’twas a magical night, so enchanting where a cloud of tiny water droplets suspended in the atmosphere like floating through an invisible body of water with luscious green moss covering the land ’twas like in a dream where fairy tales do come true that “happily – ever -after” moment of Cinderella and Prince Charming that “true love’s kiss” of Sleeping Beauty from slumber, she shall wake that minute Snowhite singing “I’m Wishing”, attracting the attention of the Prince, who’s passing by on his horse that time Ariel rescued Prince Eric from a shipwreck ’twas like that to be finally with you ’twas like that to kiss you goodnight for the first time ’twas like that to be lying next to you last night ’twas like that to feel you breathing as you sleep ’twas like that to wake up in the middle of the night with your tender kisses ’twas like that to dream a dream with you beside me ’twas like that to see you smile at the first blush of the sunrise ’twas like that to love you and to hold to take care of you and to behold ’twas like that to wish for forever with your body next to me, in synch, in perfect harmony, in thoughtful motion of love eternally
Let’s hold on tight as we watch with delight The sun’s blinding light dancing against the skyline Let’s kiss our sweetest kiss, feel the warmth of the sun Passing through every edge, every corner of the window
Let’s write the sweetest, most passionate lyrical verse In multiple metaphors and crazy hyperbole As the sun’s colors dance elegantly upon the Reflection of your endearing and charming eyes
Let’s sing an enchanting and magical melody of love On top of our lungs, like the world is yours and mine Enjoying every beat, every chorus, every chant As we keep an eye on the sun’s vibrant glow
Baby, let’s stop the clock hold on tight watch with delight The sun’s blinding light dancing against the skyline Reminding us that without each other, life would be like A world without sunshine, without poetry, without melody
And when the sun is out, let’s enjoy basking together In the afterglow of our love
(Ukiah – 3 lines with a syllable count of 7/5/7 and it is required to mono-rhyme!)
“Poetry, fiction as novels or short stories – these are autonomous as created by their authors. They should stand on their own, like pieces of furniture that should be judged as to their usefulness, elegance” – F.Sionel Jose
F. Sionel Jose is one of my Filipino Literary heroes. I was in my first year of High School learning Philippine Literature when I got to love him as a fiction writer and novelist. His works were greatly influenced by the works of the great Dr. Jose P. Rizal. For that alone, I admired him so much, as Dr. Jose P. Rizal is our National Hero and has initiated the end of the 300 years of Spanish colonization in the Philippines. We would have not been the independent country that we are right now if not for the likes of Jose Rizal. And for Sionel Jose’s works to be greatly influenced by the works of Jose Rizal is so admirable.
Recently, Sionel Jose at 96 has been on the headlines in the Philippines for making a commentary on a certain Filipino journalist winning an international award. In return, F. Sionel Jose received tremendous backlash from people all over social media. They have surely forgotten the truth and reality that F. Sionel Jose, is without a doubt one of the Pillars of Philippine Literature, and to receive such disrespect only because he did not agree with what everybody thought to be right is unfairly unjust. And considering these people on social media have been crying for “democracy” “press freedom”, and now they want to silence an old man for speaking his great mind? Yes, Philippine Literature would have not been where it is right now if not for the likes of F. Sionel Jose who believed and instigated the truth about Philippine history and culture, back in the days when very few Filipinos ventured into creative writing. He believed in the minds and hearts of the Filipino people and wrote about it when there were very few who would write about it.
The old man deserves some respect for speaking his mind, and yes, even if it is not in accordance with what you all, believe in.
A Filipino won the recent Nobel Peace Price and was not received so well by many in the Philippines.
For whatever reason, I highly respect and applaud her for winning. But I also believed that we allow others to speak their minds on the matter especially if that someone is F. Sionel Jose. I would not even question or ventured into discussing whether she is deserving or not after all it’s not for me to say it.
A recent Facebook comment by a local TV personality triggered this piece and to quote him “my opinion as a reader – I’ve read your books and I’ve read Maria’s books. She’s a much better writer. Your books are hard to finish. your dialogue is stilted and unrealistic. Even your columns contain little to no insight”. Let me dissect this. (with all due respect if he is not a TV personality I would have easily let this go by. But he is on a national TV network and, I can’t help but wonder, is his network tolerating this kind of commentaries?)
1. Why the need to compare the two writers? And who are we to say that one is better than the other? What’s your basis for saying that? And for someone in the media industry, who I supposed studied Literature (Philippine Literature for that matter) should know better than simply comparing two writers without basis. I would have appreciated it if he made a longer post or article citing his reasons for saying this. (maybe I should wait). I taught Literary Criticism and I am yet to read any authors/writers making such a drastic comparison between two writers. To say that one is better than the other is inappropriate especially in the field of creative writing, mass media, and the likes (maybe if there is anyone here who have read a published article saying that one author/writer is better than the other, please share the link in the comment section)
2. He said “Your books are hard to finish, your dialogue is stilted and unrealistic ”, so what happened to his Literature classes if he found it so hard to finish his (Sionel’s) books? Or didn’t he realize maybe, F. Sionel Jose’s kind of writings does not suit the kind of reading materials he appreciates reading that’s why he is saying this? If yes, then that’s his own personal concern, why bring it up and take it against a great Literary figure? What happens to “we have our own personal reading preferences”? Why use it against Sionel Jose, simply because you do not agree with what he said?
3. Finally, he said “Even your columns contain little to no insight” so are you saying that the National Newspaper (also a pillar of the Philippine Newspaper industry for decades) publishing F. Sionel Jose’s columns was/is not making due diligence by publishing articles that do not make sense at all? I’d love to hear the thoughts of F. Sionel Jose’s publisher and editor on this. Because this statement for me sounds like the editor and the publisher were not doing their jobs for publishing columns of F. Sionel Jose that are “little to no insight”.
My takeaway on this is simple; we surely do not need to agree at all, we do not have the same point of view, and for some reason, we don’t like people taking up against our opinion and point of view; so no need to go ballistic and personal about things and issues that do not conform with our own. What happens to “what is good for you may not necessarily be good for me (and vice – versa)“. And maybe, just maybe, if we are a “prominent personality” with a number of followers and supporters, we should at least be careful with what we say and how we say it on social media. You attack people on the basis of the issues/opinions you both don’t agree upon, and not on a personal basis by destroying the other person. Who knows you could be planting the wrong seed to the minds and the hearts of young Filipino students studying Philippine Literature by saying “my opinion as a reader – I’ve read your books and I’ve read Maria’s books. She’s a much better writer. Your books are hard to finish. your dialogue is stilted and unrealistic. Even your columns contain little to no insight”.
Again, if you don’t agree with the other person’s opinion/s then simply attack him for that. It’s easy to say “he is wrong”, or “what he said is baseless and untrue”, but to attack his works and writings that have been the source of inspiration and basis of contemporary Filipino writers and Literary enthusiasts, and we should not also forget the fact that most if not all of his works were used as part of our Academic curriculum in High School and even in College (and to which I’m sure many literary enthusiasts love, is something that you should actually consider not doing).
Attacking the works and writings of F. Sionel Jose is tantamount to questioning the credibility of our educational system.
F. Sionel Jose is our “National Artist for Literature” and surely the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), (and is conferred by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation by both institutions) did not award him with such high honor if his works and writings are, as written in that Facebook comment “your books are hard to finish. your dialogue is stilted and unrealistic. even your columns contain little tono insight“.
A disrespect not only to F. Sionel Jose, but to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), (and is conferred by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation by both institutions)
F. Sionel Jose
José attended the University of Santo Tomas after World War II, but dropped out and plunged into writing and journalism in Manila. In subsequent years, he edited various literary and journalistic publications, started a publishing house, and founded the Philippine branch of PEN, an international organization for writers. José received numerous awards for his work. The Pretenders is his most popular novel, which is the story of one man’s alienation from his poor background and the decadence of his wife’s wealthy family.
José Rizal‘s life and writings profoundly influenced José’s work. The five-volume Rosales Saga, in particular, employs and integrates themes and characters from Rizal’s work. Throughout his career, José’s writings espouse social justice and change to better the lives of average Filipino families. He is one of the most critically acclaimed Filipino authors internationally, although much underrated in his own country because of his authentic Filipino English and his anti-elite views.
In his regular column, Hindsight, in The Philippine STAR, dated 12 September 2011, he wrote “Why we are shallow”, blaming the decline of Filipino intellectual and cultural standards on a variety of modern amenities, including media, the education system—particularly the loss of emphasis on classic literature and the study of Greek and Latin—and the abundance and immediacy of information on the Internet.
Five of José’s works have won the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature: his short stories The God Stealer in 1959, Waywaya in 1979, Arbol de Fuego (Firetree) in 1980, his novel Mass in 1981, and his essay A Scenario for Philippine Resistance in 1979.
Since the 1980s, various award-giving bodies have feted José with awards for his outstanding works and for being an outstanding Filipino in the field of literature. His first award was the 1979 City of Manila Award for Literature which was presented to him by ManilaMayorRamon Bagatsing. The following year, he was given the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts. Among his other awards during that period include the Outstanding Fulbrighters Award for Literature (1988) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines Award (Gawad para sa Sining) for Literature (1989).
By the turn of the century, José continued to receive recognition from several award-giving bodies. These include the Cultural Center of the Philippines Centennial Award in 1999, the prestigious Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 2000, and the Order of Sacred Treasure (Kun Santo Zuiho Sho) in 2001. In that same year, the Philippine government bestowed upon him the prestigious title of National Artist for Literature for his outstanding contributions to Philippine literature. In 2004, José has garnered the coveted Pablo Neruda Centennial Award in Chile. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._Sionil_)
Famous Quotes by F. Sionel Jose
“I write to please myself—of course, that is a given. But beyond this reach for pleasure, I know that I write for my countrymen, that they may be lifted from apathy and ignorance. I write because of a compulsion to make something out of the nothing that is my own life.”
“We write from life and call it literature, and literature lives because we are in it.”
“When you love someone, that love has no limit, no measure, because you know in your deepest being that when that love demands sacrifice, you will give it without question. You will not look for reasons, for justification – the act of giving, of sacrificing, is a natural compulsion, like breathing, and it will, in the end, surprise you because you did it without second thoughts.”
“No man stops caring as long as he breathes. As long as he has a mind and memory, he will care. This is what separates us from the animals. We have feelings.”
“Time will come that all that we love, we will eventually lose, and all that we hate we will eventually face.”
“You will find that our enemies are our own kin. It is they who betray us. So learn this most important lesson-in the end, our worst enemy is ourselves”
“We compromise ourselves the day we are born. If we are looking for the original sin, there it is- our incapacity to live honestly with ourselves because we are human, because we are shackled by custom, by obligations and we accept compromise only in the light of our conscience, answerable as we are only to ourselves.”
the Manila skyline is covered with a blazing orange sunset, they say it’s pink, does it really matter? not for me whose only memory of the sunset is you, you on that fateful afternoon baby, the sunset is all that i ever had of you it is what reminds me of you, of your eyes burning with love, burning with passion, burning with desire and as the sunset slowly emerged with the night sky baby we knew, we fell hardly, hardly in love and along the busy street of Recto across the Mendiola intersection where humans were worst traffic than the moving vehicles we navigated our way in silence, in deep harrowing silence
the sun went down, the traffic was cleared and so was our chance, our only chance at love and like that fateful afternoon, everytime we say adieu baby i am broken in pieces, in a million pieces and a million more the kind of brokenness that is inexplicable my mind is completely blank my heart is totally shattered my soul is absolutely beaten
one fateful afternoon, one sunset (doesn’t matter whether orange or pink) one lost love, two broken hearts two lost souls forever and here i am trying to make sense of everything through rhythm and rhyme through words and syllables through lines and verses
and, as my words don’t even make sense or my syllables can’t find their rhythm nor my verses barely create a thought i think of you, of you and of our love on that fateful afternoon, as the sun set, that afternoon, the Manila skyline turned into a raging orange sky, there was me there was you, there was love
Manila skyline, in perfect orange hue that’s how i loved you.
in a land where magic happens where supernatural forces make impossible things possible, such as making people disappear or controlling events in nature i look for you…
in a land where fairy tales are true where “once upon a time” is now where princesses, talking animals, evil queens, witches, and goblins live in perfect harmony i look for you
in a land where the past and future collide where technology meets nature at its finest where humans and androids are buddies where homes are flying up in the sky and the land below is nothing but a reflection of a blissful life i look for you