Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hot Market for Young Filipino Art - Be Careful You Don't Get Burned

Some Filipino artists did extremely well in auction recently.

We're very happy for them, and certainly, worldwide recognition for our artists - and for Philippine art in general - is long overdue and definitely well deserved. But we should point out that there are potential downsides, especially for some of the artists who get eye-popping numbers too early in their careers.

Check out these cautionary posts from Artnet.com and Art Market Insider. Though written for an American audience, local collectors and artists would do well to ask themselves some of the questions and concerns they raise.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Escaping Manila?

When friends from abroad ask where they should go if they're visiting the Philippines, a good majority of us would probably advise them to spend as much time outside Manila as they could.

That way they can escape the traffic and noise and pollution and be treated to fresh air, world class beaches, historic churches and architecture, and of course, traditional Filipino hospitality.

That way, too, they will probably leave with a far better impression and would be more likely to return and recommend the country to their other friends.

But check out Carlos Celdran's latest post on his blog. He talks about how it breaks his spirit to see "how far Manila has to go in changing people's negative perceptions." And how everyone should realize that "Old Manila is the true yardstick that the world measures our culture..." Otherwise, "we should just prepare for the world to think of us as blighted and unworthy of more than a 48 hour glance."

Right or wrong, he raises an important point to think about - especially because it has far ranging implications about how we view our collective history and culture.

Finally, two points about Carlos - be sure to join his tours. If you don't have the time, make time - it's well worth it. And second, someone should really nominate this guy for the TOYM. For all the unique service he's providing not just to Manila but to the country as a whole, he's as deserving of the recognition as anyone out there.

* "The Walking Man" by Palma Tayona. Pen and Ink on Paper (2008).

Friday, May 23, 2008



For a complete background on this competition, please read our previous entry by clicking here.


1. The 1st CANVAS Story Writing for Young Children Competition is open to all Filipinos.

2. Entries must not have been previously published, and all entrants must warrant the originality of their submitted entries.

3. Writers may submit only one entry, which must be written in English.

4. The target readership is young children (age 4-6 years old).

Note: It may be helpful to see some recent examples of authors of picture books that have done well in the U.S. market for the target age group:
Mo Willems
David Weisner
Doreen Cronin, and
Jon Scieszka.

5. Manuscript entries must not exceed one thousand two hundred (1,200) words. Entries that exceed this limit will automatically be disqualified from the competition.

6. We are looking for unique and creative stories that feature a strong central character (preferably, but not necessarily, a child) who faces and overcomes a challenge or obstacle. Ideally, it would speak about a universal theme or experience, even though the story itself may reflect Philippine culture or may be situated in a particular place, province or country. The best stories stretch a young reader's imagination and speak to children in an authentic voice. They evoke real emotion, whether it is humor, love, fear, or joy.

Entries shall be evaluated based on the following criteria:

* Originality and Storyline
* Quality of Writing
* Imagery (The story should be publishable as a picture book)
* X-Factor (Judges’ discretion)

7. The top five (5) entries selected by CANVAS shall be sent to the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency for comment and feedback, and the overall winner shall be selected by CANVAS based, in part, on such feedback. There shall be only one overall winner, who will receive Twenty Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) in cash (less applicable withholding taxes).

Finalists will be given copies of the comments/feedback received from the said Agency.

8. The winner shall grant to CANVAS all intellectual property and publication rights to the submitted story, including the right to translate, adapt and/or make modifications thereto.

In the event of publication by CANVAS of the story, it is hereby understood that the cash prize to be awarded to the winner shall include consideration of such intellectual property and publication rights to the story, and the writer shall not be entitled to any other royalties or fees from earnings, if any, that may result from future publication of, derivative works, licensing of, or other transactions on the same, except as otherwise provided by Rule 10 below.

9. By joining this competition, all entrants thereby agree that upon announcement of the final winner, CANVAS shall be authorized to post their entries on its website or blog, as CANVAS deems fit, and free from any payments, royalties or fees whatsoever.

10. By joining this competition, all entrants further agree that in the event that the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency expresses an interest in representing their submitted story for possible publication, CANVAS shall exercise full and exclusive control and discretion, and be the sole and exclusive representative insofar as the submitted story (including all intellectual property and derivative rights thereto) is concerned.

CANVAS shall bear all costs and expenses of such representation.

All revenues, fees, royalties and/or other earnings received as a result of such representation, if any, shall be divided equally between the author, CANVAS and the eventual artist/illustrator (who shall be selected solely by CANVAS).

CANVAS shall not have any interest or right in other stories of the concerned writers that they may later submit for consideration by the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. CANVAS’ only role with regard to such other work shall be to introduce the writers to the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

As a policy, CANVAS shall not introduce any writer to the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency until and unless the said Agency has first expressed an interest in his/her work.

11. Entries must be submitted by email, as a Microsoft Word attachment, to storycontest@canvas.ph with the subject heading “CANVAS Storywriting for Young Children Competition.” Entrants must include a cover sheet with the title of the story, their real name, pseudonym (if any), mailing and email address, and telephone number. The deadline for submission of entries is 5:00 p.m. (Manila time), Thursday, July 31, 2008.

Entries received after the deadline, even if sent earlier, will no longer be considered for the competition. CANVAS shall not be responsible for entries which are not received, or which are received after the deadline, due to technical failure or for any other reason whatsoever.

12. The competition results will be announced by CANVAS in or around mid-September 2008.

13. While it is the full intention and desire of CANVAS to publish the winning entry, neither CANVAS nor the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency makes any such guarantee and reserve the right not to represent and/or publish the same for any reason whatsoever.

14. CANVAS reserves the right not to award the top competition prize in the unlikely event that the judges decide that no entry was received that is deserving of the top prize. In such event, however, CANVAS shall have no right whatsoever over all entries that were received; and shall not publish any entry, in its website or in any other venue, without the prior written consent or agreement of the author.

15. The decision of CANVAS shall be final, and no correspondence or inquiries into the same – including requests for comments/feedback on received entries that are not finalists – shall be entertained.

16. Officers, members of the Board of Trustees and Advisors, and employees of CANVAS, including the members of their immediate families are disqualified from participating in this Competition.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A New CANVAS Contest For Writers - We're Excited!

CANVAS, as part of its mission, strives to open new opportunities for Filipino writers in the global market.

CANVAS is therefore very proud to announce that we have tied up with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, one of the top agencies in the United States to launch the CANVAS Story Writing for Young Children Competition (target readership: 4-6 years old).

We will be putting up a modest cash prize for the winner, but what should pique the interest of writers here is that Kelly Sonnack, Literary Agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency will review and provide feedback on the top five stories selected by CANVAS.

While there is no guarantee of anything beyond their look and review, it is notoriously difficult to even get stories considered for representation, much less publication, in the US.

We regard this as a huge, difficult-to-overstate, no-lose, possible-foot-in-the-door opportunity for writers to be introduced and hopefully represented by a literary agency that can help bring Filipino stories not just in the US, but to the worldwide market. We therefore highly encourage all Filipino writers to participate.

We will issue the official rules on Monday next week. Watch out for it!

In the meantime, check out these websites from authors whose picture books have recently done well in the U.S. market (just to give you a better sense of the types of stories that would be appropriate for the age group (4-6 years old) and that we'd be looking for): Mo Willems, David Weisner, Doreen Cronin, and Jon Scieszka.

*** About the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency

With over 250 authors around the world, the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency has developed a reputation for discovering new talent and representing quality work with great commercial potential. Their impressive client roster ranges far and wide. Ms. Dijkstra is “regarded by many as the most powerful literary agent on the West Coast” according to a recent Los Angeles Times Profile, and Newsweek has proclaimed her “the best agent in the West.” Esquire, Publishers Weekly and the influential New York Observer list Ms. Dijkstra as one of the United States’ top five literary agents.

Their leading clients include Amy Tan, Lisa See, Kate White, Chitra Divakaruni, Mike Davis, Diane Mott Davidson, Janell Cannon, Anchee Min, Gary Small, Maxine Hong Kingston, Lillian Faderman, Kevin Starr, Chalmers Johnson, Peter Irons, and Irvin Yalom.

***About Kelly Sonnack

KELLY SONNACK is a Literary Agent and Submissions Manager at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. She specializes in children's literature (picture books, middle grade, young adult, graphic novels, as well as illustration). She has been with the agency since 2006.

Born in Brazil, Kelly has grown up among many cultures. She spent most of her childhood in Singapore but ultimately returned to the U.S. for university, where she obtained a B.A. in English Literature. She immediately started her publishing career with the publishing giant Elsevier, where she worked as an Acquisitions Editor under the Academic Press imprint. She moved to the Dijkstra Agency after 3 years with Elsevier, to pursue her love of children’s literature and fiction.

In picture books, Kelly looks for stories that stretch a young reader's imagination and speak to children in an authentic voice. She loves picture books that evoke real emotion, whether it is humor, love, fear, or joy.

Recently, Kelly has begun working with several authors/illustrators from Singapore, who had been selected by National Book Development Council for the First Time Writers and Illustrators Publishing Initiative. Kelly is now bringing their work to a U.S. and world audience and has already found success with Jin Pyn Lee's The Elephant and the Tree, which will be published by Running Press in Spring 2009. She hopes to be able to discover new Philippine talent through this exciting collaboration with CANVAS.

Some of Kelly's other soon-to-be-published books include Steve Watkins' Down Sand Mountain and Goat Girl (Candlewick), Jasmin Darznik's The Good Daughter: A Memoir (Grand Central), Merrily Kutner's Alphabet Magic (Roaring Brook), and Candace Ryan's Animal Magic (Walker).

Friday, May 16, 2008

And the Winner Is...

CANVAS is very pleased to announce that Ms. Eline Santos has won the 2008 Romeo Forbes Children's Storywriting Competition for her story, "Doll Eyes."

We had a very strong set of entries in the final round, but in the end the judges (singer/actress Lea Salonga, Tin-Aw Art Gallery owner Dawn Atienza, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Head of the Graduate Studies Office of UP's College of Arts and Letters Wendell Capili) were unanimous.

Congratulations to Ms. Eline Santos and to all the other finalists! CANVAS wishes to also thank all the other writers who submitted entries. We look forward to everyone's continued participation and support in our future competitions.

To read "Doll Eyes" and all the other final round entries, please click on the titles below:

Doll Eyes by Eline Santos

The Search for Magic by Raissa Rivera

Ang Dyip ni Mang Tomas ni Genaro R. Gojo Cruz

The First Jeepney by Agay Llanera

Alay sa Huling Babae sa Bayan ng Suna ni Michael Frianeza

Father Damian's Amazing Carabao by Becky Bravo

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What Overweight Means to a Filipino

And on that note, here's something that likely could only happen to Pinoys (the movie notwithstanding):

Parents board flight, forget toddler at airport

Agence France-Presse (through the Inquirer website)

OTTAWA--Tickets, check. Passports, check. Luggage, check. Baby ... oops.

A family boarded a flight on Monday in westernmost Canada, and forgot their tot at the Vancouver international airport, media said Tuesday.

The 23-month-old boy's family had just arrived in Canada from the Philippines, but they were forced to repack their overweight bags before catching a connecting flight to Winnipeg, causing them to run late.

In their sprint to the gate, the family became separated.

The boy's father Jun Parreno, told local media he had thought his son was with his wife and the boy's grandparents, who ran ahead. They thought the boy was with his dad.

On the plane, the family members were seated separately and so did not immediately realize they had left the child behind.

Sometime later, a security guard found the boy, who speaks no English, wandering near the departure gate, and Air Canada officials tracked down his shocked parents on the flight.

Because the boy was so young, he was not issued a boarding pass and would have sat on a parent's lap during the flight, so airline personnel did not notice a passenger was missing.

According to the Vancouver Sun, airport security found a Tagalog-speaking Air Canada agent who looked after the child while his father flew 2,300 kilometers (1,400 miles) back to Vancouver to pick him up and then return to Winnipeg to rejoin the immigrant family on their first day in Canada.

The baby was kept in Air Canada's offices and staff found him some toys, said local media.

"Air Canada took good care of him," Parreno told the daily Winnipeg Free Press upon arrival. "I'm grateful."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Arts Journalism Fellowship

USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program

Application Deadline: June 16, 2008

The USC Annenberg School for Communication and The Getty Foundation have announced the 7th annual USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellowship. Formerly held during the spring, the program for 2008 will be offered in the fall (November 1 to 22), in order to coincide with USC`s academic year and take advantage of the resources available through the University, including its new Master`s Program in arts journalism.

Six to seven arts journalists who bring distinction to the field will be chosen from the applicant pool. This is an international program for mid-career arts editors, critics and reporters from print, radio, television and online who cover the performing and visual arts, architecture, literature, entertainment and pop culture. They can be generalists or specialists. Staff writers, editors and freelancers and self-employed Web journalists alike are welcome to apply.

Based in Los Angeles, the fellowship is a total immersion experience that includes attending as many as 23 performances, art exhibitions and architectural sites. Participants will visit private studios, rehearsal rooms, architectural firms and art schools providing many behind-the-scene opportunities to meet renowned artists, arts administrators and accomplished journalists face-to-face.


Institute dates: November 1-22, 2008

How to apply: Email an application request to uscgetty@usc.edu. Include your name, media affiliation(s), number of years you have been practicing arts journalism and your contact information. In addition, please note if you have applied in the past and for what year.

Notification of Acceptance: August 8, 2008

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Cost: The program covers most expenses, including: roundtrip travel to and from Los Angeles, hotel, most meals, reading materials, Internet access in your hotel room and transportation within Los Angeles.


Sunday, May 4, 2008


Is it just us, or has anyone else noticed a sudden surge of Facebook invitations?

In the past two weeks, we've gone from having no connections to receiving 4 or five invitations per day.

It's amazing how the Internet has undeniably made it easier for Filipinos to connect, and probably to leave as well (knowing that their loved ones are just a free skype call away).

The use of networking sites like Facebook, Friendster and Multiply by Filipinos is well known and documented - we suppose it reflects something about our social nature. But it is important for us - and government - to study and understand this trend more.

We did an informal survey of some twelve community e-centers in various rural barangays throughout the Philippines several months back. It wasn't very scientific, but we found that fully 70% of the users were women, and majority of them were using it to surf social networking sites. Apparently, they were looking for companionship, or more bluntly, husbands.

Now, we should point out that there is nothing wrong, we think, about using the Internet to do this. After all, millions of people all over the world go to online dating services for precisely the same reason.

But, it behooves government to see if it can validate that this is a larger trend. Because if it is, then there are policy steps that need to be taken. At the very least, we believe that government must make a conscious and very public effort to educate our fellow Filipinos and Filipinas on the possible dangers of online "friendships" with a view - not of censoring or discouraging certain types of Internet use - but of fostering a safe environment that will further strengthen the links that bind Filipinos everywhere.