The largest gathering of Bikol literary luminaries, the Fourth Pagsurat Bikolnon 2012, is set to happen again on April 29-30 at the Ateneo de Naga University, with the theme Paghurop-hurop, Paghuron-huron (Thoughts and Convergence). First held in Aquinas University of Legazpi in 2000 and coordinated by the office of Dr. Jazmin Badong Llana, this year’s Pagsurat aims to re-gather Bikol writers, strengthen linkages, and establish critical engagements among Bikol writers, visual artists, filmmakers, teachers and scholars based in the region, in Manila and abroad.
Dr. Carlos O. Aureus of the University of the Philippines in Diliman will serve as the keynote speaker of the event. The second edition of his anthology, Nagueños, will also be launched on the evening of April 29. The second edition is being published by the Ateneo de Naga University Press.
Prof. Aureus’ fictive collection is described by fellow fictionist Gregorio Brillantes as “magnificent, a tour de force, which would convince us with its physics and metaphysics, its wit, passion and nostalgia of the baroque, pre-conciliar Church, that life, resurrection and not death is the last word.” Most stories in the collection have received prizes from the Philippine Graphic, Philippine Free Press and the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. The new edition carries a critical introduction written by literary historian and critic Paz Verdades M. Santos.
Among the local writers and cultural workers who will read their respective papers on poetics, orthography, multilingualism, teaching Bikol languages and literature, writing and technology artists’ collaboration and social advocacies are Jose Fernando Obias, H. Francisco V. Penones Jr., Carlos Arejola, Tito Valiente, Fr. Wilmer Tria, Rafael Belgica Jr., Raffi Banzuela, Bernadette de los Santos, Gerry Rubio, Victor Dennis Nierva, Marissa Reorizo-Redburn, Frederick Lim, Richard Madrilejos, Buboy Aguay, Jason Chancoco, Nilo Borromeo, Rodel Añosa, Johner Caneba, Jusan Misolas, Jerome Hipolito, Bing Balla, Dennis Gonzaga, Eilyn Nidea, Eduardo Uy, Dr. Cyril Conde, Estelito Jacob, Honesto Pesimo Jr., Dindo Balares, Goldimyrr Repolles and Greg Castilla.
An interesting panel composed of Manila-based writers Abdon M. Balde Jr. and Marne L. Kilates (both recipients of the Southeast Asian Writers Awards), film director and novelist Alvin B. Yapan, poets Allan Popa, Niles Breis, Enrique Villasis, and children's story writer Christine Bellen will share their views and thoughts on Writing Outside Bikol. These writers who make a living in Manila as university professors, creative consultants for television and ad agencies trace their origins and consider Bikol as their “home.” They have significantly received recognition for their literary works and efforts to promote literature and culture in the metropolis. Balde and Kilates sit as officers of the Unyon ng Mga Manunulat Sa Pilipinas, Popa is a founding member of High Chair and Yapan continues to produce films and literary works while serving as the chair for the Department of Filipino in Ateneo de Manila University.
A highlight of the cultural night on April 29, after the book launch, is a special tribute to writers and cultural workers from Bikol who recently passed away, like Kerima Polotan, Azucena Grajo-Uranza, Tootsie Jamoralin, Rudy Alano, Dan Pinto and Jocelyn Bisuna. The public is invited to attend. For more information regarding the cultural night, please contact 09175012287.
Ateneo de Naga instructor Kristian Sendon Cordero, the conference director, expects 150 participants from various universities and colleges, non-government organizations, artists’ groups, media and members of the local dioceses to attend. The conference is made possible with the financial aid of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Ateneo Center for Arts and Culture, and the Local Government of Naga City.