On October 22-26, the Ateneo de Zamboanga University and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts held the 6th Western Mindanao Writers’ Workshop at the DOH Training Center, Cabatangan, Zamboanga city.
The five-day camp consisted of lectures on Philippine Literature and folklore, writing poetry and short fiction, and writing in Chavacano. The overall impression of the WMWW is of one that aims to cull and hone local writers throughout Western Mindanao, empowering the need to preserve the rich yet dying culture of the native land, withstanding all that Western Literature has to offer.
Months prior, a call for entries was put up on the AdZU website requiring interested applicants to submit five poems or two short stories, even a one-act play or a novel in progress either in English or Filipino. Preference, however, is given to pieces written in the vernacular native to Western Mindanao. All entries were evaluated according to originality, style, impact, imagery and local color.
Of the fourteen participants whose works were shortlisted to the workshop, twelve took on the role as fellows: Jonathan Acabo, Errol Gonzales and Cris Harven Sotto from Western Mindanao State University; Cherry Malcampo and Jenny Talaver from Basilan National High School; Erold Vincent Sigarra from Basilan State University; and James De Los Reyes, Fatima Juaini, Janie Padua, Patricia Reyes, Janna Saavedra, and Sofiya Salim from Ateneo de Zamboanga University High School.
Apart from the lectures given beforehand, workshops were held by a panel comprising of nationally and internationally acclaimed literary artists: AdZU’s own Dr. Servando Halili Jr.; Dr. Erlinda Kintanar-Alburo of the University of San Carlos and Dr. Victor Sugbo from UP-Tacloban; Dr. Christine Godinez-Ortega, the vice-chair of the National Committee for Literary Arts; and Zamboangueño Mr. Antonio Enriquez and his wife, Ms. Joy Enriquez, who currently reside in Cagayan de Oro.
The panel critiqued entries written under pseudonyms, appraising the works and the authors openly, giving out constructive criticisms that, hopefully, after the seminar-workshop, would see amends necessary for the growth of the authors. After the works of an author are assessed, the fellow – who during the entirety of the critiquing process was referred to by the panel by their pseudonym – is then revealed and is then given the floor to cater questions and explain the rudiments and trifles of their entries. The workshops saw twenty poems, three of which were written in Chavacano; two short stories in English and an allegorical piece in Filipino; a one-act play in Filipino and a novel in progress, all in all.
by Pristine Janielle F. Padua