/page/2

Learn more about TAYO Literary Magazine. This public service announcement was directed by Patrick Epino. We give many thanks to Patrick and the FilAm Creative for their collaboration. Those involved in the video are executive director Kristine Co, creative director Melissa Sipin, business development director Justin de la Torre, and our good friend Mario Salazar.

—-

Jun-Jun Sta.Ana resides in Chicago, Illinois, and was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. Sta.Ana has shown his work extensively across the United States, the Philippines, and Russia and has had museum shows at the Vargas Museum in Manila, the Portsmouth Museum of Art in New Hampshire, the Negros Museum in Bacolod City, Philippines, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. He was shortlisted for the 1st Ateneo Art Awards in 2004 and the public art competition of the Fullerton Station of the Brown Line Train of the Chicago Transit Authority in 2009. He is a also an Avellana Art Gallery Tower 4 residency recipient for 2011.

—-

Eliseo Art Silva is a weaver of history and heritage. Silva was internationally recognized at the age of 22 for creating the largest street art (his first ever public art) of Filipino heritage in the United States—a 150 foot masterpiece which was featured by the Smithsonian Institute, LA County Museum of Art and BEP’s MTV “Where is the Love?” Fifteen years later, he has painted over a hundred urban cultural landscapes in both the east and west coast, creating sites of public memory for almost every ethnic community in the United States. Silva’s work tells stories that are grounded upon layers of culture, creating a kind of contemporary folk art that attempts to find the border between mass culture and contemporary realism.

—-

Jan-Michael Cariaga is an entertainment artist/storyteller based in Los Angeles. He is extremely passionate about film and the human experience. He loves dance, street culture, and has always felt he had an immigrant soul. He’s always on the move. Wherever he’s at, if he can make you laugh, smile, or touch your heart, he has done his job.

Poetry: “It can be a bad thing to be lost” by Aimee Suzara

Poem

—-

Aimee Suzara has been sharing poetry and multidisciplinary performance since 1999.  Her play, Pagbabalik (Return) appeared in festivals in 2006-7 and she is working on her second, A History of the Body, both supported by the Zellerbach Family Foundation. Recently, she collaborated with Amara Tabor Smith and Deep Waters Dance Theater for the food-justice themed dance theater piece, Our Daily Bread. Her poems appear in several journals and anthologies such as Kartika Review, 580 Split, Lantern Review and Walang Hiya: Literature Taking Risks Toward Liberatory PracticeCheck the Rhyme: An Anthology of Female Poets and Emcees and Poets (Lit Noire Press) and her chapbook, the space between (Finishing Line Press). She’s been featured as a spoken word artist throughout the SF Bay Area and nationally, including at Stanford, Mt. Holyoke College, Portland State University, and UC Santa Cruz.  An advocate for the intersection of arts and literacy, she is a creative writing lecturer at Cal State University Monterey and leads workshops in poetry and performance for youth and adults. www.aimeesuzara.net

Creative Nonfiction: "Philippine Hip Hop’s Golden Age? Battle of the Beats seeks competition and cooperation to reignite hip hop,” by Mark Villegas


Communion 

“I‟m a-I‟m a Filipino til I die, til I die,” the “bad” voice repeats as Genius Ears of Paro Paro Beats steps away from the controls and stomps hard at the front of the stage. He dangles his arms and head at the lull of the beat and flexes his neck at the snare in a krump gesture. Children unclasp tiny grips on mothers to commence dance floor bouncing.

At this moment, Genius is the preacher and the audience the eager congregation. On the opposite side of the Battle of the Beats stage, B-Roc with baseball cap low grins and exchanges daps with Genius as the beat flourishes and annunciates like an inspiring sermon.

But tonight is not really a battle. Tonight is a jubilant communion of the faithful.

The Battle of the Beats showcase at Teatrino in Greenhills, Metro Manila on July 15th, 2011 is intended to exhibit a certain standard of sound, but instead of listening like passive spectators, the crowd hollers out for Genius Ears in his moment of ecstasy.

According to Battle of the Beats organizers Chill and Sam Rhansum of the event production group Red Alert Entertainment, the salvo—a showcase of twelve top-notch Philippine-based beat producers—represents a turning point for Philippine hip hop, which is often seen as dead to the ears of the Philippine public. Tonight, Filipino hip hop believers testify with hands raised.

The Renaissance 

When he arrived in the Philippines, Sam Rhansum could not believe it. It is common to hear music echoing in public areas around the islands, but the hip hop music blaring from a corner store had special meaning for Rhansum because he produced the beat and spits the last verse. “From the Far East to the ATL” rings the chorus in the club banger “The Shining” by the Filipino megacrew The Renaissance. As he listened to the knock, Atlanta-based Rhansum—who has made music for BET and MTV—knew the Philippines had a unique place in the continuing story of hip hop.

“The Philippines has a very musical culture,” Rhansum reflects as we chat together with Chill at a café in one of Metro Manila‟s ubiquitous shopping malls. His shaved head, tinted shades, white tee, and dangling chain marks a certain American Southern hip hop style, but his white skin marks his seemingly “outsider” status within the fabric of the Philippines‟ social landscape. Nonetheless, he expresses his faith in a Philippine musical turn-around of which he wishes to contribute. He gleams excitedly: “The Philippines has the potential to blow up with hip hop.”

For Chill, the Philippines‟ musical soundscape does not come as a surprise. As a pioneer in the hip hop movement in the Philippines in the 1990s, she already knows the impressive reach of a Filipino hip hop audience. As a teenager, she signed with Sony Music and demonstrated her dynamism by producing her own beats. Chill collaborated with popular Philippine artists such as the hip hop group Sun Valley Crew. At a time when hip hop and rock were seen as musical enemies in the Philippines, she performed alongside big rock acts such as Wolfgang, Razorback, Eraserheads, Greyhoundz, RiverMaya, and Sandwich to name a few. Filipino hip hoppers will know her feel-good anthems, such as “Party All Night.”

For Chill, hip hop has seen brighter days. After a hiatus of which included fashion school in the United States, she is back in Manila with a mission to reignite Philippine hip hop’s popularity. “We want to put the eye back on the urban scene once again,” she describes the purpose of Red Alert.

Wiser with experience and willing to take risks, Chill understands the changes that have occurred since the 1990s. For one, hip hop never disappeared completely but actually blossomed into a serious, disciplined craft for many Filipino performers in the “underground.” Different regions of Metro Manila—from the South in Las Pinas to the North in Quezon City and all places in between and beyond—have developed their own hip hop musical “sounds.” Other regions of the Philippines outside of Metro Manila now boast their own crucibles of hip hop.

The biggest change, it seems, is that hip hop artists no longer monetize like they used to. Without industry support—especially from record companies and live show venues—hip hop has lost material capital. “If there is no place for hip hop, make one. You need to show and prove,” Chill states defiantly.

As a teenager, she proved how defiance can produce results. When skeptical industry heads would not sign her, she did what any smart businesswoman would do: she gathered the type of rappers that appealed to record labels, made their beats, and signed them to the same labels that rejected her. This arrangement proved lucrative as these acts soon blew up and garnered a steady audience. She produced their live shows, where she performed a quick set of her own. “The industry people saw I had my own following at these shows, so they signed me.” Sony Music released her first album Chillin 1997.

Hip Hop Cosmopolitan, Hip Hop Jologs 

But 2011 isn‟t 1997. The notorious “jologs” stigma that has always been attached to hip hop in the Philippines since the genre emerged in the country has morphed into different—often contradictory—forms. In the 1990s when hip hop monetized, “jologs”— which roughly translates as “ghetto,” uncultured, or kitsch—was complemented by hip hop‟s newness and cosmopolitan flair.

In the early 1990s, MTV had arrived in the Philippines in the guise of MTV Asia and access to hip hop became easier than ever before. Franchesca Casauay, director of the Akei Popular Music Working Group at the University of the Philippines and radio personality at Metro Manila-based Sari-Sari Sounds Radio, remembers when hip hop popularized: “I used to stay up until 3:00 am everyday and tuned into MTV and watched videos and discovered new artists and music genres.”

Many Filipino American expatriates to the “motherland” benefited from hip hop‟s cosmopolitan qualities. MastaPlann made it big in the Philippine music industry after signing with Universal Records. After migrating to the Philippines in 1992 from California, the crew soon became one of the most successful hip hop groups in the country, partly due to their English-speaking lyrics that remains associated with a more cosmopolitan crowd.

At the same time, record producers demanded a brand of hip hop “jologs” in Tagalog they believed would sell among the larger lower class in the country.

But this harmony would not last. When rock bands became the golden staple of the music industry and Philippine hip hop became strongly connoted with the much-maligned “jologs” stigma, the metaphoric “eye” turned away from Philippine hip hop artists. Industry stakeholders withdrew their faith in the capitalizing power of hip hop and invested in “safer” live band acts.

As capital‟s fickle affection committed itself to rock bands, MastaPlann decided to leave the Philippine music scene only to return last year—thirteen years later—for a reunion concert where they were celebrated as living legends of Philippine hip hop.

If one counts the early influences of Francis M and other Filipino hip hop pioneers in the 1980s, the Philippines has more than two decades of hip hop culture pulsating through its veins. Given the Philippines‟ tortuous relationship to the culture, is the country ready to put the “eye” on hip hop once again?

Iron Sharpens Iron 

Red Alert Entertainment hopes to recapture the industry‟s attention. Dotting the crowd at the July 15th event were representatives from Viva Records, MCA/Universal, Audio Clef, and Hit Productions, just to name a few. These special guests were treated to some of the Philippines‟ finest acts. Accompanying the quality sound of Metro Manila‟s premiere beat makers were rap and R&B performances by Q-York, Mike Kosa, and The Renaissance (JOLO, Mary, Jazze, Pikaso, Rhansum, Ron Thug and Gene Roca) to top off the “standard” of hip hop music Red Alert Entertainment seeks to set.

With the mostly English-speaking emcees and singers and a cohort of Fil Ams among the beat makers (Pikaso, who is originally from California, says he represents “Philafornia”), it appears Red Alert is formulating a “standard” that leans more towards a once successful cosmopolitan hip hop sound.

With the stage now set, Rhansum believes hungry producers will be urged to pump out more quality beats, which Red Alert considers to be the backbone of hip hop. To be clear, Battle of the Beats is not limited to just one night. The showcase “battlers” of July 15th will serve as judges for the bona fide battles that are programmed twice a month for the next six months. “Competition breeds quality,” recites Rhansum.

The winner of the entire tournament will receive a complete set of professional studio equipment and an official introduction to networks within the Philippine music industry. “Instead of fighting over crumbs, we can all work together to make cake,” Rhansum comments on the way Philippine hip hop artists have been scrounging for compensation for the past decade. Battle of the Beats aspires to be a powerful medium to bring the best together to become better together. “Iron sharpens iron.”

“Labels aren‟t slighting artists because they are hip hop. It‟s because they are not making money,” Chill remarks. “Red Alert seeks to conglomerize artists. We have a phrase in the Philippines, „kami-kami lang‟ (only our small group). But, there is strength in numbers.” “Instead of having artists separated, we are trying to build recognition through numbers and have the industry come to us,” seconds Rhansum.

What Rhansum calls a “swapmeet for beats and emcees,” Battle of the Beats aims to be a forum to bring together music agents from record labels, TV, radio, and cinema together with hip hop artists. Chill states, “We want the same kind of mentality for hip hop artists as for rock bands. We want people to pay for a hip hop show like they do for rock bands. We want people to pay hip hop artists.”

But Red Alert is about more than simply monetizing artists, according to Rhansum. Artist education and professionalization is key, with compensation as the bi-product. “We want to provide a community to teach artists how to perform at lives shows and to know about licensing their work.”

To demonstrate the group‟s commitment to the “masa” (everyday people), Red Alert is programming Battle of the Beats amateurs‟ edition at SM Mall, where an aspiring producer who may not have the resources can create a beat using software and equipment supplied by the mall. The “diamond in the rough” winner will then have a chance to compete in the bigger Battle of the Beats series. “In hip hop, it‟s the hustle mentality I admire,” Chill reflects.

Mass Celebration 

MastaPlann‟s reunion concert last year convinced Sam Rhansum to settle in the Philippines. He performed a set at the concert and received so much love from the Filipino audience. With an obvious mass of “underground” hip hop enthusiasts hungry for more music from its Philippine-based artists, Battle of the Beats became more and more realistic. In the early 1990s, MastaPlann opened a space for a captive hip hop audience; the group now inspires dreams of reigniting hip hop‟s glory days. “I think hip hop‟s golden age is now,” Rhansum declares passionately.

The Philippines in the 1990s had a hip hop scene few Filipino Americans know about. While Fil Ams in the Bay Area were big on Freestyle and R&B music (think Kai, Jocelyn Enriquez, or Buffy), their kindred in the Philippines were making major moves in the hip hop industry. Fil Am emcees may have risen in popularity in the mid-2000s (think Blue Scholars, Native Guns, Deep Foundation, or Rocky Rivera), but Filipinos in the Philippines a decade prior have proven that Filipino emcees could magnetize a paying audience.

Today, despite a lack of monetary compensation, hip hop is alive in the Philippines, with patches of hip hop scenes dotting the archipelago caught up in the hustle over scarce resources. The culture survives despite the hunger, but the future of its artists remains uncertain.

Battle of the Beats was a congregation of some of Philippine hip hop‟s most devoted. But filling the choir seats is not enough to celebrate mass. “Kami-kami lang” has no place in Red Alert‟s vision for hip hop in the Philippines. Perhaps Battle of the Beats is a beginning for bigger things to come, where hip hop unbelievers and apostles, the lay and the anointed can worship at the alter of quality music, and celebrate hip hop together.

—-

Mark Villegas is an itinerant poet, writer, photographer, filmmaker, and PhD student. He grew up in the Filipino American navy community of Jacksonville, Florida, and has lived in Japan, Mississippi, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Irvine. His work focuses on hip hop culture among Filipinos and Filipino Americans.

Poetry: Works by Maynard Von Torres

priscilla

the tsismis         queen relays             a message
you are not                   easy to        deal with

grimace              close your eyes
small wrinkles                perpetuate

child hood in to adult hood

a          relayed message is         replied:
gusto mo kaibigan      lalo ng pamilya mo
her mouth is true                as time

the tsismis queen dubs thee drama queen
even in the church
even in the grave

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Fiction: “Nine Lives” by Sonia SyGaco

Thin streams of sweat trickled from my body and a slight pain hammered within my head. My eyes glimpsed the reddish brown rail, the one I was holding right now. It must have been exposed from heat and cold a long time, for the corrosion eating the metal was beyond help.

Between intervals, the rocking motion of the ferry boat intensified as it pushed through the currents. Nothing mattered this moment except to bend down and brace against the pitching ride.

My work as a columnist has taken a toll on me. This assignment would be a feature story for the Halloween edition, due in a few days. Susan, my colleague who was a frequent island hopper, discouraged my intent to travel. There would be no mercy, Susan said, when the October winds would play their mischief upon every sailing boat. But, strong-willed as this October, I found it rather challenging.

The swaying and tossing stopped. The island’s greenery could now be seen from a distance. I headed towards the bin to throw the disposable bag filled with food, I belched out earlier. When I returned to my seat, the man beside me said, “How about you, ma’am? You’re so quiet, are you from here?” He adjusted his sitting position. His looks complimented his sporty attire of polo shirt, trousers, and Nike shoes.

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Poetry: “Captivity” by Alexander Purugganan

In his younger years, it was ritual for my father to separate from his drinking companions with only the starlight guiding him through island hills. On one particularly bright evening, as the dart frogs droned a warning that had almost convinced him to return to the drinkery, he saw a shape of a man seated atop a carabao, a water buffalo, next to the aruyo tree that marked the halfway point of his evening sojourns. As is the custom of the Ivatan in Batan Island, my father greeted the shadows hello and would have been on his way, but the shape on the carabao began a discourse that my father only revisits when he hears the music of dart frogs or smells the sweet, tender leaves of the aruyo tree. “Always the sea,” said the shape. “The great confine converging on the limestone.”

“Yes, the sea,” my father answered, unable to discern the face or the voice of the shape.

“Even as she rests on fine days, she froths in anger. Can you hear? You can be easily consumed. But you, in you there sleeps an anin, a typhoon that holds the strength of the ocean; your wind powerful enough to suffocate a herd of cattle.”

The carabao looked up with dead eyes at my father and solemnly nodded.

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Creative Nonfiction: “My 47th Christmas - Circa 2010, Washington State” by Enriqueta Mayuga

Once more, it is Christmas - my 47th - in this land of plenty. It was not always something to look forward to - at least not in my particular case. Way back in 1963, barely six months in my new found land, as a 25 year old pioneering exchange medical graduate, I found it hard to be away from home and my native land. Yet, no one forced me to come here. I came to America on my own volition, just like thousands and millions of immigrants before me. While the snow-capped mountains of upstate New York were sights to behold, I was too immersed in my own transition to savor its significance. I wanted to go full blast with my specialty training, only to meet disappointments contrary to the glossy dreams I had for America. Arrayed before us were frequent displays of cultural insensitivity, which confused and frustrated me. I tried very much to fit, to adjust - compared to the rest of the foreign medical graduates. Work and studies were therapeutic to a point, but when sometimes confronted with personal insults and demeaning conducts, I would strike back verbally, sometimes in excess. It is like the frozen pipe, bursting with water when held back for too long. Days, weeks, months passed by - I was sure America could never be my home - not the place I would live and retire. While my fellow medical trainees would often whine and complain, I tried to remain mum, and refused to join the chorus of racism and wails of discrimination, in fear that this pervasive feeling would overwhelm me and affect my countenance. It would be like allowing a cancer to gnaw my soul and stymie my resolve. I felt that my ordeals were only temporary; soon I would go back to my homeland. After all, I rationalized - this was not the country I was born to, and surely it will never be my intended abode - not then, not ever! Just like my mother taught me, I tried to look at the silver lining and appreciate the opportunity to pursue my specialty. Deep in me, I knew that we were recruited to fill the vacuum left by our American counterparts who left for Vietnam. Regardless of cultural setbacks and racism, it was an opening for us. Repeated social insults and professional condescension such as being referred to as “your people” or “your kind” was rather the standard than the exception. It was a bitter pill for me to digest. I determined that any foreigner who comes to America with similar sensitivity could certainly become anti-American. But, I have not forgotten what my mother used to say, “Each time a man is hurt or victimized, there will always be someone in a worse situation”. 1963 - the year I came to America, was Pre-civil rights era.

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Poetry: “St. Mary’s Park Villanelle” by David Maduli

on a Mission the swift sunstone revolves
Spie One engraves each block by hand
spraycan sighs unwrap walls

years short moments tall
hearts compress curb cracks expand
on a Mission the swift sunstone revolves

Lolo’s ghost cane drags hardwood halls
avocado cones drip down homeland
spraycan sighs unwrap walls

garden breathes Grandma waters all
her house leaks stories hourglass spits sand
on a Mission the swift sunstone revolves

truth crystallizes youth dissolves
living room rug nudge mother’s cold hand
spraycan sighs unwrap walls

wishes big inside boy small
coroner van takes Mom leaves man
on a Mission the swift sunstone revolves
spraycan’s sigh unwraps walls

—-

David S. Maduli is a lifelong writer, a veteran public school teacher, an active working deejay and a recent father. A San Francisco native based in Oakland, he is a VONA alumnus and has been published in Cipactli, Maganda and Walang Hiya: Literature Taking Risks toward Liberatory Practice.

Fiction: “Some Severed from the Vine” by Sarah Luna

Alright mijita, let’s go. It’s already six o’clock. You wanna be the one to get out there without any breakfast in you, eh?” Mamá clapped at me as she spoke, the same way she did when she was trying to scare the chickens away. I tried to ignore her and the sunlight that was already peeking through the thin square of cloth that covered the window in the sleeping room of our home. It was creeping out all over the San Joaquin Valley, but I hoped it would stop short of the window. I wanted ten more minutes of dreams and rest, but thinking about a day’s work with no food overshadowed it. As I rose, my bare feet touched down on the gritty, hard wooden floor, my toes feeling around for my sandals while I put my long brown hair into a ponytail. After finding the thin brown leather sandals, I walked across the row of cots in the room, through the small doorway and into the other room of our home: the kitchen. Mamá had already made tortillas and potatoes and was cooking some scrambled eggs with chopped up hot dogs in them. Papi was sipping a cup of coffee at the card table in the corner of the room, listening to the radio. Mamá handed me a plate of food and nodded in Papi’s direction. I set the plate down in front of him and asked him if he wanted more coffee.

“No mijita I’m fine, thank you. Sit down. So, how did you sleep?” he asked as he tore a piece of tortilla and scooped up some potatoes with it.

“Fine, Papi.”

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Poetry: Works by Kimberly Vince Cruz

Ibig

Lured by that infamous hymn.
Sirens sing of gold
swept so by the heavenly air
hypnotized from the ache in His heart to the soul of His feet
awaiting His American Dream
where palm trees and properties transform
into green or shiny or niceties or

the infinite depths of The Pacific
He drowned.
Caught in the net of purgatory
between
native home[is]land and transcultured residence
oblivious to His insouciant greed
driven by shallow motives and fancy motors
…farther away

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"Misdirection" an installation by Paolo Villanueva.

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Paolo Villanueva is an aspiring artist who recently received his BFA in Studio Art from UC Irvine, and is currently working to expand his portfolio to pursue an MFA in Sculpture. His work deals with spatial perceptions/relationships, often with a sense of humor. Some of his favorite Filipino-American artists are Paul Pfeiffer and Michael Arcega (Google if you aren’t familiar with them!) (This probably went over the 50-word limit.) (If you are still reading this, then maybe it hasn’t.) (It has.)

Creative Nonfiction: “The Joy of Packing Boxes” by Francesca Gacho

In my time away from the motherland (ten years to be exact), I might have participated in over a dozen box-packing “vigils.” Every Filipino living overseas will know this as the ceremonial packing, unpacking, taping, and re-taping of the infamous balikbayan box. Such an event does not happen overnight. It takes weeks, sometimes several months, of preparing and hoarding of different “Made in America” doodads. We buy treats, deodorants, shoes, bags, shampoo, perfumes, colognes, small electronics, and whatever else we could fit in that cardboard vessel.

Much work goes into crafting the perfect balikbayan box. It all begins with the season—timing matters. Timing dictates what products are available, which in turn dictates what you can pack. Christmas means fancy packaging (ribbons, wrappings, boxes) for optimal presentation, but it can ultimately prevent you from maximizing your space. Back-to-school season means backpacks, handbags, clothes, and electronics. Cookies, lotions, and shampoos are welcome year-round. These boxes also serve a practical function. We pass along unwanted re-gifts, Happy Meal toys, and old Science books and magazines. If someone could find a use for a Toy Story 3 Mr. Spud, a Calculus book, and a box of ugly stationery, it would be one of my cousins.

My mom and I went shopping for items we can send. One day at Walmart, my mom debated the merits of one skin regenerating cream against another, and we subsequently spent half an hour standing in the aisle arguing about it (Go with Olay, mom!). I remember watching my mom pilfer through five different cosmetics stands to find the right shade of plum that would complement my aunts’ skin tones. And it only escalated from there. At the end of our shopping trip, she had purchased twelve packages of chocolate chip cookies, a box of individually packaged, 8 fluid ounce lotion, boxes of eye shadow, and a portable DVD player. But it did not end there. My dad went every weekend to look for shoes for my uncles. He did not just settle for any pair, he had to find the right one. Every trip to the grocery store or the mall was considered unsuccessful without something to add to the box. This went on for months.

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Learn more about TAYO Literary Magazine. This public service announcement was directed by Patrick Epino. We give many thanks to Patrick and the FilAm Creative for their collaboration. Those involved in the video are executive director Kristine Co, creative director Melissa Sipin, business development director Justin de la Torre, and our good friend Mario Salazar.

—-

Jun-Jun Sta.Ana resides in Chicago, Illinois, and was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. Sta.Ana has shown his work extensively across the United States, the Philippines, and Russia and has had museum shows at the Vargas Museum in Manila, the Portsmouth Museum of Art in New Hampshire, the Negros Museum in Bacolod City, Philippines, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. He was shortlisted for the 1st Ateneo Art Awards in 2004 and the public art competition of the Fullerton Station of the Brown Line Train of the Chicago Transit Authority in 2009. He is a also an Avellana Art Gallery Tower 4 residency recipient for 2011.

—-

Eliseo Art Silva is a weaver of history and heritage. Silva was internationally recognized at the age of 22 for creating the largest street art (his first ever public art) of Filipino heritage in the United States—a 150 foot masterpiece which was featured by the Smithsonian Institute, LA County Museum of Art and BEP’s MTV “Where is the Love?” Fifteen years later, he has painted over a hundred urban cultural landscapes in both the east and west coast, creating sites of public memory for almost every ethnic community in the United States. Silva’s work tells stories that are grounded upon layers of culture, creating a kind of contemporary folk art that attempts to find the border between mass culture and contemporary realism.

—-

Jan-Michael Cariaga is an entertainment artist/storyteller based in Los Angeles. He is extremely passionate about film and the human experience. He loves dance, street culture, and has always felt he had an immigrant soul. He’s always on the move. Wherever he’s at, if he can make you laugh, smile, or touch your heart, he has done his job.

Poetry: “It can be a bad thing to be lost” by Aimee Suzara

Poem

—-

Aimee Suzara has been sharing poetry and multidisciplinary performance since 1999.  Her play, Pagbabalik (Return) appeared in festivals in 2006-7 and she is working on her second, A History of the Body, both supported by the Zellerbach Family Foundation. Recently, she collaborated with Amara Tabor Smith and Deep Waters Dance Theater for the food-justice themed dance theater piece, Our Daily Bread. Her poems appear in several journals and anthologies such as Kartika Review, 580 Split, Lantern Review and Walang Hiya: Literature Taking Risks Toward Liberatory PracticeCheck the Rhyme: An Anthology of Female Poets and Emcees and Poets (Lit Noire Press) and her chapbook, the space between (Finishing Line Press). She’s been featured as a spoken word artist throughout the SF Bay Area and nationally, including at Stanford, Mt. Holyoke College, Portland State University, and UC Santa Cruz.  An advocate for the intersection of arts and literacy, she is a creative writing lecturer at Cal State University Monterey and leads workshops in poetry and performance for youth and adults. www.aimeesuzara.net

Creative Nonfiction: "Philippine Hip Hop’s Golden Age? Battle of the Beats seeks competition and cooperation to reignite hip hop,” by Mark Villegas


Communion 

“I‟m a-I‟m a Filipino til I die, til I die,” the “bad” voice repeats as Genius Ears of Paro Paro Beats steps away from the controls and stomps hard at the front of the stage. He dangles his arms and head at the lull of the beat and flexes his neck at the snare in a krump gesture. Children unclasp tiny grips on mothers to commence dance floor bouncing.

At this moment, Genius is the preacher and the audience the eager congregation. On the opposite side of the Battle of the Beats stage, B-Roc with baseball cap low grins and exchanges daps with Genius as the beat flourishes and annunciates like an inspiring sermon.

But tonight is not really a battle. Tonight is a jubilant communion of the faithful.

The Battle of the Beats showcase at Teatrino in Greenhills, Metro Manila on July 15th, 2011 is intended to exhibit a certain standard of sound, but instead of listening like passive spectators, the crowd hollers out for Genius Ears in his moment of ecstasy.

According to Battle of the Beats organizers Chill and Sam Rhansum of the event production group Red Alert Entertainment, the salvo—a showcase of twelve top-notch Philippine-based beat producers—represents a turning point for Philippine hip hop, which is often seen as dead to the ears of the Philippine public. Tonight, Filipino hip hop believers testify with hands raised.

The Renaissance 

When he arrived in the Philippines, Sam Rhansum could not believe it. It is common to hear music echoing in public areas around the islands, but the hip hop music blaring from a corner store had special meaning for Rhansum because he produced the beat and spits the last verse. “From the Far East to the ATL” rings the chorus in the club banger “The Shining” by the Filipino megacrew The Renaissance. As he listened to the knock, Atlanta-based Rhansum—who has made music for BET and MTV—knew the Philippines had a unique place in the continuing story of hip hop.

“The Philippines has a very musical culture,” Rhansum reflects as we chat together with Chill at a café in one of Metro Manila‟s ubiquitous shopping malls. His shaved head, tinted shades, white tee, and dangling chain marks a certain American Southern hip hop style, but his white skin marks his seemingly “outsider” status within the fabric of the Philippines‟ social landscape. Nonetheless, he expresses his faith in a Philippine musical turn-around of which he wishes to contribute. He gleams excitedly: “The Philippines has the potential to blow up with hip hop.”

For Chill, the Philippines‟ musical soundscape does not come as a surprise. As a pioneer in the hip hop movement in the Philippines in the 1990s, she already knows the impressive reach of a Filipino hip hop audience. As a teenager, she signed with Sony Music and demonstrated her dynamism by producing her own beats. Chill collaborated with popular Philippine artists such as the hip hop group Sun Valley Crew. At a time when hip hop and rock were seen as musical enemies in the Philippines, she performed alongside big rock acts such as Wolfgang, Razorback, Eraserheads, Greyhoundz, RiverMaya, and Sandwich to name a few. Filipino hip hoppers will know her feel-good anthems, such as “Party All Night.”

For Chill, hip hop has seen brighter days. After a hiatus of which included fashion school in the United States, she is back in Manila with a mission to reignite Philippine hip hop’s popularity. “We want to put the eye back on the urban scene once again,” she describes the purpose of Red Alert.

Wiser with experience and willing to take risks, Chill understands the changes that have occurred since the 1990s. For one, hip hop never disappeared completely but actually blossomed into a serious, disciplined craft for many Filipino performers in the “underground.” Different regions of Metro Manila—from the South in Las Pinas to the North in Quezon City and all places in between and beyond—have developed their own hip hop musical “sounds.” Other regions of the Philippines outside of Metro Manila now boast their own crucibles of hip hop.

The biggest change, it seems, is that hip hop artists no longer monetize like they used to. Without industry support—especially from record companies and live show venues—hip hop has lost material capital. “If there is no place for hip hop, make one. You need to show and prove,” Chill states defiantly.

As a teenager, she proved how defiance can produce results. When skeptical industry heads would not sign her, she did what any smart businesswoman would do: she gathered the type of rappers that appealed to record labels, made their beats, and signed them to the same labels that rejected her. This arrangement proved lucrative as these acts soon blew up and garnered a steady audience. She produced their live shows, where she performed a quick set of her own. “The industry people saw I had my own following at these shows, so they signed me.” Sony Music released her first album Chillin 1997.

Hip Hop Cosmopolitan, Hip Hop Jologs 

But 2011 isn‟t 1997. The notorious “jologs” stigma that has always been attached to hip hop in the Philippines since the genre emerged in the country has morphed into different—often contradictory—forms. In the 1990s when hip hop monetized, “jologs”— which roughly translates as “ghetto,” uncultured, or kitsch—was complemented by hip hop‟s newness and cosmopolitan flair.

In the early 1990s, MTV had arrived in the Philippines in the guise of MTV Asia and access to hip hop became easier than ever before. Franchesca Casauay, director of the Akei Popular Music Working Group at the University of the Philippines and radio personality at Metro Manila-based Sari-Sari Sounds Radio, remembers when hip hop popularized: “I used to stay up until 3:00 am everyday and tuned into MTV and watched videos and discovered new artists and music genres.”

Many Filipino American expatriates to the “motherland” benefited from hip hop‟s cosmopolitan qualities. MastaPlann made it big in the Philippine music industry after signing with Universal Records. After migrating to the Philippines in 1992 from California, the crew soon became one of the most successful hip hop groups in the country, partly due to their English-speaking lyrics that remains associated with a more cosmopolitan crowd.

At the same time, record producers demanded a brand of hip hop “jologs” in Tagalog they believed would sell among the larger lower class in the country.

But this harmony would not last. When rock bands became the golden staple of the music industry and Philippine hip hop became strongly connoted with the much-maligned “jologs” stigma, the metaphoric “eye” turned away from Philippine hip hop artists. Industry stakeholders withdrew their faith in the capitalizing power of hip hop and invested in “safer” live band acts.

As capital‟s fickle affection committed itself to rock bands, MastaPlann decided to leave the Philippine music scene only to return last year—thirteen years later—for a reunion concert where they were celebrated as living legends of Philippine hip hop.

If one counts the early influences of Francis M and other Filipino hip hop pioneers in the 1980s, the Philippines has more than two decades of hip hop culture pulsating through its veins. Given the Philippines‟ tortuous relationship to the culture, is the country ready to put the “eye” on hip hop once again?

Iron Sharpens Iron 

Red Alert Entertainment hopes to recapture the industry‟s attention. Dotting the crowd at the July 15th event were representatives from Viva Records, MCA/Universal, Audio Clef, and Hit Productions, just to name a few. These special guests were treated to some of the Philippines‟ finest acts. Accompanying the quality sound of Metro Manila‟s premiere beat makers were rap and R&B performances by Q-York, Mike Kosa, and The Renaissance (JOLO, Mary, Jazze, Pikaso, Rhansum, Ron Thug and Gene Roca) to top off the “standard” of hip hop music Red Alert Entertainment seeks to set.

With the mostly English-speaking emcees and singers and a cohort of Fil Ams among the beat makers (Pikaso, who is originally from California, says he represents “Philafornia”), it appears Red Alert is formulating a “standard” that leans more towards a once successful cosmopolitan hip hop sound.

With the stage now set, Rhansum believes hungry producers will be urged to pump out more quality beats, which Red Alert considers to be the backbone of hip hop. To be clear, Battle of the Beats is not limited to just one night. The showcase “battlers” of July 15th will serve as judges for the bona fide battles that are programmed twice a month for the next six months. “Competition breeds quality,” recites Rhansum.

The winner of the entire tournament will receive a complete set of professional studio equipment and an official introduction to networks within the Philippine music industry. “Instead of fighting over crumbs, we can all work together to make cake,” Rhansum comments on the way Philippine hip hop artists have been scrounging for compensation for the past decade. Battle of the Beats aspires to be a powerful medium to bring the best together to become better together. “Iron sharpens iron.”

“Labels aren‟t slighting artists because they are hip hop. It‟s because they are not making money,” Chill remarks. “Red Alert seeks to conglomerize artists. We have a phrase in the Philippines, „kami-kami lang‟ (only our small group). But, there is strength in numbers.” “Instead of having artists separated, we are trying to build recognition through numbers and have the industry come to us,” seconds Rhansum.

What Rhansum calls a “swapmeet for beats and emcees,” Battle of the Beats aims to be a forum to bring together music agents from record labels, TV, radio, and cinema together with hip hop artists. Chill states, “We want the same kind of mentality for hip hop artists as for rock bands. We want people to pay for a hip hop show like they do for rock bands. We want people to pay hip hop artists.”

But Red Alert is about more than simply monetizing artists, according to Rhansum. Artist education and professionalization is key, with compensation as the bi-product. “We want to provide a community to teach artists how to perform at lives shows and to know about licensing their work.”

To demonstrate the group‟s commitment to the “masa” (everyday people), Red Alert is programming Battle of the Beats amateurs‟ edition at SM Mall, where an aspiring producer who may not have the resources can create a beat using software and equipment supplied by the mall. The “diamond in the rough” winner will then have a chance to compete in the bigger Battle of the Beats series. “In hip hop, it‟s the hustle mentality I admire,” Chill reflects.

Mass Celebration 

MastaPlann‟s reunion concert last year convinced Sam Rhansum to settle in the Philippines. He performed a set at the concert and received so much love from the Filipino audience. With an obvious mass of “underground” hip hop enthusiasts hungry for more music from its Philippine-based artists, Battle of the Beats became more and more realistic. In the early 1990s, MastaPlann opened a space for a captive hip hop audience; the group now inspires dreams of reigniting hip hop‟s glory days. “I think hip hop‟s golden age is now,” Rhansum declares passionately.

The Philippines in the 1990s had a hip hop scene few Filipino Americans know about. While Fil Ams in the Bay Area were big on Freestyle and R&B music (think Kai, Jocelyn Enriquez, or Buffy), their kindred in the Philippines were making major moves in the hip hop industry. Fil Am emcees may have risen in popularity in the mid-2000s (think Blue Scholars, Native Guns, Deep Foundation, or Rocky Rivera), but Filipinos in the Philippines a decade prior have proven that Filipino emcees could magnetize a paying audience.

Today, despite a lack of monetary compensation, hip hop is alive in the Philippines, with patches of hip hop scenes dotting the archipelago caught up in the hustle over scarce resources. The culture survives despite the hunger, but the future of its artists remains uncertain.

Battle of the Beats was a congregation of some of Philippine hip hop‟s most devoted. But filling the choir seats is not enough to celebrate mass. “Kami-kami lang” has no place in Red Alert‟s vision for hip hop in the Philippines. Perhaps Battle of the Beats is a beginning for bigger things to come, where hip hop unbelievers and apostles, the lay and the anointed can worship at the alter of quality music, and celebrate hip hop together.

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Mark Villegas is an itinerant poet, writer, photographer, filmmaker, and PhD student. He grew up in the Filipino American navy community of Jacksonville, Florida, and has lived in Japan, Mississippi, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Irvine. His work focuses on hip hop culture among Filipinos and Filipino Americans.

Poetry: Works by Maynard Von Torres

priscilla

the tsismis         queen relays             a message
you are not                   easy to        deal with

grimace              close your eyes
small wrinkles                perpetuate

child hood in to adult hood

a          relayed message is         replied:
gusto mo kaibigan      lalo ng pamilya mo
her mouth is true                as time

the tsismis queen dubs thee drama queen
even in the church
even in the grave

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Fiction: “Nine Lives” by Sonia SyGaco

Thin streams of sweat trickled from my body and a slight pain hammered within my head. My eyes glimpsed the reddish brown rail, the one I was holding right now. It must have been exposed from heat and cold a long time, for the corrosion eating the metal was beyond help.

Between intervals, the rocking motion of the ferry boat intensified as it pushed through the currents. Nothing mattered this moment except to bend down and brace against the pitching ride.

My work as a columnist has taken a toll on me. This assignment would be a feature story for the Halloween edition, due in a few days. Susan, my colleague who was a frequent island hopper, discouraged my intent to travel. There would be no mercy, Susan said, when the October winds would play their mischief upon every sailing boat. But, strong-willed as this October, I found it rather challenging.

The swaying and tossing stopped. The island’s greenery could now be seen from a distance. I headed towards the bin to throw the disposable bag filled with food, I belched out earlier. When I returned to my seat, the man beside me said, “How about you, ma’am? You’re so quiet, are you from here?” He adjusted his sitting position. His looks complimented his sporty attire of polo shirt, trousers, and Nike shoes.

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Poetry: “Captivity” by Alexander Purugganan

In his younger years, it was ritual for my father to separate from his drinking companions with only the starlight guiding him through island hills. On one particularly bright evening, as the dart frogs droned a warning that had almost convinced him to return to the drinkery, he saw a shape of a man seated atop a carabao, a water buffalo, next to the aruyo tree that marked the halfway point of his evening sojourns. As is the custom of the Ivatan in Batan Island, my father greeted the shadows hello and would have been on his way, but the shape on the carabao began a discourse that my father only revisits when he hears the music of dart frogs or smells the sweet, tender leaves of the aruyo tree. “Always the sea,” said the shape. “The great confine converging on the limestone.”

“Yes, the sea,” my father answered, unable to discern the face or the voice of the shape.

“Even as she rests on fine days, she froths in anger. Can you hear? You can be easily consumed. But you, in you there sleeps an anin, a typhoon that holds the strength of the ocean; your wind powerful enough to suffocate a herd of cattle.”

The carabao looked up with dead eyes at my father and solemnly nodded.

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Creative Nonfiction: “My 47th Christmas - Circa 2010, Washington State” by Enriqueta Mayuga

Once more, it is Christmas - my 47th - in this land of plenty. It was not always something to look forward to - at least not in my particular case. Way back in 1963, barely six months in my new found land, as a 25 year old pioneering exchange medical graduate, I found it hard to be away from home and my native land. Yet, no one forced me to come here. I came to America on my own volition, just like thousands and millions of immigrants before me. While the snow-capped mountains of upstate New York were sights to behold, I was too immersed in my own transition to savor its significance. I wanted to go full blast with my specialty training, only to meet disappointments contrary to the glossy dreams I had for America. Arrayed before us were frequent displays of cultural insensitivity, which confused and frustrated me. I tried very much to fit, to adjust - compared to the rest of the foreign medical graduates. Work and studies were therapeutic to a point, but when sometimes confronted with personal insults and demeaning conducts, I would strike back verbally, sometimes in excess. It is like the frozen pipe, bursting with water when held back for too long. Days, weeks, months passed by - I was sure America could never be my home - not the place I would live and retire. While my fellow medical trainees would often whine and complain, I tried to remain mum, and refused to join the chorus of racism and wails of discrimination, in fear that this pervasive feeling would overwhelm me and affect my countenance. It would be like allowing a cancer to gnaw my soul and stymie my resolve. I felt that my ordeals were only temporary; soon I would go back to my homeland. After all, I rationalized - this was not the country I was born to, and surely it will never be my intended abode - not then, not ever! Just like my mother taught me, I tried to look at the silver lining and appreciate the opportunity to pursue my specialty. Deep in me, I knew that we were recruited to fill the vacuum left by our American counterparts who left for Vietnam. Regardless of cultural setbacks and racism, it was an opening for us. Repeated social insults and professional condescension such as being referred to as “your people” or “your kind” was rather the standard than the exception. It was a bitter pill for me to digest. I determined that any foreigner who comes to America with similar sensitivity could certainly become anti-American. But, I have not forgotten what my mother used to say, “Each time a man is hurt or victimized, there will always be someone in a worse situation”. 1963 - the year I came to America, was Pre-civil rights era.

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Poetry: “St. Mary’s Park Villanelle” by David Maduli

on a Mission the swift sunstone revolves
Spie One engraves each block by hand
spraycan sighs unwrap walls

years short moments tall
hearts compress curb cracks expand
on a Mission the swift sunstone revolves

Lolo’s ghost cane drags hardwood halls
avocado cones drip down homeland
spraycan sighs unwrap walls

garden breathes Grandma waters all
her house leaks stories hourglass spits sand
on a Mission the swift sunstone revolves

truth crystallizes youth dissolves
living room rug nudge mother’s cold hand
spraycan sighs unwrap walls

wishes big inside boy small
coroner van takes Mom leaves man
on a Mission the swift sunstone revolves
spraycan’s sigh unwraps walls

—-

David S. Maduli is a lifelong writer, a veteran public school teacher, an active working deejay and a recent father. A San Francisco native based in Oakland, he is a VONA alumnus and has been published in Cipactli, Maganda and Walang Hiya: Literature Taking Risks toward Liberatory Practice.

Fiction: “Some Severed from the Vine” by Sarah Luna

Alright mijita, let’s go. It’s already six o’clock. You wanna be the one to get out there without any breakfast in you, eh?” Mamá clapped at me as she spoke, the same way she did when she was trying to scare the chickens away. I tried to ignore her and the sunlight that was already peeking through the thin square of cloth that covered the window in the sleeping room of our home. It was creeping out all over the San Joaquin Valley, but I hoped it would stop short of the window. I wanted ten more minutes of dreams and rest, but thinking about a day’s work with no food overshadowed it. As I rose, my bare feet touched down on the gritty, hard wooden floor, my toes feeling around for my sandals while I put my long brown hair into a ponytail. After finding the thin brown leather sandals, I walked across the row of cots in the room, through the small doorway and into the other room of our home: the kitchen. Mamá had already made tortillas and potatoes and was cooking some scrambled eggs with chopped up hot dogs in them. Papi was sipping a cup of coffee at the card table in the corner of the room, listening to the radio. Mamá handed me a plate of food and nodded in Papi’s direction. I set the plate down in front of him and asked him if he wanted more coffee.

“No mijita I’m fine, thank you. Sit down. So, how did you sleep?” he asked as he tore a piece of tortilla and scooped up some potatoes with it.

“Fine, Papi.”

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Poetry: Works by Kimberly Vince Cruz

Ibig

Lured by that infamous hymn.
Sirens sing of gold
swept so by the heavenly air
hypnotized from the ache in His heart to the soul of His feet
awaiting His American Dream
where palm trees and properties transform
into green or shiny or niceties or

the infinite depths of The Pacific
He drowned.
Caught in the net of purgatory
between
native home[is]land and transcultured residence
oblivious to His insouciant greed
driven by shallow motives and fancy motors
…farther away

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"Misdirection" an installation by Paolo Villanueva.

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Paolo Villanueva is an aspiring artist who recently received his BFA in Studio Art from UC Irvine, and is currently working to expand his portfolio to pursue an MFA in Sculpture. His work deals with spatial perceptions/relationships, often with a sense of humor. Some of his favorite Filipino-American artists are Paul Pfeiffer and Michael Arcega (Google if you aren’t familiar with them!) (This probably went over the 50-word limit.) (If you are still reading this, then maybe it hasn’t.) (It has.)

Creative Nonfiction: “The Joy of Packing Boxes” by Francesca Gacho

In my time away from the motherland (ten years to be exact), I might have participated in over a dozen box-packing “vigils.” Every Filipino living overseas will know this as the ceremonial packing, unpacking, taping, and re-taping of the infamous balikbayan box. Such an event does not happen overnight. It takes weeks, sometimes several months, of preparing and hoarding of different “Made in America” doodads. We buy treats, deodorants, shoes, bags, shampoo, perfumes, colognes, small electronics, and whatever else we could fit in that cardboard vessel.

Much work goes into crafting the perfect balikbayan box. It all begins with the season—timing matters. Timing dictates what products are available, which in turn dictates what you can pack. Christmas means fancy packaging (ribbons, wrappings, boxes) for optimal presentation, but it can ultimately prevent you from maximizing your space. Back-to-school season means backpacks, handbags, clothes, and electronics. Cookies, lotions, and shampoos are welcome year-round. These boxes also serve a practical function. We pass along unwanted re-gifts, Happy Meal toys, and old Science books and magazines. If someone could find a use for a Toy Story 3 Mr. Spud, a Calculus book, and a box of ugly stationery, it would be one of my cousins.

My mom and I went shopping for items we can send. One day at Walmart, my mom debated the merits of one skin regenerating cream against another, and we subsequently spent half an hour standing in the aisle arguing about it (Go with Olay, mom!). I remember watching my mom pilfer through five different cosmetics stands to find the right shade of plum that would complement my aunts’ skin tones. And it only escalated from there. At the end of our shopping trip, she had purchased twelve packages of chocolate chip cookies, a box of individually packaged, 8 fluid ounce lotion, boxes of eye shadow, and a portable DVD player. But it did not end there. My dad went every weekend to look for shoes for my uncles. He did not just settle for any pair, he had to find the right one. Every trip to the grocery store or the mall was considered unsuccessful without something to add to the box. This went on for months.

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Poetry: “It can be a bad thing to be lost” by Aimee Suzara
Poetry: Works by Maynard Von Torres
Fiction: “Nine Lives” by Sonia SyGaco
Poetry: “Captivity” by Alexander Purugganan
Creative Nonfiction: “My 47th Christmas - Circa 2010, Washington State” by Enriqueta Mayuga
Poetry: “St. Mary’s Park Villanelle” by David Maduli
Fiction: “Some Severed from the Vine” by Sarah Luna
Poetry: Works by Kimberly Vince Cruz
Creative Nonfiction: “The Joy of Packing Boxes” by Francesca Gacho

About:


TAYO Literary Magazine © 2011–2012, Issue 3
ISSN (print) 2164-0270, (online) 2164-0289



MISSION STATEMENT
TAYO Arts & Culture is a nonprofit community arts organization whose mission is to advance the understanding of the diverse cultural identity of Filipinos. With its annual print magazine and online component, along with readings and events, TAYO Arts & Culture is dedicated to the creation, cultivation, and promotion of Filipino and Filipino-American arts and culture.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Kristine Co

CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Melissa Sipin

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Paolo de la Fuente

ASST. EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Edward Mallillin

FINANCE DIRECTOR
Michael Maglalang

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
Justin de la Torre

DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
Zenia Montero

CREATIVE VOLUNTEERS
Kimberly Carbonell, BJ Abad

GOLD SPONSOR
Robert Sanchez


CONTRIBUTING YOUR WORK 
We’re always looking for content that is not only technically and stylistically sound, but also reveals an awareness for the compelling issues that define who we are. We are currently accepting literary and artistic submissions on a rolling basis for our online edition.

SUBMISSION POLICY 
We review submissions on a blind submission policy. The individual literary and visual content submitted is the sole responsibility of the person from which such content originated, and such content does not necessarily reflect the opinions of our staff.

GETTING INVOLVED
We are looking for dedicated individuals to contribute to the organization in the following areas: event planning, public relations, finance, fundraising, art content, literary content, multimedia, and/or production. Please email volunteer@tayoliterarymag.com for more information.

BECOME A SPONSOR
Support TAYO in ways that help us produce and print our magazine, be represented at events, and market our project to a local, national and international audience. For more information, please email sponsor@tayoliterarymag.com.


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TAYO Literary Magazine is an annual publication that is produced under the umbrella organization of TAYO Arts & Culture. We promote the work of emerging and established visual artists and writers of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Visit our website.