Forevermore (A short story from a participant in our writing workshop for teens)

BY PAOLO CHUA

The end of the world happened on December 21, 2012 just as the Mayans predicted. After World War 3, meteors rained down from the sky. The ground shook so hard that thousands of tsunamis happened. After all these natural disasters, only one man survived.
This man woke up two days after the apocalypse and found his wife and kids dead. He spent day after day searching for supplies and survivors to keep his mind off the deaths of his family.
Months later, he had found no survivors and was running out of supplies. Months of solitude has also driven him to the brink of insanity. A few days later, his supplies ran out and he decided that there was’nt anything left for him in this world so he decided to take his own life.
After finding a high enough cliff, he closed his eyes and jumped. The sound of his body hitting the ground was the last sound on Earth. Now the world is silent and will be silent forevermore.

Paolo Chua is a past participant of “The Write Stuff: A Writing Lab for Teens“. He wrote this piece during the workshop’s writing exercise portion. Paolo loves playing games and reading books. He gets his writing prompts and ideas from such games and books. He likes writing poems and making up stories when he has the time.

*Want to contribute to WritersBlockPhilippines.com?

Just email your article ideas to writersblock.ph@gmail.com.

 

Vacancy Announcement: Assistant (Editorial)

Vacancy Notice No: WPRO/12/TASR13

Title: Assistant (Editorial)
Grade: G7
Contract type: Temporary Appointment under Staff Rule 420.4
Duration of contract:  Initially 6 months

Application Deadline: 11 May 2012
Duty Station:  Manila, Philippines
Organization unit: WPRO Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WP/RGO) /
WP/RDO Office of the Regional Director (WP/RDO)
WP/PIO Public Information (WP/PIO)

Please click  wbpadminPosted on Categories OpportunitiesLeave a comment on Vacancy Announcement: Assistant (Editorial)

Discovery Reports Limited is looking for a Business Writer

Discovery Reports Limited produces business development advertorial reports that feature a wide variety of companies in a country.  These reports appear in Asia’s leading English-language newspaper.

Responsibilities:

       Transcribe interviews

       Write business articles and corporate profiles on global companies

       Edit articles

       Proofread reports

       Conduct research on companies operating in different sectors and countries

       Work from home full time during different shifts with tight deadlines

Requirements:

       At least 5 years of working experience in business writing is required for this position

       Applicants should be detail oriented, conscientious, proactive, self-motivated and willing to learn, adjust and adapt to the various demands and requirements of the job

       Applicants must possess at least a Bachelor’s/College Degree in any field

       Required skill(s): Internet, Windows

       Required language(s): English

       Applicants must be willing to work from home FULL TIME

       Applicants should be Filipino citizens or hold relevant residence status

Benefits:

       You will be able to work from home.

       Aside from the basic pay, you will also receive electricity and internet allowances.

       Health insurance and SSS benefits are also provided

Interested applicants should email their CV together with a copy of at least 2 writing samples to jobs@discoveryreports.com or thrum.sucgang@discoveryreports.com

Living the joy of travel writing

“It doesn’t matter where or how far you go… the important thing is how alive you are. Writing of every kind is a way to wake oneself up and keep as alive as when one has just fallen in love.”

~ Pico Iyer, prolific travel writer and bestselling book author

By Niña Terol-Zialcita

 

“It doesn’t matter where or how far you go… the important thing is how alive you are. Writing of every kind is a way to wake oneself up and keep as alive as when one has just fallen in love.”  

~ Pico Iyer, prolific travel writer and bestselling book author

 

I can still remember how my arms had felt like falling off on that day. One of my best friends promised to prepare a surprise itinerary for me, and I, in turn, promised to go along with whatever she had planned. I stepped out in a green summer dress, not realizing that the agenda for the day was to row a small boat for over two hours straight. My muscles were sore, my ego was a bit bruised over driving the boat onto the bank a number of times, but after a while none of that mattered anymore.

Rowing along the Venise Vert

I was rowing a boat in the Venise Vert (the “Green Venice”, more properly known as Marais Poitevin), France’s largest marsh on the Atlantic Coast, and just a short drive away was La Rochelle, the beautiful seaside town where Parisians go when they want to escape la vie Parisienne. Later on, we drove to another waterfront location, and as I touched the sea foam with my bare hands, my friend’s husband pointed out, “You are at the tip of the Atlantic Ocean!”

I was at the tip of the Atlantic Ocean. I dipped my hands into the water and imagined myself connecting to all the other countries and peoples on the other side of the water. Then I raised my arms to embrace the wind and face the setting sun, and I closed my eyes while taking a long, deep breath.

It was the most wonderful feeling in the world.

At the tip of the Atlantic Ocean

* * *

That trip to La Rochelle was made possible, in part, by a short journalism program that I had taken just a week prior in Prague, the Czech Republic. I was 30 and a bit too old to be going back to school, but it was the perfect opportunity to fuse three of the things that make me feel truly alive: writing, traveling, and connecting with people of different cultures.

And since I was going to be in Europe anyway, I made plans to extend my trip to France, then I contacted editors to pitch stories featuring my two next destinations: Paris and La Rochelle. During my 24-hour stay in Paris, I explored as much of the city as I could, then I wrote a guide to exploring “Paris in a Hurry” (asianTraveler, October 2010). Meanwhile, during my three-day stay in La Rochelle, I explored the quiet but beautiful side of French country living, and that’s where the piece “French Retreat” (Manila Bulletin, February 20, 2011) was born.

 

The truth is, I was never much of a traveler before that experience, but it was the joy of writing about my travels that encouraged me to travel some more (instead of the other way around). I realized that, in writing about my experiences, I was immortalizing these journeys in print; therefore, I had to seek out experiences worthy of being immortalized. I didn’t want to simply write about ordinary activities and everyday events; I wanted to document extraordinary moments and milestones, or at least adventures in places outside of my usual confines.

Moreover, it was through travel writing that I realized that it was really the journey that meant much more to me than simply the destination. I wanted to explore not just the “must-sees” and the “to-dos” of a place, but its spirit, its voice, its relationship with the people who live in it. To me, a place is more than just the sum of the things and experiences that one can find in it; a place has its own personality, its own soul. Thus, to me, the joy of travel writing lies in discovering that soul and giving it life (or, more accurately, interpreting it) in one’s own voice.

Of course, it’s a bit more difficult than it seems—but, again, that’s where the joy of discovery lies. As we travel and learn more about the world around us, we also learn more about ourselves and the world within us. And as we discover the voices of the world and distinguish its different nuances, we also discover the nuances of our own writing voice—and so this fascinating cycle is perpetuated. We travel to write, and then we write to travel. The best part of it all is being able to share this joie de vivre with others and somehow inspire others to take their own journeys.

Take a walk

To borrow another thought from Pico Iyer:

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again—to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”

Here’s to falling in love over and over again—and to immortalizing those precious memories and experiences on print.

 

Niña Terol-Zialcita is one of the facilitators of “Travel the Write Way”, a one-day travel writing workshop by Writer’s Block Philippines. It runs on Saturday, April 28 (10AM to 6PM) at co.lab, 4/F Optima Building, Salcedo Street, Legaspi Village, Makati. For reservations and inquiries, visit www.writersblockphilippines.com, email writersblock.ph@gmail.com, or call/text (0927) 850 8280. Read more of Niña’s adventures in her blog, Little Rich Girl.

 

How writing can make your dreams come true

It seems to me that my love story with writing—or with words, in particular—has gone on for as long as I can remember.

By Niña Terol-Zialcita

It seems to me that my love story with writing—or with words, in particular—has gone on for as long as I can remember.

I was three years old when I learned how to read, and I remember how it used to be my version of the “song and dance” for titos and titas. Instead of being asked to perform cute little songs for our visitors, my parents would bring out the newspaper and ask me to read (although I loved to sing Lea Salonga’s “I am but a small voice”, too, back then.) The first word I can remember reading was “business”—which I had read as “boo-see-ness”. Other words soon followed: “Tabasco” (my parents loved hot sauce), “Crayola” (I still love crayons until now), and so on. My parents showered me with all sorts of storybooks and workbooks, and I also had a private tutor who sounded like Ms. Tina Monzon-Palma and who showed me the beauty of words and language. From the time I had first encountered words, I was already hooked.

But the real magic of words revealed itself to me through my late grandfather’s big, heavy typewriter. A former Air Force and airline pilot who loved to read, my grandfather also found plenty of reasons to write. I remember waking up to the “clackety-clack” of his typewriter and seeing him immersed in the papers on his desk. I often wondered what my lolo was doing, until I received my first typewritten birthday card from him. Then I realized: my lolo was writing! He was using that big machine to type words!

And then the thought entered my head: what if I learned how to type, too?

It was then—in the age before iPads, laptops, and even computers—that I resolved to buy myself a typewriter. I was nine years old when I bought my first portable typewriter, and it was also at this time when I started to imagine myself as Carolyn Keene (creator of the Nancy Drew series). I would make my own versions of mystery stories and whodunits, and I found myself creating my own adventures. I loved how I didn’t have to leave my room in order to encounter new characters and new worlds, and I loved how I could create my own happy endings.

Although I was already madly in love with books by that time, I was even more enamored of the idea that I would someday create my own books and publications.

At age eleven, I declared to my mother: “Someday, I’m going to create my own magazine. Not the type with celebrities on the cover, but the type that shows stories of real people.”

* * *

Fast forward to today, over 20 years from the time I first declared that I was going to publish my own magazine. I have been using and living with words for over 10 years now, and I have managed to build a fairly comfortable life doing what I love best. I have worked as a communicator for various types of organizations, I have written and produced materials for all types of clients, I have written for all sorts of publications and magazines, and I have used words to inspire people to move toward positive change.

Most importantly, I have already gotten a taste of what it’s like to publish my own books and magazines. Thanks to my work with corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, I’ve been able to produce books, magazines, and websites of all kinds featuring the stories and experiences of real people. I’ve experienced the thrill of creating something from scratch and then seeing the final product of intense collaboration with photographers, designers, and all sorts of creative people. I’ve touched and smelled new books with the satisfaction of knowing that these were my books—made out of my vision, my hard work, my network, my words.

Thanks to words and to my decision to turn writing into a career, I’ve been able to design my lifestyle in a way that combines all the things that matter to me and all the things I love best—such as art, travel, advocacy, creativity, and innovation. I’ve traveled for free, met people from all parts of the globe, and have taken my writing to places that were once just part of my dreamboard. (In 2009, I married the love of my life while in the Homeless World Cup in Milan, Italy—thanks to his work as a performance artist and my work as a journalist.)

Not only have I been able to work in environments that inspire me, I’ve also been able to explore my own creativity in ways that I didn’t think was possible.

All these, I have done while paying the bills, supporting a family, and building a life that tries to add a bit more meaning into the world.

* * *

So, you might ask me, have I already fulfilled the desire that the eleven-year-old me had once declared?

You can say that—but, to me, I’m just getting started.

For in this age of digital formats, free information, and global connectivity, we really are just scratching the surface of what we can do with words. We once thought that words were just confined to books, newspapers, and magazines—then we discovered websites and non-print media. After that, we realized that anyone can now become a writer, editor, and publisher all rolled into one thanks to blogging. Enter social media, and now we’re seeing that we can power and change the world using status updates and 140-character tweets. There is so much that we can do with words—and all these, we can use to create a career and a life that we love.

So the next time your parents ask you, with trepidation, if you still want to be a writer, tell them that you’re not going to be just any writer. Tell them that you’re going to discover new worlds, create unique adventures, build your own ideas, explore new possibilities, make money (of course), make your dreams come true, and—maybe, just maybe—change the world through words.

 

Niña Terol-Zialcita is a co-founder of Writer’s Block Philippines, and will be one of the facilitators of “The Write Stuff: a writing lab for teens,” a one-day workshop running on April 21 (Saturday), 10AM to 6PM at co.lab xchange, Unit 301 3/F #3 Brixton Street, Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig City. Find out how you can make your own dreams come true through writing at www.writersblockphilippines.com. For inquiries and reservations, email writersblock.ph@gmail.com or call/text (0927) 850 8280.

NBDB leads national celebration of World Book and Copyright Day

On April 22, 2012, the Philippines will celebrate the 2012 World Book and Copyright Day with a one-of-a-kind “school fair” at the Planas Garden , Quezon Memorial Circle . 
 
The National Book Development Board, the Quezon City Government, and IPO Philippines have partnered with FILCOLS, FILSCAP, and Vibal Publishing to organize a special celebration for the general public, highlighting the importance of books and copyright. The free event will be from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
 
Just like a real fair, booths will be set up and prizes will be given away. There will also be special shows, including a segment by WANLU, the famous ventriloquist, at 2:00 p.m. Other activities include storytelling, poetry reading, and free picture-taking with a “pirate” and other crime lords, to draw the public’s attention to the fact that piracy is a punishable crime. This photo booth will be put up by Filipinas Copyright Licensing Society, Inc. (FILCOLS). 
 
For more information, please get in touch with Beverly Siy through 09193175708(beverlysiy@gmail.com).
 

Travel the Write Way: FAQs

TRAVEL THE WRITE WAY: Turn Your Vacations into Travel Articles
GUIDE TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)

 ————

WHAT ARE THE DETAILS OF THE WORKSHOP?

What: Travel the Write Way: Turn Your Vacations Into Travel Articles
When: April 28, 2012, Saturday
, 10AM to 6PM
Where: co.Lab 4th Floor Optima Building, Salcedo Street, Legaspi Village, Makati 

WHO IS THIS WORKSHOP FOR?

Oftentimes, when you travel to another country or visit one of the Philippines’ many islands, the place becomes not just a tourist destination but an object of deep affection—a source of fierce pride, an overwhelming attachment, or a wellspring of memories and inspiration.

Vacations and beautiful places bring out a multitude of emotions—ranging from adrenaline rushes, nostalgia, awe, sometimes even humility at the majesty of nature when we see what she has created, or at the sheer brilliance of the human mind which has created many man-made wonders.

If you’ve ever traveled to another place, felt this way and wanted to write about it, “Travel the Write Way” will help you get started on another journey—one where you can turn your vacations into travel articles and immortalize your memories on print.

WHAT CAN I LEARN AT THIS WORKSHOP?

Whether you’re just starting out as a feature writer or have been published in the past and want to foray into travel writing, “Travel the Write Way” will teach you all the basics to help you get your travel pieces published.

In this one-day workshop, we’ll dissect the elements of travel features and what makes them unique, then we’ll look at the different building blocks of great travel pieces and show you how YOU can write one yourself. And thanks to the collective experience of our editor-founders, you’ll get inside tips, tricks, and writing techniques gleaned from over 20 years of writing, traveling, getting to know people and cultures, and making editors and readers happy. As always, we will end the workshop with a writing session and a critique of your work so that you can get instant feedback on your draft.

Whether you’re a veteran of press trips or just love to travel during your off-work days, this workshop will teach you how to create unique story angles that will make you stand out from other writers in the pack.

WHAT DOES THE P2,500 COURSE FEE COVER?

The P2,500 per head course fee covers

•    Course fee
•    Light snacks + drink
•    Workbook 

HOW CAN I PAY FOR THE WORKSHOP?

You can pay for the workshop via PayPal which you can access on 

www.writersblockphilippines.com 

or you can deposit your payment to

Bank: BPI
Account name: Writer’s Block Training Services
Account number: Savings account 1759 0377 11

Once you’ve made the deposit, please email us a copy of the deposit slip so we can send you an Acknowledgment Receipt.

WHO IS CONDUCTING THE WORKSHOP?

The workshop will be conducted by Writer’s Block Philippines, a group of editors and communicators who have collectively had more than 20 years of experience in writing for publications and for a wide variety of corporate clients.

Ana is associate editor of Illustrado, a lifestyle magazine for expatriate Filipinos living in the Gulf. Nikka is a contributing editor of Smile, the inflight magazine of Cebu Pacific. Nina was formerly editor-in-chief of asianTraveler, the Philippines’ longest-running travel magazine. Together, their experiences in traveling and writing make for a valuable resource that school will not teach you about the industry.

Website: www.writersblockphilippines.com

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING TO THE WORKSHOP?

Please bring whatever writing materials you’ll need to take notes.  (Laptops are not advisable, as there might not be enough outlets in the venue.) For added inspiration, bring anything from a favorite travel destination, as well as some of your favorite travel photos, travel articles, or even your favorite travel magazine. We may be referring to them from time to time throughout the workshop.

As a provision, you may also want to bring a sweater or light jacket.

You may also take your lunch in any of the nearby restaurants or bring food that we can heat at the workshop venue.

My Easter Sunday

BY DONNA JUNE BEDANA

Fireworks happily danced and crackled across the dawn sky bidding the festive celebration of the Risen Christ. It was Easter Sunday. The whole Catholic Christiandom was in jubilation. Jesus’ sufferings were over and the demon of death was defeated.

Consequently, it was also the first time I have attended the Filipino Catholic tradition of Salubong, which was proceeded by street liturgical mass. I attended a street party before, yes, but not a street Eucharistic celebration.

I was in tears; deep, meaningful and intense tears. Something that I was not ashamed of, though I was only a pixel in this picture of throng of hundreds people, who flocked to the streets mainly to witness this joyful yearly event.

I was one with the crowd, obedient to what the priest asked us to do, “greet the persons beside you, ‘Maligayang Pagkabuhay ni Kristo. Buti buhay ka pa!.’ I reacted with a faint breath of sarcasm and childish complaint.

More than an hour ago, my mother, Nanay Marcia, bid farewell to the mortal world. And if you would ask me why in the world am I in this kind of event, I hardly knew the answer. Maybe because Philippines is dominated by Catholicism that I got no way of escaping it since in each town and city, there is a parish church, and in this special occasion, a mass even at four early in the morning.

Coming straight from work where I found out what happened through a text message, at 3:10 in the morning, I was looking for an enclosed, dark and quiet place to bring out this burden in my chest through crying out.  I thought of adoration chapel. I found none. The adoration chapel of the nearby famous parish, Edsa Shrine which is just across our office building was closed at pass three in the morning. I was brought instead to this dawn Salubong procession.

The taxi I was in, on its way to the Pasig Church, was physically halted by the orange barriers coupled with the signal from the traffic enforcer donning a ready question, “boss, where’s your destination?” I interrupted their conversation with, “Kuya, dito na lang po.” Upon coming off from the cab, it took me sometime to realize that organizers of the event were readying themselves for the start of the procession. Two lines of people trailed off the carriage (karo) where the statue of the Risen Christ was standing, devotees held long thin candles with wide white round cardboards to catch and protect the hand from the melting wax. Later on, waiting believers from the roadside joined and walked along with them erasing the clear twain queue. I got no choice but to follow since there was no way I would find myself opposing the direction of this mass of marching people.

I was in tears. Asking why I was here when I would have been venting out somewhere in an isolated place. But the scenario was no less perfect. I was bereaving when the statue of wounded Risen Christ, in all its glory welcomed me instead. It was set at pitch black background, intensifying more the significance of the event that the light overcame the darkness, with fresh and immaculately white flowers surrounding the image replete with the light bulbs seating in the laboriously designed intertwining wrought irons.

At the Junction of the city’s main streets, which was also surrounded by major traditional and urban landmarks: the church, the plaza, the public library, 711, Jollibee and McDonalds, was where Jesus Christ and Mama Mary met. With my near-sighted vista, I can only see Mama Mary in a blur though I can tell she wears blue and she was of course, beautiful.

“Papuri sa Diyos sa kaitaasan..,” the large speakers found on our right side blared the melodious voice of the priest signalling the start of the holy mass.

All throughout the mass, my eyes were swimming in bittersweet tears, wondering if Nanay’s soul went up to the heaven in upward wavy motion just like those released decorated balloons . I was looking up to the sky. Fireworks ensued bringing the expectant crowd behaved in awe, and I was left thinking if it was right for them to do this: celebrating while I’m bereaving. I realized though, the people flocked here for God, the centrepiece, the very reason for all of these efforts. I was mourning just for one person. Maybe it’s just right. They would not understand the broiling emotion inside of me though. Never.

In one week time, her body would finally be laid to rest. It will be the Divine Mercy Sunday and the day our dear Pope John Paul II will be beatified in Vatican City. It would also be the day of St. Joseph.

They said with all of these significant events, there was no way there would not be a reason for this. Nanay was welcomed by the Risen Christ already. Since she died, her message through prayers was consistent, “you don’t have to be sad, I’m in a happy place and I will sure look over you and your siblings with your father. We will intercede for you.

The greatest relief there was that she will no longer be suffering, collectively punctuated by Aplastic Anemia and later on, Hypoplastic Anemia, Urinary Tract Infection, Pneumonia, Tuberuclosis, heart attack, and the lengthy, intense and undue stress and injustice she got from our illegal-settler neighbours, her experience from her “Judge” boss and the hardship she underwent with getting her retirement pension, which she never enjoyed after 27 years in the government service in two agencies and two among three branches of the government: executive and judiciary.

Life goes on for the four of us. Now that she’s gone, I realized how heavy a reason she wAas for me to endure the demands, specially the stress of working for almost five years in the call center industry. Now that she’s gone, I don’t think I would have that much “drive,” that I can now let go of it and finally pursue what I would really want to do. Or do something more noble. Maybe take a look around and be a solution to the social and environment problems the modern society is facing. I don’t know.

Surprisingly, even though I’m on my late 20s, those who said that I should not marry yet are married people. And that I should enjoy life now that I am free of the “breadwinner” responsibility. I was wondering if it ever crossed my mind back then to wish to release me of this responsibility in this manner. Never. Who would? I came to terms that I’m not that bad a person as I thought. Although it was more than a dream come true to become main provider. I just asked God to help my family then but he made me the main provider. If others would want to shop with clothes and shoes, I found joy to do the grocery for the family. The thrill of “would they like this?” was just cool for me. And if I had to do it a thousand times, I would if that is the kind of service God wills me to do.

Moving on? Sure I will. But I don’t know how soon or on which way. I will decide on which path to take after the interment. One thing I’m sure of, her death will bring a lot of change in me. In us. I will be guided by her message for me to live the life to the fullest and to live in Christ. Although I wish that message came without her life being taken away.

This Easter Sunday is memorable. Had I known this will come, I may have not wanted for this to be realized. On second thought, had this been the day that she will be taken off with all the worldly saddle, then I would have wanted it sooner.

My last two Good Fridays were memorable. They were recorded on my journal. I was wondering if how it will go this year. Then Good Friday came and went by without something significant. I thought maybe it’s not just that conspicuous that I had to dig deeper with the puny and simple, perhaps even routinary activities I did that day. Little did I know that the “important” thing that will happen will be found out two days after: that it was the last Good Friday of nanay, her 64th.

Her “last breath” breathes life anew to us. There is no accident they say. Her dying on Easter Sunday signifies new life.

I hope that I will live up to the kind of God-guided life that she urges me to do. If this will be the start of my living a brand new life without her, but a better one bringing out the best in me, so be it. It was pure sacrifice. Something that my mother would have prayed for. Something that God did for all of us on Good Friday and fulfilled on Easter Sunday. Never was the message of Easter Sunday this glaring in my whole span of life until this year. Never.

Donna June Bendaña lives in Binangonan, Rizal. For the past seven years, she has worked in a law office and the Business Processing Outsourcing industry. After her mother passed away, she went on a six-month sabbatical and decided to revive and pursue her interest and passion for writing. Donna is a budget traveler, supporter of Filipino talents and products, and a newspaper trash art creator.

*Want to contribute to WritersBlockPhilippines.com?

Just email your article ideas to writersblock.ph@gmail.com.