To celebrate the annual TABOAN Literary Festival of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies (UST CCWLS), in cooperation with the National Committee on the Literary Arts (NCLA), presented “The Literary Muse in Manila,” a conference that was held on October 5, 2016, at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex (TARC) Auditorium, UST.
Departing from the other TABOAN countrywide activities, which prominently featured cultural presentations, the UST leg was a one-day free conference for gathering and sharing data on the status of the literary culture of the different universities in the city of Manila. “The Literary Muse in Manila” was the first step in the efforts to stimulate a strong literary culture in all schools and universities in the city, an objective which the UST CCWLS, and the UST Literature Department, designated by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as a Center of Development in Literature, consider important.
UST CCWLS Director Prof. Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, PhD set the tone by stating that, while most of the country’s educational institutions do not prioritize the Arts and the Humanities, preferring to give the lion’s share of their budgets to science and technology, engineering, medicine, or business, it is in the arts that Philippine universities have a better chance of becoming actually globally competitive. She suggested that perhaps faculty members who are artists should become more proactive. UST’S TABOAN was designed to point out one way of being so.
The five guest speakers were: Polytechnic University of the Philippines Senior Adviser Dr. Jun Cruz Reyes, and a Resident Fellow of the UP Institute of Creative Writing; DLSU Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center Director Dr. Shirley Lua; Philippine Normal University Creative Writing Diploma Course Director Prof. Ferdinand Jarin; FEU Literature Department Chair Prof. Diego José Abad; and UST CCWLS Assistant Director Assoc. Prof. Ralph Semino Galán.
The speakers gave updates on the literary culture in their respective campuses, and shared their best practices regarding the setting up and administration of a creative writing center, and of a literature/creative writing program and leading to degree programs in the said disciplines. Also discussed was the setting up and administration of an academic press or publishing house, putting up of literary journals and other publications, literary sections or folios of campus newspapers and magazines, among other things.
These reports will be submitted to both the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Commission for Higher Education (CHED).
Also part of this year’s TABOAN was the launch of Tomás 6, the latest issue of the UST CCWLS’s peer-reviewed literary journal. Christine F. Godinez-Ortega, Head of the NCCA’s National Committee for the Literary Arts, was on hand, not just as Head of the NCLA, but as a contributor of Tomás, She read an excerpt from her story which appears in the issue.
Other contributors who made it to the launch were Nonon Villaluz Carandang, Vijae Orquia Alquisola and Mesandel Virtusio Arguelles of DLSU.