Filipino Bibliophile Podcast: Interview with Paolo Chikiamco

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 19 - 2011

You know you’ve moved up in the world of speculative fiction when Charles Tan sits you down for an interview. After all, for years he’s been interviewing the likes of  RA Salvatore, Tim PrattEllen Datlow and Catherynne M. Valente on his personal blog as well as the official blogs for the Nebula and Shirley Jackson Awards. So I was more than happy to sit down with him this week for his new “Filipino Bibliophile” podcast. We spoke about Alternative Alamat, High Society, Rocket Kapre, and slush reading for Fantasy Magazine–Charles has a more comprehensive list of topics on the episode page, either at his blog, or at the podcast site.

Thanks to Charles for the opportunity, and for once again finding new ways to promote Filipino authors. Do check out the first episode of his podcast, where he has an interview (two interviews really) with Eisner-award nominated komikero Gerry Alanguilan.

Alternative Alamat: Table of Contents

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 13 - 2011

It gives me great pleasure to finally be able to announce the table of contents of our first commercial anthology “Alternative Alamat: Stories Inspired by Philippine Mythology”. It’s been a long road, but I’ve enjoyed every step of the way. The book will be digital-only for now, and will be published in cooperation with Flipside Digital before the end of the year. I’ll be releasing more information about the anthology in the coming weeks.

“Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.” by Eliza Victoria

“Harinuo’s Love Song” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

“The Last Full Show” by Budjette Tan

“The Alipin’s Tale” by Raymond G. Falgui

“Keeper of My Sky” by Timothy James Dimacali

“Conquering Makiling” by Mo Francisco

“The Sorceress Queen” by Raissa Rivera Falgui

“Beneath The Acacia” by Celestine Trinidad

“Offerings to Aman Sinaya” by Andrei Tupaz

“Balat, Buwan, Ngalan” by David Hontiveros

“A Door Opens:  The Beginning of the Fall of the Ispancialo-in-Hinirang” by Dean Alfar

Appendix A: A Few Notable Philippine Deities

Appendix B: Interview with Professor Herminia Meñez Coben

Appendix C: Interview with Professor Fernando N. Zialcita

Appendix D: On Researching Philippine Mythology

Cover and interior artwork by Mervin Malonzo

Last Day for Submission: Alternative Alamat

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On September - 15 - 2010


Just a reminder everyone, today (September 15) is the last day of submission for Alternative Alamat. If you’ve submitted in August or September, I’ll send a confirmation of receipt (not a rejection or acceptance yet) – if you haven’t received that email by Friday, please resend your submission because that means I didn’t receive it. (Don’t worry about tweaking it before the deadline – if I have issues with only a few details, we can work on that without as tight a time constraint.) If you’ve sent your submission before August and haven’t received an acceptance or rejection, that means I didn’t receive your story, so please resend by this weekend.

Deadline Extension: Alternative Alamat

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On August - 29 - 2010


After some thought, I’ve decided to extend the period of submission for Alternative Alamat by a little over two weeks – the new deadline is September 15. If you were interested in submitting, but felt like you didn’t have enough time to finish/polish a story, I hope that the new deadline will entice you to submit. Helping me spread the word would be much appreciated.

Also, be sure to read the guidelines. I’ve had to reject a few stories out of hand for failure to adhere to the guidelines. Please not the minumum and maximum wordcounts, as well as the fact that I’m looking for re-imagining of the old myths and legends, pre-Hispanic tales, or venerable legends such as the Bernardo Carpio story, etc.

If you have questions, please leave a comment here or at the original announcement and I’ll get back to you.

Launch: Philippine Pantheons

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 22 - 2010


It’s a little more than a month before the deadline for submissions to Alternative Alamat, and I thought it would be an opportune time to launch my second companion project. A few months back, I released the Myth List, an index of Philippine myths and legends with fantastic elements. Today, I’m happy to announce the launch of Rocket Kapre’s Philippine Pantheons page, what I believe to be–as of this writing–the most comprehensive list of Philippine Gods and Goddesses on the Internet. Yes, Wikipedia included.

It does not claim to be a comprehensive list–that being said, as far as my research can determine, this is the most comprehensive list of Philippine gods and goddesses on the Internet, with 344 individual entries. Of course, given that the Ifugao alone seem to have had deities in the hundreds, that means there is still a lot of room for expansion.

Still, it’s a good place to start, and I hope that it opens the eyes of writers to the vast potential for stories represented by our myths and legends. Many of the entries are merely names and a domain, but as Michael Chabon found himself inspired by maps “and the romantic blank of unexplored territory”, and names that were like magic spells, calling into being that which had previously not existed, so too do I hope you glean inspiration even from the sparest of entries. The West has its Thors, its Aphrodites… maybe it’s time for our own deities to shine.

How to Help:

  • Spread the Word: … because this list won’t do anyone any good if no one knows it’s here. If you use the list, and it helps you with your story or komik or research, point people back to us with a link.
  • Information: If you think I’ve missed a god or goddess, please leave word in the comments section here, or send me an email at rocketkapre[at], and tell me your source. I’ll verify it as best I can, then add it to the list if warranted.
  • Art: If you’ve drawn or seen artwork of a deity online, post a link in the comments and I’ll add them to the proper entry.
  • Stories: If you find a story which uses one or more of these deities as characters, let me know link in the comments and I’ll add them to the proper entry.

Alternative Alamat: Now Open for Submissions

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 1 - 2010


And we’re off! The reading period for Alternative Alamat opens today and will stay open until August 30, 2010. Guidelines can be found here.   I ask for your patience and forbearance, kind authors, should it take me a bit to reply to your submissions. For those still in need of ideas, never fear, there’s still quite a bit of time, and I’ll be posting a new aid, similar to the Myth List, on the site soon.

Good luck and write well everyone! Can’t wait to read your stories.

Launch: The Myth List

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 22 - 2010


As promised, to coincide with my call for submissions for Alternative Alamat, and also as an ancillary method of raising awareness about Philippine myths and legends, I’m adding a new page to the website: The Myth List: an Incomplete Compendium of Magical Myths, Legends and Old Tales from the Philippines. As it stands now, the list has about three hundred different entries.

What I wanted to do was create something of an index for all the myths and legends that had elements of magic and the fantastic, which I’d come across in my research, both online and off. Some caveats: (1) For the books/sources I haven’t read in-depth, I merely listed the stories found in their tables of contents, so there may be stories in this list without magical elements that I’ve yet to remove; (2) Most of our myths and legends don’t have official titles per se, so there are probably duplicate entries here – then again, since they were passed down through oral tradition, many myths and legends have different versions with slight variations, so it’s also possible that different sources will have different versions of the same story.

The list is obviously still a work in progress, and it will likely always be a work in progress. I’ll be regularly adding entries, as well as key-words to further flesh out entries, but I figured that even in this rough form the list may be of service to writers and others interested in the Philippine mythic heritage. I sincerely hope it helps.

If you find any other sources, please feel free to leave a comment on the page, and I’ll keep the comment on the list until I’ve integrated the information in the list.

Call for Submissions: Alternative Alamat

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 19 - 2010

[EDIT: "Alternative Alamat" has already been published. We are no longer accepting submissions.]

[Note: If you want to head straight to the story guidelines, head here. If you'd like a bit of a background as to why I'm looking for this particular type of story, read on.]

The Philippines is blessed with a multitude of mythologies and legends, yet too few of these tales are known and read today. While it is understandable that the modern reader might find it difficult to relate to ancient oral tradition, we’ve all seen how the gods/goddesses and heroes/heroines of other cultures have remained relevant (or at least well-known) because of writers who incorporate the old myths and legends in modern tales. (See: The Percy Jackson series, or the many re-imaginings of the King Arthur myth.)

mythology_class_1(Image from Komiklopedia)

My first encounter with our mythic heritage, outside of school (which tends to suck the joy out of many a topic), was one such re-imagining: Arnold Arre’s “The Mythology Class” (the original four issue version, not the collected graphic novel).  I loved that story to pieces (it was the first time a local work ever moved me to indulge in fan art and fan fic) and it remains dear to me as an example of how a well told story in the present can lead to an appreciation–even a hunger–for the foundational tales of our ancestors. A more recent example is Rochita Loenen-Ruiz’s Hi Bugan yi Hi Kinggawan over at Fantasy Magazine.

I think we need more Filipino tales in that vein–and with that in mind, I’d like to announce a call for submissions for Rocket Kapre’s first commercial anthology: Alternative Alamat.


But Mr. Editor, you say, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I don’t know many of our myths and legends. I’ve anticipated this, dear writer–after all, I wouldn’t be trying to raise awareness about our mythic heritage if I felt it was already common knowledge–so what I’ve done is I’ve gone through my collection of books and done a bit of research online and in libraries, and I’ll be putting up the resulting list of myths and legends sometime this week. Somewhere down the line, I’ll also put up a similar list of Philippine deities.

So I’ll be doing my part, and I hope you’ll do yours. Submission guidelines are after the cut.

Read the rest of this entry »



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.