Sunday, June 3, 2012

on the queen's diamond jubilee

by jose claudio b. guerrero
the philippines commissioned british artist damien hirst to make a diamond encrusted bee to be presented to the queen of england as our country's gift commemorating 60 years of the queen's reign and 114 years of philippine independence. sources say that no government funds were used to pay for the extravagant gift. a large private corporation is reportedly footing the bill in exchange for publicity during the queen's jubilee celebration. the gift, which will become part of the crown jewels, is called "diamond jollibee." cheka.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rodolfo Tamayo Jr., PhD., 45

Family and friends mourn the sudden passing of Dr. Rodolfo "Nonoy" Tamayo Jr. of the National Institute of Geological Sciences at the University of the Philippines Diliman. He was 45 years old. His remains lie in state at Chapel 5 of The Loyola Memorial Chapels and Crematorium on Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City from September 13 to 16, 2011. Cremation will be on September 17 at 10 o'clock in the morning.

Memorial services will be held nightly at 8:00 p.m. The September 14 memorial is organized by Nonoy's friends from the arts. September 15 is by Nonoy's friends from the sciences. And September 16 is by Nonoy's family.

Everyone is requested to pray for the repose of his soul. Contributions may be sent to Bank of the Philippine Islands - Congressional account name Ma. Cecilia Tamayo and account number 2816029103.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

february is only feb-roo-wa-ree and feb-yoo-wa-ree

february is national arts month in the philippines. and our government is celebrating it by holding the philippine international arts festival, a month-long flurry of activities all over the archipelago.

because national arts month is happening this february, and because january is about to end, and because i just heard actor jericho rosales mispronounce the word 'february,' i figured it's about time that we have a review. this way, we don't end up like mr. rosales and the many people out there who mispronounce 'february' with gleeful abandon.

so here it is. you have two options in pronouncing 'february.' the standard way is feb-roo-wa-ree. the only acceptable variant drops the r, a phenomenon ascribed to haplology (according to, a sound change involving the loss of a syllable when it is next to a phonetically identical syllable), feb-yoo-wa-ree. it is not, as mr. rosales pronounced it, feb-yaree. it's also not feb-ya-ree, feb-ra-ree, or feb-raree. and never feb-waree nor feb-wa-ree.

so next week, when you start telling your friends that february is national arts month, you have two options: feb-roo-wa-ree and feb-yoo-wa-ree. no need to do a jericho rosales.

current reading

anne fadiman's ex libris: confessions of a common reader. it's a collection of essays that every book lover (be they courtly or carnal lovers) must read. i'm having so much fun reading it, i want to lick the book. i guess i'm a carnal book lover as fadiman puts it.

my letter of support for dean rolando tolentino's bid for up diliman chancellor

Dear Honorable Members of the University of the Philippines Board of Regents,

It is my honor to support College of Mass Communications Dean Rolando B. Tolentino's bid to become Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Diliman. Dr. Tolentino possesses the requisite intelligence, management skills, and vision rooted in a profound appreciation of Filipino culture and expressed with flair that is uniquely UP.

As a former faculty member of the Department of English and Comparative Literature of the College of Arts and Letters and former Deputy Director of the UP Press and the UP Institute of Creative Writing, I have known and worked with Dr. Tolentino in various capacities for several years now. And as a reader of literature, a creative writer, and a person who takes interest in our cultural heritage, I have known Dr. Tolentino’s works for even longer.

His track record as a writer, a cultural worker, and a critic is impeccable and worth emulating. The staggering amount of books he has written and the quality of scholarship and artistry in them attest to Dr. Tolentino’s genius. His participation in various undertakings local and international is proof of his dynamism and the respect he commands in these circles. And his unwavering stand to serve the country and fight for social justice reveals how well he embodies the ideals of our university.

There is no doubt in my mind that Dr. Tolentino is the best choice for UP Diliman Chancellor. In our continued struggle to improve the state of our nation and develop the Filipino mind, our finest oblation to the Philippines to date is the selection of Dr. Tolentino as UP Diliman Chancellor.

Very truly yours,


Wednesday, July 28, 2010


so the past few weeks have been particularly rough on the junior faculty members of the department. and my personal budget's a mess because of all the unexpected costs incurred trying to meet the many demands of the department's activities. and i've been ill due to all the physical and emotional stress. and we are all still waiting to be properly acknowledged for all the work we've done. and i've been asking myself if i really want to stay in a community that sees us more as pledges than colleagues. and i've been wondering if this is the life i want for myself. and then this morning, out of nowhere, a message appears in my facebook account. and this is how it goes.

Dear Sir Butch,

Do you remember back in '07, you told me that I should write more? (I took your Flash Fiction CW10 class). I just wanted to say that it took a couple of years before I could really take it seriously (being busy with the Engineering studies) and but I've always wanted to continue writing during my free time. So I made it so it would be manageable (well, at least, as best as I could).

I've attached a link to my online journal here. I hope you could check it out and give your own input so that I can develop further. I may have forgotten some of the lessons in writing fiction (you'll notice) -- but I find I've started to lean towards gonzo journalism lately anyway.

Just wanted to drop in and thank you for the experience in Creative Writing. It was so worth it :D How's the Press doing? Hope you are well!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

50th UP National Writers Workshop Call for Applications

LIKHAAN: The University of the Philippines Institute of Creative Writing (UP ICW) is now accepting applications for the 50th UP National Writers Workshop to be held in Baguio City in April 2011.

The director of the 2011 workshop is Likhaan Fellow Jun Cruz Reyes. The Advisers, Fellows, and Associates of the UP ICW comprise the workshop panel. These are Gemino Abad, UP ICW Director Jose Y. Dalisay Jr., Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, J. Neil Garcia, Charlson Ong, Conchitina Cruz, National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario, Victor Emmanuel Carmelo Nadera Jr., Rolando Tolentino, Mario Miclat, and Romulo Baquiran Jr.

The following are the submission guidelines:

QUALIFICATIONS – To qualify, applicants: (1) must be writers in English or Filipino; (2) must have attended at least one creative writing workshop (national/regional, including the UP National Writers Workshops), or earned a degree in Creative Writing/Malikhaing Pagsulat, or won at least one national/international literary award; (3) must have published at least three poems or two short stories or two pieces of creative nonfiction in reputable collections or anthologies, journals, magazines (including campus publications), or refereed Internet web magazines, or have had a play staged. Writers who have been fellows at any of the UP National Writers Workshops are eligible. Some of these qualifications may be waived in exceptionally meritorious cases, with the unanimous concurrence of the UP ICW Fellows, Associates, and Advisers.
REQUIREMENTS – Applicants must submit (1) five copies plus digital file (12 points, double-spaced, 8 x 11) of one original unpublished manuscript (short story, poem, creative nonfiction, or play) to be discussed during the workshop – this manuscript should not have been submitted to any other workshop, and should be part of a larger work in progress; (2) five copies plus digital file (12 points, double-spaced, 8 x 11) of an essay on "What I write, how, and why?" in relation to the work in progress. This essay will be the basis for a 20-minute presentation that the fellow is expected to do during the workshop; (3) photocopies of the applicant’s published work, including publication details; and (4) application form (available at the UP ICW office in UP Diliman and on the ICW-maintained website

Only writers who go through the complete application process will be considered for fellowship.

Fellows must be present for the full duration of the weeklong workshop.

All fellows are entitled to a modest stipend, free hotel accommodation, and free transportation from UP Diliman to Baguio City and back.

The deadline for submission is October 30, 2010.

The U.P. National Writers Workshop was reformatted five years ago to address a dearth in the mentoring of writers in mid-career. What before was a workshop that honed emerging talent mostly from the nation’s universities and colleges, the new workshop now focuses on writers who have already published, or are on the verge of publishing, a book or have won major literary awards. In effect, the new format caters to writers who have moved up from the beginner level.

The UP ICW is the only institution that offers a workshop of this caliber in the country. The function for beginner writers that the UP ICW vacated for the new workshop format is filled by the workshops held by other writing centers from the other universities in the country.

Aside from subjecting works in progress to workshops with the most admired names in Philippine contemporary literature, the UP National Writers Workshop provides a venue for discussion of the participants’ respective writing processes. It also allows participants to interact with local writers through special activities organized by the UP ICW and Baguio-based groups. And as an outreach activity, the UP ICW has partnered with the University of the Philippines Baguio to hold an annual public lecture by an eminent writer. The lecture coincides with the workshop and is held in universities and colleges in and around Baguio City.

For inquiries, call 922-1830 and ask for Butch Guerrero.