Sunday, January 6, 2008

KABULIG-Bikol is an organization of writers and would-be-writers who write about Bikol culture, literature, arts, and society through essays, fiction, poetry, and drama. The writing can be in any language but preferably in Bikol, which makes one an immediate member.

KABULIG-Bikol was organized on the last day of the 3-day creative writing workshop in the summer of 1993. Sponsored by the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) and the Naga City government, the workshop had J. Wendell Capili, Teo Antonio, Butch Dalisay, Val Fajardo, and Carlos Aureus as panelists. Among the participants were Marc Lopez, Elsa Mampo (now a judge), Honesto Pesimo, Jr., then city councilors Agapito Tria and Gabby Bordado, Frank Peñones, Jr., Xavier Olin (now a Jesuit priest), Angela Oliver, Selina, Mara Boucher, Magus Tapales, and Rudy F. Alano; and some literature teachers from from Sorsogon and Catanduanes. The prime mover of this workshop was then Bikol representative to the NCCA and member of its sub-committee on Literary Arts, Dr. Lilia Realubit.

The name Kabulig (meaning one who shares on helps in an endeavor) was suggested by Peñones and was approved by the members. Its first president was Rudy F. Alano.

Despite some efforts by its executive committee to keep Kabulig-Bikol active, the organization went into dormancy in the years 1995 to 1999. However, by the mid-year of 1999 the Naga and Irig writers re-organized Kabulig with Alano still the president, and started to hold occasional meetings for the purpose of planning, one of which was to attend and help in the very first conference of the Bikol writers, Pagsurat Bikolnon, in Legaspi City. Pagsurat Bikolnon was the brainchild of Ms. Jazmin B. Llana, its project director, and ably supported by the administration of Aquinas University under Fr. Ramonclaro Mendez, its university president. Pagsurat Bikolnon I and II gave some directions to where Kabulig should go. By this time the members had elected Alano as NCCA representative of the Bikol region.

And by 2004 it had grown into a more compact organization with regular meetings and discussions on Bikol art and culture and Bikol language and literature. Its members have helped in conducting writing workshops, the most significant of which was the Arejola workshop in Pili. The group has also helped in organizing the second Pagsurat Bikolnon in Aquinas University, a component of which was a one-day writing workshop with the following panelists: National Artist Virgilio Almario, Roberto Añonuevo, Romulo Baquiran, Roger Mangahas, Fidel Rillo, Abdon Balde, Jr., Dan Pinto, Alano and Peñones. Its members have read their poems in many occasions in Camarines Sur State Agricultural College, Ateneo de Naga University, Aquinas University, University of Nueva Caceres, Bikol Fiesta in Clamshell-Intramuros, while several have been published in Philippine Graphic, Philippines Free Press, Sunday Inquirer Magazine, Philippine Panorama, Liwayway, Home Life, its own literary magazine, Bangraw, local weeklies, and the Canada-based Burak edited by G.B. Calleja. In August of 2004, Alano called for an election of a new set of officers for the next three years.

Kabulig-Bikol is now the umbrella organization of three other groups: Kabulig-Naga, Kabulig-Iriga, and Kabulig-Albay with Jacob, Peñones, and Llana as their heads, respectively. Kabulig is now working on ts first book of contemporary Bikol poetry. Cordero has published two books of poetry. Jacob was included as one of the poets in the UBOD series of the NCCA and has a chapbook to his name. Peñones has published one book of poems.

Kabulig accepts as members anyone who has shown interest in Bikol culture, literature, and arts through his/her writing/s, provided he/she submits any one of the following: one short story, six poems, or one one-act play every year. Also, to stay in the active list of members, one should attend the annual general assembly and at least three regular meetings.