The first recorded poetess-shaman in Philippine History is a Boholana by the name of Karyapa. Ancient Spanish records bear us out on this. Or else, we simply trust the research skills of Dr. Jes Tirol on the matter. Karyapa prophesied about the end of the Dapitan Kingdom in poetic verses; and it did happen.There are accounts saying that our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, himself found the name Karyapa in Antonio de Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas.

It should be enlightening for male chauvinists to find out that long before the Spanish colonization, women were the leaders of our communities. Women were respected in all fields of endeavor. They were the healers, artists, weavers, farmers, and even warriors, much like Gabriela Silang and a bit more like today’s modern feminists. Our own version of Karyapa’s verses would probably look like this:


I am a Filipino and my God is not stupid.

I am a Filipino and for me women are not objects.

Women are not to be raped nor exploited.

Women are to be loved and respected.

We therefore encourage Boholano women, especially those who are inclined to speak and write, to take courage and continue the tradition of Karyapa. Keep writing and keep fighting for the right reasons; for freedom in culture and spirituality, equality in rights and politics, and fraternity and justice in economics.

The Boholano writers’ guild, KaliwatniKaryapa, and the Center for Culture and the Arts Development (CCAD) of the Office of the Governor are inviting aspiring and practicing writers (both women and men) to a creative writing workshop on May 25-26, 2019 here in Tagbilaran City. To qualify, applicants must submit three (3) poems or balak, and one (1) short fiction or creative non-fiction (in Binisaya or English with a word count of at least 1,000) along with a brief resume and updated contact information that should include one’s residential address, email and cellular phone numbers.

Manuscripts must be in MS Word format, double-spaced in font 12 Times New Roman on A4 size, and should be emailed to kaliwatnikaryapa@gmail.com by 12 midnight on May 20, 2019. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Fifteen fellows will be selected for this workshop where food, literary materials and certificates will be provided for free. Selected works may also be featured in a literary folio. For inquiries, please email kaliwatnikaryapa@gmail.com.

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