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:

 

Release Day: Alternative Alamat Now Available

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 14 - 2011

Cover for "Alternative Alamat" by Mervin Malonzo

The day has come!

Alternative Alamat“, our digital anthology of stories inspired by Philippine mythology, is now available for US$4.99 at the following fine establishments:

  • Amazon.com – US$4.99 (note there’s an extra US$2.00 charge for certain non-US territories/accounts, including, unfortunately, the Philippines)
  • Flipreads.com (epub file) – PHP235.00
  • [iTunes and Barnes & Noble/Nook editions to follow]

I hope that by now you’re all excited to get your hands on the book (or, rather, the hardware holding the file), and if so, thank you and what are you waiting for? If you’re still on the fence even after the preview of our contributor and story introductions, and our author interviews (Raissa, Mo, Eliza), then read on (or download the press release here)!

As a celebration of today’s launch, I’d like to give you a glimpse of some of the non-fiction segments of the book, as well as the wonderful artwork of Mervin Malonzo, creator of “Tabi Po“. You’ve already seen the beautiful cover Mervin made for us, but you may not have realized he’s also doing internal artwork as well. Each book is graced with eleven original illustrations by Mervin, where he gives his spin on eleven of the most interesting gods and goddesses of Philippine mythology. I don’t want to give too much away, so here’s a montage-teaser using elements from all eleven pieces:

After the cut: one full sample of Mervin’s interior artwork, the full text of the book’s introduction, and excerpts from my interviews with Professor Herminia Meñez Coben and Fernando N. Zialcita.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Launch: Philippine Pantheons

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On July - 22 - 2010

Philippine_Pantheons_Header_A

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]gmail.com, 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.

Launch: The Myth List

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On April - 22 - 2010

Myth-List

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.

Alternative_Alamat_Call_Slider

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 »

Chained Links: 5 January 2009

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 4 - 2010

NewsOfTheShamanCover

Happy new year everyone! If you’re anything like me, the holidays were less a time for rest and more a time for oh-my-god-why-are-they-here-we-don’t-have-a-gift-quick-rip-that-fruit-cake-in-half… you get the picture.  Here’s your latest batch of chained links to catch you up on what you might have missed during the holiday season.

We’ll lead off with a few from the Metakritiko section of the Philippine Online Chronicles. I’ve recently been named editor of the section (which is the POC’s arts/culture and reviews portion) so if any of you have arts news of interest, events that need attention or creative works that you’d like reviewed, drop me a line and we’ll see what we can do.

Friday Focus: A Treasury of Stories

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 16 - 2009

When I was a child, I loved reading myths and legends from all over the world: Greek, Roman, Chinese, African, Norse, you name it… The exceptions were, you guessed it, myths and legends from my own country. The sad fact of the matter was that none of the folklore presented to me in school appealed to sensibilities already ignited by my early exposure to fantasy fiction–where were the grand battles, the horrific monsters, the contending divinities?

Of course when I grew older, I discovered that our myths and legends were more varied and interesting than I’d surmised from the sanitized, committee-approved versions of the old tales that were fed to school children. However, actually finding these stories, or at least those not studied in schools, can be difficult given that most of these tales form part of our oral, not written, tradition. Fortunately, there do exist quality compendiums of stories that shine a spotlight on lesser known tales, and the “Treasury of Stories” from Anvil Publishing is both one of the broadest in scope, and one of the most accessible to an English speaking audience. (I also note from the Anvil website that there is a textbook edition–if so, I envy those students.)

FFTreasuryofStoriesSlider

The collection, first published in 1997, was put together by E. Arsenio Manuel and Gilda Cordero-Fernando, and illustrated by Carlos Valino Jr. It contains thirty-three myths, legends and folktales from all across the Philippines, distributed amongst three broad categories: The Mythological Age, The Heroic Age, and Folk Tales from All Ages. With the exception of a few of the animal stories such as “The Monkey and the Tortoise”, all of the stories were new to me, even if some of the characters, like Bantugan and (ugh) Juan Tamad, were not; prospective readers leery of buying yet another version of “Si Malakas at Maganda” need not worry. The stories range from light-hearted romance (“Kimod and the Swan Maiden”) to an apocalyptic battle with enough bloodshed and heroics to satisfy a fan of Frank Miller’s “300” (“The Ascension Into Heaven”). Given the age of these narratives however, even the stories that focus on the relationship of a husband and wife are rife with morbid fates and cruel punishments; think Grimm’s Fairy Tales—the original versions.

Read the rest of this entry »

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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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