I have always taken issue with the demonym used for those from my hometown of Kidapawan: Kidapaweño.

On a practical level, typing ñ is a pain (Alt-164 doesn’t always work!), and copy-pasting it all the time also takes effort.

But the demonym is also inadequate: it’s lazy, it’s historically inappropriate, it’s gender specific, and there’s a better alternative.

Demonyms in the -eño form are obviously Spanish origin, and have a proliferation in the Philippines because of the country’s colonial past.

That alone should merit avoiding the demonymic form: it is a reminder of our subjugation by a foreign power.

One might argue though that denying our colonial past is denying who we are, and I agree. This is why I have no objection to such demonyms as ‘Zamboangeño’ and ‘Caviteño.’

But Kidapawan was in fact never fully controlled by the Spanish. Spanish colonial control  was limited to Pikit, and Kidapawan was only loosely under their influence. Colonial presence was only substantially established during the American period.

What is a town never being under the Spanish doing assuming a Spanish identity?

One could only suspect this is another instance of local identity being imposed by Imperial Manila – because Manila had a domestic Spanish past, therefore all of the Philippines should have a domestic Spanish past!

One could argue that it is already ‘traditional’ to use Kidapaweño, because it is what the people of Kidapawan are now accustomed to. But tradition isn’t simply what is accustomed to, it is practice initially taken up deliberately for a symbolic purpose and continued because succeeding generations know and value its meaning.

‘Kidapaweño’ as a demonym was either imposed by Spanish-influenced Imperial Manila or assumed by our ancestors because they were too lazy to think up a more appropriate demonym, and we continue to use it because we’re just accustomed to it. It is not a tradition.

Another complication it has is in its being gender defined. Spanish, from whence the -eño form comes, is a gendered language, which means words have a different form depending on its gender. As such a man from Kidapawan is called Kidapaweño, but a woman from Kidapawan is called Kidapaweña.

But this becomes complicated for transgender people, and for purposes of being gender neutral it may be a problem. ‘Kidapaweño’ is not good for equality!

And let’s not get into using the demonym for things! Because one does use demonyms on things too: french fries, belgian waffles, korean barbeque. In Spanish every word is either a masculine or feminine, so it isn’t complicated. But what about gender neutral English or the Filipino languages? Kidapaweño or Kidapaweña fruits?

Personally I don’t like the demonym because it evokes the image of a dull and dusty town, with nothing but habal-habals and mangy dogs basking under the scorching noon sun in the streets. It’s a boring barrio term. Not how I would like to remember Kidapawan.

Is there an alternative? The title of this blog post of course!

I’ve been using ‘Kidapawanon’ instead of ‘Kidapaweño’ for well over eight years now.

‘Kidapawanon’ is truer to the city’s history. Kidapawan has been settled since pre-colonial times by various tribes, and one of the biggest presences has been that of the Manobo. Among the many names the Manobos in the area called themselves is ‘Kidapawanen.’

The -en form of the demonym is unique to the Manobo language, so while it makes a very legitimate label for the Manobos of Kidapawan, the rest of us settlers would be being pretentious to claim it.

The -on form of the demonym is, on the other hand, a precolonial form common across the archipelago (from Capiznon in Panay, West Visayas, to to the Iliganon of Iligan in Northern Mindanao). It can be appreciated by the many settler communities, as well as the native lumad and muslim populations, in the area.

‘Kidapawanon’ is not a native demonym – it’s very new – but its derivation is definitely precolonial Filipino, without any colonial baggage. It doesn’t have the complications of gender. It sounds traditional!

And for me it evokes a more mountainous Kidapawan, more remote but pristinely so, shrouded in the mist of my nostalgia. It evokes a Kidapawan of moister, cooler earth, without the dust of ‘Kidapaweño,’ and with so much fertility.

I am Kidapawanon, and I’m proud of it!




General Paulino Santos Timeline

(I’ve been reading up on the hero General Paulino Santos, leading pioneer of settlements into Mindanao during the American occupation and namesake of General Santos City, for a writing project. I’ve been making a timeline of his life, which I will make available here. 

(The timeline is not yet complete, and I will update this post when I finish it. My primary source is the book ‘General Paulino Santos: His Journey through History,’ a very intimate recollection of the man’s life by his two late daughters Isabel A. Santos and Rosa Santos Munda, and his grandson Amado Santos Munda Jr. I owe the copy to the latter, for which I am very grateful.)

General Paulino Santos: Timeline

22 June 1890 – Born in Camiling, Tarlac to Remigio Santos and Rosa Torres

1905 – Graduated seventh grade elementary

1905-1907 – taught as elementary school teacher in Camiling and Gerona, Tarlac, Quit as a teacher to enlist in the US Navy. Cholera epidemic made it impossible to enlist

1909 – Enlisted in 1st General Services

1910 – assigned orderly under Charles Dickenson, Secretary of War, on his visit to the Philippines

(unspecified time later) – detailed to acting Chief of Philippine Constabulary, Gen. James C. Harbord

1912 – discharged honourably as a Sergeant, continued working under Harbord as clerk

1914 – left Harbord’s service

15 February, 1914 – took entrance exam for Constabulary School, ranked 2nd place. Commissioned as 3rd Lieutenant

30 April, 1914 – Graduated from Constabulary Officers’ School as head of class

(unspecified time later) – stationed in Malolos, Bulacan as junior officer to 1st Lt. C. Cerquella

(unspecified time later) – ‘unfortunate incident with the Governor of Bulacan,’ transferred to District of Mindanao and Sulu: Mati, Davao as junior officer under Lt. BD. Valeriano of the 4th Davao Company

(unspecified time later) – transferred to Lanao as junior officer under Lt. W.A. Sirmon of the 4th Moro Company, then engaged in a campaign against outlaws

(unspecified time during the campaign) – got a spear wound in the left hand

1916 – End of campaign against outlaws in Lanao, 4th Moro Company moves to Sta Cruz, Davao

March 1917 – assigned to Gnassi, Lanao.

1917 – Promoted to Station Commander and Deputy Governor of Gnassi

1917 – the Bayang incident: Company lead by a Col. Waloe, initiated an assault against Moro rebel groups in Bayang cotta. Santos pleads to lead the platoon that would place the scaling ladders on the fortress walls. The assault is a success. Santos is shot near-fatally on the neck

(unspecified time later) – took a medical leave, went home to Bulacan

22 January 1918 – married to Elisa Angeles, his childhood love

(shortly after) – recalled back to duty, made Station Commander and Deputy Governor of the District of Tamparan, Lanao del Sur. Was made Captain

1 October 1918 – birth of Rosa, their first daughter (later Rosa Santos Munda)

March 1919 – assigned to Sulu (first Filipino officer there) as deputy governor

(unspecified time later) – uprising in Basilan, Zamboanga. Santos is ordered to relieve Lt. Col A.S Fletcher as commanding officer. Uprising controlled in two weeks

August 1920 – returned to Lanao, made provincial commander and provincial governor (first Filipino in the post) following unexpected retirement of the sitting Major M.L. Stephens

(unspecified time later) – resigned as governor over policy differences with Philippine Governor General Leonard Wood. Remained commander of the battalion in Camp Keithley, Dansalan

13 November 1921 – birth of daughter Isabel

8 November 1922 – birth of daughter Lourdes

12 November 1923 – birth of eldest son Paulino Jr. Baptism in Dansalan attended by Sultan Alonto and Sultan Sa Ramain

1923 – Promoted to Major

March 1924 – appointed adjutant of the Constabulary, with office in Binondo, Manila

26 February, 1926 – birth of son Remigio

13 January 1927 – birth of daughter Elisa

4 September 1928 – birth of youngest child Jose

15 October 1930 – stepped down as adjutant of the Constabulary

16 October 1930 – promoted to lieutenant Colonel, appointed assistant district commander, Southern Luzon

22 December 1930 – sworn in as Director of Bureau of Prisons (convinced by Governor General Dwight F. Davis, appointed by Secretary of Justice Jose Abad Santos)

12 February 1931 – Senate President Manuel Quezon writes to express disappointment at Santos’ retirement from the military, revealed his plans to appoint Santos as chief of staff

14 January 1932 – SS Mactan, carrying Santos and other Bureau of Penitentiaries officials, lands in Davao – Davao Penal colony construction begins with taming the wilderness

21 January 1932 – founding of Davao Penal Colony, first penal colony founded by a Filipino

April 1932 – return to Davao to continue work on the Penal Colony

March 1933 – left for Europe to make a tour of penitentiaries around Europe and US, on board the Italian liner Conte Verde. On board too were Quezon and Carlos P. Romulo, on the way to US to negotiate Philippine independence

23 March 1933 – first meeting of the independence mission on board the Conte Verde, Santos sits in

6 April 1933 – Conte Verde arrives in Venice. Santos splits with the independence mission and travels to Vienna, Berlin, Paris
(sometime later) – cancels trip to London (changes in ship schedule), flies from Berlin to Paris

14 April 1933 – Departs by train with Quezon from Paris to Le Havre. On board the train, Quezon meets with Sergio Osmena for the first time. Santos sits in.

17 April 1933 – On board the French Liner ‘Ile de France,’ departing Le Havre bound for Plymouth, England

23 April 1933 – ‘Ile de France’ arrives in New York from Plymouth.

26 April 1933 – luncheon with the independence missions and with Governor General Frank Murphy. Murphy tells Santos to visit Detroit

(sometime later) – went to Washington, visited the Federal Correction Camp, Fort Eustace, Virginia

(unspecified time) – visited District of Columbia Penal Institution at Lawton, Virginia: he models his reforms after this institution

25 May 1933 – left Washington for New York

(sometime later) – visited Sing-sing prison, House of Corrections for Women

(unspecified time) – visited Detroit House of Correction, then the Federal Penal Farm in Milan, Michigan

(unspecified time) – visited the Jackson State Penitentiary

(May-October 1933) – visited Chicago, in time for the Chicago World Fair
August 1933 – returns to Manila

(unspecified time later) – plans begin to move the Bilibid prison from Azcarraga Street to Muntinlupa

‘Nag-away’ by CD Borden: Translation to English and Davao Filipino

(Another absurd poem from the Father of Cebuano Surrealism, C.D Borden. This time I try my hand at translating it in two languages!)


Buang! Sigaw ng kanyang nanay, Katanda mo na, wag ka na mag-ganyan-ganyan!

Kay gusto ko man magbalik si tiyan mo, paliwanag ng lalaki, At ang paraan lang para magawa ko yan kay magpasok ulit sa ari mo

Yabag! sigaw ng kanyang nanay, Bantay ka lang talaga pagdating ng tatay mo

Pero wala na man ang tatay ko, iyak ng lalaki, Nagbalik na ng pasok sa matris ni Lola.



Idiot! screamed his mother, You’re too old now, stop that!

But I want to return to your belly, explained the man, And the only way  for me to do that is to go back into your vagina.

You’re insane! shouted his mother, wait until your father comes home!

But my father is gone, cried the man, He went back inside grandmother’s womb.


ni C.D.Borden
Buang! misyagit iyang inahan, Tigulang na ka, ayaw pag-ingon ana!

Apan gusto kong mobalik sa imong tiyan, mipasabot ang lalaki, Ug ang bugtong pamaagi mao ang pagpasok balik sa imong kinatawo.

Yabag! mitiyabaw iyang inahan, Bantay lang gyod ka kon moabot na imong amahan!

Apan wala na akong amahan, mihilak ang lalaki, Mibalik na og sulod sa tagoangkan ni Lola.

Call for submissions to a Collection of Essays about Kidapawan City


The old Kidapawan Municipio

Kidapawan, capital and only city of the province of North Cotabato, lies at the foot of Mt Apo. It is known as a stopover town for mountain hikers, and is renowned for its fruits and hot springs.

But with a highly educated and ethnically diverse population, there is much more to Kidapawan than fruits and highland springs. It is a city of many untold stories, a city where people live a life, fall in love, and leave never to return. And it is a city at the threshold of change, caught between its rural, agrarian past and the bustling urban future creeping in.

Residents of the city past and present are invited to contribute to a collection of personal essays about anything Kidapawan. Works about life during a particular period in the city’s history, about family origins, or about the lives of great Kidapawanons, are especially welcomed.

There are no specifications in length, but works should preferably be in English.

Send in your drafts to with a brief bio note on or before February 18, 2016. You may send me your drafts earlier for edits and revisions.

I will be editing the collection. Interested contributors may also email me to discuss possible topics for essays. I’d be glad to help you start!

The most memorable scenes in Kabuki

Among all the world’s traditional theatrical forms, Kabuki is one of the most attention grabbing. If not relying on gorgeously elaborate set design or spectacular stage effects, Kabuki showcases powerful and complex emotional drama. This is all heightened by the gripping Kabuki musical schools: if not the cathartic vocalizations of Takemoto or Kiyomoto, then the festive choruses of the Nagauta.

It is little surprise then that in my six years of making do with the little Kabuki videos available online, some scenes will always be memorable for me. These are the particular moments in a play that, in their brevity, gave me a glimpse of immense – and intense – complexities, moments which I always watch out for when I stumble upon another performance of the same piece.

Here then is my list of the most memorable scenes in Kabuki. If I had more access to the theatrical form (which has been one of my obsessions for years and which has greatly influenced my aesthetics), the list would probably be longer, but for now this is all I found in the English speaking internet.

Kanjincho: Togashi’s exit

Based on the Noh play Ataka, Kanjincho was written by Namiki Gohei III and is the most oft-staged play among the Kabuki Juhachiban, the Eighteen Plays representative of the aragoto style of Kabuki, and strongly associated with the Ichikawa Danjuro line of actors.

The fugitive Yoshitsune and his retainers, evading the wrath of his the new shogun Yoritomo, disguise themselves as mountain priests, with Yoshitsune as the porter. They encounter a road guard, Togashi, who was specifically instructed to capture Yoshitsune. Yoshitsune’s most loyal retainer, Benkei, keeps up the appearance with Togashi and pretends to be the leader of the group of priests. When Togashi suspects the porter to be Yoshitsune, Benkei threatens to beat the porter to death. Togashi confirms that it is indeed Togashi, but so moved is he by Benkei’s desperation that he begs him to spare the porter. He then allows the group to pass.

The decision to let the group go means certain death for Togashi, and his hesitation, punctuated by what can only be a combination of resolution and stubbornness, is poignantly captured in his exit.

In the above performance (the scene begins at 8:50), Togashi is played by the late Living National Treasure, Nakamura Tomijuro V, who does an excellent job at it. Benkei is played by the late Ichikawa Danjuro XII


Momijigari: Princess Sarashina’s dance

I have written before about Kwatake Mokuami’s Momijigari, so I will not talk in great length about the play anymore. I will simply focus on the scene.

At some point in Sarashina’s dance for Koremori, she reveals her true identity: the demon of the mountain. This brief moment at once reveals the story’s main plot twist, as well as its overarching theme of beauty and horror. This demonstration of contrasts is demonstrated to a stylistic level: like the complementary relationship between the beautiful and the macabre, the demon’s hideously disfigured posture is woven seamlessly into the princess’ elegant dance.

The above performance is by the star Ichikawa Ebizo XI, already showing his potential to be a great Danjuro XIII.


Kagotsurube Sato no Eizame: Yatsuhashi looks back

Kawatake Shinshichi III’s Kagotsurube Sato no Eizame is set in the Shin-Yoshiwara district, pleasure quarters of Edo during the Tokugawa shogunate.  Jirozaemon, a wealthy man from the country, comes to visit. He is kindhearted, but is rendered ugly by the scars of smallpox, and his rural origins mean he lacks urban culture.

While he is looking at the wonders of the red light district with his servant Jiroku, he comes across the oiran douchuu, the procession of the courtesans, and he is dazzled by their beauty. Thinking he has seen it all, he prepares to leave, but then he sees the most beautiful courtesan of the district, Yatsuhashi. He falls in love with her at first sight.

Yatsuhashi on her part has, in spite of her great beauty, culture, and intelligence, felt caged by the confines of her life as a courtesan. She notices her ugly but innocent new admirer, and she smiles before exiting down the hanamichi.

Her smile is at once amused, bitter, and envious: she with all her class and good looks is trapped, while this ugly country bumpkin is free to fall in love with any girl that passes by. It can also be her realization that they are in the same predicament, both looking at greater possibilities but both never achieving these possibilities because of circumstance: he will never be loved becaue of his social status and appearance, she will nevr be free because she is a courtesan. Her exit likewise has contradictory meanings: it could be resigned return to her role as object of desire when she realizes her hopelessness, or it could be in glamorous defiance, daring the world to objectify her as she presents herself too readily.

There are two performances of Kagotsurube available online. The above one (the scene is at 11:35) stars Living National Treasure Bando Tamasaburo V as Yatsuhashi, with Matsumoto Koshiro IX as Jirozaemon. Another performance, a more recent one, stars Nakamura Fukusuke IX as Yatsuhashi, and Living National Treasure Nakamura Kichiemon II as Jirozaemon. Fukusuke is a master of emotional intensity and complexities, and is usually a much better actor than Tamasaburo, but Tamasaburo’s beauty is just too much to outdo, so I find his version of the scene better.

Kanadehon Chuushingura: Kanpei Harakiri

This scene is so poignant that generations have given the act it belongs to the name of the scene: the harakiri of the former samurai Hayano Kanpei.

Kanadehon Chuushingura is part of the Kabuki Sandai Meisaku Kyogen, or the Three Great Kabuki Plays, by Namiki Senryu I. It tells the story of the 47 Ronin, who avenged the forced seppuku of their lord.

The title character of this intricately plotted act is a former retainer of the late lord, though he left service when he married. He feels guilty for not being there when the late lord was forced to commit seppuku, and he is trying his best to join the 46 Ronin. The leaders of the vendetta were asking for money to support the endeavor, and Kanpei is trying hard to earn it.

In the preceding act, it is shown that Kanpei, in order to earn this amount, has become a hunter. Without his knowledge his elderly father-in-law Yoichibei decides to try and help him, and goes off to Kyoto to sell her daughter (Kanpei’s wife Okaru) as a geisha. On his way back a thief named Sadakuro mugs the old man of the downpayment and stabs him to death. As Sadakuro is fleeing from the scene, he enters the pitch dark wilderness where Kanpei is shooting, and Kanpei accidentally shoots him. Groping in the dark Kanpei touches Sadakuro’s body and panics. But on hearing the jangle of the stolen money he is prudent enough to take it from the body and run off, troubled but comforted that he got part of the amount.

When he returns home (the beginning of the act), he finds the owner of the Geisha house in Kyoto to whom Yoichibei sold Okaru. She and her attendant have come to pay the rest of the payment and claim Okaru back. The owner shows her purse and says she gave the same purse to Yoichibei a downpayment – at the sight of it Kanpei is horrified, thinking he has killed his father-in-law. Realizing that Okaru wanted to sell herself for the money he needs for the vendetta, Kanpei can do nothing but consent, and he tells everyone in the house that he had met his father-in-law and that there was no need to wait for him.

But just before Okaru is taken away, a group of hunters bring in Yoichibei’s dead body. Amidst the shock, Kanpei reveals the purse, and his mother in law Okaya, and all those in the house, begin demanding if he knew anything. Kanpei admits to killing his father-in-law. Just as this is happening, Senzaki Yagoro and Hara Kazuemon, leaders of the secret vendetta, arrive to collect the money. When they learn that Kanpei had killed his father-in-law, they disown him. Okaya abuses him out of grief.

Just as the two leaders of the vendetta are leaving, Kanpei commits seppuku. As he slowly dies, he laments accidentally shooting Yoichibei. This prompts Yagoro to take a look at the dead body, and he declares Kanpei innocent: Yoichibei was killed with a sword wound, not a gunshot. Then a hunter conveniently comes in and announces that the thug Sadakuro was found dead with a gunshot. The group put two and two together and conclude that Sadakuro killed Yoichibei, stole the money, and Kanpei had killed him and taken the money from him. Kanpei was not only innocent, he had avenged his father-in-law’s death, albeit accidentally.

Ashamed of her mistake, Okaya wails and begs for her son-in-law’s forgiveness for suspecting him.

And then the most memorable scene of the act: the bleeding, dying Kanpei leans towards his grovelling mother-in-law, and asks almost casually if she ever suspected him. Okaya could only cry at his forgiveness.

There are two available performances of Kanpei Harakiri online: the one above, with the late Nakamura Kanzaburo XVII as Kanpei and the late Nakamura Matagoro II as the mother-in-law Okaya, and this one on Youku with Kanzaburo XVII’s son the late Kanzaburo XVIII as Kanpei (it is unnecessarily difficult to share a video from Youku on WordPress). In my opinion the son had outdone his father. Kanzaburo XVIII had always maintained a comic personality, staying true to the farcical roots of the Kanzaburo line (the first Kanzaburo was a former kyogen actor and was nicknamed Saruwaka, ‘monkey boy’). In this very tragic situation, he exploits this comic character as affability, the question he asks to Okaya a joke that makes the situation all the more tragic, giving the scene a painfully human feel. Nothing makes one cry more than a palpably nice person dying.

Yoshitsune Senbonzakura: Sushiya

Another of Namiki Senryu I’s Kabuki Sandai Meisaku Kyogen, Yoshitsune Senbonzakura is another masterpiece of the Kabuki repertoire. It chronicles the aftermath of the Genpei war, when Minamoto no Yoritomo has become shogun, and he is out to get rid of any possible opposition, even his brother Yoshitsune.

Sushiya is the most oft-staged act of Yoshitsune Senbonzakura. It is set in the sushi shop of the old man Yazaemon, where Taira no Koremori, a former general of the defeated Taira forces, is hiding disguised as Yasuke, a clerk. Yazaemon, loyal to his pledge of silence, has not even told his family, which is composed of his wife, his daughter Osato, and his son Gonta, about Yasuke’s identity. Osato thus finds herself flirting with the young general, although her advances are refused. When his wife and son arrive to find him, she overhears them and asks for forgiveness, nevertheless weeping at having her hopes dashed.

The star of the act is Gonta, a good for nothing lout who lives off the financial support of his parents. He tricks his mother into giving him some money, but when his father arrives he hides it in one of the sushi vats before hiding himself. Yazaemon enters, secretly carrying a severed head. he hides this head in another vat before calling Yasuke to ask for some tea.

The act has many poignant scenes, but the most striking is when at this point Yazaemon, after drinking tea served by the kneeling Yasuke, kneels exactly when Yasuke turns and rises to leave – he grabs the clerk’s sleeve, and instantly, Yasuke becomes Koremori, the servant becomes the lord and the master of the house becomes the servant.

This sudden change in status between characters is very precisely timed, and it is additionally punctuated by the kakegoe of experienced audiences. It is a moment that captures the adventure embodied not only by the act but by the whole play itself.

Other striking scenes include Gonta’s signs of hesitation as he plots to replace his own wife and child in lieu of Koremori’s, and in a scene reminiscent of Kanpei Harakiri, how his parents kill him, only to understand his selfless act.

The above scene stars the late Onoe Shoroku II as Gonta, with the late Onoe Baiko VII as Yasuke/Koremori and the late Kawarazaki Gonjuro III as Yazaemon. The acting of this stellar cast is superb, but my favorite version of this online (again in Youku) is much more recent, starring Living National Treasure Kataoka Nizaemon XV as Gonta. I also think Nakamura Tokizo V performs better as Yasuke/Koremori in this performance.


Kate Griffin: Notas De Viaje – literature and the writing life in the Philippines

Kate Griffin, associate programme director at the Writers’ Centre Norwich and Chair of the Poetry Translation Centre in UK, made a wrap up of the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators gathering in Manila earlier this year. The piece is an informative introduction to the literary situation in the Philippines.

It can be read here: Notas De Viaje – literature and the writing life in the Philippines

My literary and linguistic background, as well as my views on Mindanao literature, are briefly mentioned at some point in the redivivus.

I have earlier uploaded my full discussion during APWT 2015 here in this blog.

An international mention is quite flattering!

Keep Inday Santiago and Dinky Munda in PWC!

I feel it incumbent to express both my sheer fury and my utter disappointment at the Philippine Women’s College of Davao’s decision to terminate Ms Irene Santiago and Mr Dinky Munda from the position of Supervising Trustees.

Irene Santiago, who has acted as Senior Supervising Trustee of the school since August of this year, has brought in unprecedented change to PWC in the short time she has served the school. Most significant among these accomplishments is the school’s partnership with Rappler as its Mindanao arm for citizen journalism. Before her termination there were even plans to set up a campus TV network.

With her brief time in the helm she has connected this isolated, backward school to the outside world. Now PWC is one of the most social media savvy schools in Davao.

Dinky Munda has also brought in a sharp business sense to the school’s management, with his most visible legacy being the landscaping of the area between PWC’s Maguindanao and Mansaka Halls to make an open air reception venue for added revenue to the school. His strategy of using social media to invite enrollees has already reversed the school’s downward rate of enrollment. He has also worked to stir the school back to its artistic roots.

Outside of the school the two have impressive CVs. Ma’am Inday, a Datu Bago Awardee, was the convenor of the Beijing Women’s Forum, and has thought for decades in the US. An internationally acclaimed women’s activist and NGO organizer, she is regularly invited around the world to give talks on women’s issues.

Sir Dinky is a noted local visual artist, and he comes back to Davao for retirement after a successful career in Silicon Valley. The son of Rosa Santos Munda (once PWC president), sir Dinky has a very personal stake on PWC.

I know the impact of their work in PWC personally. As moderator of the PhilWomenian Equivox, the school’s student paper, I tried to change the rather sterile paper (which hitherto behaved like a high school publication) into a vibrant and vocal space for students to speak. That endeavour would have been killed by the dreadfully backward and repressive tertiary administration, but ma’am Inday came to the rescue. Now Equivox has become more vocal than it ever was.

On a personal level I am very grateful for the work of sir Dinky a lot – it pains me to reveal this, but a staging of my Palanca-winning play ‘Killing the Issue’ has been in the works for the past few months, thanks to sir Dinky’s initiative. It was meant to start the  revival of PWC’s once vibrant theatrical scene. But with him leaving, that seems like a dream now.

Conrado Benitez, PWC’s president in absentia, made the termination from Manila, apparently because of the influence of people in the Tertiary department.

To this I say that Mr Benitez has listened to the wrong people. Ma’am Inday and sir Dinky are bringing about needed change, and many vested interests in the school that have benefited from the unhealthy system are naturally threatened. The two, my Equivox staff have uncovered, have been conducting investigations on institutional corruption, indecent behaviour by teachers, and other issues the school has hushed up over the years.

Mr Benitez will do well to reverse his decision as soon as possible.

The great irony that Philippine Women’s College of Davao has remained a college in front of a street called ‘University’ avenue for over sixty years needs to be addressed, and the two supervising trustees have brought in a breath of hope of that happening. My staffers would tell me that they would rather come to the Equivox office than go to class because they learn more.

Now the Equivox Editorial Board is threatening to resign en masse if their termination is not reversed as soon as possible. Many of them are threatening to leave the school altogether.

And I too will resign with them.

I will be the second writer to walk out of PWC, after Macario Tiu, if this decision is not reversed. I had so many great hopes for PWC, and I cannot bear to stay in it once those hopes are dashed.

We are proud of PWC’s past, but we’re not that sure anymore about its future.