The Global Filipino Literary Awards, etc.
KRIPOTKIN - Alfred A. Yuson () - December 3, 2007 - 12:00am

Five titles authored by expatriate Filipino writers and poets were recently declared winners of the 2007 Global Filipino Literary Awards given by the literary e-zine Our Own Voice (http://www.ourown

For fiction published in 2006, the winner is M. Evelina Galang’s One Tribe, published by Western Michigan University Press. The novel is said to “depict the cultural tension between generations defining what being Filipino American is all about.”

Galang previously authored a short story collection, Her Wild American Self (Coffee House Press, 1996), and edited the anthology Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, 2003).

Since 2002 when she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in the Philippines, she became a frequent visitor to Manila to conduct research on and eventually espouse the cause of comfort women. She was recently nominated as one of the 100 most influential Filipinas in the US by Filipina Women’s Network. Galang teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at the University of Miami. 

For non-fiction published in 2006, the winner is Evangeline C. Buell’s memoir on arriving in America during the early 1930s, Twenty-five Chickens and a Pig for the Bride, published by T’boli Publishing (San Francisco).

For poetry published in 2006, the winner is Patrick Rosal’s My American Kundiman, published by Persea Books. The New York-based poet also authored Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive (Persea Books, 2004), which won the Asian American Writers Workshop (AAWW) Member’s Choice Award. An earlier chapbook, Uncommon Denominators, won the Palanquin Poetry Series Award. Rosal visited Manila and Baguio City and performed his dynamic poetry to a full house in Mag:net Katipunan late last year.

For poetry published in 2005, the winners are Luisa Igloria’s Trill & Mordent (WordTech Publications) and Canadian Filipino Patria Rivera’s Puti/White (Frontenac House). No awards were given for the categories of fiction and non-fiction published in 2005.

The Global Filipino Literary Awards (GFLA) was established in 2003 to recognize publishers and authors for their efforts in advancing contemporary Filipino literature. Copies of the winning books will be displayed as a special GFLA-catalogued collection at the Asian Reading Room of the Library of Congress.  

Past recipients of the GFLA were: the novel Letters to Montgomery Clift (McAdams Cage, 2002) by Noel Alumit of Los Angeles; Love Gathers All: The Philippines-Singapore Anthology of Love Poetry (Anvil/Ethos 2002), A. Yuson, R. Sunico, A. Pang & A. Lee, editors; Mulat (UST Press 2002), a collection of plays for television by Frank Rivera of Manila; the poetry collections Miracle Fruit (Tupelo Press, 2003) by Aimee Nezhukumatathil of New York and Ghost Wars (Final Thursday Press, 2003) by Vince Gotera of Iowa; Comfort Food: A Collection of Essays (Anvil Books 2003) by Erlinda E. Panlilio of Manila (no award was given for fiction in 2003); the poetry collection Matadora (Alice James Books, Maine) by Sarah Gambito of New York City; Seasons by the Bay (T’boli Publishing, 2004), a collection of short stories by Oscar Peñaranda of San Francisco; and A Country of Our Own: Partitioning The Philippines (Bisaya Books, Los Angeles, 2004) by David C. Martinez.

Founding editor Reme-Antonia Grefalda, a playwright and director based in Virginia, conceived the quarterly literary journal on the Internet in 2000. Since then, Our Own Voice has actively promoted the works of Filipino writers in diasporic communities, while also focusing on emerging writers in its online issues.

Grefalda is assisted by an editorial board from different locations around the globe: Aileen Ibardaloza (Philadelphia), associate editor; Geejay Arriola (Davao City), web designer; Victoria Paz Cruz (Quezon City), managing editor; and Lynn Cadorniga (Manila), proofreader. Eileen Tabios (St. Helena, CA) is contributing editor for the arts.

Our Own Voice is on its 25th online issue. All previous issues are housed in the OOV Archives online. To address the need of the non-Internet user, the 2001 issues were compiled as an anthology, Our Own Voice Literary/Arts Journal (Firstfruits, 2003), which was launched in Manila and is still available at

Speaking of Eileen Tabios, the indefatigable poet, editor and publisher has posted a call for Filipino poets worldwide to e-mail entries for the Seventh Annual Holiday Poetry Contest sponsored by Meritage Press of San Francisco. Deadline for submission is Dec. 31. The acclaimed New York-based poet-novelist Eric Gamalinda will be the sole judge.

Submission of a maximim number of two poems is solely by e-mail, addressed to The entry should be sent inline or within the body of the e-mail, that is, cut and pasted, as attachments won’t be opened. Include your full name along with your e-mail address. The poems will be sent to Judge Dredd, er, Eric Gamalinda, without the entrants’ names.

Eileen says: “All poets are welcome to submit. It doesn’t matter whether you’re established or emerging, as the work is read on its own merit. There are no limitations to poetry styles or content. All types of poems are welcome. Only previously unpublished poems are eligible. You may, however, submit poems that you have featured on your own web sites or blogs, or that have been published in limited edition chapbooks of no more than 250 copies.”

Meritage Press has asked Eric to choose one winner. He may however choose other finalist-winners, depending on the quality of the submissions. The winner(s) will have their poems published in the February 2008 edition of Babaylan Speaks at

The first-place winner will receive the following selected Filipino poetry titles: Amigo Warfare by Eric Gamalinda; Prau by Jean Vengua; Museum of Absences by Luis H. Francia; Kali’s Blade by Michelle Bautista; The First Hay(na)ku Anthology, co-edited by Jean Vengua and Mark Young; Pinoy Poetics: A Collection of Autobiographical and Critical Essays on Filipino and Filipino American Poetics, edited by Nick Carbo; Bridgeable Shores by Luis Cabalquinto; and Tabios’ latest collections — The Light Sang As It Left Your Eyes; I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved; and Menage A Trois With The 21st Century.

Other selected Meritage Press poetry titles will be added as prizes: Complications by Garrett Caples; The Obedient Door by Sean Tumoana Finney; Opera: Poems 1981-2002 by Barry Schwabsky; and 100 More Jokes From the Book of the Dead by John Yau and Archie Rand. Other finalist-winners, if any, will receive two of the above-listed books, as chosen Meritage Press.

Previous winners of the Holiday Poetry Contest were Joel M. Toledo in 2006 (Judge: Michelle Bautista); Arkaye Velasquez Kierulf in 2005 (Judge: Jean Vengua); Joel H. Vega in 2004 (Judge: Sarah Gambito); Luisa A. Igloria in 2003 (Judge: Patrick Rosal); Naya S. Valdellon & Michella Rivera-Gravage in 2002 (Judge: Oliver de la Paz); and Carlomar Arcangel Daoana in 2001 (Judge: Nick Carbo).

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Congrats to our good friend Baboo Mondoñedo of Baguio City, who recently mounted her first exhibit of watercolors, titled “Rugi” (Iluko for “start”), at Cafe By The Ruins.

Baboo’s involvement with the arts goes back more than two decades, when she started documenting cultural events in the Cordillera region as a columnist of the Baguio Midland Courier.

She began to take painting lessons only earlier this year. But evidently, her close friendship and familiarity with great artists had already given her quite a head start, so that she’s easily joined the creative company of such stalwarts of our highlands as National Artist Bencab and the late great Santi Bose and Robert Villanueva. And that’s not only in terms of having exhibited at Cafe By The Ruins.

Her artworks evoke places she has visited in her travels. Some are inspired by photographs, others by imagined landscapes, while her abstracts evolve from a meditative mood that starts the moment she takes hold of a brush and does her first strokes.

“Rugi” invites viewers to feel each art piece — and as Baboo herself says — “to begin to see the delights that created each brush stroke, each color, each texture, each play of shade and light,” and share with her the immense joy she feels every time she feels enlightened by the process of making art.

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