The Asian Literary Society (ALS) and the Journal of Asian Art, Culture and Literature (JAACL) have recently initiated a forum for interaction with writers from Asian countries. The third chapter in this series, Asia Forum – Chapter 3: Philippines was conducted as a virtual event on Sunday, 18th July 2021 at 5.30 p.m. IST (8 p.m. Philippines time).
Dr. Fely Rose M. Nacario, Professor, Teacher, Writer & Poet
Ms. Gracia Gernale, Businesswoman, Publisher, Writer & Poet
Ms. Marites Tordecilla, Accountant, Writer & Poet
Mr. Mark Kevin Montoya, Seminarian, Writer & Poet
Programme Coordinator: Dr. Aparna Bagwe, Scientist, Writer & Poet
The session was inaugurated by the Founder of ALS and Editor-in-chief of JAACL, Mr Manoj Krishnan. He welcomed the esteemed panelists and viewers to the session, and introduced the moderator Dr. Aparna Bagwe (Administrator, ALS).
Dr. Aparna initiated the session by discussing the scope of ALS in promoting literature and the contributions of its journal JAACL. She highlighted the reason for starting the Asia Forum – to highlight the work of writers and poets from the vast multitude of Asian countries. Since this session focuses on Philippines, she touched upon historic and present day literature of the beautiful country. She then introduced each of the panelists – all renowned poets, and welcomed them to the Asia Forum with the greetings – Mabuhayand Kumusta!
Through a series of questions designed to put the guest panelists at ease, she sought out details about (1) their initiation into reading, their literary heroes and inspirational writers, their own start as writers and (2) the focus of their writing, whether their writing was an outpouring based on their own personal life experiences or a reflection of the events taking place in society and their country.
Dr. Fely Rose M. Nacario (Feliz Ruiz) spoke about her love for reading, how she had been inspired by her teachers, American and English writers, as well as Filipino writers – especially by their own national hero Dr. José Rizal. She started writing poems while in school. Her poetry is an expression of her responses – she writes to release sadness, express happiness, as a reaction to the suffering of people, from the moral perspective of right and wrong, and also about life, relationships, and the goodness of humanity. She prefers the classic form of poetry with rhyme, rhythm and meter.
Ms. Gracia Gernale explained that she had come from a poor family, and had raised herself in life as she had excelled in academics. She had a flair for writing, and was often asked to help in speech writing. Like most poets, her writing too is a reflection of her feelings. Given her grassroots background, she prefers to write against oppression and miscarriage of justice, and feels that her writing is her legacy to humanity. As a classicist, she can write about everything including revolution, but prefers to challenge people to eradicate hate and bring out the goodness in their heart.
Ms. Marites Quindoza Tordecilla told us about how, as a child, she had loved to take part in writing contests and had won many contests too. Later she had to focus on studies, but found herself writing again one day while sitting under a tree in the midst of nature. She loves to write about nature, love as well as social issues. Unfortunately, her net connectivity was affected by the heavy rains in the countryside where she lives, and she could not interact with us after the first round.
Mr. Mark Kevin Montoya shared his early experiences at the Seminary and how he was fascinated by reading. He was advised to study the writing of others. Over the years, he has honed his writing skills by taking part in competitions. Today he is actively fostering close alliance between Young Filipino writers. He too writes to express his inner emotions – whenever he is happy or sad. During the pandemic, he has been writing more to motivate and inspire people.
In the final round, Dr. Aparna asked the panelists to read out two of their poems so that the audience could get a flavor of their writing.
· Dr. Feliz read her poem ‘Beautiful people’ – an inspirational poem about how beautiful people are created when simple people overcome hardships and survive. Her second poem ‘Your pleasure is through treasure’ is about the simple pleasures of life that are our true treasures.
· Ms. Gracia read her poem ‘The broken dream’ a very moving account of the life of a prostitute, and the poet urges parents to save their children from a similar fate. Her second poem ‘Love letters in the sand’ is a touching account of lost love and a lover’s longing to be together again.
· Mr. Kevin read his poem ’My children’, a motivational poem telling us that we must overcome trouble by focussing on the happy moments in life. His second poem ‘We are all human being – being one’ emphasizes on the oneness of human beings urging all to overcome the differences.
Dr. Aparna expressed admiration at the beautiful expression of emotions of hope and motivation.
The session ended with a Vote of Thanks by Mr. Manoj Krishnan
The event has been archived on the You Tube channel of the Asian Literary Society, and can be viewed through the following link: