I received confirmation Tuesday, 13 May 2008, that a story on the origins of the Waling-waling which I wrote will be featured in the June 2008 issue of Mabuhay Magazine, the inflight travel and leisure publication of Philippine Airlines. Miss Ira of Eastgate Publishing, the official publisher of Mabuhay, told me on Tuesday via E-mail that the June 2008 issue of the magazine is already being printed in Hong Kong and will be ready for release on the first day of June. That piece of good news got me all giddy and excited not so much because of the check (which will contain something nowhere near substantial) but because I have never thought that I will find my name in a magazine of which my family and I have been avid collectors for years.
The June 2008 issue of Mabuhay Magazine will center on Davao as its main feature, and knowing that my story is part of it makes me feel incredibly thankful and blessed.
The story, “The Legend of the Queen Orchid” (alternatively, “The Legend of the Waling-Waling” or plainly, “Waling”), an original legend I wrote in 1998, is part of a collection of writings which I uploaded to my websites some 10 years ago. I remember back in my college days, way before “blogging” made its way to Netizen parlance, I created websites on Geocities and Fortunecity (with versions in English and Bisaya), which were free web-hosting sites that provided free web space (something like 15MB—you got that right!—back in the day) and TONS of ads.
Like a true novice, I crammed everything in my pages as I saw fit: lots of multi-colored text, gif files, jpeg and (the still novel and crude) CSS, photos of my watercolor paintings, song lyrics and midi files, my college essays, project papers, and published articles (SunStar Davao). The result: pure, untrameled clutter! Now that these websites are old, dried up, fried and forgotten, I never really, REMOTELY, thought anyone would still be looking at them after ten full years of dereliction. In fact, I thought they have already been deleted for reasons like sheer outmodedness and lack of taste!
Luckily, an executive from Eastgate Publishing found one of these websites (I didn’t really ask which one they found, but I am making a very safe assumption here), and found “Waling.” There must be a real lack of literature on Philippine orchid folklore because to date I have never read or heard of any “official” Lumad legend on the Waling-waling (Vanda sanderiana), the Queen of Orchids and one of the symbols of Davao City.
Again, safely assuming that the executive made another Google search, this time on my name, she found my mobile number in a Travel Agency ad or Call Center website (presumably). Thanks to The Almighty I haven’t changed numbers since 2004!
So, Ms. Ira called me up, much to my matutinal (that is, early morning) suprise and told me of her discovery, offering to publish the story in Mabuhay Magazine for a fee. I replied with something like an enthusiastic “OK.” Then she told me further to cut the verbosity of my work to the vicinity of 400 words. I paused a bit, but couldn’t refuse the true honor of having my name printed in precious Mabuhay ink, so I said “OK,” careful to mask any hint of hesitation.
After two days and smoky hours on my laptop laboring to reduce a 3,873-word epic down to a stupendously measly 400 words (while genuinely risking loss of thought and storyline), I finally e-mailed the text to Ms. Ira, who replied the next day without any complaints (thankfully!). She however additionally requested for a third-person, 30-word blurb about me, which I promptly accomplished the day after.
I was told there would be illustrations on the story (which, as I requested, should be in the Lumad Bagobo flair), but that remains to be seen (Well, I can always e-mail Ms. Ira about that, but I don’t want to be such a pain. You see, now that I have hit first base, I’m seeking further exposure by becoming a regular freelance contributor to Mabuhay! Ha!). Whatever. The important thing is that I will find my story in THE Mabuhay Magazine, in ALL Philippine Airlines planes, on ALL Mabuhay Class seats, on ALL domestic and international flights this June!
I don’t know if it’s brag-worthy, but hey, my name will soon fly all around the world!