Monday, May 15, 2006

dumaguete in pictures

I had an amazing time at Dumaguete, so much to write about and to be thankful for - first and foremost, to Ian Rosales Casocot. I will do so sometime soon when my schedule normalizes. Suffice it to say, with the exception of my flight home bring cancelled, I had one of the best times of my life - as a writer.

But for now, here are some pictures. All will be made clear soon, I promise. I'll post the pictures pellmell and sort out the narrative later.

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Ian Casocot, who made miracles occur with startling frequency. We were delighted to discover that we were, each, real.

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When I presented my novel to Mom, I was almost in tears. It felt like a big moment, an apprentice showing his creation to the craftsman. "What took you so long to come home?" she asked.

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Part of the large mural for Salamanca. The artists invoked the sense of wonder of childhood by using simple illustrations of the various characters of my novel. This was my favorite, starring Shiro - one of the few who had a happy ending.

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The workshops in the mornings and afternoons were like concentrated shots of epiphany, thanks to the insight of Mom Tiempo and the panelists.

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Fictionist Susan Lara and poet DM Reyes, two friends who shared their warmth and knowledge

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I'm a big fan of poet Marge Evasco, who bestowed a new word unto me - "Salamanquiero" or Wishcrafter.

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I thought that Lawrence Ypil, one of the writers who wrote a blurb for Salamanca, was some older man. Instead, I found a fine brain in the prime of life.

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Cesar Aquino (or "Sawi") is one of Dumaguete's best writers. So he stunned me by agreeing to submit a story for consideration for Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol.2 - and promised to persuade Erwin Castillo (author of "The Firewalkers") to do the same.

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Anthony Tan of the Mindanao State University in Iligan and I exchanged stories galore. From him I learned about John Ruskin.

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Michellan Sarile, my buffetmate who was appalled that I threw cigarette butts into the sea. "It is biodegradable," I said, shamefacedly.

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Creative Non-Fictionist Patricia Evangelista, with whom I had a midnight conversation about finding relevance.

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I spent time on campus, eventually landing an improptu lecture gig in Ian's class. My topic? Science Fiction.

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I delivered my big lecture on Speculative Fiction to a packed hall, ending with a challenge for the audience of writers, educators and students to restore Silliman to its days of writing glory.

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Silliman Hall, where I read Salamanca and waxed poetic about my literary agenda.

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I was the guest of honor at a house in Valencia, in the mountains, with a spectacular view of Dumaguete. Thanks to Arlene Delloso-Uypitching and her family for the fantastic food and the heady conversation.

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At low tide, people walk the shallows beside the Boulevard.

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Beginning late afternoon, tempura stands sprout out and offer excellent fare for only P3 a stick.

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The Bell Tower of Dumaguete was established during the Spanish era to thwart the predations of Muslim pirates.

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The Cocogrande Hotel where I stayed (and stayed again when my flight was cancelled due to the storm "Caloy")

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Everyone gets around mostly by scooter or pedicab (P6 for the first kilometer and P0.50 for every kilometer thereafter).

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DULA, the organizers of the workshop, treated the 2006 batch, the panelists and myself to dinner at swanky South Seas.

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Dumaguete Writers Workshop 2006

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Poet Mickey Ybanez, of my batch, 1992. Yes, we were the artifacts of that bygone era. That's a pack of Astro cigarettes he's holding (yes, from that song)

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Flight back to Manila cancelled on Saturday, after waiting for hours. I ended spending another two days in Dumaguete, waiting for an available flight.

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Waiting and waiting and waiting. I ended up finishing all the books I brought with me, which is a good thing. I admired Jeff Ford's new collection, "The Empire of Ice Cream", but found his first book better.

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Finally on my way home, still wary about any last minute complications.

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