Hope, or What I Hope for Young Bikolano Writers

The list enumerating the finalists of the 2012 Premio Tomas Arejola Para sa Literaturang Bikolnon* (PTALB) has just been released early this week. It’s quite a pleasant surprise to realize that the shortlist is, in fact, longer than the previous one.

Here’s a summary of finalists in 2009**:

Essay: 3
Poetry: 11
Short Story: 4
One-act play: 1
Children’s Story: 2

For this year (2012), we have:

Essay: 4
Short Story: 9
Poetry:  9
One-act play: 3
Children’s Story: 3
Children’s play: 2

See the difference?

I believe that this indicates growth, that Bikol literature will once again experience another golden age where the young ones will rise and continue our local literary legacy. There is still hope in keeping the flame alive. Speaking of hope, here’s my short Hope List:

  1. I hope more Bikolanos will realize that they are capable of writing amazing prose and poetry.
  2. I hope they find that inner confidence, desire, and need to share one’s voice.
  3. I hope they realize that anyone can write, regardless of background, course, issue, gender, belief, and whatnot. Fact: one of the finalists for this year is an Accountancy student.
  4. I hope we could all just stop whining and start writing.
  5. I hope we could write what we speak. Don’t tell. Just write. Write.
  6. I hope we could lessen our habit of tweeting or uploading stat messages and start writing. Time to stop posting those clichéd emo shit, bad pick-up lines, and other internet trash.
  7. I hope we could convince our young Bikolanos that writing in Bikol is not baduy, corny, or outdated.
  8. I hope we could publish more books written by Bikolanos (and/or written using the Bikol language).
  9. I also hope that we could republish Bikolnon books that are out of print.
  10. I hope that schools will someday promote the books and include them in literature and writing subjects.
  11. I hope we could learn the various languages in Bikol. Perhaps we could have at least one subject for this.
  12. I hope our schools would continue to promote and preserve local literature, to nurture young writers.
  13. I hope we could write more about our local folklore, legends, and mythology.
  14. I hope someday there’ll be a Bikolano category in the Palanca Awards.
  15. I hope that the hopes listed above will somehow turn into reality.

It was around two years ago when I fell in love with Bikol literature. It’s beautiful, exciting, fascinating, and  [sometimes] dangerously seductive. To be honest, I’m still trying to improve my craft in terms of writing in Bikol. Someday I’ll rewrite this in Bikol. For now, I apologize.

*PTALB is an annual literary contest here in Bikol.
**No awards were given in 2010 and 2011.

This piece was also inspired by The Letter I Would Love to Read to You In Person by Alexis Tioseco(†). Sadly I couldn’t find the article online, but there was a part there where the late critic enumerated his wishes regarding the state and future of Philippine cinema.


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