TUGKAD Volume 1


Opening to the Unknown: An Introduction to Volume 1
Hope Sabanpan-Yu

John Wolff in A Dictionary of Cebuano Visayan defines the verb tugkad as “fathom, comprehend something mysterious”, “touch the bottom, standing in water” or “for the feet or something dangling to reach the ground.”(1)  All fathoming is bodily, supported with devices that help us know something differently. And, indeed, these words reflect the nature of this inaugural volume of Tugkad: A Journal of Literary and Cultural Studies.

As an academic journal, it marks the beginning of our humble endeavor to carve a path in academic research in literary and cultural studies in Cebu and abroad; it is in this notion to find ground. Many of the articles in this volume are written in response to puzzle out something that confounds us – an appropriate undertaking in the face of research: a mystery or a question we seek to understand.

As scholars, we see the benefits of developing and sharing our ideas through publication. A journal is a valuable means, providing venue for scholarship. Tugkad embodies the breakthrough of research in the disciplinary areas of comparative literature and cultural studies. Each article present here is an act of inquiry that carries with it great social value and sheds light on the academic engagement of the future.

Just as fathoming undulates in the pressures and pleasures of the different and the diverse, fathoming also paradoxically shows us about the impossibility of mastery. Fathoming reminds us that the aim of knowing may not be finding the answer but rather asking a question and engaging with what turns up. How might this question, this answer, developing from these methods, and this time, work together in and with the world to point to other possibilities still unknown?

We attempt to break down barriers and seek out knowledge to discover what is beyond, bringing efforts of creativity as well to the interdisciplinary academic community. The journal includes a creative arm – lamdaman, a noun coined from the Cebuano terms lamdag ‘light’ and panumduman ‘thoughts’ – root dumdum – which is defined as “inspiration.”(2)  In Lamdaman we publish a number of creative work, translations as well as special features and interviews with a diverse body of writers.  We make particular effort to showcase the voices of aspiring writers and young translators at this time in which dynamic art is more needed than ever. We believe it matters even more deeply now that creative work find their way to readers. We are honored to share their contributions with all of you.

1  John Wolff. A Dictionary of Cebuano Visayan. New York: Cornell University Press, 1972. 1041.
2  Wolff 568.


Lamdaman Poetry

Lamdaman Fiction

Lamdaman Interview

Lamdaman Translation


Erlinda K. Alburo is a scholar, critic, editor, poet, and translator, who was director of the Cebuano Studies Center from 1996 to 2011. She regularly serves as a panelist for the Iligan and Silliman National Writers Workshops, as well as a member of the board of judges for the Cebuano category at the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. She is editorial board member of the Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society. She has been the recipient of various grants and fellowships abroad, and has been awarded numerous distinctions such as Outstanding Argaonon for the 400th anniversary of the founding of Argao, Achievement Award from the National Research Council of the Philippines, and the Paz Marquez Benitez Award for Teaching Literature.

Bejay Bolivar is pursuing a PhD in English Language and Literature at the Ateneo de Manila University. She holds a degree in Master of Arts in Literature from the Cebu Normal University and a bachelor’s degree in Communication (Major in Media) with units in Professional Education from Saint Theresa’s College. She teaches in the University of San Carlos at the Department of Communication, Language, and Literature. Her academic interests include sociolinguistic studies in the regional context, the eco-spatial imagination, and regional literature.  


Niño Augustine Loyola teaches literature at the University of San Carlos. He is also a creative writer who works part-time in literary and technical translation. His short stories and poetry were published in the Bisaya magazine and his awards include the “15th Jimmy Y. Balacuit Literary Awards” in 2017 and the “Labing Masaarong Bag-ong Magsusulats sa Bisaya sa Tuig 2017.”


Bea Martinez has a PhD English with concentration in Literary Studies from the Silliman University and is a recipient of the 2020 NCCA dissertation research award. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of San Carlos and works as a part-time librarian and senior high faculty at the Philippine Christian Gospel School.

Resil B. Mojares has won numerous national book awards as well as international recognition for his scholarship on Philippine culture and history. He has a Ph.D. in literature from the University of the Philippines and served as Visiting Professor in universities in the United States, Singapore, and Japan. A Professor Emeritus at the University of San Carlos, he was founding director of the university’s Cebuano Studies Center from 1975 to 2000. In 2018, the Philippine government conferred on him the title of National Artist in Literature.

Raphael Dean Polinar is MA candidate in Philosophy at the University of San Carlos. He is assistant to the director of the Cebuano Studies Center. His research interests include Cebuano literature, ethics, and the public space. He is a member of Mamugnaong Anak sa Dagang, Inc. (MAD) and works part-time as a translator.

Charles Dominic Sanchez is a literature teacher, essayist and fictionist from Cebu. His creative works have been featured in Brown Child: The Best of Faigao Poetry and Fiction 1984-2012, Pinili: 15 Years of Lamiraw, and online literary journal Katitikan.

Francis Luis Torres is an Assistant Professor of literature, creative writing, English, and communication courses at the University of the Philippines–Cebu. He also serves as the college Public Information Officer. Currently, his research focuses on gay/queer criticism, Philippine literature, and Cebuano culture and history.

Dagmar Inez Uy graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree majoring in Cinema from the University of San Carlos. She also holds a diploma in 3D Animation from Film and Media Arts International Academy. She is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts program, majoring in Literature, at the University of San Carlos. She is currently focused on the narrative aesthetics of Philippine Literature in English.

Anne Katherine Aguilar is based at the University of San Carlos, both as a teacher and as a graduate student pursuing an MA in Literature. She was a fellow to the 31st Cornelio Faigao Memorial Annual Writers Workshop, the CSC TALA Workshop and the Translation: Beyond Basics II. Her poetry have been published in Bag-ong Tala (2018) and her translation of Gumer Rafanan’s short story “Uhaw sa Pagpangga” was published in That Black God and Other Stories (2020).

Jona Branzuela Bering is at peace with her state of lostlessness. She authors Alang sa Nasaag​ (For the Lost), a poetry collection that swings between being grounded and flying away. She calls Hanoi, Vietnam her Point A. She won the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for her fiction.

June Angelie Burtanog works as a Communication Trainer. She is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Literature at the University of San Carlos, where she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Linguistics and Literature.  Her poems have appeared in Folio Number 2: Still Waiting and Kuris, the literary folios published by CebuLitFest and Today's Carolinian, respectively. 

Lamberto G. Ceballos is a multi-awarded fictionist, poet, and essayist. He was past president and member of Bathalan-ong Halad sa Dagang (Bathalad). He was one of the recipients of the NCCA-NCLA Taboan Literary Award 2013 and in 2014 he received from Unyon ng Mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas award. He is a retired Certified Public Accountant and is presently connected with Sun.Star Superbalita as Cebuano language consultant and literary editor.

Hazel Ann Cesa is one of the first members of PALABRA, the official group for Literature majors of the University of San Carlos. She was a fellow to the 1st Bidlisiw Creative Writers’ Workshop and the BATHALAD Kagis Creative Writers’ Workshop in 2017. Her work was published in Bukambibig Poetry Folio of Spoken Word Philippines, the country’s first and only multilingual digital folio of performance poetry. She contributed to Inday-Inday, a poetry zine and Hangtod of the USC Department of Communications, Languages, and Literature. Currently, she writes technical articles for a global web solutions provider.

Jennifer Ebdani from Calbayog City, Samar, is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of San Carlos. She is a member of BATHALAD-Sugbo and has been a fellow to several writers’ workshops: UP Cebu Creative Writers Workshop 2014, Elements Camp 2014, Tagik Landasan 2015, Cebu Young Writers' Studio 2019, BATHALAD-Sugbo CWW 2019, WILA's Paglambo Regional CWW for Flash Fiction 2019, Katitikan's 1st Cebu Writers' Workshop 2020, and the recent 59th Silliman University National Writers Workshop. Her works have appeared in Superbalita Cebu and Katitikan Literary Journal of the Philippine South

Ralph Semino Galán, poet, literary and cultural critic, translator and editor, is the assistant director of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies. He is an associate professor in the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters. He is the author of the following books: The Southern Cross and Other Poems (2005), Discernments: Literary Essays, Cultural Critiques and Book Reviews (2013), From the Major Arcana (2014), and Sa mga Pagitan ng Buhay at Iba pang Pagtutulay (2018). His poems in English and Filipino won prizes in national literary contests. He is currently working on a research project titled Labaw sa Bulawan: Translating 100 Mindanao Poems from Cebuano into English and also a new collection of poems in Cebuano, Mga Kalag nga Nasalaag, Mga Dili Ingon Nato.

Faith Calisura Galve is currently taking her law degree at the University of Cebu. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature from the University of San Carlos. She is one of the translators for the 2017 postcolonial poetry book entitled ‘Patik’ and one of the writers of the 2016 “Forging Peoples” Gabii sa Kabilin.

Charris Lourdes Herrera graduated from the University of San Carlos, where she took up Bachelor of Arts in Literature.  She is one of the translators of the 2017 postcolonial poetry book entitled “Patik." Currently, she works as a content and technical writer for a software development company. Herrera posts her stories and poetry in her personal blog at houseofrah.life, a website she runs with her sister.

Noli Manaig’s poetry has appeared in magazines, books, and journals like the Philippines Free Press, Sunday Inquirer magazine, and the Likhaan Book of Poetry and Fiction. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Studies from the University of the Philippines Diliman. As a student, he received several Amelia Lapena Bonifacio Literary Awards for his poetry. He also won second prize for the same category at the 2014 Carlos Palanca Awards in Literature. In 2020, his first book of poems, The God Botherers, was published by UP Press. Of late, he has tried his hand at filmmaking. His short films have been exhibited by the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Gawad Alternatibo. In 2019, he won Best Experimental Film for Michel de Certeau’s Metaphor for Everyday Life.

Michael U. Obenieta is the recipient of the 2021 Gawad Balagtas (Lifetime Achievement Award for Cebuano poetry) awarded by the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL). His works have been published by various magazines in the Philippines and have received awards in the national and international scene. A former editor for Weekend Magazine in Sun.Star Cebu, he has been based in Topeka, Kansas since 2007. He is the moderator/administrator of the online Cebuano literary lighthouse called Kabisdak and has recently launched his book of bilingual poems (Cebuano & English), “Sanga sa Angkla, Hangin sa Samin” (Branch of the Anchor, Air in the Mirror) published by the Ateneo de Naga University Press.

Rhuther Payales is an AB Literature sophomore studying at the University of San Carlos. He has been with the institution for over fourteen years, starting from his first elementary grade up until college. After taking Creative Writing classes for a brief quarter during his Senior High School years, he realized he wanted to write poems, create films, and build worlds.

Cindy Velasquez is an assistant professor of literature at the University of San Carlos. She was a fellow to the Cornelio Faigao Memorial Workshop, Iligan National Writers Workshop, J. Elizalde Navarro National Arts Criticism Workshop, Iyas National Writers Workshop, and the Kritika National Workshop on Art and Cultural Criticism. Her poems have been featured in local and national publications. Velasquez's awards include the Jimmy Y. Balacuit Award for poetry in 2009, the Vicente Ranudo Literary Excellence Award in 2019, as well as the Gawad Urian Best Music in 2020. Her first poetry collection Lawas was published in 2016.