Storytellers’ Night #6: On the Road

I’ve been wanting so badly to write about Storytellers’ Night, but work has been persistently nagging and when I get home, all my brain wants to do is shut off and rest.

It’s a pleasure to have had shared a piece of my life in each of the last four Storytellers’ Nights I’ve been to.  It’s been a year since I was first invited to share – I started on Summertime Big-Girl Independence, a very personal piece about growing up with my mother and then growing old without her. It was also the first piece I sat down to write in what felt like years. I’m typically very discreet. I don’t talk about my dreams and I’m even more private about my deep-rooted grief, so getting down and dirty with my personal demons and sharing something so intimate was a revelation to me as it probably was to the people present that night.

Last Saturday was the event’s sixth night and we talked about adventures or misadventures On the Road.

As much as I enjoy the actual story-telling, the stories we share before and after are something I always look forward to. While talking about who/what we’re reading right now, Patskie transitioned to telling me about this video then suggested that I read Stephen King’s On Writing. I am in the middle of that book right now and it’s so much fun. From here onward, anyone who disrespects Stephen King is dead to me, but more on that later.

Dylan also showed me his latest volume of sketches – his work just seems to get better and better every time I see him.

And I only ever get to see him and all these other cool cats on STN. I am so thankful to Mark and Jo of Happy Garaje for getting these people (including me) out of our caves.

Mark said that there is magic in these nights – nights when we are able to share things that we normally couldn’t and for some of us, Storytellers’ Nights are the only places we can ever partake in this magic.  Thanks, Happy Garaje/Folk Fiction, for being the purveyor of that magic. You have truly made something beautiful.

‘Til the next night.





Book Swap Cebu

I dropped by the second Book Swap Cebu event last Friday to have some of my old favorites traded with some of other people’s faves. I missed the first one earlier this year so I’m really glad they organized another one so soon after.

These are my loot:

I haven’t been book shopping much lately, partly because I have no time, but mostly because I really haven’t got the space for more books after I’ve moved in to a smaller apartment. I have tons of books and I’ve given away so many (including my Harry Potter set, nbd) but when I moved out last year, I was very much surprised to find that my books still took up a good four boxes + 1 shelf.

I really didn’t expect to go home with so many books as I’ve restricted myself to only pick up titles that are very compelling so imagine my surprise when I found someone who traded in China Mieville’s Kraken and C.S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed. Grief has been on my death reading list for so long, and I am the biggest China Mieville fan I know lol, so I was ecstatic. I felt like a child again.

I also traded in my copy of Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents (A Discworld book), so it was amusing to get another Discworld book back (Witches Abroad) as a sort of funny Discworld barter.

The place (Handuraw Mango) was packed and too bad I couldn’t stay for Short Reads live after the swapping as I had to rush to the other Handuraw for Karla’s book launch. That place was also stuffed to the brim, but I managed to get a copy of her book.

It’s exciting to have two prime hangout places in Cebu crowded with book-loving people on a Friday night. I never thought I’d see the day.

Books! Food! Music! Board Games!

Hey, everyone. I did not die – only slumped with deadlines and torpidity. I have completed exactly one book for the month of November, and I am having a heated relationship with Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris. I have heard so much about this man and my good friends are great fans but I can’t seem to get past the 80th page. Oh well.

I have been playing board games a lot though, which explains this post. I’m attending an awesome albeit laid back event tomorrow that features some of my favorite things:

Books! (La Belle Aurore Bookshop) Food! (Bintana Cafe), Music! (musical people) and Board Games! (Cebu Board Gaming Society).

ImageSee you, droogs! It’s gonna be fun.

#YolandaPH Book Drive

I’m selling some of my books to buy more water for victims of super-typhoon Yolanda which threatened to decimate the beautiful islands of Visayas and Palawan. The destructive forces of nature and bad geographical location may have taken our loved ones but we shall not let those darn things kill our spirit.

Please check this spreadsheet for updates.


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This spreadsheet  has the latest updates on the status of the books.

As of 11/19/2013:


After Breast Cancer 40 trade paperback
Hunter S. Thompson – Fear and Loathing: on the Campaign Trail ’72 50 paperback; minor shelf wear but in good condition
Jerry Hopkins – No One Here Gets Out Alive (Jim Morrison bio) 40 paperback; in great condition
David Sedaris – Me Talk Pretty One Day 40 paperback; in good condition
Vladimir Nabokov – Lolita 60 paperback; yellowed but in good condition
Arlene J. Chai – The Last Time I Saw Mother 40 trade paperback
Ewing – Goddess of the Night (Daughters of the Moon) 40 hardcover
Mary Balogh – At Last Comes Love 30 paperback. Good as new
Lois Lowry – Number the Stars 10 trade paperback. Old copy but in good condition
Charles Dickens – David Copperfield 30 paperback; in good condition
Piers Anthony – For Love of Evil 30 paperback; in good condition
Piers Anthony – Question Quest 30 paperback; in good condition
Stephen King – The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger 30 paperback; yellowed but in good condition

Firsts: March Poetry Reading at La Belle Aurore


The Nomads March poetry reading is all about firsts. Share your first love, first heartbreak, first man, or first woman, or first bromance, first kiss, first tooth, first iPod, first Dior, first ukay-ukay, or whatever first you may have through poems, spoken words, stories, rants, and everything else. And yes, it will also be the launching of The Nomads Quarterly’s maiden issue.

Wrong gramming. Regardless, see you, guys!

Lovebug/Labhag at La Belle Aurore

I got back from my holiday to a frenzy of activities – a funeral, work-related presentations, and a poetry reading. I attended the Lovebug/Labhag event at La Belle Aurore last Saturday and it was so much fun.

Here are some photos:

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Chai Fonacier was fantastic. IMG_20130209_203831
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It was an open-mic event so anyone who had love notes, poems and scribbles to share was free to read their pieces in front of every body. I would’ve wanted to read a poem (not necessarily mine) but I slept the entire afternoon and wasn’t ready. I will read something this year though.

The spoken word is truly beautiful and I’m glad we have an outlet to share and enjoy performance poetry (or just plain poetry reading) in my city and every month! Thank you, JB for hosting this and The Nomads for organizing.

See you next month!

February: Books, Coffee, Charchar, Anime, and Caves

I’ll be on my way to Manila and Baguio in a few hours and won’t be back ’til days later. It’s February 2013 tomorrow (!!!), which is crazy since it feels like I just spent the New Year a few days ago. Regardless, I think February’s going to be a great month.

I’m still in the middle of The Wise Man’s Fear and when I finish it, I don’t know what to read next. Well, I always don’t know what to read next anyway (I just pick up what feels right at the moment), so I’m really hoping I won’t finish this during the vacation because I’d be restless with the limited book choices I have in my Kindle. We’ll see!!

As early as last week, I already have all my weekends booked. So many events to look forward to, here’s some of them:

February 2-3, 2013: Personal holiday in the North. It’s my mom’s birthday, and my boyfriend’s a few days later and we decided to spend some time in Manila, mostly to go shopping for toys. We don’t want to spend a hefty airfare just to shop though (we’re poor cats), so we decided to squeeze in a couple of days in Baguio too. I have a friend who’s based in that cold city and is willing to drive us around. Another friend also volunteered to check on my cats while we’re gone (we scheduled the trip way before the adoption), and we are sooooo grateful for this… sacrifice.

February 9, 2013: La Belle Aurore is serving coffee all Saturdays of February! My favorite bookshop in Cebu City is teaming up with Boots Coffee Bar to serve “exotic and specialty single origin coffee brewed in different manual methods.” They’ll be serving Kape di Mutit (aka Kopi Luwak, Civet Cat Coffee), and I’m excited to finally try it.

Here’s the sched:

Feb 2 & 9 in Junquera:
Ethiopian Sidamo
El Salvador
Kalinga Brew
Kape di Mutit (aka Kopi Luwak, Civet Cat Coffee)

Feb 16 & 23 in H. Cortes:
Kenya AA Karumandi/ Kichwa Tembo
Costa Rica Monte Paso Microlot
Kalinga Brew
Kape di Mutit (aka Kopi Luwak, Civet Cat Coffee)

Brewing Methods and Price:
V60 Pour Over:
Specialty Single Origin . . . . . P85
Kalinga Brew Blend . . . . . . . .P65
Kape di Mutit . . . . . . . . . . . P120

French Press:
Specialty Single Origin . . . . . P75
Kalinga Brew Blend . . . . . . . .P55
Kape di Mutit . . . . . . . . . . . P110

Vietnamese Phin:
Specialty Single Origin . . . . . P70
Kalinga Brew Blend . . . . . . . .P50
Kape di Mutit . . . . . . . . . . . P100

Please do drop by. If you like coffee, this is going to be exciting. If you don’t, there will be books. Coffee will be served from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M., I think. Check out the FB event page here.

Also on February 9, 7:30 P.M. is a Valentines/Char-char Event also at La Belle Aurore. It’s called Lovebug / Labhag. It’s not easy explaining the bisaya humor in this, but I found the event name very amusing.
Please do join us at the FB event page here. We’ve been sharing our favorite love poems and other char-char notes there. It’s a hoot.

February 16, 2013: UP Otakufest VI: A History of Magic! This is a yearly gathering of anime cosplayers and enthusiasts to… have fun. I shared last year’s event with some guys I play D&D with. It’s always fun and I get to see the guys from school again. My boyfriend’s band is performing too (as they always do, every year).


I usually go there just to hang out, since I’ve drifted apart from the whole anime culture (which I used to be obsessed with, BTW). I still enjoy seeing kids in costumes though.

February 23, 2013: We’re possibly going on an outdoor adventure trip in Danasan. I’m not really the outdoorsy type but I love spelunking and there are cave tours offered in some of their adventure packages. This activity is still too far out though so things could change.

I’m sorry for blabbering. I’m waiting for time to pass so I can get out of here and go straight to the airport.

La Belle Aurore >> Home is a Fable by Larry Ypil and Nikay Paredes

Cebuano writers, Lawrence Ypil and Nikay Paredes, read new poems and talk about writing about home away from Cebu.

This poetry reading was held at the beautiful La Belle Aurore (Junquera branch) on January 11, 2013. I missed this since it coincided with an out-of-town holiday I planned several weeks before so I’m awfully glad they have a video of the event.

Lawrence Ypil is the author of The Highest Hiding Place. He is a Palanca Awardee and received an MFA in Poetry from Washington University in St. Louis under a Fulbright Scholarship. He is now with University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program.

Nikay Paredes is a second year MFA candidate in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. Her poems have appeared in The Electronic Monsoon Magazine, Philippine Daily Inquirer and Tuesday; An Art Project.

I knew about Nikay and Larry through a Creative Writing Workshop I attended with them (Larry was a panelist, and Nikay was a fellow) in my college a few years back. They are wonderful writers and I look up to them a whole lot. I especially loved hearing Nikay’s voice reading poems – she sounds so sweet, and her poems and Larry’s are always wonderful. 🙂

Here’s part 2:

Erik Tuban made the event poster, and Jessica McYorker performed.

Videos were by Kate Aguirre Go and Karwin Go. Thank you!

La Belle Aurore Bookshop is open!

I was invited by JB to a private event/grand opening in the new branch of La Belle Aurore in Junquera last Saturday. Being the hermit that I am, it’s the first time I attended an event of the sort, and I was hesitant at first but I was glad I showed up. It was a wonderful night surrounded by books and by people who love books and reading as much as I do.

Here’s the program and my invitation. More pictures from the event after the cut.

It would be wonderful to attend more events like this in the future!

Maria Kim Y. Martinez singing “Nella Fantasia,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and “Think of Me.” She has the most wonderful voice. I wish I can hear her sing again.
Readings by Anthony L. Kintanar.
I don’t have pictures of Kristine and Anya Martinez because, I don’t know. 😦
Jessica N. McYorker singing her original pieces, “Prosperina,” “Orpheus,” “Lilies,” and “Kef.”
Readings by Louella E. Alix
Bea Martinez reading poems by Sara Teasdale
Nancy Cudis of
Jaclyn Noelle M. Liston reading an excerpt from Nabokov’s Lolita
JB (owner of La Belle Aurore). Congratulations on the new branch! 🙂
Miracle Romano for the finale.
It was my first time meeting Sir Ton after years of knowing him online. He insists we’ve met before though. haha
Wonderful people from Multiply! Jac, Meewa, moi, Sir Ton.