Spotlight on Filipino Author (N2009)

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The Spotlight on Filipino Author is a project issued by the English department of the Ateneo de Manila High School to its senior high school students. This project aims to give information about Filipino authors, their contributions to Philippine society, culture and literature, and their opinions on certain questions asked by the high school students.

This article is the receptacle for all the input done by the students of 4-N Batch 2009.

Guys, click the individual edit links in your group sections, not the edit link above the article. This will prevent users working at the same time from overwriting each others' work! - delro

(Work in Progress)


Noel Cabangon

  1. Report by
    1. Lorenzo Santamaria
    2. Rez Toledo
    3. John Valdes

History and Background

Singer/song-writer Noel Cabangon was born on the born on the 25th of December year 1963. He was born in musically-inclined family, members of which are very supportive of his work. Noel started his career when he was in college, and was very much influenced by the events during the Marcos Era. He is well known for his Filipino songs about respect, love for the country, hope, peace and preservation of the environment.


Kanlungan Disc 1:

  1. Buhay at Bukid
  2. Nasa Atin Ang Panahon
  3. Buksan Ang Iyong Puso
  4. Sakada
  5. Tatsulok
  6. Tumindig Ka
  7. Lea
  8. Sa Kandungan ng Kalikasan
  9. Usok
  10. Maynila
  11. Kanlungan
  12. Oyayi sa Mundo

Kanlungan Disc 2:

  1. Ikaw Lang
  2. Free World


  1. Kayod Kabayo, Kayod Barya
  2. Jeepney Driver Blues
  3. Hari ng Kalye
  4. Usok, Usok
  5. Dito Sa Kanto
  6. Dahil Nariyan Ka
  7. Simpleng Musikero
  8. Dalampasigan ng Puso
  9. Narito Ako, Kaibigan Mo
  10. Dancing Angels
  11. Awit Ni Cesar - 9 Na Taon
  12. Panawenen (Ilocano Reggae)
  13. Liku-Likong Landas
  14. Kayod Kabayo, Kayod Barya (Reprise)
  15. One World of Peace


  1. Awit ng Kagampan
  2. Love's so Beautiful
  3. Samut Saring Larawan
  4. Children of Tomorrow
  5. Pauwi Na
  6. Kalingain ang Mundo
  7. Hanap Hanap ka
  8. Stay
  9. Tinitiis Ko
  10. Handang Maghintay
  11. Ikaw Lang
  12. Tinamaan Mo
  13. Lullabay
  14. Kapayapaan Para sa mga Bata
  15. Kapayapaan sa Sanlibutan
  16. Thank You, Lord

Huwag Mangamba - Mga Awit ng Pagtatagpo:

  1. Panginoon, Aking Tanglaw
  2. Ang Panginoon Ang Aking Pastol
  3. Sa Langit Ay Higit Ang Ganda sa Ganda
  4. Ang Kaluluwa Ko'y Nauuhaw
  5. Emanuel
  6. Narito Ako
  7. Ang Mabuting Pastol
  8. Huwag Mangamba
  9. Panalangin Maging Bukas-Palad
  10. Sa Pag-ibig ng Panginoon
  11. Mahal Naming Ina
  12. Ito ang Baging Araw (A Cappella)
  13. Pag-ibig Mo, Ama
  14. Pagsibol
  15. Paghahandog

Simpleng Pinoy (to be released March 2009)


Transcript of Email Interview Document available here: [[1]]

Reporters' Individual Reflections

After our interview with Mr. Noel Cabangon, I can honestly say that I have the highest respect for the man. He is undeniably gifted at singing and songwriting, yet is fully aware of the social responsibilities that come with his talent. Most people with his abilities would simply think about how they can use them for their personal gain Most musicians would just “get with the program” and sing contemporary genres like rock or hiphop or emo, and write about the glamour of fame, sex, drugs and videotape. Mr. Cabangon on the other hand, is an example of a musician who sticks to his roots and is true to who he is and what he believes in. The point of his music isn’t just leisure or entertainment. He writes in our own language, Filipino, set to folk song music which many of our countrymen can understand and relate to so that more people will understand the messages he tries to convey. He writes not about fame or fortune, but about God and love for country. In his own simple way, he preaches to his listeners the values and ideals that can truly make our Philippines a better place. Noel Cabangon’s example has touched me to think about my own talents and abilities. Am I using them for just my own personal glory? Or am I using them to serve others and God? In the end, having all these gifts and cultivating them to their fullest potential is useless if they are not used in the greater scheme of things. The true fulfillment of these potentials happens when they are tapped for greater causes and for people outside of ourselves.


As a musician myself, I have admire Noel Cabangon not only because of his talent but also because of his drive to share his message to his audience. Also, through his works, it is obvious that he is an artist who is proud of his heritage, values and principles and he shares these to us through music. As a writer, he is also able to transcend classes and generations in our society, which I think is admirable for any musician. Sir Noel’s response to the interviewee’s last question was the most appealing for me. He said that “Filipino songwriters should be able to recognize their role in our society. We are not just entertainers. ...As Bob Dylan puts it – “Music should not reflect culture. Music should subvert culture.” This is a good challenge to musicians because being able to contribute in the changes that happen is a big thing. It also brings purpose and fulfilment to a musician.


oel's name is famed throughout his and our own homeland here in the Philippines. Well, he may

not be so well known among the youth due to the rampant ascent of many foreign musicians, but he

certainly is popular with the past generations. His works set him aside from many of the pop icons

of today, local and foreign, as they contain much nationalism in it. Through his lyrics, he makes

known to his audience that he loves and is proud of his country. Nowadays, lyrics containing

messages such as there are rare as most people under the spotlight talk of irrelevant rubbish such

as sex, violence, getting rich, and whatever.

Personally, what I liked most about Noel Cabangon is his spirit. As a boy, he knew he had talent.

He did not let anyone put him down and he simply persevered to get to where he is today. Unlike

many, he chose to share his talent and put it to good use as he continuously writes and plays

music about his beloved country and its people.

I pray that Noel Cabangon's works do not go to waste with our generation... I hope that the masses

of the youth learn to appreciate the beauty of his works and in turn see that our country, despite

its situation, is still one worth fighting for. Let him be an inspiration to them to use their

god-bestowed talents the common good rather than simply keeping it to one's self for selfish



Bud Tomas

  1. Report by
    1. Luis Antonio Torres
    2. Lemuel Alfonso Ferrer
    3. Trevor William Viloria

History and Background

For his entire life Mr. Tomas has lived in Metro Manila, living in Pasay City until he was five years old and then moving to Quezon City with his family. Until now he lives in Quezon City, near the big Iglesia ni Kristo along Commonwealth avenue. Throughout his childhood, there has been nothing big or particularly an up or down, especially considering that as he reminisces, he looks back at the downs of his childhood on a positive note. Although there was nothing too special about his childhood to be mentioned, Mr. Tomas’ childhood has helped him to write some of his essays in that he would use some of the more everyday events and write essays – which are also reflections, in a sense – about them. He believes that lessons can be learned from even the dullest experiences, and that is why he looks to his past optimistically – to be able to learn from the past.

As a child, Mr. Tomas was quite the bookworm, and a reader of many authors; particularly authors of the sci-fi and fantasy genres. Because of his erudition, a lot of these authors have served as guides or examples for him in his writing when he was just starting. At the beginning, he would sometimes try to write similar to these authors he liked but as time passed, the influence of many different writing styles at the same time has helped Mr. Tomas to form his own style of writing; to writing when he “feels like it” or when he is inspired. Mr. Tomas also does not, although he has tried it before, to plan before writing because he usually writes as the ideas appear. Furthermore, if he plans early, the story comes out differently on paper as compared to how he imagined it. Some road blocks, also have presented themselves to Mr. Tomas, of course. For one, he is not as good as those authors whose books practically write their selves. Moreover, because he has a job; he works in the office of Justice Velasco of the Supreme Court; he has had less time to write. Of course, it is also more difficult to become a successful writer in the local scene. Writers here would usually sell copies in the hundreds (and that’s if they are lucky), versus the millions of copies that the big international names sell so local writers are not paid well. That may well be another reason why Mr. Tomas has chosen to write for leisure these days, as compared to his earlier days of writing essays when sometimes, he could not even sleep unless he is able to put them down on paper. Mr. Tomas has also received a lot of support from his family and friends for his essays, because when he used to write them, he would e-mail the essay to his friends and family. Most of them would give him positive or constructive feedback and sometimes would make their other friends and family read Mr. Tomas’ essays. Because of this, Mr. Tomas met people who wanted to read more of his essays. When he would e-mail his essays to people, Mr. Tomas used to put Wala lang in the text before the actual essay, meaning that it is the person’s prerogative whether or not he will read the essay, if he will take the essay seriously or not, etc. This ties with how Mr. Tomas reacts to analysis, novels and poems discussed in the classroom etc.; that how a reader enjoys a work of literature is completely his own and is for no one else to judge.

Wala Lang: Files (Funny and Serious) on Youthful Being and Nothingness This is the title of Mr. Tomas’ published book or rather, collection of essays. True enough, the essays are in the most literal sense, wala lang. As aforementioned, Mr. Tomas would type in Wala lang in the text before his e-mail essays, leaving the recipient to decide what to do with the essay. In his own words, Mr. Tomas only got lucky that his publisher was looking to publish a young male with works like his. It was actually the publisher who wanted to name the compilation Files (Funny and Serious) on Youthful Being and Nothingness however, “as grateful as [he was] for being published, [he still wanted] to sell [and] a name like that just won’t sell.” The reason his publisher wanted to name the compilation this is because of Mr. Tomas’ philo background, having graduated from the University of the Philippines, which is also when a lot of the experiences he wrote essays about occurred. If ever there was a single motif or train of thought common to all of his essays, Mr. Tomas would not know, as he said. This is because the book is really just a compilation of random essays and reflections on his everyday experiences. Possibly, a similarity between all of these essays is that these are the things he felt and wanted to say about the experiences. Most importantly, when he looks back on all of these experiences, all the way back to his childhood days, he would “look back and laugh”; look back with a positive attitude, and try to learn from these things. Whether or not he has explicitly stated this in his essays, this is one thing that is common to all of his essays – that they are all learning experiences for him.

For Mr. Tomas, it is very gratifying that his essays have been published most especially because there are people who actually learn from his experiences, aside from enjoying the wit with which they were written. Although there is too much Mr. Tomas has to say to the youth, the gist is relative to the gratification of having his book published: the youth has much to hear, and much to learn. Hopefully, Mr. Tomas will be able to impart wisdom and knowledge to the youth through his own experiences, and whatever he has not yet said in his essays can again hopefully be said in the new book that he is currently working on at a leisurely pace.


Wala Lang: Files (Funny and Serious) on Youthful Being and Nothingness


Reporters' Individual Reflections

Trevor Viloria: I was a bit skeptical at first about interviewing Bud Tomas. He only wrote one book, quite a crudely-put together one at that. Its title was a size 96 Comic Sans MS font which turned me off a bit along with its generic yellow paperback cover. Also, when the groupings and authors were assigned in the SOFA project, I was still in the United States, waiting to go home from my unexpectedly extended vacation. When I got home, I found out I was grouped with Lem and Ton and we had to interview a guy who wrote a book about NOTHING. Well, at least, that was the idea. I then realized that Lem got his catchphrase "Wala Lang" from the book of the same title by our assigned author, Bud Tomas. So I thought, hey, if it changed him that much, maybe it ain't so so bad. I snatched the wrinkled old thing from Lem's bag during lunchtime while he wasn't reading and started reading. What can I say? It was quite different. I got a bit nervous, finding out and all that he was int he supreme court. How could some lawman in a cheap suit write such a silly book about being a kid? Well, interviewing him revealed that yes, he wore a cheap suit, he really did graduate from UP with a Law Degree, but he was still a kid at heart. Sure glad I read past the cover.

Lem Ferrer: In our group, I was the one who suggested interviewing Mr. Tomas, albeit jokingly. Just to clarify, the fact that I was the only one in the group who read his book and that we had no connections to him is the reason why I jokingly suggested that we interview Mr. Tomas. That point aside, I really admire the work of Mr. Tomas as I could relate to what he wrote about school and other stuff (which I still don’t understand up to now because I first read the book during the start of first year high school). From what I read in his book, I imagined him to be a very interesting person. I really wanted to see this for myself but I wasn’t able to do so because we, Mr. Tomas and I, agreed to have the interview on the morning of a Thursday, due to his busy schedule. Even though I wasn’t in the interview, I was glad to hear that he is just as I imagined him to be, a very interesting person. Due to this, I’m pretty glad that we took up the challenge to have him as our author for this project.

Francisco Sionil José

  1. Report by
    1. Miguel F. del Rosario
    2. Michael Roland A. Mariano
    3. Timothy Paul V. Ng

History and Background

Born December 3, 1924 in Pangasinan.

Born in Rosales, Pangasinan, Sionil spent his childhood in Barrio Cabugawan where he first started to write. This served as the setting for most of his stories.His mother was the greatest influence in his life. She worked hard in order to provide him with books and at the same time feeding the family.

It was in the fifth grade that he started writing stories. His teacher opened up a library and it was here that young Sionil was exposed to the works of Rizal, Cather, Faulkner and Steinbeck.. He was especially moved by Noli me Tangere which reminded him of the oppression his grandfather faced as a soldier in the Philippine revolution.

After the second world war, Sionil attended the University of Santo Tomas but then dropped out and immersed himself into writing and journalism in Manila.He edited books for a while then he started a publishing house. He then founded the Philippine branch of PEN, the organization for writers.

Mr. José's works always promote the importance of social justice and family in his works. His books have been translated into 27 different languages.

José is a National Artist of The Philippines.


Rosales Saga novels

A five-novel series that spans three centuries of Philippine history, widely read around the world and translated into 22 languages

Po-on (Dusk) (1984)

The Pretenders (1962)

My Brother, My Executioner (1973)

Mass (December 31, 1974)

Tree (1978)

Don Vicente (1980) [Tree and My Brother, My Executioner combined in one book]

The Samsons [The Pretenders and Mass combined in one book]

Other Works

Gagamba (The Spider Man) (1991)

Viajero (1993)

Sin (1994)

Ben Singkol (2001)



Sherds (2008)

Muse and Balikbayan: Two Plays (2008)

Short Stories (with Introduction and Teaching Guide by Thelma B. Kintanar) (2008)


31 January 2009. F.S. José's residence/La Solidaridad Bookstore, Padre Faura, Ermita, Manila.

1) In your works, you’ve tried your best to tackle all the facets and sides of the Filipino culture. How do you stay neutral in your works while still continuing to impart your own message?

I am not neutral at all. With regards to social issues, right and wrong, and justice, I take sides. But as a novelist, you have to create people that are credible. You have to create a character that is, in a sense, human and normal, not abnormal. This is because people are people. It’s very rare to find an individual who is 100% evil or 100% saint. There’s always the element of good and bad. So with regards to being neutral, it only comes about when I try to portray a reality.

2) Also in your works, you focus on the landscape of the Philippines, in terms of the marginalized and the landless. Who or what greatly sparked you to write about injustices and in what form do you express this?

It’s hard to explain. When you see someone being harassed, on which side will you be on? The harasser or the one being harassed? These are moral problems and issues. A writer has a moral perspective, so he takes the side of justice.

3) Were there any specific instances in your life that led you to this paradigm?

Well, I come from a depressed background, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be poor to be kind to the poor. Like I said, we are all human beings. We are all endowed with conscience. So when that conscience works, it’s inevitable to be involved with your fellow man. Attitudes like these are almost part of humanity itself. It’s all natural, like why the children love they’re parents… One of the writer’s functions is to emphasize the obvious. By doing so, you confirm self and human values.

4) It seems you, in you other works, that your sense of morality was inspired by El Filibusterismo and Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal?

No, not necessarily inspired. I read those novels while I was very young and they affected my very much. Well, you can call it inspiration but when I read those novels when I was very young, it opened the window for the way I think and the way I feel. Take this from me, because im an old man. You’ll find sooner or later that there’s no such thing as inspiration… Maybe you look at it as a kind of romantic impulse when you’re young. It’s nice to think that there’s inspiration, when you see a pretty scene, meet a pretty girl etc. But as you grow older, like when you’re a writer or an artist, you’ll find that you’re compelled to do things because you have to. It’s inside of you; it’s a part of you. Take me for instance, I’m 84. Most people my age should retire already, but I’m still writing… so w/ regards to inspiration, yes it is important maybe at an early age you recognize it as such. But at some point, there has to be a far deeper reason w/c compels you to do what you are doing. Now you might ask me, what is that deeper thing? I don’t know. Maybe it’s faith. Maybe it’s love or maybe it’s hate. Or even plain stubbornness, we don’t know… Maybe it’s a form of greediness, but not the acquisition of wealth or material things but in the production and performance of beauty. I’ve been fascinate by heroism. Those people who fought, they did not intend to be heroes; they just fought for what they thought was right.

5) So you quoted saying Manuel Quezon’s lines, “I’d rather see the Philippines run like hell by Filipinos rather than Americans running it like heaven.”

It’s kind of like an awkward expression of expression of whether my country is right or wrong, it will always be right. These are common ? expressions, kinds of reaction towards foreign domination or colonization. It’s strikes a nerve in the people to whom it’[s said. But when you really analyze the quote, it’s not all that good. And one more thing… the more you study history, the more you find what many of our leaders like Quezon were wanting. And in our search for real heroes, we find it very very difficult to find ideal people whio should have led us. Im not saying that there are none, there are leaders who I appreciate. Quezon has a place in Philippine history but he’s not one of my favorite leaders… because there was a lot of hypocrisy in him and he himself in the end was not that all a real nationalist. Because how do you measure your nationalism… because some people, some leaders have this reputation of being nationalist but when you analyze what they’re planning politically, their nationalism is not empty because they it’s hasn’t been directed towards people… because a “patriot” can love symbols of his country. He can love the flag, he can love the landscape, he can his country’s history. Only that itself, but that love is not reflected on his own regards to his people, you love the country but not the people. How can that be? So it becomes in vain because people make up the nation.

6) What inert traits do you see in Filipinos that you’d like to see gone or reinforced?

Lets not answer that, there’s too many… there’s so much social engineering that must be done. One is the oppression by colonialism, the colonized mind of people…

7) What made you want to be a writer?

That’s a very trite question you know. I do not know, probably because it’s the only thing I know. . I wanted to be a doctor but I didn’t pass so I shifted to doing this.

8) Of all our Filipinos writers, who do you admire the most?

Rizal, he is the greatest Filipino novelist… even his life because sometimes we make the mistake of admiring a writer because of his writing. You should not judge writers alone by what they’ve written. You should judge them also on how they lived their lives because if we judge people only by what they write or say then Ferdinand Marcos would be a very heroic Filipino… so it’s important to not judge people by only what they write and say.

Reporters' Individual Reflections

  1. Miguel del Rosario

When I was secured a time slot to interview Mr. Jose, it quickly fell on me that I was going to meet one of the Philippines' greatest writers. Famous for his love of country and justice, interviewing Mr. Jose, I thought, would be a monumental task. I imagined that he would wear a barong, smoke Ilokano tobacco (he is from the north), and talk in well-versed English. I imagined that he would be quite a handful.

He wasn't, he lived in a very humble home above his equally humble book store (though the store's content is far from humble. La Solidaridad easily trounces Power Books or A Different Bookstore in terms of bibliographical depth). He worked in a little room containing his works and their numerous translations, and a handful of his personal belongings. He's modestly dressed and he has a very friendly disposition.

Modesty and friendliness, though, are common Filipino traits. What sets him apart is that he grew and lived around an environment where justice is a scarcity. This has formed him into a writer that tells stories that are very ordinary yet very touching since the commonality between his fiction and the life of a Filipino is so tightly knit that every Filipino that has felt injustice can relate. He weaves stories of intimate romance and glorious victory cut short because of the recurring themes of dishonesty, greed and corruption.

Sionil Jose's stories are a representation of the Philippines as a whole: brought down by extant corruption yet kept alive because of selfless souls and reformed consciences. Sionil wants to send a message to us saying that the key for a moral victory in the Philippines is equitability, not just shallow equality.

  1. Michael Mariano

Having been able to interview Sionil Jose, put great such honor and admiration for my part. A literary great in his won right, having crossed international barriers (his wprks are translated into 28 languages in his works, Mr. Jose really made history and a mark in his craft.

Having the phenomenal privilege of being able to interview him, he talked so much about his ideology of morality, nationalism, patriotism, inspiration, and great leadership. Apart from all of this, what struck me the most with his interview are his principles about life in general. He mentioned that above everything, what’s its important is to be a good person, to know what’s right and having the character to do stand by it and do it.

According to him, it’s essential for every Filipino to find and know what they love and continue to do it. Whether it’s an inspiration or a romantic impulse, Filipinos must never stop being optimistic and LEARNING. In the end, our success as a nation and individuals starts from each and single one of us. Let’s do our part.

  1. Timothy Ng

When we entered the small bookstore that Saturday afternoon, I wasn't expecting to meet a real writer, a true artist. His bookstore was small and it had that certain warmth to it, the relaxing kind. It was the perfect place to get lost in books. I found some very good books which are so hard to find like works by H.P. Lovecraft and F. Kafka.

Meeting Mr. Jose was a wonderrful experience. He was the one who started the interview actually. He asked what novel of his we read and what we thought about it. I read his collection of short essays and commentaries.which were about his views on Philippine literature as of today and I loved how he manages to stay neutral in the discussion. One thing I admired about Mr. Jose was that he remained faithful to his craft. Living in a country with a low literacy rate is a huge problem for any Filipino writer. Despite that, he sticks to writing. He is a true artist. He isn't a sellout as they say.

Virgilio S. Almario

  1. Report by:
    1. Vitto Baviera
    2. Romel Mahor
    3. Gerard Villanueva


Virgilio S. Almario, also known by his pseudonym Rio Alma, is first and foremost a poet and a critic in Filipino. However, he has also contributed to the literary world as a translator, editor and a teacher.

He grew up in Camias, San Miguel de Mayumo, Bulacan in a farming community amidst the Hukbalahap revolution in the 1950s. Wanting to study in Manila, he pursued a degree in A.B. Political Science in the University of the Philippines and achieved it in 1963. He then immediately accepted a teaching job in his alma mater, San Miguel High School.

In the summer of 1963, he took education units in the University of the East. This was when his life as a poet begun. He then became associated with Rogelio G. Mangahas and Lamberto E. Antonio, and together they spearheaded the second successful modernist movement in Filipino poetry. Almario came up with his first ever collection of Filipino poems in 1967 entiteled Makinasyon at Ilang Tula. Also, in 1972, he came up with the first book on literary criticism in Filipino called Ang Makata Sa Panahon ng Makina.

After awhile, upon joining the activist movement, he changed his writing from modernist and formalist interest to nationalist and politically inclined works. He lost his job as a teacher when martial law was declared. He buried himself in his works while being blacklisted by the military.

His critical works touched on the issue of a national language. He even produced the largest monolingual Filipino dictionary. His desire to share to the youth the beauty of literature in Filipino pushed him to translate some of the world’s greatest contemporary poets. In fact, his latest translations were Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, both by Jose Rizal.

His constant superior production of Filipino literature led to multiple awards and recognitions such as Palanca awards, two grand prizes from the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Makata ng Taon of the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino, the TOYM for literature, and the Southeast Asia Write Award of Bangkok.

His reputation as one of the Philippine’s top writers opened up an offer for Almario to teach in the Department of Philippine studies in Ateneo de Manila University despite his lack of a formal degree in language or literature. He only pursued his M.A. in Filipino at the University of the Philippines in 1974, five years after Ateneo’s offer.

Almario was also distinguished outside U.P. as he was in it. He held various offices such as project officer of the Development Academy of the Philippines, general manager of the NCP Publishing Corporation, editor-in-chief and publisher of Diyaryo Filipino and Filipino Magazin to name a few. He has also served as lecturer or delegate in various conferences in multiple countries like Japan, Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, France, Denmark, Spain, Germany, the United States, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Tunisia, in several states in the USSR, and in a few African countries.

Politically inclined as he was, he never failed to instil the interest in development in Filipino children’s books. He spearheaded a project for children’s books by the Nutrition Center of the Philippines which later turned into the Adarna Books. He also founded the PBBY or the Philippine Board on Books for young people in 1984. In connection, he opened Rio Alma Clinic for young writers wherein he served as head lecturer.

In 1998, he took the challenge of being Executive Director of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). Upon returning to U.P. in 2002, he was chosen as Director of the Institute of Creative Writing. However, he did not finished his term as Director for he was selected Dean of the College of Arts and Letters in 2003. Lastly, he was proclaimed National Artist for Literature on June 25, 2003.



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  • Parikala
  • Mga Bakasyonista
  • Ang Pangginggera at mga Piling Tula ni Lope K. Santos
  • Turtle Voices in Uncertain Weather
  • Makabagong Tinig ng Siglo
  • Katon Para sa Limang Pandama
  • Selected Poems 1968-1985 (bilingual edition)
  • Kabalikat sa Kalayaan
  • Taludtod at Talinghaga
  • (A)lamat (H)istorya
  • Palipad-Hangin
  • Mga Retrato at Rekwerdo
  • Mga Piling Tula ni Jose Corazon de Jesus
  • Balagtasismo versus Modernismo
  • Galian
  • Walong Dekada ng Makabagong Tulang Pilipino
  • Patnubay sa Masinop na Pagsulat
  • Doktrinang Anakpawis
  • Ang Makata sa Panahon ng Makina
  • Peregrinasyon at Iba Pang Tula
  • Makinasyon at Ilang Tula


  • Japanese version of Ibong Adarna story
  • Water, An Ecology Book
  • Trees, An Ecology Book
  • Kuwentuhan Mo Ako!
  • The Sun


Mr. Virgilio S. Almario
Vitto, Ger and Romel with Mr. Almario

[2]Click here to listen to the interview.

Reporters' Individual Reflections

  • Gerard

Our SOFA group decided to interview an author pretty close to the hearts of Ateneans, Dr. Virgilio Almario. His works have been incorporated in the curriculum of 3 of the 4 years a student stays in the AHS. I was quite scared at first as judging by his excellent translations of Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo and Florante at Laura, he might be a very professional and stiff personality. Moreover, I was a bit intimidated by the fact that his works are often described as the best versions of the said Filipino Classics. The day of the interview arrived. We went to his office at the UP College of Arts and letters. We patiently waited then low and behold; a man proudly wearing a Barong Tagalog came and sat with us. I recognized that it was Mr. Almario as I saw pictures of him a day before the interview. He greeted us with a smile and said that we could start with the interview. Time flew and before we knew it, what we thought could only be a 7-minute interview turned out to take almost half an hour. With that conversation, it was evident that his writing was fueled by his intention to expose the youth in literature, more specifically, Filipino literature. We left the building very happy and excited that we were able to share insights with such a man.

  • Romel

Almost all Ateneans know who Virgilio Almario is. He is more often referred to as the guy who made the Filipino subject area a lot harder than what it’s meant to be. I admit that I demoted him as such when I went through Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo and Florante at Laura. That is until my group interviewed him for our SOFA project. Before the interview, I was expecting him to talk to us with highfaluting Filipino words and phrases just like how he translated Rizal’s works. All three of us in the group, with our inferior Filipino vocabulary, were wondering how we were to talk to the great writer. However, it turns out that there was more to him in person than in his words in his books. I found a new respect for Mr. Almario that day as I learned about how he wrote, how he taught, and how he viewed Filipino literature. I do not know him anymore as the hinderance to getting an A in Filipino, rather, I now recognize him as my bridge to appreciating literature in our own rich language. I’m proud to be Filipino.

  • Vitto

We had the privelege of talking to one of the most influential people in the history of Filipino literature, his works ranging from editing literary works to translating foreign books. His works are known to be the best here in the Philippines and are integrated into the Ateneo education precisely because of that. Coming from a poverty-stricken family when he was young, he lived a literary deprived childhood, only being exposed to literary works during his years in college. With the passion to strive in literature, he established a habit of alotting 1 hour everyday to writing absolutely anything that comes to his mind. This habit made him very flexible in his writing; he doesn't need to be in the mood to be able to write, he doesn't need inspiration. All he needs is his pen and paper and he's good to go. From his background to his way of writing, it can be said that Mr. Virgilio Almario is a success story. He is a person who inspires people and influences culture and contributes to society. These things make him such an admirable person.

Fr. Celerino Reyes, S.J.

Report by

    1. Jerome Nepomuceno
    2. Reggie Perez
    3. Vince Pleyto


Father Celerino Reyes, S.J. is currently the executive director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality. He studied in Regis College at the University of Toronto. This is where he obtained his doctor of ministry in 2004.

“Name: Celerino Ignacio Marfori Reyes, S.J. Position: Treasurer, Minister & Pastoral Director Age: 50 Date of Birth: February 03, 1957 Entered the Society: May 30, 1979 Date of Ordination: April 08, 1989

Assignments: 1989-1990: Formation Team, Juinors/Philosophers Sub-community LHS

1990-1991: Asst. Parish Priest, Ipil Parish Acting Chancellor, Ipil Prelature; Chaplain, Marian College

1991-1993: Vice-Rector/SPFY Director, St. John Vianney Seminary, Cagayan de Oro City

1993-1994: M.A Studies, Loyola School of Theology

1994-1997: SPFY Director - San Jose Seminary

1997-1998: College Director - San Jose Seminary

1998-2004: Doctoral Studies, Toronto

2004-2005: Tertianship, Loyola House of Studies

2005-Present: Treasurer & Minister - San Jose Seminary”

(Taken from

“Fr. Celerino Reyes is the executive director of CIS. He obtained his doctor of ministry from Regis College at the University of Toronto in 2004. He had training in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Giving at Ignatius Jesuit Center of Guelph from June-August 2001. He is also an assistant professor, teaching pastoral theology and spirituality at the Loyola School of Theology.” (Taken from

Vince and Reggie with Fr. Celerino
Jerome and Vince with Fr. Celerino

Major Works

Fr. Celerino Reyes’ book (“Panalangin sa Iglesia ng Tahanan”) was actually Fr. Cel’s thesis for when he was taking up his graduate studies. He decided, with the help of his professor then, to translate some prayers that are uncommon and thus have no Filipino equivalent. Such prayers include the prayer for the deceased, prayers for a relative in travel, etc. The Jesuit Publications community then decided to have the book compiled and subsequently published for commercial use.



Melissa Ylanan-Moran

Report by

    1. Rafa Encarnacion
    2. John Palma
    3. RJ Ramirez


Mrs. Melissa Ylanan-Moran

Melissa Ylanan-Moran is a FREE-LANCE WRITER/RESEARCHER, EDITOR, coordinator of cultural events and LAYOUT ARTIST born on the 27th of December, 1957. She was by no means an average student during her years of schooling, graduating as Salutatorian from Maryknoll (now Miriam) College grade school in 1971. She graduated from the Miriam College High School in 1975, taking with her the school’s religion departmental award, the school’s Gerry Roxas Leadership Award and the Maryknoll Award. She entered into the Ateneo de Manila University and in 1979, graduated magna cum laude with a degree in AB Interdisciplinary studies, majoring in Humanities, taking home the English Departmental Award. Writing has been a part of her life since childhood evident in the numerous writing-oriented organizations she joined as a student. She was a member of the Miriam grade school’s The Maryknoller Magazine, The High School’s Literary Guild and served on the editorial board of both her grade school and high school’s yearbook committees. In the Ateneo she served as a senior writer for the Guidon and as year level representative to the Sanggunian ng Mag-aaral.

Lissa, as she is called by her many friends and colleagues began working for the ASIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT (AIM) as a case researcher. She moved on to become In-House Editor, Writer, Researcher at the READING DYNAMICS CENTER, INC in Pasig City.

Lissa has written, edited and translated numerous stories and works in cooperation with Tawid Publications, a publisher of trade books on Philippine culture, music; and a producer of audio recordings of Philippine music and/or performances of Filipino artists. She currently holds the position of Vice-President of the said publisher.

The focus of her work has become a mission towards the awareness of the Filipino regarding his own identity, culture and history. Her works focus on teaching the value of national pride to children through short stories and vividly illustrated story books capturing Filipino values and exposing them to the different elements of Philippine culture.

Lissa’s career has exposed her to so many experiences. Aside from being a writer of fiction stories, she was commissioned by the Department of Education to publish a series of classroom textbooks focusing on Philippine Culture and Music. She was responsible for the publishing of the series “Music and Arts IV” for high school students and “Musika at Sining” Grades 3-6 for grade school students. "HIMIG" is another work which is a collection in volumes of books touching on the songs of the Philippine Revolution. According to Lissa, it is a beautful thing to realize that even before People Power, Filipinos were already waging peaceful revolutions. She collaborated with the NATIONAL HISTORICAL INSTITUE and THE NATIONAL LIBRARY to procure copies of the songs of the Katipunan and compiled them into a series. According to her, the songs which mainly focusing on the topic of love yet containing undertones of love for the country and the propagandist movement. The Spanish authorities would never have guessed that the young man seranading the barrio beauty in front of her neighbors was actually slighting the abuses of the Colonial Authorities.

Currently, Lissa, apart from writing children’s stories in now heavily involved as Executive Director of the Heritage Institute Center in Quezon City, a position she has hels since 2000. The company is an organizer of educational events (teacher-training seminars for the Department of Education and private schools, lecture-concerts and exhibits for schools, government agencies, museums, cultural associations, etc.) specifically promoting Philippine culture and history.

She currently resides in Quezon City with her husband, Jose Ricardo Moran, their two daughters, a stone’s throw away from her Alma Matters, Miriam College and the Ateneo in Xavierville II subdivision.

Imbued with the passion to write for a purpose, Lissa chose to become a proponent of nationalism and patriotism through her works. Perhaps her greatest contribution to Philippine Society does not come from her literary works in themselves but, the spirit and idea that resonates from her example as an author. She personally understands the power and influence of the written word. She is not a famous person, nor an award winning writer yet she works behind the scenes for one of the most important audience groups – children. Her personal philosophy is based on the responsibility writers have to their audiences. According to her people tend to believe what they read in books, hence the tremendous responsibility of ensuring that books are correct in terms of content and sound in terms of values portrayed. This is especially true when writing for children. Books are the cornerstone of a country’s intellectual growth and the growth of the youth, the future of this country. To her kids must read early on. Cultivating a love for reading is cultivating a love for learning, according to her. With her its never about the money. It's writing for the lve of it. When confronted with the reality of recent news articles on school textbooks that had recently been discovered to contain erroneous information, she replied in dismay that although writers of fiction such as herself were more or less immune to having their books scrutinized for correctness of content, the body that let the erroneous books pass was headed by members of the Ateneo de Manila University.

List of Major Works

Tawid publishing collaborates with some of the best illustrators to produce visually appealing story books for children.


- Publisher/Co-author/Book Designer “Music and Arts IV” textbook (DepEd approved) By Raul M. Sunico, Ph.D., Melissa Y. Moran, and Evelyn F. Cabanban Published by Tawid Publications, 2009

- Publisher/Editor/Book Designer “Music, Arts, & P.E.” Grades 3-6 textbooks (DepEd approved) By Raul M. Sunico, Ph.D., Teresita L. Punsalan, and Evelyn F. Cabanban Published by Tawid Publications, 2000-2006

- Publisher/Editor/Book Designer “Musika at Sining” Grades 3-6 textbooks (DepEd approved) By Raul M. Sunico, Ph.D., Teresita L. Punsalan, and Evelyn F. Cabanban Published by Tawid Publications, 1998-2006

Children’s Books:

- Writer/Researcher/Book Designer, “Isang Watawat, Isang Awit, Isang Bansa” Published by Tawid Publications, 2008

- Editor, “Filipino Folktales” series for children By Marla Yotoko Chorengel Published by Bookmark, Inc., 1990-1991

- Editor, “Pinatubo, The Planted Mountain” By Evelyn F. Cabanban Published by Tawid Publications, 1993

- Editor, “Saleng, The Story of the First Pine Tree” By Evelyn F. Cabanban Published by Tawid Publications, 1993

Music Books:

- Editor, “Himig, A Collection of Philippine Folksongs” Vol. I-IV By Raul M. Sunico, Ph.D. and Evelyn F. Cabanban Published by Tawid Publications, 1994-1998

- Editor, “Mga Awit ng Himagsikan” Vol. I & II By Raul M. Sunico, Ph.D. and Evelyn F. Cabanban Published by Tawid Publications, 1996

- Editor, “Kundiman ni Rizal” By Raul M. Sunico, Ph.D. Published by Tawid Publications, 1998

Other Books:

- Writer/Book Designer, “Celebrating Selfless Love” Published by SOS Philippines for their 40th Anniversary In the Philippines, 2007

- Editor, “Between East and West” By Marie Annette Martel Published by Anvil Publishing, 2007

- Writer/Researcher, “CSO Experiences in Strengthening Rural Poor Organizations in Asia” Published by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC), and Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP), 2006

- Writer/Researcher, “Enhancing Resources of the Poor to Land and Common Property Resources” Published by the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC) and the International Land Coalition (ILC), 2006

- Editor, “I’ve Been Dating…Now What?” By Maribel Sison-Dionisio, MA and Mike Asis, Ph.D. Published by Anvil Publishing, 2006

- Editor, “Profound Afterglow: The Prints of Lenore RS Lim” By Paul Sharpe, Clint White, and Prof. Ruben DF Defeo Published by Reyes Publishing, Inc., 2005

- Editor, “Philippine Christmas: Art & Form” By Reynaldo Alejandro and Marla Yotoko Chorengel Published by Anvil Publishing, Inc. and National Book Store, Inc., 2002

- Editor/Layout Artist/Production Supervisor “24 Stories of Adoption” By the Adoptive Families Foundation, Inc. Published by Tawid Publications, 2000

- Editor, “Pasko: The Philippine Christmas” By Reynaldo Alejandro and Marla Yotoko Chorengel Published by Anvil Publishing, Inc. and National Book Store, Inc., 1998

- Writer/Researcher, “Dairy Gourmet: A Collection of Heirloom Recipes” Published by Philippine Dairy Products Corporation, 1997

- Editor, “Chinese and Vietnamese Blue & White Wares Found in the Philippines” By Larry Gotuaco, Rita C. Tan, and Allison I. Diem Published by Bookmark, Inc., 1997

- Layout Artist, “Shift” By Soliman M. Santos, Jr., Florencio Abad, Joel Rocamora, and Chai Florentino-Hofileña Published by Ateneo Center for Social Policy and Public Affairs, 1997

- Editor/Layout Artist, “Aghamtao” Journal of Ugnayang Pang-Aghamtao, Inc. (UGAT), Anthropological Association of the Philippines, 1996

Publications: - “Food” Magazine, contributing writer, 1996-1998 - “Sunday Globe” Magazine, contributing writer, 1989-1990 - “Parenting Today” Magazine, Associate Editor, 1984-1987

Interview with author (opinion)

The group had a chance to sit down with Mrs. Moran to ask her questions regarding her profession and writing experience in our little Question and Answer interlude with Mrs. Moran, we tackled the various faces of the writing profession as well as her own experiences as a writer. We, as a group were very much interested in what she had to say and what made her the person she is today.

I. Background

1. When did you start writing?

I started writing when I was in Grade School.

2. How did you start writing?

I used to read a lot and so I started writing my own stories.

3. What motivated you to choose writing as a profession?

I choose writing because of my love for it. I think it’s my tool to communicate to people especially the youth.

4. Are there any significant people/authors who influenced you to write?

People who influenced me were my parents and my teacher in college, Doreen Fernandez.

II. Writing process

1. Would you say that writing is a hard profession? Why?

I think it is hard because it serves a purpose.

2. Do you believe that you were born with the ability to write? Or was it developed?

I honestly think everyone can write. I guess it was my exposure, which made me develop this skill.

3. What is the most difficult part of the writing process?

The purpose. Knowing that you have to be understood by your target readers.

4. How long does it usually take you to finish a work of literature?

It really depends. Sometimes it can take me as short as 1 sitting and once it took me 2 years to finish a book.

5. How do you usually begin writing a story/essay?

Before I write I know the storyline already. I know how my story will go.

6. Are there any distinct rituals/steps you follow when you write? Give examples.

Everything has to be fixed! Materials I need MUST be ready. The desk MUST be clear. I usually write during midnight from 12am-6am. No ones awake during that time so it’s quite and I can concentrate more on with my stories.

7. Is there a special place there you prefer to write stories?

I usually write in my room. I feel most comfortable there.

III. Works

1. What do you wish to achieve through your works?

I want to create awareness of Filipino culture and make it enjoyable.

2. Do you think history and society influenced the stories you write?

Yes, Philippine history and the lack of knowledge of Filipinos on their culture have influenced my stories.

3. Are there any specific social issues that you target? What are they?

I think I just want to promote the value of being proud of our own country; pride of being Pinoy.

4. How have your personal, family experiences and childhood experiences shape your work?

I imagine myself back when I was a child and I try to think like one when I write children stories so that the story will be more understandable I can connect more to my reader.

5. Is there in your opinion, a chronic lack of Children’s book authors?

Well since the 1990’s they’ve increased.

6. How do you deal with the criticism of your works? (both positive and negative)

I’m very conscious of them especially because of the issues today on errors (grammatical, typographical).

IV. Final Message/Conclusion

1. Do you truly enjoy what you do? Why/why not?

Yes because I feel I have a purpose and I’m able to use my talents as my tool of influence.

2. What, in your opinion, separates author of children’s stories from writers of other genres?

I think it’s being able to relate to children. Children storywriters have a say on the future since our readers are mainly the future of society.

3. What is your final message to the aspiring writers out there?

It’s not easy but it’s very commendable. Educating the youth is very fulfilling so go for it!

Additional questions:

1. Is there a future for writers?

It’s potentially good money but you need to have a second job.

2. Do you have to be educated to be a writer? (degree)

Not at all. It is hard to teach writing. However, you need to learn at least the basic tools for communication.

Mrs. Moran was kind enough to offer a few words of wisdom to young Filipino authors and those iterested in taking up writing as a career of pursuing it as a serious hobby.

Message to young people on Filipino authors and writing as a profession:

Writing is a profession you can begin equipping yourself for from a very young age, and the best preparation for writing is reading! I cannot stress it, read, READ! Once you see what good writing looks and sounds like in a book, you can begin finding your own writing expression.

Start by following the rules of good writing: have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you plan to present it. Be conscious of your readers, and care about connecting and communicating with them. Then, once you've got the rules down pat, you can experiment, bend the rules, have fun, and take risks with your writing later on.

And even if you don't end up in the writing profession, WRITING WELL IS A SKILL FOR LIFE. You can and will need it in whatever career you enter into in the future.

Reporters' Individual Reflections

RJ and John with two works which the author helped write and edit
Rafa with Mrs. Melissa Ylanan-Moran

Our interview with Mrs. Lisa Moran was an enlightening experience for me. Based on her background, works, and answers to the questions we had, I believe that she deserves to be recognized for what she does. She stated that her main goal in writing was to raise awareness about the Philippines among the youth. This for me is a very honorable and admirable cause because I believe that today’s Filipino youth lack interest in our country. Through this interview, I was also made aware of what it takes to become a writer. One must be persistent, creative and ready to sacrifice, qualities which are present in Mrs. Moran. First of all, persistence is required in writing. One must be determined when he or she writes because it is a process of trial and error. This can be seen in some of Mrs. Moran’s experiences because there were times when she had difficulty in forming a creative story. Creativity is also a necessity when it comes to writing. A writer must be able to come up with new ways of presenting ideas. Mrs. Moran exemplified this through the mediums she uses to raise awareness. She writes not only books but songs as well. To be a great writer, sacrifice is required. Writing requires a great deal of effort. There were times when Mrs. Moran had to stay up all night just so that she could finish writing her stories. I learned from our interview that these three things are necessary to become a renowned writer.

Based on what I learned about our author during this interview with her, I believe that Mrs. Lisa Moran is more than just a Filipino author. Because of what she does for both our country and its young citizens, she deserves to be called a modern day Filipino hero. -RJ

I was never a writer. Writing has been my waterloo since God knows when. It’s probably the results of not reading a lot back when I was a kid, my 2nd biggest regret in life.

The interview we conducted with Melissa Moran, a writer of children’s books, made me realize how hard yet noble writing is. Melissa Moran graduated from the Miriam High School and took college in the Ateneo. Yet unlike most graduates of the Ateneo who seek wealth after graduation, she sought for something that would not benefit her, but others. She said that to survive as a writer, is it best to have a second job. Despite this, she still continues to write not only for the love of writing but even more, for her love of children and country. She said that her main reason for being a writer was that she wanted to inspire and influence Filipino children to be proud of their Filipino heritage. This shows how nationalistic she is. With all the people leaving the country, it’s people like her who use we need today. She expresses her love for the Philippines through her vast literary works. She has done what God wants us all to do; to use our talents to express love, which in her case love for this beautiful country. She uses writing as a tool to educate children and to help them become better people when they grow up. She uses her skill to be able to make the future of our country, the Filipino children, aware about the beauties that are present in this country. She is someone who has truly exemplified self-sacrifice. She has sacrificed many other opportunities and has taken the road less traveled by many people. She has chosen an occupation that does not produce self-benefit. She has chosen a vocation that is for the greater good. -JOHN

These days it is rare to come across Filipinos who are proud of their ancestry. The name Filipino has come so far as to be stigmatized with that of the domestic helper or the corrupt politician. It is a rarity to find people waving the standard of the Filipino people high in the air. Lissa Moran is such a person. Through her writing and advocacy of the promotion and propagation of Philippine Culture, Lissa has been instrumental in beginning a social awakneing in the Filipino psyche. She chose to target the youth in her books because the youth unlike many of the older generation have not yet resigned themselves to the hopelessness of life in our motherland. She is an exemplar of passionate dedication to one's craft. She believes as I do now that the problem with our country is a lack of love for the nation, a lack of patriotism. We Filipinos, being a race brought up in poverty seemingly have nothing to be proud of. Lissa's writing has helped proved this way of thinking to be wrong. Her books showcase the cultural wealth and moral values treasured by the Filipino. an inspiration to the youth especially, who will inherit and hopefully like Lissa, spread awareness and love for the heritage of our great people. -RAFA

Rick Olivares

Report by

  1. Nicolas Lutero
  2. Miguel Macadaeg
  3. Carlo Racela

History and Background

Rick Olivares is a fulltime writer who contributes to various publications like Business Mirror and websites such as the Ateneo de Manila University website. He studied in the Ateneo de Manila University starting from the grade school all the way to college. He is an avid sports fan and has interest in a wide variety of sports ranging from football to baseball. Similar to most true-blue Ateneans, Rick Olivares is an avid supporter of the Ateneo Blue Eagles and his interest in the school team transcends the average Atenean interest in UAAP Basketball. He regularly covers games for the school's website and he does a lot of writing for school publications as well. As stated before, he writes for a variety of publications and he maintains his own blog called Bleacher's Brew.

He found something special in writing when he was in 3rd year high school when he crammed homework for English class. He draws inspiration from poets like Robert Frost, local writers like Nick Joaquin and internationally renowned authors like J.R.R. Tolkien. He was able to shape his writing style in college with the help of his professor, Eric Torres and Strunk and White's Elements of Style. His writing style was capped-off and polished as it was today by a variety of sports writers such as David Halberstam and Frank Deford among others. Aside from that, he is also able to draw inspiration from comic books, music and CNN.


Rick Olivares is a regular contributor to the following:

  1. Business Mirror
  2. Maxim
  3. Loyola School Bulletin
  4. Homestyle


The email interview can be found on Multiply.

Individual Reflections

Carlo Racela's Reflection

I think Mr. Rick Olivares contributes to society in his sharing and writing of thoughts especially in the sports portion; and I being such a sucker for sports enjoy his work and his analysis in certain sports such as basketball and football, internationally and here in the Philippines. Plus, the fact that he seems to be a die-hard Atenean makes him more appealing to me. He mentioned something about his managing the team B for the basketball team which is full proof of his never ending support for our senior’s basketball team. He also supports the football as he tries to commentate on a regular basis every Wednesday as far as I know, and not to mention his support as well to the rest of the sports that the Ateneo is a part of. I believe that Mr. Olivares has contributed to society in a way that he has put his writing into another level. He has made his columns and articles “engaging” to the readers as he mentioned. This has inspired people who read his work to let out what they think and feel through writing as well. That for me is a writer that has done his/her job.

Mico Macadaeg's Reflection

After enjoying the experience of interviewing Mr. Rick Olivares, although it was just done over cyberspace, I learned a lot about him and from him. Many people expect writers, at least those that write for a living and have succeeded at it, to have a different sort of demeanor. It almost as if people expect writers’ minds to be on a different plane entirely. After the in depth interview with Mr. Olivares, it can be plainly seen that writers can be normal folk that have been blessed with a gift. They need not be overly eccentric personas as most expect them to be. In fact, after reading through Mr. Olivares’ interview, I find him to be a funny, down-to-Earth kind of guy who manages to illuminate as well as entertain.

Besides this, Mr. Olivares has helped us realize that writers are an asset to the country and society. It is through their words that they make us realize what need be done.

Quinto Lutero's Reflection

Before sending the interview, I thought that most writers were self-righteous snobs who would just write-off the interview as a menial task that didn’t really deserve much of his time. After reading the interview, I quickly changed my point of view. Mr. Olivares’ answers were very entertaining and it really seemed so real and so human to me. The interview showed me that writers were still normal people and this writer in particular, his experiences, his interests and his aspirations are very real and they are something that each of us can relate to. I really like how his audience is very important to him, he really wants them to be engaged in what he writes and he has stated his desire to write about the people, for the people and not only for his own desires. The interview also gave me new insight on criticism and how one should react; after all, criticism is not harmful as long as one knows how to work on it and use it as a launching pad for improvement.

Maridol Rañoa-Bismark

03 Benedict Bismark
06 Victor Dominguez
09 Rico Miguel Estrada


Maria Dolores Rañoa Bismark or Maridol was born on March 20, 1959 in Manila, Philippines. Best known for her work in the Philippine Star, Maridol has written more than a hundred articles. Not bad.

Growing up, she had a loving family. Her father first exposed her to books. He subscribed to Reader’s Digest and newspapers. She’d crouch on the floor and read for hours. Since her younger brother was always out of the house. She had to find some way to kill the time and since there were no computers back then, she just buried herself in books.

As an adolescent, she was very shy –a far cry from the outgoing assistant editor we see today. She jokingly says that books were her best friends in Holy Spirit. She would spend hours in her high school library. She’d read anything she could lay her hands on, “so long as it wasn’t a math book,” she says. She’d repeat her favorite line in a poem aloud and imagined she was where the poet was. She’d imagine being at the forest primeval Henry Wadsworth Longfellow described in Evangeline. It was her way of escaping from reality.

This love for words easily got her a spot in the school paper, The Dove, where she wrote her feature articles. One summer vacation, she joined the Adarna workshop on writing for children’s books. At eighteen, she was the youngest participant. Her mentor was National Artist for literature, Virgillo S. Almario. Out of this workshop came the children’s book Ang Paglalakbay ni Magellan which she wrote in Tagalog for Adarna. Her friendship with fellow workshoppers introduced her to writing poetry in Filipino. She joined the weekly critiquing sessions of the Galian sa Arte at Tula headed by art patron Odette Alcantara. Her fellow young writers would tear her poems to pieces but they failed to break her spirit. She continued sharpening her writing skills.

When she returned to school months after, she joined the official publication of Maryknoll College (now Miriam College), Chi Rho. Here she rose to become the editor-in-chief while running for honors in her last year in college. Her passion for writing made it easy for her to spend entire nights in school just editing and publishing the paper. Her hard work got noticed. She was invited to represent her school in the College Editor’s Guild. Here, she met the editors-in-chief of today’s newspapers; like Thelma Sioson-San Juan now the lifestyle editor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the late Alex Fernando the deputy managing editor of the Philippine Star and Lourdes Molina, former Editor of Today. Her friend Thelma Sioson-San Juan asked her to write and trained her how to interview. For the love of writing, she would commute to Port Area in Manila from Maryknoll in Quezon City almost every day just to drop off her article in People’s Journal for free. For her practicum, she trained at Mod Magazine and finally got paid for her articles.

She did all of these while keeping her grades high. She graduated Cum Laude in 1980 BA communication arts. Her thirst for knowledge didn’t stop after college. She pursued a master’s degree in the University of the Philippines.

As soon as she graduated, she was recommended to become the public relations writer for JP inter-graphics. She didn’t have to complete an application form, she her reputation from college was more than enough to land her the job. She wanted to try all forms of media so she landed a job as a copy writer for an ad agency. After this, she wanted to give government service a try and she became the communications manager at the ministry for human settlements.

After dipping her hand in all forms of communication and media, she decided that writing was her true love. She became a writer for Malaya and worked her way up to become the editor for the entertainment section. Her talents caught the eyes of the Philippine Star and she was offered a job as the assistant editor for their entertainment editor. She accepted and still works there ‘til today (February 20, 2009).


Arnold Clavio: a dangerous life. Philipp Star June 29, 2006

Isabel Oli: From pa-sweet to palaban.. Philipp Star June 17, 2006

OMB's Edu Manzano: we are not 'onlookers'.. Philipp Star February 19, 2006

Villanueva, Rhodina Broadcaster Ernie Baron dies of heart attack. Philipp Star January 24, 2006

Broadcaster Ernie Baron dies of heart attack / Maridol Bismark with Rhodina Villanueva.. Philipp Star January 24, 2006

Mother Lily to boycott Metro Filmfest.. Philipp Star January 08, 2006

Soliven returns to ABS-CBN. Philipp Star February 18, 2004

Aga : a story of survival. Philipp Star February 15, 2004

Young actor dies in all from condo. Philipp Star December 30, 2003

Maricel, Eric lead filmfest awardees. Philipp Star December 29, 2003

Good news does sell ask Mel. Philipp Star March 30, 2003

Jamie Rivera's mission possible. Philipp Star December 07, 2002 :

So what does it take to be a Sex Bomb Girl!. Philipp Star December 01, 2002

Off the ramp and into showbiz. Philipp Star November 09, 2002

The good boy who finishes first. Philipp Star October 05, 2002

Angelo Palmones : a mission in the airwaves. Philipp Star June 22, 2002

Michelle and her German connection. Philipp Star January 12, 2002

Sports is a gulat teacher of life. Philipp Star August 01, 1999

Max Surban : singer with the masa torch. Philipp Star July 28, 1999

The self-made TV executive. Philipp Star June 26, 1999

Giselle's mission not a laughing matter.

Philippine Star June 04, 1999 :

Direk Heidi : forever on the job.

Philippine Star April 23, 1999

Jaya : good karma all the way. Philippine Star March 06, 1999 :

Jaya: good karma all this way. Philippine Star March 06, 1999 :

Vicky Morales : always where the action is. Philippine Star February 27, 1999 :

Why Donna is called lady with midas touch. Philippine Star December 19, 1998 :

And now comes direk Cesar. Philippine Star November 09, 1998 :

Babalu to bring comedy to heaven.

Philippine Star August 28, 1998 :

Joey Ayala : the musician as conduit / Maridol Ranoa Bismark. Malaya May 28, 1992 :

The red balloon Adarna, 1977

Ang mga paglalakbay ni Magelan Adarna, 1977


Please check this site for audio and photos of our interview:
[SoFA Interview with Mrs. Maridol Bismark[3]]

Why did you want to be an writer?

1.) Because I can express myself as writer. I can express my views and express it in words which are picturesque and sentences that are effective.

How is writing for a newspaper different from writing for a book.

2.) Of course very much. Newspaper writing is journalism in a hury. Your are always pressed for a deadline. You don’t always have time to polish your work. Writing for a book on the other hand, is more leisurely. You can write and rewrite your work and perfect it. Why entertainment?

3.) Because, that’s the beat where I know the most people and therefore I have the best connections for news and besides, that’s also the beat that I’m most comfortable with. Since I love music and I enjoy good movies.

Who do you say is your target audience?

4.) The A B crowd which reads newspapers.

Do you think you get to reach out to them?

5.) Well, I hope so (giggles). Well it’s like this, it depends on the article I write. If the article is controversial (giggles) I get more reactions. If the article is about a new actor or is unpopular, I don’t get reactions over the internet (sob) I get ignored. I don’t know if someone read what I wrote. It’s like getting snobed.

What can you say about the entertainment industry of the Philippines?

6.) It’s as alive as ever with the television shows outdoing each other and the network war ragging like a madman. The winner is the televiewer who gets to watch good shows. There are also other cable channels we can learn a lot from. No wonder the movie industry is dying. People would rather watch TV than go to the movie house.

How does it compare to the industry abroad

7.) The local industry has less facilities and resources than say Hollywood or even Baliwood. But in terms of talent, we have very good actors, writers, cinematographers etc.

How do you choose which articles you think you should post?

8.) You write about something that’s being talked about so people will be interested and read about it in the newspaper. We also write about things they may not know like new trends in television. Or new discoveries in sound technology. Sometimes, we write about emerging actors and singers who have talent but need all the exposure they can get. I am partial to shows with a cause since they are mounted to benefit needy people.

The right to know is not absolute. How do you chose which information you divulge and which you do not?

9.) I do not divulge information that will ruin a person’s information or endanger someone else’s safety. Niether do I write something that will encroach on a person’s privacy unless doing so will reveal a truth that will benefit many people; example: If a certain person knows the whereabouts of a drug syndicate then I will have to write about it because doing so will help solve the drug menace.

What style of writing unique to you?

10.) Since I write for a news paper, I need to be simple, direct to the point and readable.

Do you have to be in all the events you write about? How do you balance this with the time you spend with your family and with your own personal time?

11.) I don’t have to be in the events all the time. I can write about an event by relying on an unimpeachable source who was there. That’s the advantage you have when you’re a veteran in the business and you know many showbiz insiders.

11a) I try to bond with the family on my day off which is Sunday and chat with my son when I get home late at night. Luckily, he is as workaholic as I am so he is still up when I get home from work.


Mikee's Reflection
Mrs. Maridol Bismark is a well-rounded author. Being a writer for the Philippine Star’s entertainment section, she is also its assistant editor for the entertainment section. When reading her works, I feel that she puts so much idea into what she writes and carefully and accurately writes the latest buzz in the Philippine entertainment industry today. She has a style of writing that is unique and only hers. Her use of words captures the essence and the idea and gives the reader an entirely new viewpoint on the hippest scenes, places, and people in the Philippines.
Being a close friend of her son, I have met her several times already and how she speaks is not that different from how she writes. She still has that knack or ability to use the most accurate words to express how she feels. In fact, she also has a tendency to be quite funny at times which is sort of different from her writing technique which is a little bit more serious.
All I have to say is that Mrs. Maridol Bismark is totally one of a kind and I am glad that I have gotten the chance to meet her and talk to her. Her insights are truly new, thus, making the readers want to read her articles. She has totally given the people here in the Philippines a whole new outlook on today’s entertainment scene.

Vyke's Reflection
Mrs. Maridol Rinoa-Bismark is one of my closest friend’s mothers. Although we never had a real conversation, from the phone calls I make to contact my close friend Ben Bismark, I would sometimes be answered, by Mrs. Maridol who was always extremely warm and courteous. Mrs. Bismark is a journalist for Philippine Star, and has been writing articles for its entertainment section. I am quite amazed at this. When I think of parents, well my classmate’s parents, I always have this impression that they do not concern themselves with the current happenings in the entertainment world. I’d expect them to consider it beyond their “time”. This is definitely not true for Mrs. Bismark. She has the ability to study current issues and happenings and write in such a way that readers of different ages can relate to and enjoy. When I first saw Mrs. Bismark, she seemed like an everyday, pleasant mother in her 40’s, However after reading her work she seems to transcend this description in that her ideas and style appeals to all and not only readers her own age. Although she doesn’t write fictional narratives, poetry and the like, her articles have a certain appeal to it because of the way it is written. Her interesting choice of words and witty remarks makes her articles very agreeable. They make you want to keep on reading, not only to absorb to information of the article but also because you want to know, “what’s she going to say next”. She has a skill on presenting information, whether it is on an artist’s recent visit to our country or a hot event at a happening bar, she will present this in a way that makes you remember even the fine details. I’m not really a fan of newspaper articles but after reading her work, I’m sure that I’d want to catch her next one, whatever new exciting article is featured in the Philippine Star’s entertainment section.

Ben's Reflection It’s hard to believe what I’ve gone through in High School. Having to write so many sentence outline for all to many major compositions and getting them back just the afternoon before the deadline of the final composition. I’d spend the last few hours before midnight finishing up a computer program which I couldn’t get to work. I discovered how sleep can be a commodity and free time a luxury. I questioned why teachers were so demanding. I wondered why they wouldn’t cut me any slack. Seeing my mother at work gave me the answer to this. They were already cutting me some slack. My mother has to finish an average of three articles a day while coordinating with the staff back at the office and meeting up with actors that are apparently almost always late. Her workload is around three to four times more than mine and a hundred fold more stressful. I asked myself though, “how does she do it.” That’s when it struck me, she loves what she’s doing. No matter how hard or stressful her job becomes, she still enjoys it because it’s her love. It’s what she was made to do. Perhaps that’s the secret to success, its finding a way to enjoy what you are doing. It’s looking for a way to do daily tasks in such a way that it becomes rewarding rather than stressful. Maybe, I’m not in love with school work. Maybe, this wasn’t what I was made to do. I’m not really so sure. One thing’s for definite though, having this kind of mentality towards it isn’t helping. It’s time that I embraced my tasks and give them a chance.

Joey Ayala

  1. Miguel Santillan
  2. Joey Tangco
  3. JR Nario


Danton Remoto

  1. Report by
    1. Jed Barcelon
    2. Ryan Camacho
    3. Kage Ednalino

History and Background

Danton Remoto was born on March 25, 1963 in Basa Air Base, Pampanga.

He is currently the chairman of Ang Ladlad - The national group of homosexual and bisexual Filipino's. He is has plans to run for the Senator for the coming May 2010 Elections. He is a member of the Manila Critics Circle, Fulbright Alumni Association, and the Philippine Literary Arts Council. Mr. Danton Remoto currently teaches at the Ateneo de Manila University in the English department, for different fields, ranging from Creative Writing to World Literature.

Academic Background/Achievements

  • Received an ASEAN scholarship that enabled him to enter the Ateneo de Manila University.
  • 1983 - Entered Ateneo de Manila University as a student of AB Interdisciplinary Studies.
  • 1989 - Obtained a Robert Southwell Scholarship for Masters in English Literature.
  • 1990 - Was able to Obtain a Masters of Philosophy in Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling in Scotland through the British Council fellowship.
  • 2000 - Received the Fulbright Scholarship for Rutgers University in the USA.
  • 2003 - Received a fellowship for the Asian Scholarship Foundation at the National University of Malaysia.
  • 2004 - Received a fellowship for the Asian Scholarship Foundation at University of Singapore.
  • 2009 - After finishing his course on March, will receive a Ph.D. in English Studies with a major in Creative Writing from the University of the Philippines.

Other Major Achievements


Danton Remoto Has currently Written eight books, among them:

  • 1991 - "Skin, Voices, Faces"
  • 1996 - "Black Silk Pajamas - Poems in English and Filipino"
  • 2004 - "Pulotgata: The Love Poems"
  • Essays:
    • "Solitude"
    • "X-Factor"
    • "Gaydar"
    • "Buhay Bading"
    • "Rampa: Mga Sanaysay"

Danton Remoto, as a poet, uses a lot of imagery in his works. Most of his works focus on the subject of romantic love. Though a gay literature writer, his works are very universal in nature, and it is still easy to relate to his works. This poem, entitled “Black Silk Pajamas” is one of the poems that can be found in the collection of the same name.

Black Silk Pajamas

By Danton Remoto

Those black silk pajamas

become you.

They began with worms

spinning filaments

from their lips,

then woven into cloth

by the most delicate

of hands.

Mirrors gleam


from the pajamas'

most secret


while I stand

before you,


at the sight

of so much pure

black water

rippling over your body

like a wave or a caress.

This poem talks about the black silk pajamas a person is wearing, and how the persona speaking in the poem is allured by how the pajamas ripple over the person. The persona talks first about how the pajamas, at first just woven filaments from worms, become something beautiful as it is worn by the person. Then, the persona speaks of astonishment over the beauty of the garment, like water flowing over skin. For this poem, the use of sensual words is very evident to convey images of beauty and attraction to the reader.

This next poem entitled “Water” comes from the book Skin Voices Faces.


(for B.)

By Danton Remoto

For you, my lover, I will be like water.

I will be [Loch] Lomond flowing

in loneliness from Ardlui to Arden.

I will be the Falls of Dochart hurling itself

down the hills of Breadalbane,

the rocks rumbling with my cascading force

I will be the rain, slanting

over Stirling in needles tiny as pores.

I will be snowflakes drifting

From the Orkney to the Isle of Skye,

falling in silent fury, as if focusing themselves

in the cold eye of memory.

For you, my lover, I will be like water.

This poem, meanwhile, is specifically addressed to someone, only mentioned by the initial B. The persona here compares himself with water. The persona will be like water for the lover. In this poem, all the names mentioned are actually names of famous bodies of water. The Loch Lomond, for example, is a famous body of water in Britain. The persona identifies himself with these bodies of water, both calm and powerful. The persona, then, must be speaking of the many faces of love. Sometimes, a person has to be calm and serene and sometimes a person has to be strong and powerful.


Note: An interview was completed, however, only the major points of his answers were taken down.


1. How many years have been teaching in the Ateneo de Manila College?

  • 22 years

2. Since when have you been writing professionally?

  • Professionally means your work got published and you got paid for it.
  • Since Jan. 19, 1980 (29 years)

3. What was your first work that was published?

  • An essay published in Focus Philippines’ Magazine in 1980.

4. How did you enter into a career in writing?

  • Business Major in college
  • Math grades were low
  • Loves reading lots of books, especially Philippine literature
  • Reading books helped me learn to express myself
  • Then I began reading and writing, starting with essays, poems, short stories
  • In high school, won 1st prize in national writing contest for high school students, winning work was a

writing in Filipino. 1st prize was a scholarship to a school of your choice, chose Ateneo, other scholarships include Full Bright, British Council, Asian Scholarship, Foundation scholarship

  • Studying abroad gave more time to read and write
  • Reading helped in writing, like main fuel when you write
  • As said by Dr. Abad, “Memory is the mother of all writing.”

5. What was your objective or intention in writing a series of gay literary works? What are the usual topics and themes of these works?

  • In 1990, when I came back to the Philippines, there was no gay literature.
  • Met Neil Garcia of UP. He began to publish Ladlad which we saw as a way to open up Phil. Literature to gay writing
  • Became best seller in Phil. Standards
  • Themes: different writers writing about gay life, Filipino translations

6. How and when do you specifically write?

  • Cold and quiet places

7. What is/are your main inspiration for most of your works?

  • There’s no such thing as inspiration
  • Only “DEADLINES” – most important word

8. What are the advantages and disadvantages you encounter as a writer of gay literature?

  • No disadvantage
  • Advantage: open minds of people toward gay life and equal rights, even
  • Made Ladlad congress partylistfamous for the 2010 elections

9.What emotions in your writing do you want your readers to produce?

  • Don’t really predict the emotions of the readers about my work
  • It is difficult, because every point and story has a different dimension
  • Expression is not the only reason, but more importantly, to communicate. Writing is to communicate.

10. Any major setbacks or dry spells in your career as a writer?

  • Not really. Find something that will stimulate you to write, such as reading books and poems, viewing sculptures, ballets, and other art forms.
  • If there’s a writer’s block, you blog, write on a journal
  • Based on personal experience
  • Must have craft – technique and language
  • Form the literary works

11.What is your opinion on the reception of the Filipino masses towards gay literature?

  • Very acceptive, good sales of books
  • Niche writing
  • Easy to understand
  • Even straight people buy my books

12.What do you think is the biggest challenge the next generation of writers will face in the coming years?

  • Competition in attention
  • Electronic media (blogs), allows everyone to be a writer

13. How much criticism do you receive for your work? How does this affect you as a writer?

  • They don’t affect me
  • Many are good comments

14. Has your career in being a writer been a big factor in your decision to run for senate? If yes, how did it affect your decision?

  • I’m invited to run for a party
  • Career in writing, like Obama, gives a clear mind and unique proposition

15. What are your future plans for your writing career?

  • Run for a senate position
  • Write more books
  • Have just publish “Rampa”, essays of Filipnos, Book of stories, anthology of love stories, anthology of

16. What message do you wish to impart upon your fellow writers?

  • Read a lot
  • Write a lot – practice
  • Continue writing no matter what, even if pays little

Reporters' Individual Reflections

(Ryan Camacho)

As I absorbed his replies to the questions Kage asked, I began to believe that Danton Remoto should be seen, nay celebrated exponentially more by the Filipinos. His works are excellent enough to provide a benchmark for all writers of this nation. His common subject, homosexuals and homosexuality, offers a fresh and daring concept that challenges the self-proclaimed open minds. His background also serves a source of inspiration, with how he has garnered a plethora of scholarships and awards, which began all stemmed from just one. In summary, I believe that Mr. Danton Remoto contributes by example. He is an icon that many people should look up to, whether a homosexual or not.

(Kage Ednalino)

I was a bit anxious in having an interview with Mr. Danton Remoto. During my research, I was impressed of his background and of his accomplishments. Those were outstanding credentials for a Filipino author. But his one trait that was the root of my anxiety was that he had to dwell on a sensitive theme for his literary works, which was homosexuality or the topic of being gay. Being a proud gay himself, it would be my first time to talk with a gay of his age and stature, and I frankly wouldn’t know how to conduct myself in front of him.

During the interview, I was actually able to learn so much, not only about his career in writing or about his works in gay literature, but about being a good writer. He talked about how he exposed himself to different types of literature, which he used to jumpstart on his literary works. He said that reading books was his fuel to write about various ideas. He was an idealist who values unique ideas about things tabooed by society, as shown in how he was proud of being gay and how he freely and shamelessly expresses and communicates it through his books. I might even say he was a revolutionary, because of his intention to promote and uplift the image and purpose of homosexuals, specifically the gay people, which was often tabooed in society. He even planed to run for senate this coming 2010 elections, and he was quite enthusiastic about it, inviting me to vote for him. His platform of education was based from his own experience, readings, and observations in society. Other than his topics about gayhood, love, and society, our conversation supported how he really understood being a writer because of the technicalities and techniques he mentioned. He was also a practical person even in writing, as oppose to the notion that writing must be always expressionistic, because he stroke a balance between expression and communication. He focused on being able to communicate his ideas through his literary works. In the interview, he said that there was no such thing as inspirations, but only deadlines. This may show how professional and practical of a writer he was. Obviously, a professional writer should always meet deadlines of publishers, and should not fall behind just because he doesn’t have any inspirations. Finally, he had a fairly friendly and colorful personality even though he was in a hurry since he still had a meeting to attend to afterwards. I had this notion that gays were “mataray”, but actually, he’s not. He’s quite entertaining to talk to, and anyone would not get bored when talking with him. Intellectual and veteran, he’s an unusual author with exceptional talent and skill to convince and move people with his beliefs and personality. In the end, I was not intimidated anymore by his gay personality.

(Jed Barcelon)

First of all, I would like to point out that Prof. Danton Remoto is a prolific writer. His contribution to Philippine literature is one to be proud of and his achievements are what few writers have accomplished, especially at a young age. It is also interesting to note that he encourages reading most importantly to aspiring writers and that he views reading as a great stimulus for writing. Finally, even as gay literature is only new to the Filipino audience, he never stops writing and he doesn’t see any disadvantages to his craft, least his fear of his works not being accepted. He even mentioned in the interview how he is very thankful of the positive reception of his works by the Filipino audience. As a writer, he is a great example to emulate for his unwavering dedication to his craft. Even if writing doesn’t give much pay, as he also said, he encourages young writers to continue with putting their ideas on paper. For such a person, he sees writing more than just a career but rather a vocation.

Antonio Acyatan

  1. Report By
    1. Francis Pinon
    2. Karl Garcia
    3. Kevin Gavieta

Background and Works

Birthplace: Paete, Laguna

Family Background:

Father – Bernabe Acyatan

Mother – Crisanta Pacalda

Siblings – Marcelino, Piedra, Linda, Eugenio, Miguel

He came from an impoverished family in Paete, Laguna. His father worked as a wood carver while his mother worked as a laundry woman. He was the fourth child in the family and he had five other siblings. They lived in a small house which had curtains as its partitions. Their parents received only a small amount of money from their profession and he had siblings who also had to be considered in the family expenses thus, they were really poor. In fact, he was only able to study because he was given a scholarship. Due to their situation too, he didn’t have allowance for school but since he was resourceful, he was able to resolve this problem. Everyday, before school, he wakes at 4 AM to sell pandesal and the money he earns from this becomes his allowance for the day. To further prove his resourcefulness, in the afternoon, right after class, what he would do was tutor a classmate of his. The tutoring would last until night time so, he would often get a free dinner from that classmate of his and this sort of becomes the fee for his tutoring. It would be late in the night when he arrives home from tutoring but he can’t rest just yet after a long day since he still has to study. Don’t forget that he was a student so, he also had lessons to study. Thus, he usually slept late at night and the following day he had to rise early.

Above is a brief account of how his family was and how he had coped with his family’s situation in his early years. His life was harsh at an early age but it doesn’t stop here since he will still face a lot of other challenges in his life as he grows up. Educational Background:.

1) University of Nueva Caseres – Commerce

2) Luzonian University – Law

3) Ateneo Graduate School – MBA Business Administration

Works: used to write daily columns in The Business Daily 1998

Interview Transcript

1. Was there any situation in your childhood which led you to become a writer?

I first became a writer when I was in college, for the Philippine Free Press.

2. What are your credentials in the fields of banking and writing?

Former Senior Bank Executive – Philippine National and Planters Bank

Former President – PIPAC

Former President – Philippine Institute of CPA

3. What is the reason you decided to write about the Philippine Banking System?

It was my job, first and foremost. Also, banking and finance is what I am knowledgeable about as it is what I studied for. I wanted

to write for the sake of showing people how diverse banking can really be.

4. Are there any unique qualities in the way you write?

I write conventionally. Mostly my articles are about technical information on banking. I try to write as straightforwardly as

possible, no flashy words or anything.

5. How did your experience in banking help you write articles?

Well, obviously, I wrote using my knowledge of banking. I wrote these articles based on my experiences.

6. What process do you follow in writing articles?

None. I just right what I feel I need to right based on what I want to tackle in my articles.

7. What is the difference between the past and present Philippine Financial System?

Nowadays, it is much more complex. Before, it was simply either you pay in cash or check. Now, you have credit cards, online

payment, and much more. Technology has made advancements in the field of finance. Before, it could take a month to complete a

transaction. Now, it’s just a few seconds long. Definitely, today’s system is much more complex, but more convenient for its users.

8. What has been the trend of our finances?

Well, it has been on a downward trend. Right now, we are in a global recession. In fact, the Philippines has been in a recession in

a long time already because of the government’s debts and its inability to pay for it.

9. What are the causes/factors that led to this trend?

It’s simply debt and corruption. The government has too much debt in the world banks, and it can never earn enough to pay off these

debts. Thus, the debts just get bigger.

10. What are the positive and negative effects of these trends?

The negative is that the Philippines is getting poorer. The positive is that more and more people are becoming aware of this and

are thus finding ways to fix this trend.

11. What can we do in order to improve our current system?

First, we have to remove the problem. The main problem of our system is corruption and dishonesty. If only we can all be honest in

our work, then our financial system will be all the better for it.

12. How do you affect society with your work?

I think I inform the society about these trends of the finance. My readers are those who are bankers and finance people, so I think

I can share with them my knowledge about banking. Through this, I think people listen to me as well.

13. Would you want students like us to follow in your example?

Yes, why not? Of course it all depends on what you want. If you really want banking and finance, I’d encourage it. We need as many

young, good people we can get in this field of work.

14. Do you have any future projects?

Yes, I plan to write books on credit and collection.

15. Do you plan into venturing into other fields?

Not right now, no.


Personal Reflection – Karl Garcia

Antonio P. Acyatan has held many positions in his life. A former president of PIPAC, a high official in what used to be Philippine

National Bank and Philippine Planters’ Bank, his service to the financial aspect of our country has been great. Being in his

position before required great determination to succeed and a great conscience not to abuse the power he had. In fact, everything

he did, whether write articles or be a banker or an accountant, he did for the sake of the country. He has given to this country

what not many people have: honesty and patriotism.

Personal Reflection – Francis Pinon

Though he may not be the most attractive writer in the world, though you may not understand the technicalities of his work, Antonio

P. Acyatan is an inspiration through his works. His articles on banking and credit have given those who read it a whole new

perspective on the financial systems of our country. Even more wonderful is the fact that these articles are mixed with Acyatan’s

own brand of nationalism and morality. He writes his articles not just to show his readers the technicalities of banking but also

how we could improve our country’s financial systems for the country’s sake. Also, he doesn’t focus on simply profit, but the most

moral and ethical way to do banking and credit. He has contributed so much to society in this aspect, and I hope he continues to

inspire the bankers of our country.

Personal Reflection - Kevin Gavieta

Ever since I was young, I have always looked up to my grandfather. A lot of other people too admire him. Though he is my

grandfather, I always feel a sense of awe when I look at him. Whenever I would see him, I just couldn’t believe that he lived such

an arduous life. Even as a child, he had already faced the harsh realities of life. Life was just too hard on him that it didn’t

even allow him to relish his youth. As early as seven years old, he had to sell bread just so that he can study. He came from an

impoverished family but, look at all his accomplishments and achievments now. The tough conditions he used to live in didn’t weigh

him down. In fact, it motivated him to persevere and it all paid off in the end. Now, he lives a comfortable life, a far different

life from what he used to have. However, inspite of all of these things he has attained in his life, what makes him all the more

admirable, is his humility. Everytime I would see him, he would be wearing simple clothes. He lives in a small house though, he can

afford a much bigger house. Then, at times when our family would eat out, he would choose cheap restaurants. None of us would even

bother to order drinks since my grandfather prefers to simply have water. Besides being humble, he is also one thrifty man.

Sometimes his frugality annoys me. However, I finally found out the reason why he is all frugal and thrifty during the interview.

He doesn’t want any of us to go through what he had experienced. He wants to save all his money so that, his family members will be

assured of a comfortable life when he is gone. It is so sad to think that he will be gone soon but, it is a reality of life. He

knows this and it is touching to know that he cares this much for his family. That is why, I have to say that I am thankful for

this opportunity to have been able to interview him because I understood him more. I realized how much he actually cares for us.


Insights – Francis Pinon

When I met him, I immediately saw an intellectual man with a strong will and determination. The way he brings himself is quite

impressive. Also, he’s a perfectionist. He always thinks you can do better, and that’s a positive thing. In fact, when he saw our

interview question homework only got an 8/10, he scolded us and said we should’ve aimed for a 10. He’s that kind of man. He may not

be the most inspiring speaker for the sole fact that he’s old, but he shared so much knowledge to us. Here is a man who has met

corruption in his line of work, laughed at it, and tried to fight it. He loves his country and though his field of business is

finance, he never gave in to temptation and stayed honest unlike many of his peers, and for that fortitude I admire him.

Insights – Karl Garcia

For me, Antonio Acyatan is a man of determination, patriotism, and honesty. Like mentioned above, he has given rare things to

society. He is an inspiration. Yes, though people will not appreciate what he writes because his writing is only for a part of

society, these people can get so much from what he can share. He inspires honesty in a usually dishonest field of work. He inspires

morality and patriotism in what is usually a profit-centered type of work. He gives a social dimension to banking, and that’s why

he’s an inspiration.

Lourd De Veyra

  1. Report by
    1. Carlos Jesena
    2. Enrique Santamaria
    3. Lorenzo Tiongson

History and Background

Lourd De Veyra was born in Febuary 11, 1975. He graduated from the University of Santo Tomas in 1995, finishing college with a degree in AB Journalism. Currently, Lourd teaches literature in the University of the Philippines, and is also a member of the U.P. Free Press. Also, he is the vocalist of Radioactive Sago Project, weaving his smooth spoken word verses into jazzy, groovy rhythms. Throughout his career, Lourd’s works in poetry and prose have earned him several Carlos Palanca Awards (he’s a 5-time winner of this award), Arts Writers Prizes, and Free Press Literary Awards. Among his award winning works are “The Rite of Strings”, and essay that won 3rd prize in the 1999 Palanca awards, “Videoke Blues”, another essay that won 2nd prize in the 2004 Palanca awards, and “Mondomanila”, a novel that earned him the grand prize in the 2002 Palanca awards.


Works of Lourd De Veyra

The complete list of Lourd De Veyra’s works is much too long to be completely encompassed here, but these are a few of his better known works:

Videoke Blues –essay; 2004 2nd place palanca award winner The Rite of Strings – essay, 1999 3rd place palanca award winner Subterraninan Thought Parades; poetry collection Shadowboxing in headphones; poetry collection

Excerpts from ome of the more well known Radioactive Sago Project songs:

“Gusto Ko ng Baboy”

“'lam n'yo, maraming klaseng baboy sa mundo. May baboy na maliit, may baboy na medium-size, May baboy na extra large, pero kahit anong gawin Nila, baboy pa rin sila. Pare-pareho lang mga baboy na yan. Kahit anong sukat.. may baboy na dilaw, may Baboy na asul, may baboy na pula, may baboy na Puti, may baboy na pink, may baboy na green, May baboy na violet, may baboy na orange, pero Kahit anong kulay mga yan, baboy pa rin ang mga Yan! May baboy na matalino, may baboy na bobo, may Baboy na macho. May baboy na seksi, may baboy na bakla, may Baboy na mahirap, may baboy na mayaman. Mas baboy ka pag mayaman ka. may baboy na Businessman, maybaboy na musikero, may baboy Na makata, may baboy na basketball player, may Baboy na baranggay tanod, may baboy na Konsehal, may baboy na mayor, may baboy na Congressman, may baboy na pulis, may baboy na Teacher na nagtuturo ng kung anu-anong klaseng Kababuyan. Kaya wala na tayong magagawa, wala na tayong Magagawa. Napapaligiran tayong lahat ng baboy! Teka, pag-isipan natin 'to! Baka, ako baboy, siya, baboy. Ikaw, baboy. 'yun, baboy. 'di kaya... baboy tayong lahat!”

This song starts off as a comedic tune about one man’s fascination with pigs. He tells his wife about them, sparking fights and even tells his mother about his intent to even bring a pig to school. The song then moves on to become a political commentary. Live, Lourd often changes many lyrics in the middle of this last verse to things like “May baboy na Kalihim ng Agrikulutra” or “May baboy na First Gentleman” or whatever is apt to the current events during the time of the gig. And a signature move of his is to add to the end of this verse his immortal anti-government statement “May baboy din na Presidente na may nunal… Pero inisip ko… HINDI nga baboy tawag dun. Tawag dun ay… BIIK.”


“Para sa tunay na lalakeng lumilipad at lumulutang Para sa tunay na lalakeng nagsi-swimming sa kalawakan Para sa tunay na lalakeng kumakanta at niroromansa ang buwan Para sa tunay na lalakeng kumakain ng buwan”

Astro is about a brand of cigarettes called “Astro”. It talks about the TV and radio ad campaign of this product and how it associates smoking to masculinity. To further drive that point, it alludes to famous male figures such as Superman (Para sa tunay na lalakeng lumilipad at lumulutang), Aquaman (Para sa tunay na lalakeng nagsi-swimming sa kalawakan) and Cyrano De Bergerac (Para sa tunay na lalakeng kumakanta at niroromansa ang buwan). It then escalates to show a metaphoric message of how we resort to vices such as smoking to forget the ills of life.


Q: Today, what political ideology/philosophy do lean towards or believe in? A: Nothing complicated. Its just no man should oppress other human beings. Q: When you took up the pen, did you originally intend to add political statements to your work, or did the political message come after? A: Not really. It was not really conscious. Q: How do these beliefs come out in your work? Do you write works favoring them, or do you satirize/parody other political philosophies you are opposed to? A: I just present things as they are. And form then on, let the listener, reader or the audience form their own conclusion out of it. Q: Have you ever tailored your writings or left out some of your inner sentiments in an attempt to make your writing more "accessible" or "reader friendly"? A: Depends, because there are some pieces that are meant for a mainstream audience. And from there on everything you should do should be hinged in the framework of that particular audience. There are some pieces that are not meant for the mainstream audience and you should work within those parameters. Q: Why or why not and how? A: Some of them are like magazine columns. Obviously that is intended for a wider audience. There are some pieces that are serious poetry or serious academic discourse. Hence that is not meant for the ordinary reader. it demands a reader of a specific kind of orientation and worldview. Q: Have you ever been called out for the politically-charged lyrics you write for the Radioactive Sago Project or for the anti-government columns that you write? A: I’m not really sure. I’m guessing that nobody gives a f***ing damn anymore. Q: Do you think that so far, your writings have really had any effect at all on your audience? Why or why not? A: I don’t think so…They still like emo. Q: What exactly is the message that you hope to convey to the Filipino people through your writings? A: I’m not really sure. Because half of the time we’re not really serious about what we say. So I can’t really say what my exact message is. Q: How do you believe you can change the status quo through your work? A: I don’t think we can change anything that we have now. When was the last time a song ever toppled a corrupt government? When was the last time a film actually changed anything with the world. The moment you have answers to those questions, get back to me.

Reporters' Individual Reflection

Carlos Jesena

Knowing Lourd, I can say that he is definitely one of the most intelligent and gifted people that I know. He is a political activist and is more socially aware than any person that I know. He is also a brilliant writer blessed with sarcasm that can fry fish. In spite of his gifts, numerous awards and gigs and the fact that he has won 4 palanca awards (and he’s only about 29 years old), it is obvious that he does not have a slightest bit of an air or carry any trace of hubris. We can see that Lourd is a man with artistic integrity but unlike many artists and writers like him, knows when to draw the line when it comes to making your work accessible.

Enrique Santamaria

Upon interviewing Lourd De Veyra, I learned the strength and willpower one must have when being a writer, especially in a poverty-ridden place like the Philippines. Indeed, Lourd talked about how no one in the Philippines seemed to care anymore about the things he wrote about. When we asked him what he thought he could do to change the status quo, his answer rather surprised me- nothing. According to him, there was nothing he could really do to change the current situation. When he asked him why he thought that, he answered us with another question: “When has a song ever changed the world? When has a movie ever toppled a corrupt government?” This was a question to which I have honestly no answer to. While I admit I am still searching for an answer to that question, I then pondered on how, despite the fact that he thought no one was listening, he still continued to focus on his craft. I admire the fact that in the face of hopelessness, he still continued to do what he thought was right. I came to the realization that being an artist, especially a writer, is truly a noble profession to take up. In our country today, many artists (musicians and actors, especially) find themselves throwing away their integrity, pandering to the desires of the masses, giving them what they want all for the sake of a steady income. Writers, however, don’t have that chance to cater to the public and get rich quickly. It’s not as easily done for an artist, whose primary medium is a pen and paper (or perhaps a computer keyboard, in this day and age), because reading a book is not as instantly gratifying as watching a trite soap opera or listening to a hackneyed pop song with a clichéd but still popular melody. Indeed, being a writer, in my opinion, is much harder and nobler than being any other kind of artist whose medium is so easily consumed by the public. As a writer, Lourd said that his goal was to simply present the facts as he saw them in the best possible way. Again, I connected this with what he said about nobody “giving a damn” about what he had to say. Again, I saw how much will and integrity it took to be a real writer, one true to himself as well as to the rest of the world. Despite the fact that his audience is seemingly apathetic and/or ignorant about his more serious work (e.g. his more politically-charged writings in Radioactive Sago Project), he still persists, writing about his insights and commentaries about the problems he sees in our world today- a true display of integrity and sacrifice. I took home a lot from our short and somewhat impromptu interview with Lourd De Veyra. I initially thought him to hold lofty and optimistic outlooks on life, but was surprised at how down-to-earth and ‘bullshit-free’ his insights were. I learned also to really appreciate the Filipino Writer, for all the pain and hope and joy in struggling to remain true. In fact, now I want write…

Lorenzo Tiongson

I could say that I learned a lot from our SOFA project. I learned that through time, people have gone numb and callous about the problem we’re facing in the country. Some have become hopeless that they have any capacity to change the status quo. I felt really inspired actually. The thing came to me in some sort of a reverse psychology way. I felt like doing better in what I do, so that one day, when I get what I wanted, I will go back to him and say, “Look dude, your song just toppled a corrupt government.”

I gave it a second thought. I said to myself, “It’s an ordinary kid’s dream to change things for the better. It’s also a kid’s dream to disprove what adults have said. Maybe maturing and just accepting the fact that we’re helpless is better than to try and just get frustrated. If we could deal with our own problems and just let the others be, I think we could still live a happy life.”

Then I gave it another. If I end my reflection on a negative note, it might not match the others’ reflections. Well, I guess it’s really up to us if we’re going to make a difference. At the end of the day, all of us have the capacity to do anything we want. As the saying goes, “If there is a will, there is a way.”