What is #RP612Fic (2016 edition)

What is #RP612Fic (2016 edition)

In one week, this coming Sunday, we celebrate the Independence Day of the Philippines. By celebrate, of course, it’s time once again for #RP612Fic. Those of you who have participated before know the drill, but I’ve updated the primer a little this year, so both old hands and mystified newbies may want to read on. [...]


Call for Stories: SUBMIT to Philippine Speculative Fiction 11

Call for Stories: SUBMIT to Philippine Speculative Fiction 11

  Editors Kate Osias and Elyss Punsalan invite you to submit short fiction for consideration for Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 11. PSF is a yearly anthology series, showcasing stories that define, explore, and sometimes blur the boundaries of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and all things in between. The anthology has been shortlisted for the National [...]


Book Launch: Philippine Speculative Fiction X

Book Launch: Philippine Speculative Fiction X

The tenth edition of the annual anthology is already released (digitally): Flipside  Amazon Kobo Google Play iTunes Weightless Books Everyone is also invited to the official book launch: Come join us at the Philippine Speculative Fiction X book launch! We’re celebrating the tenth volume of this trailblazing annual anthology on Saturday, May 7, at 2 p.m. at [...]


Support Southeast Asian Steampunk: The SEA is Ours Crowdfunding Campaign

Support Southeast Asian Steampunk: The SEA is Ours Crowdfunding Campaign

It’s no secret that the need for representation in genre fiction is one of the reasons that I write, and I’m very proud (alongside  Kate Osias and TJ Dimacali among others) to be a part of a Southeast Asian steampunk anthology: The SEA is Ours. The editors/publisher are crowdsourcing funds to help pay writers and [...]


Call for Submissions: People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction

Call for Submissions: People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction

The “[Blank] Destroy [Blank] special issues of Lightspeed/Nightmare/Fantasy Magazines create spaces for diversity within speculative fiction through Kickstarter-funded special issues that focus on a particular community. Next up is something that writers and readers of Filipino speculative fiction should take note of — a special issue for People of Colo(u)r, a somewhat loaded term that is [...]


The New Usok

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 18 - 20105 COMMENTS


The title of this post has a dual significance: first, I’m happy to announce that the new version of Usok #1, with a brand new digitally painted illustration for each of the five stories, is now live. The art credits are as follows:

  • Tey Bartolome – “The Child Abandoned”
  • Benjo Camay – “The Coming of the Anak-Araw”
  • Kevin Lapeña – “The Startbox”, “The Saint of Elsewhere: A Mystery”, and “Mouths to Speak, Voices to Sing”

I think we can all agree that these artists have done a fantastic job. Thanks to Tey and Benjo, and especially Kevin for helping arrange the art despite his busy schedule.


The second thing I’d like to announce is that I’m changing Usok’s release schedule. I’m sure you’ve all noticed that we haven’t managed to keep to our quarterly release schedule, and the reason is simple: we just haven’t received enough stories. I’m holding on to one story right now, and working with an author on another, but that’s the grand total of publishable stories we’ve received in the roughly six months since we launched. I’ve tried soliciting stories as well, but, as every writer knows, it can be hard to determine when your muse will behave, and when he/she will go on extended vacation in Alaska.

So, as of now, Usok will be a somewhat irregular publication. We’re still open for submissions–so please do submit–but based on half a year’s worth of experience, I simply won’t know how long it will take before I can get enough stories for an issue (my magic number is at least three, but I may need to make an exception soon), and I hate labelling Usok as a “quarterly” magazine, then watching the quarters wave gleefully as they pass me by.The good news is that I hope the more flexible schedule will allow future issues of Usok to launch complete with illustrations from the talented CG Pintor crew.

That being said, I realize that more could be done to encourage story submissions, and to improve the quality of these submissions. While I don’t have the time to run a permanent forum based workshop (something that would provide a venue for critiquing such as the one which indie komplex provides for komiks creators), I’ll try to brainstorm some method by which I can provide some critiques for spec fic writers who want to improve their work.

Thanks for supporting Usok so far everyone, and please continue to support it in the future. There’s no real way to learn some things except through experience, so I’m having to learn a lot “on the job”, so to speak, but I promise I’ll keep soldiering onward.

Usok Interview: Yvette Tan

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 17 - 20101 COMMENT

Tomorrow, we’ll finally be launching the updated version of Usok #1, with a gorgeous new illustration for each story. We’ll also have an announcement regarding the future of Usok as well. As a celebration of the launch of the illustrated version, I’ll be posting short interviews with Yvette, Crystal and Celestine (I already posted interviews with chiles, and Kenneth, as well as artists Kevin and Tey (who did the illustration for Yvette’s story, “The Child Abandoned“). Here’s the third Usok #1 author interview, with Yvette Tan, author of The Child Abandoned


Tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for your story

I was passing by Sta. Ana one day when I noticed the name of the church near St. Peter School called The Church of Our Lady of the Abandoned, or something like that. I thought it was a sad and beautiful name and that I must use it in a story.

What aspect of the story gave you the most difficulty?

I have a horrible sense of direction, so it’s the geographical parts of the story that gave me the most difficulty. I’ve been to Quiapo several times and until now, I still can’t name streets or remember how to get to places. Of course, that just gives me a reason to visit the place again.

Do you remember the first short story you ever wrote? What was it about?

The first stories I wrote weren’t so much original works as adaptations, and more graphic novels than fiction. In grade school, a friend and I used to draw scenes from Maricel Soriano comedies (the more Marias in the movie, the better). I also wrote a personal security handbook which I bound in wrapping paper and refused to show anyone. In high school, I wrote specially commissioned stories that starred my friends and the New Kid on the Block of their choice, as well as some horribly derivative fantasy, one of which was novel-length. This is probably why I flunked a lot of subjects.

Does your cultural background influence how you write, or what you write?

I actually don’t use my cultural background in my writing. I know I should take advantage of my Chinese roots, but I am so much more fascinated by the Filipino side.

What was the best piece of writing advice you ever read or received?

At a talk, John Maxwell shared his secret for getting stuff done. He said that every day, he had five goals that he should do, and he did them. It’s simple, and it gets the job done.

Launch: Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2009

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 7 - 20101 COMMENT


The website is still a work in progress, but Charles Tan, of the Bibliophile Stalker blog and a few hundred (minor exaggeration) others,  has announced that the ebook version of his new reprint anthology, “The Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction 2009″ is now available for free download. You can choose from either the PDF edition or the EPUB edition. (If you have the Stanza desktop ebook reader you can export the EPUB file to different file formats–say, if you want a .mobi file for your Kindle/Kindle reader, although such conversions usually junk the formatting). The anthology has cover art Elbert Or, a cover design by Adam David, (who also did the PDF layout and design) qith the Web and EPUB layout handled by Dominique Gerald Cimafranca.

Sixteen stories from fifteen authors, selected by one of the most well-read and difficult-to-please critics in the country–all for free? What are you waiting for?

Charles is the co-editor (alongside Mia Tijam) of the Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler, which was released in 2008.  I hope that this is the start of an annual compilation (and I hope that this isn’t the only yer a story of mine qualifies ^_^)

Here’s the full table of contents. Congratulations to Charles and all those involved:

  • Summation 2009 by Charles Tan
  • The Fires of the Sun in a Crystalline Sky by Francezca C. Kwe
  • The Day the World Lost Its Gravity by Camsy Ocumen
  • Strange Weather by Dean Francis Alfar
  • The Sewing Project by Apol Lejano-Massebieau
  • Lex Talionis by Paolo Chikiamco
  • Isa by Marianne Villanueva
  • Spelling Normal by Mia Tijam
  • Daddy by Yvette Tan
  • From Abecediarya by Adam David
  • The Annotated Account of Tholomew Mestich by Elyss G. Punsalan
  • Beats by Kenneth Yu
  • Wildwater by Crystal Koo
  • Moondown and Fugue by Alexander Drilon
  • The Maiden’s Song by Kate Aton-Osias
  • Capture by Gabriela Lee
  • The Secret Origin of Spin-man by Andrew Drilon

Chanted Journeys: May 21 and 22, 2010

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 7 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Well, isn’t this a bit of awesome timing? For those of you who want to experience hearing Filipino Epics performed live and old school, “Chanted Journeys: Discovering the Oral Traditions of the Cordillera” at the CCP will have renditions of the Ifugao epic “Hudhud hi Aliguyon” and a Kalinga Ullalim (not sure which one). The show, a part of Filipino Heritage Month 2010, takes place at 8p.m. on May 21 and 8p.m.on May 22, at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, CCP. It will feature performances by The Community Chanters of Tungngod, Lagawe, Ifugao; and Manlilikha ng Bayan Alonzo Saclag with the Kalinga Budong Dance Troupe.

(Wow, they translate “Manlilikha ng Bayan” as “National Living Treasure”. That sounds head and shoulders above National Artist to me @_@)

You can buy tickets at Ticketworld. A larger image of the poster can be found here.

I’ll be buying tickets this weekend, and I’m already excited. :) To whet your appetite, let me repost the descriptions of the Hudhud and Ullalim from our Myth List:

  • Hudhud hi Aliguyon (Ifugao)
    • The life of Aliguyon, dealing with his eight year war against Pumbakhayon, which results in the two adversaries gaining respect for each other, until at last peace is made between the two peoples.
  • The Kalinga Ullalim
    • The ullalims in the book (ullalim is a general term for ballads that “eulogize bravery”) deal with the Banna-Dulliyaw Cycle of Southern Kalinga. The first deals with how Banna is born (through the intercession of a piece of betel nut-his mother eats a slice which his father owned and magically conceives) and rescues his father. The second ullalim is the tale of the ordeals Banna has to undergo (several headhunting expeditions, village annihilations, giant exterminations – the typical mythical courtship) in order to win the hand of Laggunawa, who had been promised to Dungdungan.

Komix 101: Required Reading at Fully Booked

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 6 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

The Center for East Asian Languages is holding a seminar entitled “Komix101: Required Comic Book Reading for the Summer” that will tackle recommended comic books and graphic novels, for those looking for something to read this summer. Your guide on this little tour will be none other than Budjette Tan, co-creator of Trese and comics/komiks aficionado.

  • Date: Saturday, May 8, 2010
  • Time: 2:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Location: U-View Theater, Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street
  • This seminar is for free.

On May 15, a similar seminar will be held covering anime and manga, to be run by Raymond Sison, also from 2-4, at the same venue.

Call for Submissions: Diaspora Ad Astra

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 5 - 2010ADD COMMENTS


Estranghero Press has released a call for submissions for their newest anthology, and, as expected, this time the genre is science fiction–specifically science fiction featuring Filipino characters or the Filipino race (note that this criteria was not present in either their horror or secondary world fantasy anthologies). The title of the new anthology is Diaspora Ad Astra, and you can check the submission guidelines here.

Webkomik Launch: Tabi Po by Mervin Malonzo

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 3 - 20102 COMMENTS


Over at indie komplex, Mervin Malonzo has announced that his new webcomic, “Tabi Po” has officially launched as of today, with the first six pages having been posted online. Now, this komik is not for minors, nor for people who have weak stomachs (so you can tell it’s also NSFW), but if you don’t fall under either of those categories, the art alone makes it worth a visit, as you can see from the teaser page below (with the NSFW bits cut out).


“Tabi Po” will feature, in Malonzo’s words, “mga tauhang tiyak na iyong kagigiliwan – mga aswang, maligno, lamang-lupa at iba pang kagiliw-giliw na mga nilalang” so I’m sure it will interest readers of Rocket Kapre. From the looks of it, the posting schedule appears to be once a week, every Monday, so check back after voting next Monday for some new pages. Good to see more Filipino artists putting out webcomics, which I think are a great way to build an audience.

Pinoy Pop Launch

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On May - 1 - 2010ADD COMMENTS


Guess who has a new day job? With Carljoe taking over the reigns at Metakritiko, the Philippine Online Chronicles decided to give me an entirely new section to edit, which just launched today. It’s called Pinoy Pop, and while I could try to explain what that means here (or what I’ve decided it means at least), that’d be a waste of the handy introductory column I made. Suffice it to say it’ll be covering a lot of stuff that Rocket Kapre readers will find interesting – for instance,would you like a rundown of the promotions and freebies for today’s Free Comic Book Day? You can find that here.

Also, with the release of Iron Man 2 yesterday, Free Comic Book Day today, and I-will-be-your-hero-if-you-vote-for-me Day next week, we’ll be doing a lot of superhero focused articles in the coming week (let’s call it Spandex Week), with articles about their origins, rationale, and how Filipinos relate to them. We’ve also got some thoughts on the use of armor in science fiction and fantasy, as well as a review of superhero komik Bayan Knights.

I’ve got a few familiar Spec Fic writers on the team as well -  Eliza Victoria will be contributing an article on her introduction (initiation?) into tabletop gaming, Carljoe will be contributing articles on comics and an Iron Man 2 review, and Adam David will be doing komiks reviews. Speaking of komiks, I’ll also have an interview with the much respected Mr. Gerry Alanguilan, on the need for komiks criticism, while komiks creator Macoy gives us a perspective of life at the indie tables during the Summer Komikon.

I’m excited to be working with these wonderful individuals, and covering the fantastic, fun, geeky stuff we all know and love. I hope you can make us a part of your daily reading habit. ^_^ And please, if you have a story you think we should be covering, do let us know!

Robotars First Custom Show

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 29 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Passed by Megamall the other day, and had the pleasure of stumbling upon the Jomike Tejido’s Robotars First Custom Show at the Art Asia Gallery. The show lasts until May 16, and I encourage everyone to check it out–especially those of you brave souls who will be there for the Mega Sale this weekend. You can find more coverage of the exhibit at Spanky Stokes, and ToysREvil. I did promise some pics over twitter, so here they are:

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Didn’t have enough time to get the names of each of the creators, but I know that the one my wife and I loved the most was PandaZ by Rotobox. Alas it was also one of the most expensive, and while a percentage of the proceeds will go to Haribon Foundation, I just don’t have the dough @_@

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Jomike also has some of his beautifully-cute paintings on display as well. Our favorite was the sasquatch/kapre looking thing:

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More pictures (and a strangely appropriate Yoda-tar) after the cut, and in the morbidly disorganized Rocket Kapre Flickr photostream.

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Philippine Speculative Fiction 5 Launch: Videos (Batch 1)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 26 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

The launch of Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 5 took place last Saturday, April 24, 2010, at Fully Booked Bonifacio Hight Street, and this is my first batch of videos from the event, for the benefit of those unlucky enough to be elsewhere while we were laughing it up (usually at the expense of Kenneth Yu, or Andrew Drilon, or any author who was absent from the launch :P ). Please excuse the rather shaky footage, low volume, and occasional passer-by – we were way at the back of the U-View Theater.

These are the introductory remarks of Dean Alfar, speaking on behalf of his publishing house, Kestrel DDM, which has put out the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction anthology for the past five years.

Dean marvels at the fact that this is the fifth volume of the anthology, and talks about the thrill of finding new, young, spec fic writers in the course of putting together each anthology. At the end, he introduces the two co-editors, Vincen Michael Simbulan and Nikki Alfar. (All in the process of gamely resisting the urge to give a political speech ~_^)

The PSF launches are always good fun – the audio isn’t too clear alas, but Kenneth Yu’s expert pronunciation of Eyjafjallajökull alone was enough to provide laughs for the rest of the afternoon. Dean is a marvelous (glorious?) host, and he uses the understandable absence of the foreign contributors as a constant source of good-natured humor that helped make everyone feel at home (I speak from experience, having attended the previous launch as a mere spectator).

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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.