Southern Authors No. 16 — Lina Sagaral Reyes on Mental Illness and Creative Writing

Featured Authors by Abigail C James |

Being a person with lived experience of mental illness, Lina Sagaral Reyes is a mental health advocate. Her poetry has been anthologized in a dozen books: Versus: An Anthology of Protest Literature (Navarro-Salanga, AdMU Press: 1986), Kamalayan: Feminist Writings in the Philippines (Azarcon, Pilipina: 1987),  Kamao: Katipunan ng mga Tulang Protesta (1970-86) (Aguila and Beltran, Cultural Center of the Philippines: 1987), Women and Spirituality (Mananzan, Babaylan Women’s Collective, 1989), Handurawan: Antolohiya ng mga Tula ng mga Tumanggap ng CCP Literature Grants 1988-89 (CCP: 1990) Kung Ibig Mo: Love Poetry by New Women (Evasco and Santos, Anvil Publishing:1993), Songs of Ourselves: Writings by Filipino Women in English (Zapanta-Manlapaz, AdMU Press:1994), Aseano: Contemporary Southeast Asian Poetry (Baquiran, ASEAN:1996), Palanca Awards: 1987, An Anthology of Prize-winning Poetry Collection of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, Volume 5 (DCPAL: 1996), A Habit of Shores: 20th Century Contemporary Philippine Poetry in English (2000), Women Bodies, Women’s Lives: An Anthology of Philippine Poetry and Fiction on Women’s Health (Kintanar, UP Press: 2001), and Brown Child: The Best of Faigao Poetry and Fiction, 1984-2012 (Alburo and Sabanpan-Yu, Cebuano Studies Center: 2013). Her creative works also appeared in periodicals such as: Focus-Philippines Magazine, The Diliman Review, National MidWeek, Philippine Graphic, Sunday Inquirer, Sands and Coral, Forefront, Caracoa, Bomb (New York), and Malate. She published two collections of poetry, Honing Weapons (1987) and ‘Storya (1993).

She works as a journalist, contributing news stories to the local newspaper Mindanao Goldstar Daily in Cagayan de Oro City, and occasionally to the bi-weekly Mindanao Observer in Dipolog City. She is a correspondent at World Pulse, a digital women’s network. Her feature articles have appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Times, Newsbreak, National Midweek, Mr. & Ms., and Women Features Service. Her reportage, on the other hand, has gained three Globe Media Excellence Awards-Mindanao (Reporter of the Year for Print and Online, 2017; and Best in Explanatory and Investigative Reporting, 2016). In 2016, she also received the Best Election Story in the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) Community Press Awards and was the lead writer of the story which won the Sustainable Construction Story of the Year Award given by PPI and Holcim-Phils., Inc. Previously, she has also won the second prize, feature category in the Mindanao Peace and Development Journalism Awards (2002); Grand Prize for Science and Technology Journalism Awards of PPI, National Power Corporation and Philippine Geothermal (1999), and the third prize in the Jaime V. Ongpin Investigative Journalism Awards (1996). She was a PPI journalist-fellow in 2016 (Covering the Elections) and in 2018 (Covering the Extractive Industries), and also a fellow of Probe Media Foundation’s Nagbabagang Kwento Program (Coverage of the Tobacco Industry and the Sin Tax) .

She has received the Lambago Art Awards for Literature twice, in 2015 and 2018. An interview, some of her poems and reportage are featured in Voices on the Waters: Conversation with Five Mindanao Writers (De Ungria, AdMU Press: 2018).

Sagaral Reyes studied mass communication, journalism and creative writing at Silliman University in Dumaguete City, from 1978-82 and 1989-1990. She was a fellow at the Asia-Pacific Women and Culture Program of the Institute of Women Studies, St. Scholastica’s College (1991) and at the International Media Studies Program of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley (1994).
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Southern Authors No. 15 — Ton Daposala sa Erotikong Pamalak

Featured Authors by Alton Melvar Dapanas |

Si Ton Daposala bag-ohay lang nadawat nga fellow for poetry sa 57th UP National Writers’ Workshop (UP Likhaan Institute of Creative Writing). Usa sab siya ka writing fellow sa balak sa 27th Cornelio Faigao Annual Writers Workshop (University of San Carlos-Cebuano Studies Center) ug sa 18th Iligan National Writers Workshop. Anaa siya sa antolohiya sa Brown Child: The Best Faigao Fiction and Poetry, Sakayang Papel: Anthology of Bisaya Poetry, The Best of Dagmay, ug The Nomads Quarterly. Sa tuig 2013, na-shortlisted siya sa Labing Masaarong Bag-ong Magsusulat sa Bisaya. Sa tuig 2016, nahimo siyang resource person sa Taboan Writers Festival sa National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). Ang iyang mga obra mabasa sa Bisaya Magasin sa Manila Bulletin, ug Kabisdak Cebuano Literary Lighthouse. Nagtudlo siyag katitikan ug malalangong panulat sa Capitol University. Miyembro sa Nagkahiusang Magsusulat sa Cagayan de Oro (NAGMAC) ug editor sa balak sa Bulawan Literary Journal of Northern Mindanao. Iyang koleksiyon sa Binisayang balak nga giulohag Basa-basâ gipatik sa Xavier University Press karong tuiga. Continue reading Southern Authors No. 15 — Ton Daposala sa Erotikong Pamalak

Southern Authors No. 14 — Jessrel E Gilbuena sa Islahanong Katitikan ug Queer Ecopoetry

Featured Authors by Alton Melvar Dapanas |

Si Jessrel E Gilbuena kay kasamtangang nagtudlo og katitikan sa mga tinun-an sa hayskol. Nakatambong na siya sa pipila ka writer’s workshop sama sa Ateneo National Writers Workshop ug Iligan National Writers Workshop. Nahatagan usab og mga pasidungog ang iyang mga balak. Ang iyang unang librobalak, Lugas sa Balas, gilusad niadtong tuig 2017. Usa siya ka panelista sa tinuig nga Cebu Young Writers’ Studio ug magtatampo sa unang bolyum sa Libulan Binisayang Antolohiya sa Katitikang Queer. Iyang balak nga ‘Tutok’ nga gihimog short film nakasakmit sa ikaduhang ganti sa NCCA’s Bayani/han Short Film Contest.
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Southern Authors No. 13 — Cecilia Manguerra Brainard on the Woman-Novelist and the Filipino-American Literature

Featured Authors by Alton Melvar Dapanas |

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard is the award-winning author and editor of twenty books, including the novels: When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, The Newspaper Widow, Magdalena; and short story collections: Vigan and Other Stories, Acapulco at Sunset and Other Stories, Woman With Horns and Other Stories.

Cecilia co-edited six other books and she co-authored a novel, Angelica’s Daughters, a Dugtungan Novel. Her work has been translated into Finnish and Turkish; and many of her stories and articles have been widely anthologized.

Cecilia has received a California Arts Council Fellowship in Fiction, a Brody Arts Fund Award, a Special Recognition Award for her work dealing with Asian American youths, as well as a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Senate, 21st District. She received the prestigious Filipinas Magazine Arts Award,and the Outstanding Individual Award from her birth city, Cebu, Philippines. She has received several travel grants in the Philippines, from the USIS (United States Information Service).

She has lectured and performed in worldwide literary arts organizations and universities, including UCLA, USC, University of Connecticut, University of the Philippines, PEN, Beyond Baroque, Shakespeare & Company in Paris, and many others.

Aside from writing and editing, Cecilia publishes fine literature under the imprint of Philippine American Literary House ( Her official website is She also manages a blog at

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Southern Authors No. 12 — Justine Camacho-Tajonera on Listening-as-Storytelling and the Romance Novella Movement in the Philippines

Featured Authors by Alton Melvar Dapanas |

Justine Camacho-Tajonera was born and grew up in Cebu City, Philippines. Despite starting a corporate career in telecommunications, she pursued her Master of Arts (MA) in Literary and Cultural Studies at Ateneo de Manila University to keep her close to her first love of writing (and reading).

She has had her poetry published in several anthologies and publications such as Eros Pinoy: An Anthology of Contemporary Erotica in Philippine Art and Poetry, The Likhaan Book of Poetry and Fiction, Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas, and Love Gathers All: The Philippines-Singapore Anthology of Love Poetry.She has published six books: Artemis Lets Go (contemporary romance novella), A Portrait of Jade (YA novelette), Gift: Poems, her first collection of poetry, Bayawak’s Trail (a crime novelette), The Mermaid from Siquijor (fantasy novella), and Snuggle Wuggle Wee (a children’s book co-authored with Buding Aquino-Dee and Jenny Ong). She maintains a blog, Claiming Alexandria (

She works full time at a corporate job in the Philippines, is married, and has two children.

Continue reading Southern Authors No. 12 — Justine Camacho-Tajonera on Listening-as-Storytelling and the Romance Novella Movement in the Philippines