A landmark anthology in Bikol contemporary writing, BKL/Bikol Bakla is a collection of over 42 poems and 16 stories from 24 Bikolnon gay, trans and queer writers living in and outside the region. Editor Jaya Jacobo, Assistant Professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, writes in her preface, “The queer proposal of this anthology lies in its conflation of the land (Bikol) and the gender identity that is deemed to be endemic to the peninsula (bakla).” This anthology envisions to situate Bikolnon identities in the queer spheres and origins that define their being, magnifying them through intimate vignettes and dioramas. “BKL/Bikol Bakla is an anthology that geopoliticizes the Bakla experiences in light of physical, geographic, ethnolinguistic, translational, and mythical dimensions of being in Bikol,” editor Ryen Paul Sumayao, a fashion retail professional, writes in his introduction to the collection.
The anthology, a massive collection of works from luminaries such as Danton Re mo to, Ronald Baytan, Alvin Yapan, Sari Saysay, Adrian Remodo, Luis Cabalquinto, Kristian Sendon Cordero, Jaya Jacobo, and the late Carlos A. Arejola alongside celebrated young guns such as J.V. Aler, Paolo Gerero, Marvin Aquino, King Llanza, P. Santiago, J. Simbulan, Roda Daignre, Michael Thomas Nelmida, Elbert Baeta, Leo Fernandez Almero, Aeman Llantada, Prada Antonio, Jose O.G., Emmanuel Roldan, Riley Palanca, August Carlo San Andres, Rico Raquitico, and Ryen Paul Sumayao, is a hundred and ninety-page love letter to the queer, trans and gay Bikolnons by an all-Bikolnon queer, trans and gay cast. It is published by Bikol’s top publishing company, Naga Goldprint Inc.
Illustrator Don Ramos debuts his male nudes as the main cover artwork for this anthology and as a special offering, the book comes with a limited-edition cover featuring model Roby Quinn, shot by photographer Paul Echano. The covers, with Pantone’s 2019 color of the year—living coral—as motif, are designed by illustrator Jedi Directo with P. Santiago at the helm of the book design. This book is also a tribute to the late Carlos A. Arejola and the beautiful life he lived as cultural warrior, poet, and lover.
To everyone who will read the anthology, let it be a beacon that documents “the now-and-foreverness of... experiences on print,” and “..in actuality announcing the arrival of a new breed of thinking and feeling, as well as being and becoming, from young gay, queer, and trans people who, one by one, would think that the only place we can be at our gayest is at home.”
The anthology will be launched across three cities between February and March: Naga City, Quezon City, and Makati City. It will be available for order online via the editor’s social media accounts, personal contacts and through selected independent bookstores nationwide. For PR inquiries, send an email to email@example.com.