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Here’s what you can expect from the 1st ever Dumaguete Literary Festival


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Here’s what you can expect from the 1st ever Dumaguete Literary Festival

Dumaguete Literary Festival's Facebook page

Happening from April 26 to 28 at 58 EJ Blanco Drive, the Duma LitFest promises three jam-packed days of fun and insight

MANILA, Philippines – Great news, Negros Oriental bookworms! In celebration of National Literature Month and the 75th Anniversary of the Dumaguete Charter, Dumaguete City is set to hold the first-ever Dumaguete Literary Festival, or the Duma LitFest for short. 

Happening from April 26 to 28 at 58 EJ Blanco Drive, the Duma LitFest promises three jam-packed days of fun and insight. The three-day event will champion local literature through literary panel discussions, talks, short film screenings, and workshops, among others. 

Here’s what you can expect so far from the Duma LitFest: 

Zine fest, bazaar

A zine fest and arts and literary bazaar is scheduled to happen for the entire day on April 26 (Friday) and 28 (Sunday). Attendees will be able to get their hands on zines, merchandise made by local artists, and books sold by different publishers and local bookstores, to name a few. 

Film screening, talkback

On the event’s opening day on April 26, Dumaguete short films will be screened with the help of Negros Oriental’s official film festival: the Lutas Film Festival. Other than getting to watch the short films, attendees will also be able to discuss them further during the TalkBack session. 


Gracing the Duma LitFest as a keynote speaker is playwright, author, and Palanca awardee Dean Francis Alfar, who will be speaking about the future of literature during his talk on the event’s opening day on April 26. 

Scheduled right after Alfar’s talk is a Literary PechaKucha (chit-chat in English), where six different speakers will each be given time to discuss a specific topic with the help of presentation slides containing a series of images. A speaker at a PechaKucha is usually given 20 seconds to talk about each of the 20 slides in their presentation – meaning that they’ll have a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds to discuss their assigned topic. 

The Literary PechaKucha speakers and their respective topics are as follows:

  • Katinka Visitacion: writing about Bacolod
  • Jireh Catacutan: writing a play
  • Cil Flores: creating a character for visual arts
  • Matthew Yasi: organizing literary clubs
  • Leah Navarro: making zines and notebooks
  • Alyana Aguja: editing a literary folio 

On Day 3, Mitos Suson will also be delivering a talk about how she became an Amazon writer. Suson is the author behind the books A Doorbell, A Dictator, A Dad, Shards of Time, and Quarantine Wisdom: And Other Absurdities. 

Literary panel discussions

Other than these talks, attendees will also be able to catch a total of 14 panel discussions led by numerous figures from the literary field. Panels comprising two to three people will each be discussing a wide variety of topics, ranging from writing different genres to the awards in Philippine literature. 

Below is a list of the panel discussions scheduled throughout the three-day event: 

Day 1 (Friday)

  • Panel 1: Writing Dumaguete and Negros Oriental with Ian Rosales Casocot, Rolin Migyuel Obina, and Dara Tumaca-Ramos, moderated by Pia Villareal
  • Panel 2: Looking for Philippine Literature in the School Curriculum with Alana Leilani Narciso, Kaycee Melon, and Hellene Piñero, moderated by Lady Flor Partosa-Koenig
  • Panel 3: The Penguin Random House Hour with Sarge Lacuesta, Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta, and Maryanne Moll, moderated by Claire Betita-de Guzman
  • Panel 4: The Place of the Palanca and Other Literary Awards in Philippine Literature with Ian Rosales Casocot and Kesiah Dawn Tiaosom, moderated by Gina Fontejon-Bonior

Day 2 (Saturday)

  • Panel 5: The Other Side of Negros with Rayboy Pandan and Rocky Nicor, moderated by Katinka Visitacion
  • Panel 6: Readers Talk Back with Annabelle Adriano, Rina Hill, and Albertha Lachmi Obut, moderated by Aaron Jalalon
  • Panel 7: Poetry in a Time of Crisis with Marjorie Evasco, Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta, and Angela Fabunan, moderated by Lyde Gerard Villanueva
  • Panel 8: Literature and Social Media with Danielle Gaston and F. Jordan Carnice, moderated by Ronelyn Ho 
  • Panel 9: Siquijor Rising – Literature from Isla del Fuego with Shane Jay Fabugais, Leo Mamicpic, and Rizalie Anding-Calibo, moderated by Moses Joshua Atega

Day 3 (Sunday)

  • Panel 10: Writing the Romance with Mina Esguerra and Georgette Gonzales (via Zoom), moderated by Beryl Andrea Delicana
  • Panel 11: Writing Comics with Komiket with J. Philip Ignacio and Ren Galeno, moderated by Amiel Lopez
  • Panel 12: Writing Speculative Fiction with Dean Francis Alfar, Nikki Alfar, and Ian Rosales Casocot, moderated by Tara De Leon
  • Panel 13: Writing from the Regions with Maryanne Moll, Johanna Michelle Lim, and Lendz Barinque, moderated by John Rubio
  • Panel 14: The Business of Literature with Sarge Lacuesta, Gayle Acar, and Anton Gabila, moderated by Lea Sicat-Reyes
Sessions for kids

Alongside the panels scheduled for Day 2 on April 27, there will be a series of parallel sessions for kids and kids at heart, led by Dumaguete-based bookstore Libraria Books. For the entire afternoon, young bookworms will be able to participate in storytelling sessions, folk music sessions, arts and crafts workshops, and show screenings. 


On Day 2, Elizabeth Susan Vista-Suarez and the Silliman University Campus Choristers will also be treating attendees to a musical performance titled Julia and the Music of Light.

Workshop, open mic

The Duma LitFest has a workshop and open mic session scheduled on its last day on April 28. 

The workshop will teach attendees how to create their own zine – a typically low-cost, self-published booklet containing text, images, and/or art. Meanwhile, the hour-long open mic session at the very end of the event will allow interested attendees to recite their poetry and spoken word on stage. 

As of writing, however, further details for both activities have yet to be announced. – Rappler.com

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