”, which is set in the same world as the upcoming “Kataastaasan” comic. Here’s a complete list of the contributors to this volume (or you can go here for a text version):

Launch: Philippine Genre Stories Online

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 18 - 2011

Kenneth Yu’s “Digest of Philippine Genre Stories” was one of the reasons why I even realized it was possible to write and publish speculative fiction in the Philippines, and it gave new writers such as myself a chance to be recognized as authors. It’s hard to overstate the importance of having a regular publication that was open to submissions year round and accessible to young writers.

That’s why it gives me great pleasure to announce that PGS has been reborn online. You can read about the journey to the digital domain and the changes to the magazine here, or jump in and read the new story, “What You See” by Ian Casocot (art by The One Left Behind), the first of three selected by sub-editor Charles Tan. Expect a bit of chaos as PGS finds its place, as Kyu says in his introduction:

PGS online (as with the print digest before it) is a work-in-progress. I hope to improve it bit-by-bit over time, and I’d also like to see how this site fares over the next 12 months or so. The goals are the same: To get more people—especially younger folk, most especially Pinoys, but anyone would do—to discover the pleasures of and develop the habit of reading through fiction, fiction written by fellow Filipinos, in particular.

Congratulations to Kyu, Charles, and Ian, and best of luck on the new endeavor!

Summer Komikon 2011 Impressions and Photodump

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 17 - 2011

The 2011 Summer Komikon took place yesterday at the Bayanihan Center. I didn’t have enough time to go around as much as I usually do, but here are a few pictures and some thoughts on the event.

The turnout seemed about equal to what it was at the Bahay ng Alumni, which was a pleasant surprise and is a testament to a bang up job that organizers and advocates did getting the word out. I found the Bayanihan Center to be an improvement over the Bahay ng Alumni in most respects: the air condition really helped to make the event more comfortable (and hence more accessible to the more casual fan or newcomer not willing to bathe in sweat – their own and that of assorted strangers’ – in order to browse the wares). It also seemed to me to be easier to secure – the Bahay ng Alumni had a lot of ingress/egress points. I didn’t notice any food/drink concessionaires, however, which could be a downside to those not willing to cross the street to the restaurants around Pioneer supermarket.

I also wish that the hall itself had been made to look a bit more festive – the hall doesn’t have a lot of character, and the wedding reception type music that was playing (at least when I arrived) seemed out of place. I’m not looking for giant Kubori Kikiam blimps – although, hey, that’d be awesome – but  few more banners, posters, and standees would have helped give the convention more of a “convention” feel, especially since cosplayers are usually sparse in comparison to other cons.


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Summer Komikon 2011

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 13 - 2011

It’s summer time, and you know what that means – another Summer Komikon, where the Philippine comics/komiks scene gathers to sell their wares and celebrate the medium we love. This year, the even will be held at the Bayanihan Center in Pasig (near Pioneer supermarket, if you know that area) and not at the Bahay ng Alumni – you can get a map here. The event starts at 10am on April 16 and is a one day affair, so clear your calendars – many of the komiks sold at these cons have limited print runs and are only available at these cons, so snap them up!

Here’s some additional info from Krisis Komix:

This year’s theme is “Bayanihan: Komiks Moving Onwards” and the main highlights of the event include:

* the opening of the nominations for the 3rd Komikon Awards for Komikon 2011;

* exhibit and guest spotlight on women cartoonists;

* release of the first Summer Komikon Tabloid;

* screening of Animahenasyon 2007 and Animahenasyon 2008 winning entries;

* book launches of new comics titles (28 titles from the Indie Komiks Tiange);

* various comics-themed competitions

Filipinos Nominated for the 2011 Eisner Awards

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 12 - 2011

Komix 101 has a post up listing the Filipinos with work that has been nominated for the prestigious Eisner Awards for this year. The big news of course is the nomination of Gerry Alanguilan’s “Elmer”, but other Filipinos have made the ballot this year, and Komix 101 also lists those who, as Gerry pointed out, have made the ballot or won the award in the past.

Congratulations and good luck to this year’s nominees!

Petron Book Donation Drive

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 31 - 2011

Received this via email and I thought I’d pass it on. Participating in book donation drives is always a great way to share the things we love.

The FFP 24 Hour Readathon

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 28 - 2011

The Flips Flipping Pages book club/shelfari community is holding their first ever 24 Hour Read-a-thon from 9pm April 8 to 9pm April 9. What’s a Read-a-thon you may ask? ”

For 24 straight hours, we will get together in one venue and read books, cheer each other on, and participate in games and mini-challenges. We can read for the pure enjoyment of it, for the experience of participating in a readathon, to meet new friends, or even to raise money or awareness for a cause. If you can’t stay the full 24 hours, then drop by and stay for however long you can. The FFP 24 Hour Readathon is based on and in connection with Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, a twice-yearly international online readathon which began in 2007.”

The event will be held at everyone’s favorite independent bookstore, Libreria at Cubao X. You can find directions to the venue, as well as the sign-up page, at the official FFP Read-a-thon site.

Before I went on the baby-hiatus (a.k.a. Parenting-is-Hard), I received an email from Jin Woo Choi, manager of the International Digital Cartoon department of the upcoming 15th Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival. Jin Woo wanted me to pass along an invitation for Filipino creators to submit entries to the 6th International Digital Cartoon Competition which will be held at the event. You can get a copy of the complete rules and regulations here but let me mentions some important points:

  • Interested creators can submit in several categories:  web cartoons, scroll comics, mobile comics, digital illustrations, and creative stories. (The category names aren’t intuitive, at least not to me, so check the rules for more detailed descriptions.)
  • Submissions must be in by April 22, 2011.
  • You can enter in more than one category.
  • Stories can be in English or Korean.
  • Top line prizes come out at 10,000,000 Won which is around 380,000 pesos. Not too shabby!
  • Inquiries can be sent to digitalcartoon[at]

Previous winning entries can be found here, for those who want to see what has tickled the judges’ fancies in the past. Good luck to anyone deciding to participate!


Does Art Have a National Identity?

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 3 - 2011

I stumbled upon an… interesting article on the National Commission for Culture and the Arts website. It’s a short piece by poet/critic Leo Benesa on what makes Philippine Art “Filipino?” and it got me thinking. While, to his credit, Benesa doesn’t claim to have the answer to his initial question… I can’t help but wonder if it’s a proper question.

I don’t think that one can ascribe a nationality to a contemporary expression of an artistic style. While the style may have historical origins in a specific country, in my opinion the style itself is a tool. For example, “manga style” artwork has its origins in Japan, but I wouldn’t say that a Philippine artist employing that style is creating a work of Japanese art (or art of any particular nationality, which is my point). A style of art may have characteristics that make it more popular to, or representative of, a particular culture, but a work done in that style no more inherently “belongs” to said culture than “Life is Beautiful” is “American” because cinema was born in America.

I suppose this is why, when I refer to Philippine speculative fiction in general, the nationality I am referring to is that of the author, and not of the “style” of the work. There are generalizations that can be made because of the nationality of the author (in my interview with Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, I mentioned a few), so one may be able to arrive at shared characteristics through induction, but the presence of those characteristics in a work isn’t enough to ascribe a nationality to a work or style.

Of course, I could be wrong. I put a draft of this book up on my Facebook page and thought I’d run it by a few of my writer/reader friends, and received a wide variety of opinions. A small sampling of the issues touched upon in the comments: the definition of Asian American Literature, the difference made by the language used (and the use of Filipino as a national language when it’s basically modified Tagalog, the language of just one region), the effects of technology and globalization, nationalist literature, and the utility of ascribing nationality to art/style. I’m not posting the comments here verbatim because the note was a place for private back-and-forth, but anyone who wants to comment on this topic is welcome to do so here (even those who didn’t have access to the original note).

What I will do here is include a list of links to articles (roughly in chronological order, excluding the Benesa article already linked to above) which were referenced during the discussion, for those who want to explore the issue further (note that a few of these are specifically about Philippine SPECULATIVE Fiction, as opposed to Philippine Art in general):

  • (EDIT – a late addition, courtesy of Joanah Tinio Calingo): Filipino Comics and Everything in Between – Komik creator Taga-Ilog talks about the debate concerning the definition of Filipino Comics [2006]

Filipino comics are comics created primarily for Filipino consumption. Yes, I know this is a very utilitarian description of what Filipino comics are. I chose to describe it as such because I believe that comics are first and foremost, a product meant for entertainment. It is an art form, of course, and it’s a powerful medium to convey nationalistic ideals and socio-political concerns, but in the end, it is still a product meant for mass consumption.

“With subject matter being too constricting, one tries to find the Filipino identity through style: there is the baroque mentality, the love of color and the affinity for graceful and decorative lines. While these are principally agreed upon as qualities that have continually surfaced on paintings done by Filipino artists, one has to ask how applicable are they when dealing with different media? Nowadays, contemporary art deals with performance, installation, video and sound and certainly, there haven’t been enough of these works to see a common quality or to form a judgment on a Filipino identity.”

Prof. Flores said that perhaps it’s the story itself that should have that distinctive Filipino flavor. But what comes to my mind is does the author’s citizenship matter? In other words, if an American, Englishman, or Australian of Filipino heritage, or any heritage for that matter, wrote a very Filipino-flavored story after lengthy research, can it maybe make the story a part of Philippine speculative fiction? And if so, where does that place the beautiful melancholy of Kij Johnson’s excellently written “Fox Magic”? Is it American speculative fiction, the author having been born in that country? Or is it Japanese? Would the Japanese take and accept it as being the equivalent of one of their own stories written by one of their own citizens? Or not?

  • Tagalog : A Fun Language to Learn - Benny Lewis (a polyglot who, in the process of chronicling his mission to become fluent in Tagalog, dissects characteristics of the language that many of us may have been unaware of/taken for granted) [February 2011]

The good news is that Tagalog has no grammatical gender, no person or plural based conjugation, no grammatical cases like the dative and lacks many other features that could make it harder to learn. But it does indeed have complex parts to it that make it more interesting to learn (read: interesting since there has to be differences, not “hard” unless you like being a crybaby). The first of these are infixes (or prefixes when the word begins with a vowel). These are used to take a root verb and give it a time (past, present, future). So aral is the root, mag-aral means “to study” (or imperative study!), nag-aral is past tense studied, nag-aaral (repeated first syllable of root) is present tense study and mag-aaral is future tense.



About Me

Rocket Kapre is an imprint of Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc. (a new Philippine-based publisher), dedicated to bringing the very best of Philippine Speculative Fiction in English to a worldwide audience by means of digital distribution. More info can be found at our About section at the top of the page.