Friday, December 31, 2004

2004 Annual Report

chairman's message

It has been one of those rarest of years for Dean Alfar Inc., a year filled with many reasons to celebrate life and the wonder of day-to-day existence. We began the year with a twinge of hope for better things and found that hope is sometimes rewarded beyond expectations when discipline is taken seriously and if the great wheel is on the upswing.

2004 was a year when the Company took stock of where it was, mapped out where it wanted to go, and proceeded to take steps to get there, stumbling occasionally but always finding reasons to get up and go on, like a blindfolded little steam engine who could not be dissuaded by the perserve impossibility of certain dreams. We learned to manage our expectations when circumstances did not permit the fruition of certain plans and dealt with the consequences of ill-informed decisions. But we also learned better how to both create and take advantage of opportunities, how to repurpose resources, how to privilege and prioritize specific goals above others, how to manage the artificial cycles of time, and once again how to stand at the edge of a precipice and take a calculated jump with eyes wide open.

In retrospect, 2004 will be just another year in the skein of time. But when we look back we will see that whichever lens we apply to survey its temporal landscapes, it is riddled with many things we can rely on to offer comfort as we turn grey and older. Not out of cold pride, but rather of sweet humanity.

Farewell and thank you, 2004!

We look forward to our 36th year with bated breath.

The Chairman

2004 highlights


Our bread-and-butter business enjoyed a moderate success, enough to stave off thoughts of having to put on costumes and dance in the rainy streets. We gained new clients with budgets that permit a variety of work. One of the websites we developed was a finalist in the Webbies, and we saw the fruits of our collective labor debut in London and New York and other parts of continental America. We also moved offices from Greenhills to the Ortigas Center, giving us a fresh geographic perspective away from the previous building poisoned by fire and murder.

Our new business is poised to reopen at SM Megamall after a brief reworking of its basic emphasis and methodology, with expansion planned out to other venues in the coming year.

Our content development thrust in the first two quarters yielded a project in Singapore, multiple episodes of animation writing that taught us more about the craft of TV writing.


Our daughter celebrated her 2nd year of existence and in the course of the following months continued her incredible verbal and intellectual development. Her language skills perpetually evolve alongside her appreciation of the passage of time, her observations of nature, her strong sense of identity and her ability to reason with increasingly abstract concepts.

Our wife taught herself CSS and HTML, coded and designed websites, operated her own copy / editorial/ content development business while operating and managing the growing demands of husband and daughter.

The Company maintained good relations with its siblings, parents and in-laws, put to rest the unreasonbale weight of past imaginary grievances and managed to survive the occasional family reunions with little or no trauma.


Our group efforts on the comic book scene were recognized with a National Book Award for Siglo: Freedom - impossible without the help, dedication and creativity of all the wonderful people involved. We thank each and everyone involved: my co-editor, the respective creators, our champions and publishers, the marketing and distribution teams, the media, and most importantly, the readers. It is our hope to release the second book in the series, Siglo: Passion, in its full-color thickness sometime in the first quarter of the incoming year. One of our stories also appeared in the Hey, Comics! Anthology, the first time we "illustrated" our own words.

We will continue to support the local comics industry but will take a less active role this new year to concentrate on other creative efforts. Local comics existed and was dynamic before we even got there, and we have no illusions about our "importance" - even if we close our eyes, there are many hands, hearts and minds that will continue to fight the good fight.

On the fiction front, our speculative fiction was published internationally (The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror Seventeenth Annual Collection - St. Martin's Press; The Best of Strange Horizons 3 - Lethe Press), and had another scifi piece win a Palanca Award for Futuristic Fiction. Most of our creative efforts this coming year will be focused on writing speculative fiction. The grand (but manageable)plan is not to win accolades or simply be published, but to help create a body of work that is both Filipino and in the genre of the fantastic, hopefully with the multiple quills of talented friends and strangers.

On the playwriting front, one of our unabashedly fantasy and non-social realist plays won a Palanca Award for One-Act Play. Another play was optioned for production locally and for staging in Australia. We seek to increase production in this mode, taking advantage of our imagined voice and using it to speak clearly on matters that are important to us. There is a power in drama that is absent in prose.

We also produced a novel in the latter part of the year, already in the process of edits and rewrites. This proved to us that it is possible to allocate time to write in the long form despite the realities of running business and handling the other demands of life. Having conquered the fear of potentially crash-and-burn, we look forward to one or two more in the coming year.

Also, as mentioned earlier, the Alfars wrote, developed or were involved in preproduction on a number of televisions properties.


We look inside and see endless room for improvement.

We challenged ourselves to write something new, right there and then, here and now, and did, and will continue to do so.

We engaged in multiple nights of question-and-answer, wrestling with craft, with life, with philosophy, with questions that were difficult to articulate much less answer.

We accept the inevitability of age and are determined to grow older with a twinkle in our eye.

We continue our life's work of deconstructing love and questioning whether or not the world drops to its knees in front of it in awe, and reaffirm our faith in a world of greys, empowered by personal choice to blaze or to suffer in shadows.

We embrace the notion of responsible appetite and continue to devour unceasingly, with the goal of regurgitating something of worth.

We lived our life this year as best we could, pushing parameters, enforcing stability, eyeing fluidity, and sang when it was time to sing, slept when it was time to sleep, worked when it was time to work, and then dreamed and dreamed and dreamed.

We believe in a wheel, in how it goes up and down, sometimes with precision, sometimes at random, and continue to hold our breath in the low spots and inhale with the high.

And though we think that world does not stop for love, it does make the world a much more wonderful place to live in - thanks to wife and daughter and family; friends best, old and new; and workmates and business partners.

Happy New Year, all!



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