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TOPAZ ARTS welcomes guest artist Rina Angela Corpus who will talk about her book, “Defiant Daughters Dancing: Three Independent Women Dance,” (UP Press) which won her the University of the Philippines Center for Women’s Studies Award for Outstanding Thesis in 2006. The reading will take place on Saturday, September 29, 2012 from 4-6pm at TOPAZ ARTS located at 55-03 39th Avenue in  Woodside, Queens, NY. Subway: #7 to 61st St; R/M to Northern Blvd; or LIRR to Woodside Station; details and directions available at Admission is free.

Corpus’ book navigates the histories of three contemporary Filipina choreographers – Myra Beltran, Kristin Jackson, Agnes Locsin – who have bravely produced themselves as independent  dance-makers. Using feminist prisms in looking at women’s history in the dance world, the book lays down concrete questions and practical methodologies for mapping out a dance historiography that is informed by self-reflexivity and feminist consciousness. Straddling the discourses of art and dance history, feminist criticism, theory and aesthetics, this book is a first of its kind in Philippine dance scholarship that contemplates the depth and breadth of feminist thought within the study of Philippine contemporary dance

Author Rina Angela Corpus will be joined by choreographer Kristin Jackson and Marie Alonzo- Snyder, PhD, Filipina-American dancer and dance educator, to offer commentary after the talk. The book will be available at the reading.

About the Author:

Rina Angela Corpus is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Art Studies of the University of the Philippines where she finished her BA in Art Studies (minor in Comparative Literature, cum laude) and  MA in Art History. Her research interests include feminist aesthetics, dance history and alternative spiritualities. She trained and danced with the Quezon City Ballet and served as cultural editor of the Philippine Collegian. Her works have appeared in Bulawan: Journal for Philippine Culture and Art, Transit, Humanities Diliman, Diliman Review, Philippine Humanities Review, Review of Women's Studies,
Research in Dance Education, Peace Review: Journal of Social Justice, Philippines Free Press, Manila Bulletin and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.


Fictionist, teacher, and critic Rosario Cruz-Lucero will be launching her latest book of stories La India, or Island of the Disappeared (UP Press) and Ang Bayan sa Labas ng Maynila: The Nation Beyond Manila (Ateneo Press), a book of critical essays on the literature of the Visayas and Mindanao, on September 28, 3-5 p.m., Finster Hall, Ateneo de Davao University.

La India is a historiographic reimagining of the island of Negros, with the interrelated stories spanning 400 years. Poet Cirilo Bautista has called it "a wonderful weave of history and imagination." Merlie Alunan, poet and professor emeritus, loves Cruz-Lucero's mastery of the short story form. La India, Alunan enthuses, is both "sohpisticated ... and exhilarating ..."

Speakers at the launch will be essayist and columnist Dr. Gail Tan Ilagan and historian and fictionist Dr. Macario D. Tiu. Merlie Alunan, poet and DECL-UPD professor Dr. Paolo Manalo, and Salou Palao, the author's lifelong friend from Negros, will also be speaking. Reviews of the book by playwright Layeta Bucoy and UP Press director Dr. Neil Garcia will also be read.

A performance by the Kaliwat Theater Collective is also featured. Sponsors for the book launch are Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) Humanities Divison, ADDU Publications Office, and the Redemptorist Community of Davao.

Cruz-Lucero writes shorts stories and essays. She teaches Philippine literature and creative writing at the University of the Philippines Diliman, where she finished a doctorate in Philippine Studies.


by Agnes Prieto

Last week, we interviewed Rina Angela P. Corpus, author of Defiant Daughters Dancing: Three Independent Women Dance. Agnes Prieto wrote a comprehensive review of two local books tackling dance, and we’re reprinting parts of that review:


Conscious Trance, Defiant Daughters Dancing and Other Rebellions (two book reviews)
Two books on dance –Defiant Daughters Dancing by Rina Angela Corpus and Conscious Trance, the Journey to the Dancer Within by Pi Villaraza are important voices from the realm of quarter life — that time which brings on the quest for meaning beyond the conventional routine of the accepted ; a midlife concern in the past.

Both authors are quarter lifers, but one is a trained ballerina steeped in the classical and active in the academe, and the other, a yuppie turned solitary, isolated from the world, in a Palawan island, suddenly finding his body dancing and healing.

These books are statements that go beyond the conventional definitions of dance not just as external movement conforming to expectations, impositions and structure, but Dance as a listening to what is within and giving this outer form. It becomes inner dialogue presented for perusal by an observer.

Read more


The University of the Philippines Press will be launching twelve titles in Paglulunsad. This will be on August 3, Friday, 5 p.m. at the 2nd floor of the Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman. The twelve books are:

  • The Queen Lives Alone: Personal Essays by Ronald Baytan
  • Kung Nanaisin: Mga Tula by Romulo Baquiran
  • Vanishing History & Other Poems by Edel Garcellano
  • In Medias Res: In the Middle of Things by Luis Teodoro
  • Green Jobs and Green Skills in a Brown Philippine Economy by Rene Ofreneo
  • La India, or Island of the Disappeared by Rosario Cruz-Lucero
  • Hay Buhay by Danilo Arao
  • Flames over Baler by Carlos Madrid
  • Introduction to Classical and Variational Partial Differential Equations by Doina Cioranescu, Patrizia Donato, and Marian P. Roque
  • Sacrificial Bodies by Reuben Ramas Canete
  • Mixed Blessing by Hazel McFerson
  • Ka Amado by Jun Cruz Reyes

Visitors will get 20 percent off on all new titles at the mass launch. The titles are already available at the UP Press bookstore (near the College of Architecture and the police station). To order online, visit


The public is cordially invited to the book launch of Sacrificial Bodies: The Oblation and the Political Aesthetics of Masculine Representations in Philippine Visual Cultures by Reuben Ramas Cañete published by the University of the Philippines Press.

The event will also feature the relaunching of Suri Sining: The Art Studies Anthology (Art Studies Foundation); Art and Its Contexts: Essays, Reviews, and Interviews in Philippine Art (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House); and Pulilan: the Blessed Land (Jefarca Arts and Historical Society).

The book launch will be on Monday, July 2, 2012, 4 to 6 PM, Pulungang Claro M. Recto, Ground Floor, Bulwagang Rizal (Faculty Center), Manuel Roxas corner Alejandro Roces Sr. Avenues, University of the Philippines–Diliman, Quezon City.

Sacrificial bodies is a comprehensive study on how the act of heroic sacrifice against foreign aggression has been transformed into a means of liberating generations of Filipinos from all forms of oppression, through the iconic pose and location of Guillermo Tolentino’s sculpture, the Oblation, within the UP campus. By tracing this idea through the various icons and images of the Oblation, the book also reveals how ambivalent and context-specific this assertions has been ingrained, imagined, and re-experienced by generations of practitioners in Philippine visual culture.

Canete is an associate professor at the Department of Art Studies in UP Diliman.


by Kenny Coyle
Morning Star, Tuesday 19 June 2012

With his second volume on Philippine communism now in print and the third on the way, this first part of Ken Fuller's trilogy is now available in electronic format.

Published by the University of the Philippines Press, Forcing The Pace covers the period of the foundation of the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) in 1930, through the tumultuous decades from the 1930s to the 1950s.

In scarcely a dozen years the PKP had to navigate the rapids of repression by the colonial US authorities followed by a brief breathing space of legality before Japan invaded and occupied the islands.

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Introduction to Classical and Variational Partial Differential Equations by Doina Cioranescu, Patrizia Donato, and Marian P. Roque is now available at the UP Press Bookstore.

The study of partial differential equations is at the crossroads of mathematical analysis, measure theory, topology, differential geometry, scientific computing, and many other branches of mathematics. Modeling physical phenomena, partial differential equations are fascinating topics because of their increasing presence in treating real physical processes. In recent years, PDEs have become essential modeling tools in fields such as materials  science, mathematical finance, quantum mechanics, biology and biomedicine, and environmental sciences.  

The aim of this book is to introduce classical and variational PDEs to graduate and post-graduate students in Mathematics. It concerns mainly second order linear partial differential equations and consists of two parts. Part I gives a comprehensive overview of classical PDEs, that is, equations which admit smooth (strong) solutions, verifying the equations pointwise. Classical solutions of the Laplace, heat, and wave equations are given. Part II deals with variational PDEs, where weak solutions are considered.  These solutions  verify a weak formulation of the equations and belong to suitable spaces of functions, the Sobolev spaces. The theory of Sobolev spaces provides the foundation for the study of variational PDEs.  A comprehensive and detailed presentation of these spaces and the Sobolev embeddings is presented. Examples of variational elliptic, parabolic, and hyperbolic problems with different boundary conditions are also discussed.


The UP Press will be going to the 39th ALBASA (Academic Libraries Book Acquisition Systems Association, Inc.) Book Fair in the Cebu Grand Convention Center, Cebu City. This will be from May 15 to 17.  Activities will include the book fair, business meetings,  and various seminars.

The UP Press will be selling its new and old titles. For more information, contact University of the Philippines Press, E. delos Santos St., UP Diliman, Quezon City; Marketing Office Telefax: +63 (2) 926-6642; Bookstore: +63 (2) 925-3243, 928-4391 local 112; or like us on Facebook.


In celebration of its 47th anniversary, the University of the Philippines Press (UP Press) will be holding its annual monthlong sale. All UP Press titles, bestsellers, and new releases will be sold at a 20 percent discount, and all consigned titles at a 5 percent discount. The book sale runs from March 01 to 31, 2012.

The UP Press bookstore is located at E. de los Santos Street (near the College Architecture and the UP Police office), UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City and is open from Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 12:00 noon and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

For inquiries, call the UP Press at +63 (2) 494 2527 and +63 (2) 926 6642 or reach them online via the website or like their facebook fan page, University of the Philippines Press.


The University of the Philippines Press will be going to the Taboan Writers Festival 2012 in Pampanga. The Taboan is  the main program of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts for the literary arts for February, which is Philippines Arts Month.

This year's Taboan will be at Clark Field, Pampanga from February 9-11, 2012. The book fair is from February 9-10 at the Convention Hall of Fontana Leisure Parks, Clark Freeport Zone. UP Press will be selling its newest literary and scholarly titles at the festival which will feature three National Artists for Literature and a host of other writers and delegates from all over the country.

For more information on Taboan, click here.



By Elizabeth Lolarga, VERA Files

Scholar Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, a fictionist and essayist in her own right, describes the state of literary biography in the Philippines in her latest book "Six Sketches of Filipino Women Writers"  as "a wide, arid stretch, with a few patches of grass, and perhaps a tree or two."

She seeks to rectify the situation in her portraits of six contemporary writers; she prefers the words "sketches" or "cameos" for their fragmentary nature to qualify that what she has written is not a full-length biography.

Hidalgo points out why there is a dearth of information on writers—the academe prioritizes literary theory over literary history in training writing majors. This she considers "a pity" because "beginning writers …should be familiar with the entire landscape before they can stake their own claim to one portion of it, or venture beyond its borders into fields unknown."

Merlin Alunan, Sylvia Mayuga, Marra Lanot, Barbara Gonzalez, Elsa Martinez Coscoluella and Rosario Cruz Lucero are not only united by their being female but also by being post-war babies who were raised in the stable 1950s. They saw the rise of student rebellion in the 1960s, lived through martial law in the 1970s and throughout all these, have continued to write actively.

She acknowledges past volumes that have attempted to record the lives of the country's literary ancestors through the research and writing done by the late Doreen Fernandez and Edilberto Alegre, by Edna Zapanta Manlapaz's biographies of Angela Manalang Gloria, Estrella Alfon and Lina Espina Moore, by Manlapaz and Marjorie Evasco's oral history of poets Manalang Gloria, Trinidad Tarrosa Subido, Edith Tiempo, Virginia Moreno, Ophelia Dimalanta and Tita Lacambra Ayala.

In the last few years, Carmen Guerrero Nakpil and Gilda Cordero Fernando have come up with their own autobiographies by way of setting records straight.

Hidalgo agrees with feminist biographer Linda Wagner-Martin that her subjects must be involved in the biography so readers can appreciate their lives in their full context.

Apart from communicating with her subjects through the technological convenience provided by e-mail, Hidalgo puts them at ease. The telling of their stories has the intimacy of two women friends, who haven't seen one another in years, catching up over a cup of coffee and slices of cake, and lingering way past the café's business hours.

Like the author, half of the subjects (Alunan, Coscoluella and Lucero, and for a time, Lanot) have found refuge in the academe to support their writing projects as they realize that despite the joy in creating poems, fiction and essays, Philippine society does not provide a stable economic support for this.

Lanot, in the blunt, to-the-point style that her poems are noted for, says, quoting family friend Nick Joaquin: "You don't do hack writing, you write and try to write well all the time, whether the pay is high or low or nil."

Lanot offered piano lessons to young neighbors when her husband Pete Lacaba was in the underground and later jailed on subversion charges. Lucero gave ballet lessons to aspiring young dancers who could be accommodated in the sala of a rented house to stretch the family budget. Mayuga was employed in print and broadcast media.

Gonzalez rose to become one of the country's few women advertising executives when a marriage failed. She continues to paint and craft handmade jewelry to sell at weekend markets.

Although she married into a hacendero's family in Negros Occidental, Coscoluella went on to write and submit an epic poem or a full-length drama to national literary contests and win. She served as a vice president of the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod. Her duties included running the university press apart from expanding the Institute of Culinary Arts, managing a master's program for police officers, among other things, making her recent retirement not fully realized yet.

Wifehood and motherhood are not romanticized, although that would be how machos would portray them—the be-all and end-all of a woman's existence.

Alunan wrote of the exhaustion and frustration she felt as a young mom: "Your brain will turn into putty if you go on this way, you can't be doing this all your life, how long can you put up with this…The watching half of me complains and scolds, angry and resentful for the time and space it had lost to this selfish demanding little beast that all infants are, jealous and envious of all the attention it takes for granted as an inviolable right…"

Throughout their narratives, these women did astonishing balancing acts: they bore and raised children, held down regular jobs, struggled with difficult partners and wrote for expression and for the freedom it gives in circumstances far from what Virginia Woolf required that a woman who wishes to write should have a room of her own.

Because of these writers' efforts and the critical recognition they've received, they have cleared a path for younger sisters who dream of making writing not just a worthy hobby but a lifelong occupation and a commitment.

"Six Sketches of Filipino Women Writers"  is published by the University of the Philippines Press, 2011.

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")



Portions of the writeups include quotations from the book blurb and author profiles.


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