Post Summer Update + Visiting Bukidnon

Happy September, Friends!

We hope your summer (vacation) was relaxing. Is that even possible??? I spent mine going on a month long trip to the Philippines and teaching dance at a week long family performing arts camp in Cazadero. The whole summer felt both long and short, mundane and novel. And now we’re ready for the school year and for the rest of the year.

Since our last post, things have definitely moved forward. A few nights ago, I dreamt that the books arrived and I said, looking at them, that they’re very beautiful! In particular, I was looking at the page with the diwata and her glorious hair. But then I noticed that the words were missing. The horror!


(This Diwata now appears in my dreams!)

I also said in my last post that if no major changes needed to be made, we’d have the books by September. Well, apparently, even when the changes that needed doing weren’t major- a font correction on the spine, a random typo which mysteriously showed up even after the numerous edits done by several people, decisions to be made on whether to do a second review- the process still ate up weeks and weeks of going back and forth between us and the printer. It wasn’t until the first week of August that we finally approved everything. We now have a tentative arrival date of mid November.

This is a bit disappointing because I was really counting on having the books for the various October (as Fil-Am History Month) events like the UndiscoveredSF and the Fil-Am International Book Festival. But I won’t dwell on this, especially because, fortunately, we can get advance copies by the end of September. It isn’t ideal but at least we will have something to show at the events. So, we’re still in business!

If you remember, several months ago, I was very excited to share that I was going to collaborate with Bukidnon State University to work on more projects that highlight Bukidnon culture. Since them, they have asked me to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to document our intent to collaborate.

So, during my trip, I went back to my home town to sign the papers. I thought all I needed to do was go to somebody’s office, sign, and then be done. Instead, I got to be an honored guest and speaker of a program that was put together by the Dept. of English and Literature as well as the Bukidnon Studies Center!

 (The printed program  (L). The Bukidnon Studies Center which also houses a Bukidnon culture museum (R).) (Photo Credit: Christopher Cordova of

I was met and escorted by my high school best friend, Prof. Rizza Ramos-Consad, to visit the University President, Dr. Cabanelez. An official school photographer followed us around to take photos of my meeting with the President. It was… strange. 🙂

After the visit, we went to the Bukidnon Studies Center where many of the book’s collaborators gathered for a program. It was humbling to meet the many people who gave the book their time and effort by providing translations and research materials. I even discovered that I am related to some of them!

What an honor it was! It was so beautiful to hear the Bukidnon hymn sung in Binukid while sitting with men and women dressed in their official Binukid attires. The panika in the background looked grand. The talks from the various BSU officials inspired. I talked a bit about the process and the need for telling our stories, but mainly wanted to engage them in a conversation about how to create more works of art in a way that is respectful to the tradition but also fresh. I signed the Memo. I ate really yummy kutsinta. I visited the Center’s museum and saw several works of art by Bukidnon artists. And I received a hand crafted woven bag of Bukidnon design.

(Siting next to me, Prof. Ramos-Consad) (Photo Credit: Christopher Cordova of


(Professors and Staff and Members of Bukidnon Studies Center and Bukidnon Studies Center. To my right: Prof. Ramos-Consad, Prof. Loreta Sol Dinlayan. To my left: Prof. Ivan Villanueva, Prof. Carl Binayao) (Photo Credit: Christopher Cordova of

My utmost gratitude goes to my high school best friend, Dr. Rizza Ramos-Consad, for facilitating all of these! I am looking forward to more collaborative projects in the future!!

On October 19 we will be at the UndiscoveredSF event in San Francisco as well as the 5th Filipino American International Book Festival on October 12-13, Hope to see you there!

May September and the rest of the year bring more opportunities for collaboration!

Till next update. Thanks, as always, for your support.

Published by sawagariverpress

Exploring, celebrating, and sharing children's experiences in the Filipino diaspora through books and art.

One thought on “Post Summer Update + Visiting Bukidnon

  1. Hi, Justine.
    What a beautiful update. I loved reading about your presentation at Bukidnon State University— a most special homecoming and reunion with your HS best friend as well!
    Glad to hear that you’ll have some books available in time for Filbookfest5. We’re looking forward to your bright presence and participation in the children’s activities and for me, just seeing you again! love from here-

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