Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Vol. VII, No. 11      April 22- 28, 2007      Quezon City, Philippines











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48 Hours in Dumaguete City
The CEGP convention, pots on the street and other pretty things

Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental is one of the hottest cities in the Visayas, especially during the summer. This year, it has become even hotter. No, that’s not literally.

Contributed to Bulatlat

Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental is one of the hottest cities in the Visayas, especially during the summer. This year, it has become even hotter.

No, that’s not literally.

That is because of the gathering of 110 student writers and some of the country’s most respected names in journalism, art and literature.

Get this: the likes of Isagani Yambot, Bonifacio Ilagan, Bobby Tuazon, Jun Cruz Reyes, Richard Gappi and Gelacio Guillermo giving lectures and workshops to young student writers and artists inside the Silliman University. Man, that is just marvelous.

That was the 67th National Convention of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), held last April 13-17.

The convention is the annual education festival of the guild wherein member publications from the different regions in the country are given lectures and workshops on topics such as Editorial Writing, Lay-out, Cartooning, Photojournalism, Theories of the Press, Libel and Ethics, Scriptwriting, Theatre Arts, Short story writing, Poetry and Literary and Art Criticism among others.

It is also where the best college publications are awarded via Gawad Ernesto Rodriguez Jr. The winners for this year are The Matanglawin of the Ateneo De Manila University for Magazine, Philippine Collegian of UP Diliman for Tabloid and alternative form categories and Heraldo Filipino of De La Salle University- Dasmariñas for Broadsheet.

Moreover, nationalist literary great Gelacio Guillermo is this year’s awardee of the Gawad Marcelo H. Del Pilar, the guild’s highest citation bestowed to alumni. Previous winners were National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, Prof. Jose Maria Sison, and people’s martyr Emmanuel Lacaba.

Being one of the invited speakers of the convention though, not to mention being just a transient of the city, I had to see more than just Silliman University within the mere 48 hours of my stay.

Iridescently charming

Dumaguete may look small coming from the port. It looks like just a simple old town with signs of little developments here and there. But no, looking closer and getting in, Dumaguete is everything but small.

So, acting as if it was my first time again, I walked through the city’s peaceful but busy streets, quiet but bold. Under the summer sun, I sipped coffee in one of their cute little coffee shops, the sea with its shimmering water, close at hand.

With more walks, tagging with fellow speakers or with new friends and sometimes alone, I got to see again the inner soul of Dumaguete.

At day time, only brave hearts with hats and eye shades can dare walk through its intestines of streets, with the summer heat and all. However, with just little more than six pesos, one can enjoy this almost iridescently charming

Then again, happy are the brave.

Dumaguete City is just glorious and gracious with everything one needs close by. Look, in other towns in the country, at least one thing is lacking or even missing, unavailable for travelers and wanderlusts like me. With Dumaguete, you’ll never run out of anything.

Food is overflowing everywhere, restaurants or turo-turo, Filipino or foreign, by the sea or by the highway, the choice is yours.

There are the old houses and buildings on old streets that are enchanting, no kidding.

There is even a street that displays pottery of different forms, sizes and textures by the pavement.

Believe me, this is one of the things that struck me the most. Every passer by, tourist or not, is surely delighted with the sights of these pots.

There is the church and the bell tower known for its age and history.

There is ukay-ukay almost everywhere. This one I had to say, any traveler understands why.

The famous boulevard is just amazing, with the waves of the sea almost touching me when I sit by its breakwater.

The boulevard is where almost everyone goes at one point, inevitably. And at night, it actually becomes a flickering buffet table of everything palatable. And yes, that is literally everything.

Shimmering splendor

That’s right. At night time, Dumaguete is a shimmering splendor. With the brilliance of streetlights, the unending rows of disco, videoke and music bars, cafes, and all, it surely is a wonder how it happens.

Do not be deceived by its peacefulness because at night, from twilight until later than midnight, this city is filled with these lights and shiny happy people from everywhere. They pop out from every corner, and from all walks of life, I tell you.

I believe the people are the real charm of the city at night.

There are people coming from work going straight to their hang-out places. There are students who fill-up the city with their laughter. There are middle-aged men and women just walking down the boulevard and there are the vendors of everything that can be sold (no pun intended).

Some of these vendors are kids of really, really young age who stay up until dawn to sell things. And although this is saddening, it is honestly one of the things that add intensity to the drama of this shimmering, glistening splendor.

Honestly, I should stop this spoiler. I wonder if other speakers did as I did in Dumaguete. Did they also feel the same ardor I developed instantly for Dumaguete? Did the student writers enjoy the city’s heart and soul or wrote poetry beside the sea or under the trees? I am not certain.

For sure though, that 48 hours in Dumaguete was definitely the most memorable 48 hours of my life and it isn’t the last time. Bulatlat




© 2007 Bulatlat  Alipato Publications

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