Love poems and other playthings

Offering some light reading for you love birds out there through verse and maybe some rhyme. Maybe.

Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 01.08.44 pm.png

Blurb link: Love poems and other playthings

Should be out on iTunes pretty soon, too!

Happy hearts day!

– T






never fear the sun that sneaks into your morning window,

he is an old friend from the ash of your yesterdays,


with his slender arms and ghost-like touches helping

bring back the golden years of your iridescent spotlight


that can rid the snarkiest of frostbite,

of your beauty and leonine might


that your former beaus used to write

about after declaring love to you every night


you are poetry refined, spirituality solidified,

a kaleidoscopic lionness dignified by love of her pride


spotless glitter

all over elegant clutter




and be everyone’s best kept secret

once again

“Free Pass”

drifting off

zipping brown

dancing green

driving away

just being


forgetting deadlines

singing choruses

listening to

beating hearts

passing days

sleeping around

releasing tension

among others

cursing off

letting go

of responsibilities

of inhibitions

you thought

once locked

you down


what nice

temporary fantasies

to keep us asleep

from the harshness

of the realities

calling us

like an alarm clock

breaking out of snooze

Happy new year!

Happy new year to you all!

Got lots to be thankful for, got lots of poetry I’m so happy to have written, and so much people I’m grateful to have in my life, carving me into a man like the ocean tumbling a small pebble. Shout outs to everyone at @BYPoets, my family all over London and Manila, and all my kapatids all over the world, especially my London ones who I spent the first day of the year with. Thank you for letting me reunite with my brotha Kuya Jack Daniel’s haha.

Got lots of awesome things to look forward to in 2017 but for now, here’s a group shot of the #SalabuangGang when we were featured on Chaboba’s Facebook page last week!


Let’s win this 2017, guys.

– T

Bamboo in Concert

After rushing from Moorgate station to Hammersmith station, after literally flying from the station, after trying to survive the busy streets all the way to the Apollo theatre all while manoeuvring through an open bag, tangled earphones, the sounds of my boots clacking on the cement as I frantically fish for my ticket, the sound of Bamboo’s opening of Noypi brought me back to life, washing me with much needed euphoria and that “Eff yeah!!!” feel.

If you think Bamboo sounds energetic and pure rakista on YouTube or on your playlist, then you are NOWHERE near ready for the kind of energy he’ll bring to you face to face, especially when he’s just three rows away from you. I’m a huge fan of his 2011 album No Water, No Moon and I grew up hearing his earlier work around the house but I never really geeked out about his music until that night.

I missed about the first hour and a half of the concert but managed to squeeze in about six more songs, some covers and some original. I’m just glad he got to sing I Want It All from his latest album, the same song I was listening through the entire day.

This may be the romantic poet in me fresh from workshop, but I know there was a reason why I caught up to Noypi after what I’ve been through that day. To remember where I came from, the values and strengths I was born to have under my sleeve and to use them responsibly and at my disposal to carve out a future that will bring forth pride to both mine and my motherland’s veins. Missing the first hour of the concert because of something that’s only going to propel me closer to my dreams, fighting through circumstance and living exactly what that song was all about was all worth it.

Here’s a group shot taken, by the way! Find us! We’re there!!! Thanks Spicy Lemon!

Hi to my #salabuang fam!!! Roll call from left to right Junatan, Ashleh, Minard, Idwen aka Tekla and Kimberleh. Woo!!! I’ve finally cured my pet peeve for big concerts and small spaces, which are all too often wet with beer and rude people. To Bamboo, we were waiting for you at your hotel!

Pic courtesy of Ate Precious!

Web Map: Bamboo Mañalac

Facebook: Bamboo Music Live

Twitter: @bamboomuzaklive

Instagram: @bamboomuzaklive

What’s Your Talent: Healing crystals with @TessHeaven

One of the many fun things crystal healing gets to do for me is to introduce me to like-minded people, people who I get to share the good vibes with and learn more positive things about the world from them, even if this means just talking online and over emails, like Etsy shop owner Tessa Heaven.

For the longest time I’ve been looking for the perfect necklace to wear on an everyday basis, a thirst that normal high street chains and websites have seemed to quench. I tried wearing peace signs, crosses and even faces of Christ despite my initial reluctance to do so due to personal beliefs (hypocrisy, what a concept). It wasn’t until I found myself perusing around this new territory called Etsy where my half-hearted desire to wear the mass-produced and easily-tainted were replaced by the hand-crafted and one-of-a-kinds, feeling the love and individual energies of each piece I wore.

After finding a long Labradorite pendant from Tessa Heaven and leaving it in my Favourites page for a few days, I ended up buying it, especially since I’m aware of the disadvantages of shopping for hand-crafted items; once someone else buys it before you, there’s a high chance you’ll never get to see another one like it again. You could ask the seller to make an exact same one, but it’s never really the same, especially with crystal healing.

I found the Labradorite helpful when around huge crowds of people, travelling great distances and around those who tend to absorb emotions from me, as well. It’s managed to give me protection against psychic attacks and a chance to grow and enhance my mental and concentration abilities. The pendant, alongside Labradorite in general, quickly became a staple tool in my crystal arsenal, always helping me in times most suitable and teaching me lessons in times most needed.

After cementing her love for crystals during her travels around Asia and South America and the many marketplaces there, she got inspired to further this hobby into a business for herself, using macrame knotting techniques to combine both raw and tumbled crystals with repurposed materials to make unique jewelelry that is individualistic as it is healing for the one person it was made to be for.

1. Walk us through your first ever memory working with a crystal?

I had a small crystal collection as a child, which I kept in a little box of treasures along with other special things I had collected. I didn’t open this box for many years, and it was only after I had an epiphany while wearing a jasper necklace I had made that I became enchanted with crystals again. I was feeling very emotionally open and sensitive at the time, and the necklace was resting on my heart. I could literally feel the crystal resonating with my heart chakra. I had always been incredibly skeptical about things like crystal healing, but in that moment I knew that there was something to it!

So over the next few weeks I began exploring what I could feel with other crystals. The first one I ever worked with intentionally was a piece of pyrite that I had in my box of treasures. I remembered that when I’d been able to feel the energy of the jasper I’d been very open, so I let go of any doubt and opened my heart to the possibility of connecting with the crystal. The feeling from the pyrite was very different from the jasper. Rather than the intense sensation at my heart, I felt it through my whole body. It was like a rush of confidence and well-being flowing through me. My rational mind was still skeptical, but I decided it didn’t matter whether what I had experienced was ‘real’ or my imagination, because the feeling had definitely been real, and that was what mattered.

2. What are your top three crystals to recommend for a friend who’s starting out with crystal healing?

I am by no means an expert on the properties of crystals, but there is a lot of information to be found on the subject online. I started out with rose quartz, amethyst and pyrite because those were the ones I’d had since I was a child, so I figured that was the perfect place to start! I would definitely recommend all three of those, or whatever your intuition tells you. Clear quartz is also great. More important than the crystals you choose is your openness nd desire to connect with them. It’s about the feeling you get from them when your mind is quiet.

3. Where did the idea of opening a shop and creating your own jewellery come from?

I initially began making jewellery for myself just for fun, and then friends started paying me to make them things, so the idea for a shop grew from there. I have also always loved to travel, and I wanted to develop sklls that I could use wherever I was in the world to earn money. I’m going to Costa Rica in November, and I hope that I can continue to grow my business online while I am away, as long as I don’t get too distracted by all the beautiful beaches and monkeys!


4. How do you think social media has helped your business grow? Do you think the good outweighs the bad aspects of it?

I get a lot of my sales as a result of exposure gained through social media. I didn’t expect to have to spend more time marketing than actually making jewellery, but that’s the way it’s turned out! I love creating beautiful images and posts though, it’s an art in itself! I spend far too much time comparing myself to other people and worrying about how many likes and followers I’m getting, but that’s the crazy world we live in. It’s kind of fun if you don’t take it too seriously. The freedom it gives me to earn money doing something I love far outweighs the bad.

5. What advice can you offer burgeoning businesspeople when venturing on their own startup?

I don’t feel like I am in any position to offer advice to people starting a business! I’m still very much in the process of building mine up. I have learned that a lot of it is about mindset though. Sometimes we can block ourselves from what we want because we have some false beliefs about what it will be like. For example, recently I realised I wasn’t putting myself and my brand out there because in my head all I was seeing were the potential negative consequences. I imagined I would constantly be working too hard, and would be stressed out and bored of making jewellery etc. But then I spent some time visualising the opposite. I imagined the feeling of being connected with a large number of people who want what I offer. Sales would flow easily, and work would be a joy. This REALLY helped me. I have to regularly remind myself to fix my mindset though, as it’s very very easy to slip back into negative unhelpful thinking.

6. A lot of people I’ve spoken to about crystal healing has had at least one staple crystal that they consider to be their partner, their soul mate, the one stone that they vibe with the most. Which crystal is that for you?

I don’t have one crystal that I connect with the most. What I love about crystals is that they all have something different and unique to offer. Connecting with a crystal always feels magical, but each in a totally different way!

Web Map:

Etsy: TessHeaven

Instagram: @tessheaven 

Facebook: Tess Heaven

Personal blog:

PS: If you’re around Bristol area and are looking for holistic and spiritually cleansing massages, hit the link above to check out Tessa and her massage services!

What’s Your Talent: Bukambibig by Alton Melvar Madrid Dapanas

The present has never been a better time to be a Filipino writer, what with many talented and dedicated names working and writing hard to make sure they produce work that not only best express themselves but also represent the Filipino name in a very good light. There’s Reme Grefalda from LA-based zine Our Own Voice, Mia Alvar with her debut short story collection In The Country, even more mainstream slam poet Juan Miguel Severo, whose saccharine and often gritty words have helped the less inclined grow more comfortable with the written art and maybe dip their toes in the waters. But if you’d like to find where most of the gems are, I suggest you surf through the net and into literary magazines and websites, where I found poet and columnist Alton Melvar Madrid Dapanas.

I first got to know Alton when four of my poems were published in Eastlit’s March 2016 issue, where four of his own poems were featured, too. After we friended each other on Facebook, I found out his work was also featured on We Are Website, where mine was, too. In a way it’s relaxing to know that your work’s getting published along fellow Filipinos; you get the feeling that you’re not doing all of this alone.

Speaking to Alton has made me remember why I’m doing what I’m doing with poetry, who always spoke to me with so much passion and urge to better myself as a creative wordsmith in all forms possible. He brings forth this sense of energy that seems to be so present within the literary and artistic circles in the Philippines, and the same kind of energy that seems to be lacking here in London, which inspires me. So when I found on Facebook that he was a part of a new Filipino poetry folio called Bukambibig, my smile stretched from one ear all the way to another.

Bukambibig is a Philippines-based poetry folio created to provide a venue for spoken word artists to showcase their work meant for performance. It welcomes poems in English and/or Filipino that questions and traverses poetic boundaries as contributions and it is open to all Filipino spoken word artists who reside in the Philippines or abroad.



It is so exciting to know that there’s going to be an independent literary entity out there that’s focused on purely Filipino writers and Filipino work. It’s high time our hard work and individual stories be heard loud and clear. It’s also imperative that through this folio we all get together and inform Filipino writers all around the world that we, too, exist, and by merging all of our stories together we can create something that can start something that’ll help propel our reputation up there alongside the best of the best. I hope you can hear the giddiness in my tone as I’m writing this article.

As with any WYT entry, I managed to get Alton to answer a few questions about things like being an editor, the birth of Bukambibig and just other writer-ly things, and the answers I got were nothing short of genius.

Alton Melvar M Dapanas is a queer-polytheist poet-memoirist. His poems, nonfiction memoirs, and critical essays in English and in Binisaya are published or are forthcoming in local and international literary publications such as the Philippines Graphic, Manila Bulletin’s Bisaya Magasin, Dagmay Literary Journal, Kabisdak Cebuano Literary Lighthouse, We Are A Website, Eastlit, small po[r]tions, SAND, In-Flight, Into the Void, Open Road Review, Kitaab Asia, Prisma–Zeitblatt für Text & Sprache, and Bateau Ivre Journal of Performance, Literature, and Art.

He is also affiliated with Bathalad Mindanao and the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators. Some of his recent works will also be anthologized in Sakayang Papel: Anthology of Bisaya Poetry, Lagusnilad: Antolohiya ng mga Akdang Maynila, and in a creative writing textbook project developed by the University of San Carlos Press. Over a Cup of Coffee, a bi-annual forum with regional poets, essayists, fictionists, and playwrights, is his brainchild.

He is the operations director of the Nagkahiusang Magsusulat sa Cagayan de Oro (NAGMAC), a young artists collective of new-wave writers from Northern Mindanao.

What pushed you into creating Bukambibig

I did not create Bukambibig—let me be clear about that. It was a collaboration with other poetry enthusiasts who I met through a Facebook group. It all started with one post inquiring if there were poetry folios exclusively for spoken word pieces. (Of course, there were. But the folios were published by spoken word collectives and featured poems written by members of that collective.) The online conversation progressed. An initial team (most of them compose the folio’s operations teams on marketing, events, design, finance, etc.) was gathered for the brainstorming of the folio’s concept. The bravest among us—Chesca Hurtado from UP Diliman, now the project lead—was the most eager. I was just the supportive one.

Who and what were your influences when conceptualising this folio?
Bukambibig was born out of the yearning for inclusivity. Art, after all, is and should be inclusive. We wanted to open the folio to all Filipinos—spoken word artists or not—who write poems meant for performance. We don’t want to be confined with labels—sometimes determined by the artists collective you’re part of, events you’ve performed, and/or number of followers and likers your Facebook pages and Twitter accounts have. (And because we’re inclusive, the second issue coming out this November will hopefully feature spoken word pieces written in the major Philippine languages, aside from Tagalog and English.)

How has being an editor, being on the other side of the submissions spectrum, help you improve and grow as a writer yourself?
I never imagined that I would be an editor, although my day job (working for a media conglomerate) demands that I proofread and edit a lot but that’s an entirely different story. I have a feeling that I make a bad editor of my own works. But now that this has happened, it feels like a living dual lives—the creative and the critical, in one.

What qualities should a piece of writing have for it to leave your mouth agape, quick to accept it for Bukambibig?
One characteristic I would always look for in the first reading is Shklovsky’s concept of defamiliarization, or in the words of Cesar A Cruz, it should “comfort the disturbed and disturb the comforted.”

How do you think social media has affected writers, performance poets and the independent publishing world?
The platform has offered a lot of possibilities for publishing, especially for those in the indie scene. Zines, journals, chapbooks, and other forms of literary publications can now be accessed by a wider audience. Authors—both budding and established—can now (self)publish their works with or without the so-called vanguards of mainstream publishing. Videos and audios of poets reading (or performing) their works are available. These were not possible before. Poet-critic Adam David claimed that the future of literature in this country is in the independent publishing. And that includes both print and online.

If there is one stereotype that you wish to be removed from the concept of poetry, what would that be?
#Hugot. God, make it stop. Wala bang social relevance at kamalayan diyan?

What’s one line or phrase from a poem that best described your morning?
Mark Anthony R Cayanan’s ‘On Involvement’ comes to mind: “Always there are no words.”

Who do you read?
A lot and mostly contemporary Filipino writers: Chingbee Cruz, Mark Anthony Cayanan, Glenn Diaz, Martin Villanueva, and Carlomar Daona from Manila; Mel Turao from Iloilo; Shane Carreon from Cebu, Merlie Alunan from Tacloban; Kristine Ong Muslim from Cotabato; and Jhoanna Lynn Cruz and John Bengan from Davao. My hometown, Cagayan de Oro, has a lot to offer, too—Arlene J Yandug, Elena L Paulma, Roger Garcia, Zola Gonzalez-Macarambon, Raul G Moldez, Jack Alvarez, and Denver Torres.

And if you happen to be in Mandaluyong, Manila on the 20th of August and would like something fun to do come evening time, check out Bukambibig‘s official launch Dibdiban at Siksikan, which will be held at Splice Resto Bar. Featured performers include Mark Ghosn, Rod Marmol, Rian Magtaan and Valene Lagunzad.

Web Map:

Facebook: Bukambibig PH

Twitter: @BukambibigPh