3 young Ce­buano writ­ers you must keep an eye on

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Profile - Text: Deneb R. Batu­can & Pa­tri­cia May P. Catan Of SunS­tar Week­end

“Mas lami gyud ang Bisaya. Gahi nga lami.” These are words you'd likely hear from lit­er­ary artists when asked about the Ce­buano lan­guage.

In a world of unlimited hugot and emo­tion­filled prose, three Ce­buano writ­ers — Mechelle Cen­turias, Jess­rel Gil­buena, and Jae Mag­dadaro — are adamant to ex­press them­selves in the lan­guage they all hold dear. And it’s true what they say about the Ce­buano lan­guage — when it comes to the sen­si­bil­ity of the balak, the words seem to have a stronger push and pull. These up-and-com­ing po­ets have set the bar high with their lit­er­ary cre­ations, so get to know them and brace your­self for some stim­u­lat­ing in­sights that stir the mind.

Mechelle Cen­turias, 27 Fic­tion­ist and Poet

Seem­ingly in­con­spic­u­ous, this lady ac­tu­ally has a su­per power. And no, she can’t read minds or go in­vis­i­ble. But her words and im­agery are strik­ing and as deep as the earth’s core, able to evoke emo­tion out of any­one who would read them. Mechelle Cen­turias’ work as a Ce­buano fic­tion­ist and poet can for sure tickle your think tank as well as your soul.

She be­gan writ­ing in high school as a cor­re­spon­dent for her school’s stu­dent pub­li­ca­tion. At that time, she hasn’t yet tapped on her lit­er­ary side as she fo­cused more on her jour­nal­is­tic en­deav­ors. But it was in col­lege — where she ma­jored in lan­guage — that she came across lit­er­a­ture.

With her lit classes, she ad­mit­ted that she would only com­ply with what her teacher asked from her. It never crossed her mind that she had the tal­ent to write. Un­til she met some­one, a young poet, in one of her lit­er­a­ture classes who in­flu­enced her to write.

Mechelle started with writ­ing fic­tion, or sug­i­lanon, which she is more com­fort­able with. “Sa sug­i­lanon man gud, maka play ka with the words ug mu-haom ra siya sa story,” she said. Her first pub­lished work was a sug­i­lanon. It was an af­fir­ma­tion to her that she could re­ally write. “At first naa pa baya ta’y doubt sa atong self,” she said. “Then if mali­pay ka sa usa nga na pub­lish, you’ll want more and it be­comes ad­dic­tive.” Mechelle said that when she started writ­ing fic­tion and po­ems, she would al­ways look for inspiration. “Some­thing nga maka­puga gani sa imung heart. You want to write about some­thing nga maka­p­atan­dog nimo,” she said.

But through the years, and with ma­tu­rity as well, she re­al­izes that inspiration comes and goes. “Kung gana­han ka nga in­gnon ka’g maayo ka musuwat, kung kin­hanglan, musuwat gyud ka,” she said. Lit­er­a­ture, for Mechelle, is ex­press­ing your deep­est emo­tions cre­atively. Some­times, if she is go­ing through a dif­fi­cult time, it helps to ex­press her­self though a sug­i­lanon or a balak. “Imu lang ipa-agi ug balak, pero in re­al­ity gyud, ga maoy gyud ka’g ta­man dinha sa imung kwarto. Gi­hi­lakan na gyud na nimo’g ta­man. Kahu­man, naa na dayun mang­gawas nga balak,” she said.

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