Introduction to May 2019 Issue

In this issue, we welcome several new editors into the fold. They will handle the different genres, and we expect their presence to invigorate further the journal and the production of local literary works. Most of them have started working with our contributors and edited the works featured here.

David Jayson Oquendo, the editor for fiction, selected two works—“Hamyang” by Alvin Larida and “Dust and Drizzle” by Gian Carlo Licanda. He describes the first story as “a visitation to the provincial life without the usual and unnecessary exoticization.” Written in Hiligaynon, it “depicts a rich portrait of a wake” held in a remote community, “textured with the subtleties of Filipino sentimentality birthed from complex filial and familial ties.”

He says of the second story: “It is about an all too familiar narrative of a guy falling for his best friend after being left behind by his female lover (which in this story took the form of a wife). But it is in this often bastardized narrative where the writer shows the parts often hidden away, the pains of goodbyes, of acceptance, and of closures and endings.” He also says the homoerotic story is “lyrical and faintly reminiscent of Andre Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name.”

Andrea D. Lim and Paul Randy Gumanao, who have both served as general editors of the journal in the past, are back as editors for poetry. They selected two works—“Might of the Kind” by Joebert Palma Jr. and “Paglisan” by Adrian Pete Medina Pregonir. The first poem pays tribute to revolutionaries, who are time and again slain by oppressive regimes but, through their “children,” remain as alive and persistent as the darkness that they are fighting against. The second poem shows that the personal can also be political. It seems to be dealing at first with love between a couple mired in poverty, but as the poem ends, the reader is made to see that the fate of ordinary people are often corollary to the decisions of the powers that be.

Hazel-Gin Aspera and Jennie Arado are the editors for nonfiction. Aspera worked with John Dexter Canda on “Dr. Daydream or: How I Learned to Stop Living and Start Surviving,” an essay on being a medical student. With humor, tenderness, and keen attention to details, the writer moves back and forth between his hectic schedule at the present and his experiences with his family in the past.

“Pastil at Iba Pang Pagninilay” by Allan Ace Dignadice is an essay submitted to the ongoing SOX Summer Writing Camp, an event that will surely have an important contribution to SOCCSKSARGEN Region’s literary scene, judging by the participants’ outputs so far. The essay deals with a timely matter—elections. The writer looks back on his family’s not-so-positive experiences with past elections and shares his frustrations with the coming one—that it does not seem to offer any real hope or meaning.

Norman Ralph Isla serves as editor for drama, and in the next issues, he will share with us works from local playwrights, both produced and unproduced. The coming months and years will be exciting. The journal will be bigger and bolder. With more editors, we hope to discover, hone, and feature more contributors—both old and new, both seasoned and aspiring, all brilliant, all our own.

Jude Ortega
General Santos City