One of the perceived missions of this ezine is to gather work from across the Filipino diasporaand not just the contemporary diaspora, but also the past.
The works of writers like Carlos Bulosan and Bienvenido Santos have been published and anthologized for the benefit of current and future generations.
Our Own Voice welcomes work that revisits the past from less widely known writers like Margarita Francia Villaluz, whose personal essay in this issue recalls her experiences during the second world war in Manila, and Eusebio Koh, whose story, "Soap," appeared in the premiere issue (available in the archives).
The Tales section here also gathers folklore, stories from childhoodrecycled and retold. Do you know who the legendary Filipino lazyman, Juan Tamad, is? When I was growing up, my mother told us stories about Juan Tamad's cousin from Negros Occidental, Butod Tinoy, whose mishaps were just as funny and tragic as those of Juan Tamad.
As far as our family can trace, Butod Tinoy was the creation of my maternal grandfather, invented during the tense, quiet nights of World War II, to entertain his family of seven children as they lay on woven mats on the living room floor.
All lights had to be turned off at nightfall so residences would not be detected by Japanese airplanes scouting overhead. No television, no Counterstrike computer games, no Nintendo 64. Perhaps you, too, have childhood tales to share with the Filipino diaspora. Don't be shy about submitting them to Our Own Voice.
In this issue, we showcase the poetry of Luis Cabalquinto and Luisa Igloria (previously published as Maria Luisa Cariño). Both poets write from the east coast of the US. Their poems, though, take us all over the world. To Quiapo, Naga, Cambridge University, the Seine River, Barotac, and New York City. Luis and Luisa reflect a keen sense of place at any given moment in their work.
Their individual longings for a home seem to have similarly transcended a specific geographical place and have given over, instead, to verbal definition. In "Thoughts by the Seine," Cabalquinto's narrator stands "in Paris/That is not only Paris," and falls "Back to a home not merely Asia."
Luisa's poem, "Tamasak of Barotac," a glimpse of heaven home is "certain of the hills on one/flank, of the sea on the other; of the open,/unimprisoned country in between."
This beyond-physical definition of home I find true also in many Filipinos who have been away from the Philippines for a long time. In our minds, we harbor an ideal of home that never matches the reality we find when we return for visits. We are also continually shifting our perspectives in our new countries of residence. In the end, where we truly live is a place neither here nor there, but hopefully, a place within that is clear to us.
Cheers from the diaspora,
Nadine L. Sarreal