Western Mindanao



The works of emerging writers from Western Mindanao demonstrate artistry and valor to explore the often dismissed concerns of the people. The writers in the selection are two women. Floraime O. Pantaleta hails from Isabela City, Basilan, and is currently living in Zamboanga City. She writes in two major languages, English and Chavacano, and she also translates works from Chavacano to English, Filipino, and sometimes, Bisaya. Her works can be read in Tractions, Anomaly, and in the Reading the Regions 1 Anthology. She also translated Si Amina y El Ciudad de maga Flores, a children’s bilingual storybook published in 2017 by Sari-Sari Storybooks in the Philippines and United States. Aljane C. Baterna, on the other hand, hails from Sapang Dalaga, Misamis Occidental and is currently teaching in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte. She grew up interested in writing both fiction and creative non-fiction. She took Bachelor of Arts in Filipino and pursued a graduate degree on the same field. Currently, she is balancing teaching and her passion for writing.

Pantaleta’s collection of poetry voices out the desire of the speaker to be home as reflected in “Kilometer 3, Binuangan” as well as to be able to conquer one’s paralyzing and annihilating fear of the unknown as made vivid in the image of the wall in the poem “You Crawl through Doors” and in “Toxemia” where the speaker realizes that an object/person can be “one moment, …still alive, and then gone in a flash of sunlight to your eyes.” The celebration of one’s sensuality and subdued reference to intimations are also sensitively tackled in her collection, as reflected in “Soma.” The poems allow readers to explore a woman’s thoughts about the many usual day-to-day concerns that are often silenced.

Baterna’s “Kung Bakit Kailangan Nang Palitan si Rizal sa Luneta: is a light, funny, but a witty essay that profoundly scrutinizes and discusses the nuances of being boxed in a certain mold, thus in a way failing to recognize that which matters most. Moreover, the essay subtly hints at the need to (re)introduce, recognize, and hear “the little people” so that the essence of being a Filipino can be lived and actualized.

Although different in approach and style, both women’s writings hint at the people’s desire to be heard and included. These writings will continue to give voice to the narratives of Mindanao.

Floraime Pantaleta

Aljane Baterna

About the author

Shara Rose Olaya-Dionaldo
By Shara Rose Olaya-Dionaldo