Cebu Lit Fest 2015: Interesting, but a bit of a letdown*

Cebu Lit Fest 2015

*I only went to the first two parts, so this is for “Lit Matters” and “Situation and Setting Workshop”

The event has been on my Facebook calendar event for a few months, and although I am not too interested in Cebuano literature, I decided to go for the simple fact that we do need appreciate our roots more. While very interested in literature, I’m not really one to read works from Filipino writers, let alone Cebuano ones.

While Cebu LitFest 2015 seemed interesting, I couldn’t afford to spend my entire day at the mall, so I decided to wake up early and check the first two events: “Lit Matters”, which is a discussion of teaching literature in the Philippines, especially in the new K-12 curriculum, and “Situation and Setting” which is a brief writing workshop with New York-based writer, Tim Tomlinson.


While the panelists are considered knowledgeable in their field (after all, they are teachers and professors from established schools) I was disappointed by the cookie-cutter answers they had ready for the audience.


Stories resonate to us.

Literature is important because imagination is important.

Literature and imagination are what helped scientists invent various things.

If that made a lot of sense. I mean sure, in a way, but in answering the age-old question of why literature is important, aren’t there many more things they could have discussed, like literature as a less-direct record of history and culture, like literature as a means for character development in children and young adults? In the simplest terms, why not touch on the self-expression considering the extent of human vanity?

Better yet, considering that this was CEBU Lit Fest, why did they not talk about the importance of not just any non-specific type of literature, but CEBUANO literature, and why they should be taught in schools? Maybe not just Cebuano literature, but considering the rich culture of the country, why not teach about literature in each region? The answer? We don’t appreciate them enough. Cebu Lit Fest could have done so much right off the bat on that first discussion for local writers.


While “Lit Matters” disappointed me to some extent, I did, however appreciate Tim Tomlinson’s writing workshop, although the best advice he gave, he summed up in one short sentence:

“Do not second-guess yourself.”

He also went on to say that there is time to go back to the beginning once your done: that’s what your first edits are for.

As a writer, I am one of those who would want to bleed out the best opening if I could, unless, you know, it’s an assignment where I am pressured to write as fast as I could within allotted times. While I am still stuck doing three manuscripts that are going nowhere because I can’t nail the perfect opening, or paragraph, or chapter close, I realized that I should be taking his advice to heart.

Maybe it’s time to stop second-guessing myself. People who read my work believe in me, so why can’t I?


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