In all gratitude I praise heavens for another wonderful albeit tumultuous year that was 2008. It had it shares of super ups and super downs, mountains peaks and trenches deep, and as the song goes, all that jazz; and may I add, those that rhumba, salsa, waltz, paso doble, and even harlems too.
As a way of chronicling a great year that was, here is my 2008 highlights, sidelights and dips, in retrospect.
The year opened with a big bang when I got me an email declaring me the Global Meritage Press Holiday Poetry Contest Grand Co-Winner for this prestigious international poetry tilt. Judge Eric Gamalinda lauded my Filipino poem O.N.S as a poem which was "deceptively old-fashioned like a kundiman but fused with a naughty graphic eroticism and verbal precision that no translation can do justice." He also said that the poem had "masterful lyricism." To receive such praise for my humble work from one of the best Contemporary Filipino Writer is more than just a late but great Christmas gift, not to forget being enlisted as winner along with great names in poetry like Luisa Igloria, Naya Valdelleon and Joel Toledo was more than this humble poet could ask for. This is my first Major Award for my writings and my First International Award. It is also uplifting to know that the poem is the first Non-English poem ever to win in the said awards. Read here.
One of my dreams came true this month. A long planned venture opened its doors and served artistry in the Batchoy Republic. I opened Kafe Binalaybay, an art's cafe, cum gallery, cum arts venue in Jaro. As I have said, one dream came true, and with the likes of Palanca Hall of Fame Awardee Dr. Leoncio Deriada, Urian Awards Lifetime Acheivement Awardee Kidlat Tahimik, Palanca and National Book Awardee Prof. John Iremil Teodoro, and a host of other distinguished artists making appearances and calling the cafe as their 'homes,' it is no less than Euphoria itself. The work was daunting and tiresome, and the business shaky, but the pay-off was more than its worth in pride and contribution to Arts, Culture and Literary Awareness in Iloilo City.
MARCHMy birthday month has always been a month of celebrations and felicitations. A couple of good friends entered their signatures in the roll of attorneys in the Supreme Court, and my birthday celebration was a very nice cap-off to the month, not to forget the little bundle of joy for our family, with the birth (albeit premature, but very much welcomed and anticipated) of my younger sisters little baby angel boy Kiane Charles. Read about the kafe here.
APRILAs delayed as it can get, this month brought my late Christmas, Valentines and Birthday Present, wrapped in wits and good looks in a size 38 waistline, all big and bulky, ending my four years of singledom and signaling the start of a hot and scorching summer loving. Baboy stumbled into my life, literally and figuratively.
MAYOne hot scorching summer month with the parents receiving the approval for their petition for immigration to the US of A. This month is characterized by hot sweltering days and equally hot scorching nights with Baboy and some summer rain frolicks too.
JUNEThe rains came and swept Iloilo in a deluge that went down in History as Frank swept away houses, property and even life, taking with it the cafe, as well as the short-lived affair with Baboy. For months after the storm, people were still picking up what was left of everything and trying their best to continue on with a semblance of life; me included.
AUGUSTPretty much like the past month, but ending with a resounding and triumphant call. A small parcel arrived and in it was a cream colored envelope bearing a coat of arms. I could not help but shout in ecstasy and joy when I opened the letter that said I won my First Ever Palanca Awards. All roads led to Manila for that awards night at the Manila Pen Hotel.
SEPTEMBERPalanca fever was hotter than ever with the awards night and the aftershock still lingering and the thought of winning not quite sinking in. After three years of joining the competition, with the first entry making a near hit but not quite and the second entry year entry making it to the short list, third time's the charm so they say. For the first two weeks, Manila was my party zone, spending more than my winnings but going home with my head still in the clouds. It was a busy month for a new inductee and warm welcome and acknowledgment to the literary 'awarded'
community was the mode of the month. This month also saw my parents leave for USA, not to return for at least six months, for immigration.
OCTOBERThe gateway of the blogosphere was opened and this blog was born. It was also a month of 'balancing' interests and commitments as new grounds opened, leaving lesser time for rest, but as always, ready to take that spur of the moment plunge to a quick get away to Bacolod and then some. Also, obligations and duties left by the parents were also tackled and integrated into the whole equation.
NOVEMBERThe month was ushered in by Halloween parties and dressing ups. A month of break neck speed and toxic schedules as photo shoots, interviews, panel duties, critic sessions, and preparations for organizing and holding a Regional Convention and Critical Discussion of Hiligaynon Literature was the mode of the week. Tail end of the month brought new challenges as a decision to get a part time ramp up job for a BPO came to mind, if only as an answer to the cold lonely nights given to sad introspections.
DECEMBERThe month beautifully opened with a very successful holding of the Poetry Convention and Critical Discussions as a grant from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts pushed through. Work, school and false starts with relationships or something to that effect was set-off by another literary win of a Gawad Komisyon ng Wikang Fiipino Award. Work became the mode as I got accepted this month for the BPO ramp up job.
All in all, 2008 was a great year. It was a year well spent. Crazy, tumultuous, break neck, life changing, nerve wracking, heart breaking, soul wrenching, and I wouldn't want it any other way. There is only one way to live for me, and that is, to the utmost. A year closes, a new on opens, and with all that life brought and will still bring, I say, Bring it on!
HAPPY NEW YEAR BATCHOYAN DENIZENS!