Saturday 2 December 2017

Flying to the Philippines

I was quite anxious flying back to the Philippines for my AIDF programme. It was my first time flying alone and I'm not too keen on planes, to be honest! Also, I have always relied on my partner to ensure everything is okay for the departure and this journey really tested and honed my organisation skills!

The flight itself was extremely tiring. I had to take 2 planes: 1st was from Birmingham to Dubai (+3 hours waiting) and then from Dubai to Birmingham.

I drafted my first poem on this travel whilst I was waiting for my Dubai-Manila flight. Later on, my mentor, Marjorie Evasco looked at this poem and thought this could be my Ars Vita poem (though it still needs a lot of work!)

I reached Manila at around 4pm, local time, where I was picked up by my cousin. Even though we haven't seen each other for years, she still cares about me and wanted to ensure that I could get to my hotel safely. I guess it's in the Filipino culture to always treasure that invisible 'connection' with your relatives. I guess she really cared about me and getting her pasalubong (gifts from abroad). LOL.

Now it's time to write some foody poems. Here's the first breakfast I had since landing on the PH

Saturday 14 October 2017

Creative Future Literary Awards

I am very happy to announce that I have been given Platinum Award by Creative Futures Literary Awards for my poetry, Way Back Home. CFLA is the only national competition for under-represented and marginalised writers in the UK.

I still cannot believe that I was given the highest award and some wonderful prizes.

This made me want to write more and hone my skills on poetry.

Before the awarding, I was talking to my writer friend, Lerah Barcenilla, and mentioned that last year, I only got Commended, and this year would be my last attempt no matter what level of award I received.

As judge, Kit de Waal read out the winners, I started feeling nervous for some reason. For a moment, I held Lerah to show her how clammy my hand had become. Kit de Waal read out a different name for Commended, and I thanked God straightaway, thinking 'At least I'm highly-commended'. And when Kit de Waal mentioned another name for highly commended, I almost jumped up in joy as I thought I got Bronze. To my utter surprise, she called out different names for Bronze, Silver, and Gold to the point that I thought, there's no way I could've got Platinum! They must've missed my name at some point, I'm sure they'd call out a different name for Platinum! But of course, they called me up to the stage where I received my Platinum Award. I am so grateful to the whole CFLA team and to Dominique De-light for this honour.

Receiving my Platinum Award for Poetry from writer, Kit de Waal

At the Showcase event where I read 'Way Back Home'. 

Interview after the win

Of course, I wouldn't be able to receive this award if not for the people who helped me improve as a writer, and I cannot wait to continue this journey with all the things they taught me.

Saturday 23 September 2017

Two books I've been reading this week

I haven't posted anything else apart from promoting my debut pamphlet and I thought I should definitely give an update on other 'literary'-related things. So I'd like to share what I'm currently reading. I'm not really a 'fast' reader, I cannot devour a book (or even a pamphlet) in one sitting. Truthfully (and this may sound weird) I'd like to be connected longer with a book, to really savour my 'relationship' with it, and revel on its ideas/words/stories/facts. These are 2 books that I'm currently reading:
Image result for do no harm
Marsh's Do No Harm is an award-winning book that shows how it's like to be a surgeon who operates on people's brain. I love Marsh's revelation of his unique experience as a surgeon, the drama behind each patient and the complexities of a surgical case. As someone who works in a medical field, I can really relate to this. I love that part where Marsh was in a supermarket queue and was on the verge of asking people in front of him: And what did YOU do today? (paraphrase)That sense of self-importance that soon disappered as he realised that he was only as important as the lives of the people on whom he operated (paraphrase). I guess that at one point or another, I did feel that way too - I did think that just because I helped/resuscitated/took care/healed people, I must be so valuable. Nope. That's not really the case in real life.
Mama Amazonica (Paperback)

My mentor's book, Mama Amazonica, of course! I do not need to elaborate how great this book is and the fact that Pascale is a living legend. Pascale Petit is my mentor for Jerwood/Arvon, but for me not to be 'biased', I'll let this review tell you how good Mama Amazonica truly is. Also, Mama Amazonica is the Poetry Book Society's Autumn Choice! My favourite poems in the collection so far: Mama Amazonica, Jaguar Girl, Black Caiman with Butterflies, and more.


Friday 8 September 2017

A poem from Rice & Rain

It's been a month since Rice & Rain came out. Thank you to those who supported it so far! ❤

"Last Offices" is inspired from my experience of washing a dead body for the first time when I was a student nurse. I must've been 19 back then ❤

You can order your copy of Rice & Rain here

Monday 14 August 2017

Poetry Readings

Hi everyone! I'm inviting all of you to one (or more) of my upcoming poetry readings. I'll be reading from my pamphlet, Rice & Rain. Hope to see you there!

Sunday 23 July 2017

Rice & Rain poetry pamphlet

Only two weeks to go before my debut poetry pamphlet is officially out from V. Press.
But I'll let you take a peek at how it looks like (on the outside)


So, what is Rice & Rain about? It is a snippet of my journey and identity. It's about distant homelands, culture, and human connections. However, if you really want to find out more about it, I feel that my endorsers, Jane Commane and Jane Seabourne describe it best. Read their comments HERE
I'm thankful to Ruth Stacey for its beautiful cover. Sarah, my editor, asked me if I had an idea of what kind of design cover I'd like. I wanted something to do with "stalks of rice" and Ruth really captured this idea. Looking at it now, this reminds me of the Filipino proverb my mum used to tell me:
"Parisan ang palay, habang nagkakalaman ay lalong nagpupugay"
It translates to something like: Be like a rice stalk, the more grains it bears, the lower it bows.
I will forever be humble and grateful to everyone who helped me reached this point of my career as a poet.
 ****Thank you, everyone + to the lovely people in my Acknowledgement***
Oh, and the best thing is you can now pre-order your copy HERE. Please do, it will be worth it :)

a poster of Philippine rice terraces as a background :-)

Monday 12 June 2017

My forthcoming pamphlet has a title

After some time working with my publisher, and many brain storming, my debut poetry pamphlet forthcoming from V. Press has now got a title.

When I entered it to their poetry pamphlet competition in 2016, I didn't have a single clue what I would call it; some of my writer friends gave me tips on thinking of a title i.e. to find  a word I used in the  pamphlet which sums up the theme, or a memorable phrase/sentence in one of my poems. Initially I picked a word from my pamphlet which I felt also summed up the metaphorical theme of my pamphlet.. but later on, both my editor and I thought the title was not strong enough. So, another word was picked and those two words are joined  with "&". In the end, we went  for "Rice & Rain".

With this title, can you guess what the incorporating themes of my poetry pamphlet are?


Flying to the Philippines

I was quite anxious flying back to the Philippines for my AIDF programme. It was my first time flying alone and I'm not too keen on plan...