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Savage Mind Celebrates First Anniversary

Hungarian envoys, best-selling author, sport coach, a poet from Bula and Ramon Magsaysay awardees among special guests

December is a special month for Savage Mind: Arts, Books, Cinema, the only independent bookshop in Naga City as it hosts several activities to celebrate it’s one-year anniversary. All these activities are OPEN TO PUBLIC.

Formally blessed and opened last December 14, 2018, the bookshop which is located at 5 Peninsula St., Mayon Avenue is owned by award-winning writer and filmmaker Kristian Sendon Cordero. The bookshop which has become favorite destination among locals and visitors of the city has hosted writers, filmmakers, cultural workers and diplomats including the Czech Ambassador to the Philippines, Jana Sediva and her first counsel for Business and Trade, Benjamin Ziga. It has also hosted read along sessions, musical performances, and film screenings. The bookshop is open every day from 3PM to 8PM. In the same establishment, one finds a café and restaurant owned by filmmaker Randy Dagooc.

For its first anniversary celebration which started last December 12, among the bookshop special guests include former Naga City Mayor John Bongat, and the Ambassador of Hungary to the Philippines, József Bencze and Mr. David Ambrus, the Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Hungary in Manila who were in the city for some cultural visits which Cordero facilitated through the Ateneo de Naga University Press. The ambassador who is himself a published poet in Hungary delighted the audience by reading some of his works in Hungarian. He also shared his thoughts on poetry and on how he particularly got inspired by the works of Jose Rizal whose famous last poem, Mi Ultimo Adios, he translated in his national language. Present during the author’s conversation are students and teachers from Ateneo de Naga University, Central Bicol State University for Agriculture, Bikol writers, the staff and moderator of Façade, the students’ publication of the Universidad de Santa Isabel and a group of young musicians from Minalabac National High School.

For the December 13, event, award-winning and bestselling novelist, Eros Atalia was the featured writer. Atalia told the audience how he started getting involved in writing despite of his lack of formal training in writing workshops and membership in the literary guilds and organizations in Manila. Atalia, however, cited the writer Jun Cruz Reyes as one of his strong influences specially when he had the privilege to sit as a student in his master’s class at the De La Salle University. An engaging speaker, Atalia talked about his childhood and early youth in Cavite, and how his being a son of a komiks writer contributed in his development as a writer. To date, Atalia has written seven books which are all considered as bestsellers. Two of his novels, Ang Ikatlong Anti-Kristo (2017) and Tatlong Gabi, Talong Araw (2013) won the prestigious Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. Some of his works have also been adapted to films like Ligo na u, Lapit na me and Intoy Syokoy sa Kalye Marino.

This December 20 at 8 o’clock in the evening, Coach Noli Ayo will lead the conversation on Sports, Peace, and Mindanao. Coach Noli as he is fondly called is now the Athletics Director of Ateneo de Davao University. As the athletics director of ADDU, Coach Noli pioneered the Mindanao Peace Games which is now on its fifth year. The most recent edition was held in Ateneo de Zamboanga University last October 2019. Around 14 schools and 5000 students-athletes participated in what is dubbed the biggest sport event in the island. Coach Noli has just recently returned from London where he was invited as one of the guest lecturers at the University of Bradford where he also shared their experience in promoting peace and youth development in Mindanao.

Come December 27 (7PM) poet Jason Tabinas will read from his upcoming collection, Ang mga Iniiwan ng Tubig which will be published by Ateneo de Manila University Press in 2020. Tabinas who is an Economics graduate from Ateneo de Manila is now working with the National Book Development Board. For his poetry, Edgar Calabia Samar, writes: “Bukal ang tag-araw at tag-ulan ng mga alaala ng kabataan na nabibilad sa—at nilulunod ng—mga anyo ng kawalang-muwang at karahasan, subalit umaahon mula roon ang hininga ng mga tula ni Jason Tabinas upang muling harapin ang mga bitak ng lupain at sindak ng hangin, ang mga mukha ng relihiyon at panahon, ang mga hayop sa paligid at sa loob na bukal ng rubdob, at nang makapagsimula muli ng buhay ang bawat isang “kailangan lang ng isang taong makakikita.“ Napakaraming iniiwang tanong ng mga tula ni Tabinas sa atin habang naroon tayo sa pananahimik at ligalig ng tubig na hindi tayo maiwan-iwan, na hindi natin maiwan-iwan.” Undeniably, the poetry of Tabinas is deeply rooted in the landscape of his hometown, Bula. The agricultural/pastoral landscape is usually invoked in lines after lines offering a vision of an ecological space that demands a new kind of attention, a new way of seeing/sensing. Tabinas won the Palanca for Filipino poetry in 2017.

Celebrating the life and works of foremost Filipino novelist, scholar, and hero, Jose Rizal, Savage Mind will inaugurate a new tradition to be observed every December 30. Cordero plans to have a different Rizal Day celebration by inviting distinguished citizens of the world in the fields of arts and sciences to lead the Savage Mind public in discussing pertinent and urgent issues affecting the region and the world-at-large.

For this year, two distinguished guests will lead the conversation on Education, Science, and Communities, at 6:00 o’clock in the evening. They are the 2010 recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards, physicists and educators Christopher Bernido and Ma. Victoria Carpio-Bernido who is a native of Naga City. The couple were recognized for their passion and commitment to promote physics among Filipino school children through innovative approaches. Through their school in Jagna, Bohol known for its innovative approaches and programs that link physics, the empowerment of the Filipino youth and nation-building, the Bernidos have dramatically changed the intellectual and cultural landscape of Jagna, serving as a living inspiration to many educators here and abroad, a feat which Savage Mind Bookshops humbly aspires as it continues to embrace another year of engagements, dialogues and artistic collaborations and celebrations.

For the year, 2020, Savage Mind will be cohosting as a space for two important cultural events which will be hosted by Naga City, the CINEMAREHIYON, a national film festival in February, 2020 which will feature filmmakers coming from the various regions of the Philippines and the 11th Philippine International Literary Festival in April, 2020 which will be attended by Filipino National Artists for Literature, writers, illustrators and foreign authors.

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