Before electricity, before sonar, before Hollywood, they were the stuff of our fantasies, our nightmares, our folktales. We whispered about them in hushed tones. We stepped politely through forests for fear of arousing their wrath. We cautiously said “bari-bari apo” when walking in the dark. Have they been eclipsed by modernity? Or have they gone to another place? A place where people still believe in incantos? Perhaps, they are still here. For when fear strikes our hearts, what is it we fear? When our skin trembles at sound/sight/smell/taste, what is it we tremble at? When we are moved by enchantment to still places, to stands of trees, to big rocks, to look at stars, then we know that this earth is old, peopled by beings whose memories are older than ours. Perhaps, older than the stars. Elemental. What the legends say, may or may not be true; but the legends continue.
This season, we ask you to listen to the old tales and spin new ones. Where are the aswangs? Shape-shifters that they are, what shape have they taken now? When will bakunawa finally swallow the sun and eclipse the world in darkness forever and ever? If people keep cutting down trees, where will the kapres then reside? Have you ever felt cursed, as if your very shadow was dogged? Then did the albularyo dropping candle wax on water tell you who placed a kulam on you? Or did you ever try a love spell for yourself?
Spin it out and spin it out. We’ve got time to tell. We’ll listen to your stories on the full harvest moon of February, a time when, people say, the shapeshifters come out. But we don’t want want no tales of Twilight or New Moon, we want stories that come from us. Our myths that stand for our race. Our legends that speak of our nobility as a people. Say it in English or Filipino. Say it through a painting or a song. But say it. So the world can hear, and know that what binds us as a people, is these old tales running through our blood, making us what we are, what we fear, what we become.
Genre Guidelines: 1) The theme is loosely based on Philippine mythological creatures. From there, you may spin your own web any way you like. 2) Literary submissions are accepted in English and Filipino. Each person may submit up to 5 poems, short stories, essays, or any version of narrative they wish. 3) Art submissions are accepted in JPEG and PDF format. Colored and black and white works are accepted. 4) Music submissions are accepted in MP3 or Wav format. Musicians must submit the lyrics along with the MP3. 5) Send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. 6) Deadline for submissions is on January 15, 2011. Edited by Castelo, dela Cruz, Kwan, Napueta, and Sarno for Espasyo Siningdikato, Inc.