Alternative Alamat (Expanded Print Edition)

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 15 - 2014

FAQ: ALTERNATIVE ALAMAT, THE EXPANDED PRINT EDITION

Hello there! I’m Paolo Chikiamco, editor of Alternative Alamat, and thank you so much for showing interest in the new, expanded, print edition! I’m here to give you some basic information about the book in a more informal manner, since that’s how I roll (and apparently, you as well!) but if you found your way here by mistake and want the more formal press release, I’m working on that. But for now…

What is Alternative Alamat?

Short version: It’s an anthology of short stories that re-imagine Philippine myths and legends, written in English by Filipino authors.

Long version: Philippine mythology is full of images that ignite the imagination: gods of calamity and baldness, of cosmic time and lost things; the many-layered Skyworld, and weapons that fight their own battles; a ship that is pulled to paradise by a chain, and a giant crab that controls the tides… yet too few of these tales are known and read today.

Alternative Alamat gathers thirteen stories by contemporary authors of Philippine fantasy, which make innovative use of elements of Philippine mythology. None of these stories are straight re-tellings of the old tales: they build on those stories, or question underlying assumptions; use ancient names as catalysts, or play within the spaces where the myths are silent. What you will find common in these thirteen stories is a love for the myths, epics, and legends which reflect us, contain us, call to us–and it is our hope that, in reading our stories, you may catch a glimpse, and develop a hunger, for those venerable tales.

“Alternative Alamat” also features interior illustrations by Mervin Malonzo (“Tabi Po”), a short list of notable Philippine deities, and in-depth interviews with Professors Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

What is the Expanded Print Edition?

Alternative Alamat was originally a digital-only anthology with eleven stories. This is the first print edition of Alternative Alamat, and we’ve taken advantage of this opportunity to add some new content that keeps with the theme of re-imagined mythology.

What is the additional material?

This print edition adds two more stories,  a short comic from Andrew Drilon, and a new story from Eliza Victoria, set in the same universe as “Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St.” I’ve also done a minor update to the Appendix on researching Philippine mythology.

Where is it available?

It’ll be available at the launch on July 19,   Saturday [EDIT: LAUNCH HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO JULY 25, FRIDAY, 4PM, SAME VENUE] , as part of a four-title launch that takes place  at Powerbooks, Greenbelt. It will be available at bookstores nationwide soon after, but we don’t have exact dates yet.

How much does it cost?

250 pesos.

What are the non-fiction sections?

I have five appendixes at the end of the book, meant to provide greater context for the stories, and aid those who want to study Philippine mythology.

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

Appendix E: Glossary of Selected Terms

Is it illustrated?

Yes, each of the original eleven stories is preceded by an illustration of a Philippine deity by Mervin Malonzo (“Tabi Po”). Aside from Andrew Drilon’s comic, there is no new artwork in the print edition, although a greyscale version of Mervin Malonzo’s cover for the digital edition is included.

Is the anthology suitable for young children?

In general, no, as there are several stories which tackle difficult/mature material.

Any there specific trigger warnings?

Sexual abuse; violence against women and children.

I’d like to review this book!

Great! Look forward to hearing from you.

Um, could I get a copy to review?

Drop me a line at rocketkapre[at]gmail with a link to your site/blog or name of your publication and I’ll try to set you up with a digital copy (of the print edition).

Should I buy the book?

I certainly think so! But then, I may be biased, so take a look below at what some people had to say about the original edition:

 

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

      Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 1 - 2011

      Philippine mythology is full of images that ignite the imagination: gods of calamity and baldness, of cosmic time and lost things; the many-layered Skyworld, and weapons that fight their own battles; a ship that is pulled to paradise by a chain, and a giant crab that controls the tides… yet too few of these tales are known and read today. “Alternative Alamat” gathers stories, by contemporary authors of Philippine fantasy, which make innovative use of elements of Philippine mythology. None of these stories are straight re-tellings of the old tales: they build on those stories, or question underlying assumptions; use ancient names as catalysts, or play within the spaces where the myths are silent. What you will find in common in these eleven stories is a love for the myths, epics, and legends which reflect us, contain us, call to us–and it is our hope that, in reading our stories, you may catch a glimpse, and develop a hunger, for those venerable tales.

      “Alternative Alamat” also features a cover and interior illustrations by Mervin Malonzo, a short list of notable Philippine deities, and in-depth interviews with Professors Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

      [Page still under construction - some details/links to be added later.]

      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

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      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.

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