Casino Español de Cebu was abuzz today with what Taboan 2010 Festival Director Marlinda Tan described as "a feast of words."
The main course for breakfast was Dr. Resil Mojares' plenary talk which he intriguingly prefaced by asking, "Will Magdalena Jalandoni Gonzaga become a National Artist?" He was referring, of course, to the great Hiligaynon feminist author whose over half a century writing career (she died at 87) churned out an astounding literary treasure of 122 short stories, 36 novels, 31 plays, 7 novelettes and 7 volumes of essays. Plunging right into the heart of the thorny issues involving the National Artist award, he pointed out that "the current design and practice [of the selection process] reflect and confirm existing inequalities of conditions of literary production in the country." For those of us who were not in the know, Mojares' plenary speech was quite a revelation. Dessert came during the open forum with several delegates pitching in their own tasty slices which included issues on "Manilacentrism" in the publishing industry, literary decentralization, the contested notions of the "national" and the "regional," and lack of appreciation for the contributions of our own writers, among others.
The afternoon dishes were as sumptuous as the morning meal, with mouth–watering servings of "Visayan Aesthetics," "Regional Children's Literature," "Translation," "Ecoliterature," "Culture–Bound," "Critical Reviews," "Novel Thoughts," and "Travelling Ideas"
The literary banquets over the next two days were no less delectable: “Living Fiction, Poetry, Plays and Non-fiction,””Mainstream Publishing,” “Writing for a Living,” “Writers as Artists,” “Writing Erotica,” “Poetry and Performance,” “Lit Online,” “Revealing Lives: Auto/biography,” “Writing Histories,” “Writing Using Dreams,” “Writing and Spirituality,” “Writers’ Block,” “Writing Ethnicity,” “Songwriting,” “Writing and Family,” “Writers’ Groups,” and “Organizing Workshops.”
A common frustration among the delegates was not having to taste every panel offering as discussions were held in parallel sessions. Nonetheless, none went home hungry.
[caption id="attachment_3489" align="alignleft" width="421" caption="ANG DALDAL Baguio Chapter Rep. ANG DALDAL Chairman Vim Nadera and Vice Chair Joey Baquiran endorse a poor conversationalist as Baguio chapter rep. Gud lak! hehe"][/caption]
Aside from the hearty academic repasts, one yummy highlight of the event was the abrupt creation of the newest addition to our Party–list system of representation, ANG DALDAL, a nationwide organization headed by its honorary president, Ric de Ungria, and its chairman, Vim Nadera. Its headquarters is still to be located somewhere but rumors say it’s definitely going to be erected just outside a cabinet somewhere in Manila near the ANG LADLAD HQ. Plans to recruit brave ones to man the organization’s local chapters are still being ironed out. Its blogsite, which will soon be latched with WordPress to save money, will be launched soon.
Not surprisingly, this new group flaunting a banner with the tagline “Napasubo lang ako noon!” and projecting itself as a bunch of penitent “gay–straight” converts, is reportedly giving the jitters to Danton Remoto and his “immoral partylist.”
Grapevine crawling from the Taboan site to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport has it that ANG DALDAL might join forces with the Machong Moral Majority (MMM…), the Pinoy version of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, led by a homophobic solon. Reliable sources also say that one of MMM…’s decidedly politically incorrect jingles for the 2010 Polls happens to be “Rain, Rain, go away!”
No one in the ANG LADLAD camp is crying yet, but Remoto and his Pink Army are reportedly conjuring up a literary and legal storm as a countermeasure to this newest threat to their bid for a Congressional seat.
So it would seem that one of Taboan 2010’s biggest questions aside from what Dr. Resil Mojares posed in his plenary speech is, “Will Danton Remoto Make it to Congress?”