palanca website

Got this from Ian Casocot; check out the unofficial website of the Palanca Awards.

Ian, who’s brought home a number of Palanca Awards, is happy to report that while the site is unofficial, it has the blessing of the people in the Palanca Foundation. He’s giving his special thanks to Ma’am Babes, and to Fernando Gonzalez who did the legwork.

The site contains everything you wish to know about our country’s most prestigious literary contest, including downloadable forms and the list of winners from 1951 to 2004. The names of this year’s winners will be posted after the awards night on Sept. 1.

Congratulations to all the awardees! And kudos to Ian for all he’s done over the years to promote Philippine literature. Visit A Survey of Philippine Literature if you can — please just be patient since the site is sometimes inaccessible due to massive traffic.

awesome twosome

Congratulations to Dean and Nikki Alfar, who both won in this year’s Palanca Awards. It’s Dean’s 8th Palanca Award, Nikki’s 1st.

Dean won the grand prize for his novel “Salamanca,” while Nikki won third prize in the English short story for children category for “Menggay’s Magical Chicken.”

Truly a magical performance for this husband-and-wife team. It’s also interesting to note that both works had their roots in blogging. “Salamanca” was Dean’s NaNoWriMo novel which he wrote in 30 days (and posted on a blog as part of BlogSpot’s complementary NaNoBlogMo initiative) back in November. Meanwhile, “Menggay’s Magical Chicken” was first published in three parts on Nikki’s blog.

Congratulations, Dean and Nikki!

joining popmatters

I was recently accepted as a multimedia critic/game reviewer by US-based e-zine

It’s a cool site that examines different aspects of pop culture but tries to veer away from the mainstream — it’s more of cultural criticism, even when it comes to game reviews.

I’m grateful that PopMatters Multimedia Editor Michael Sims liked the two sample works I sent him and my proposed first review, which they’ve already published. You might be interested in also applying as a multimedia and video game critic — the deadline is August 12 and the details are on the site. They don’t pay contributor’s fees, but you do get free games. They’re also looking for book reviewers.

Here’s an excerpt from my first PopMatters review:

My Kingdom for a Monk

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but somehow I doubt we’ll be striking fear in the hearts of our foes by calling our group the Fuzzy Bunnies.

Not that the particular group I joined for a taste of player vs. player (PvP) combat in the massively multiplayer online game Guild Wars would be taking names even if we’d given ourselves bad-ass monikers such as The Lotus Assassins or The Servants of the Plague. The bitter truth is: we sucked. And I sucked just as bad as the rest, which is never good for your self-image as a gamer when you’re usually more than capable when it comes to other genres.

Online gaming, however, is a different animal. You’re thrown in with complete strangers, yet somehow you’re supposed to form a party and cooperate well enough to take down the nastiest critters. True, it’s still probably best to play online with the buddies you have in real life, particularly if you’re just starting to discover this whole MMO craze, but hey, where’s the sense of adventure in that?

Read the full article.