But anyway, after the caveats and disclaimers, let me just barge on and say I had a
After the fellows sang "Stand by me" one of them said, "Mabuti na lang,
marunong kaming magsulat!" meaning that their writing is better than
their singing. I agree. Oh, except for Margie, who has a very good singing voice as well as superb writing talent. Yesterday morning, Ma'am Rowena called her a virtuoso, for her consistently exquisite fiction. And another panelist said Margie's work has made his coming all the way to Dumaguete worthwhile. Marguerite de Leon, a name to watch in Philippine literature!
Now back to the program. Emcees were Boy Abunda (Igor) and Cherry Pie Pecache/Aiai de las Alas (Liza). Special mention was made about Tokwa, who is in his early twenties yet and already is a Palanca awardee! Everybody got suya so they decided to become awardees too, even if they gave the awards themselves. So the Katsubong Awards was born, katsubong being a local herb rumoured to be hallucinogenic.
All the fellows and panelists got awards but I can't recall all of them right now. I remember Lambert's award, of course. He got the "Swapang sa genre award" as he submitted entries in all categories (poetry, short story, creative non-fiction). Panelist Susan Lara got the "ang ganda ng lola mo pahiram ng earrings" award. Margie got the "stiff neck award" because that was her pose in most of her pictures. Sir Sawi got the "chick-boy basang sisiw hairstyle" award. And for Mom Edith the "pahiram ng national artist award" award. The awards of the panelists who were not present were received by their "representatives," fellows who impersonated them! For example, Sir Butch Dalisay (impersonated by Arlene) got the "binagyo sa Manila/Cebu/Tagbilaran award."
Then they had a drama presentation called "How we coped with the panelists' butchering of our work." Lambert played the generic panelist while the other fellows acted out their own coping strategies which ranged from distractions, i'm-on-vacation-actually, anyway-i-have-other-skills, oh-you-got-the-wrong-manuscript-po, to i'm-gonna-kill-you.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of "the fellows give back to Dumaguete" token. The fellows came up with a PUBLICATION, every writer's dream, a booklet, a compilation of their works, about Dumaguete, written in Dumaguete during the first two weeks of their stay here. Sea[sic] is the name of their secret project. They said this is their way of showing their gratitude to the panelists, to the city of Dumaguete and to their sponsors, the NCCA and the SU English Department.
After that it was the panelists' turn to speak. They said their final pabaon messages to the fellows AND read more poetry. As can be imagined, it was a treat listening to all these people, panelists and fellows alike. All their words were so carefully chosen.
There were a few irksome moments, though, as during the poetry reading, some people from the other tables (by the way, the venue for the graduation dinner and program was at the Hayahay Restobar, which was fully packed that evening) were talking and laughing in loud voices. Obviously, they did not care to listen to the poems. Oh, well, to each his own. (sorry, cliché!) They probably thought mga weird man na sila, uy. Reading poetry? As for me, I was perfectly happy to be in the company of the “weird people.”