Gratitude in Poetry

THANK YOU. SALAMAT. is a perfect ode to the birth of a love, and the grieving process that comes after that love ends. 

It chronicles the pheromone-sweetened highs of love…

thank you. salamat
naranasan kong maging knight in shining
shimmering splendid armor noong gabing
naging damsel in distress ka
dahil sa sobrang kalasingan.

…that can even endure vomit-laced juices in a shared bath between the lovers — 

thank you. salamat
at na-appreciate mo noong pinaliguan kita-
pagkatapos mo akong paliguan… ng iyong

And in the dying throes of this love, the denial that it is at an end is so evident —

thank you… salamat
kahit papaano katabi pa rin kita—

And there is anger, too, but cloaked in the burgis sensibility of denying this dark emotion, so the word ‘galit’ or any dark synonym of it does not appear — 

thank you. salamat.
sa nalasahan kong mas mapait ka pa 
sa kape

And finally, there is acceptance that indeed, the bittersweet taste of shared morning or evening kape is at an end —

salamat. thank you.

But did this love journey bring wisdom?

thank you. sa lamat

Seems to say it did. 

In the end, THANK YOU. SALAMAT. reminds us love is not static… it is ever fluid, ever changing.

And this love journey becomes even more colorful with the romantic colors of Eileen Villegas’ artistic rendering of Filipiniana flora.

THANK YOU. SALAMAT for sharing this intimate journey with us, Dax!

Publishing a Book


Seeing a reader smell through the pages of a book with deep appreciation was inspiring for me as one of the indie publishers who showcased books at The Indie Publishers Collab PH (TIPCPH) booth of the 2022 Manila International Book Fair.

The connection with a book is not just intellectual. The act of absorbing a book’s aroma and feeling through the texture of its pages is also emotionally gratifying for a book lover, even if this experience takes only a few seconds.

Behind this scene, however, is a series of scenes that takes creative people months and even years to write, edit, illustrate and design the book. Then, once it is sent to a printing press, it takes days put together by workers of the print industry so that, once it’s out there, a book worm gets to appreciate the physicality of it and swim or fly in the imaginary world it offers.

Self-published authors and indie publishers are concerned with the physical quality of the book they publish as well as the quality of their writing, of course. And always, rushing through the printing process of book production spells disaster for the output — a waste of time, money and effort because coming out with a quality book requires care and attention, and concern for the workers sweating it out behind the scenes.

Some books may be produced digitally, but the current costs for publishing a book digitally are quite prohibitive these days. So we put this out — the process of producing a book using an OFFSET machine — for self-published authors and indie publishers, to help our clients plan a good and realistic timeline for each book project.

The infographic below shows the various process of producing a book and how much time should normally be given to the printing of a book.

So how long exactly do it take us to print a book from start to finish? Our production supervisor says, as per experience, it takes an average of ten (10) days. On a stretch, books may be rushed to finish over 8 days, but note that this costs, especially in terms of overtime energy on the part of workers who need to work beyond the regular 8 hours a day on your book project. The following work process timeframe is considered for SVPP’s offset-machine produced book:

In many of our experiences, clients provide little time for the book production timeline, sometimes causing problems in the quality of the final output. As in almost all cases, rush jobs mean a more expensive process, and quality issues arise. Allocating more than ten (10) days in the print production process ensures that we avoid any of these issues. ###sfp

Supreme appreciation for ‘Supreme Quotes’

Perhaps, if I had read Supreme Quotes as an undergrad, I might have ended up a lawyer. Alas, while initially convinced that the legal profession was perhaps suited for me as I marked significantly (methinks) in the entrance exam to the UP College of Law, the calling was not sufficiently strong. I left after only a semester.

Supreme Quotes makes reading of Philippine law fun and interesting. What this book does is surface the literary and culture-lens in decisions of the Supreme Court on almost all issues of the law. Only someone like the author, Atty. Victor Y. Eleazar, who I would suppose, has read more than everybody else’s share of SCRA decisions, and instead of falling asleep sat upright, smiled, laughed and deeply appreciated the literary genius behind a ponencia, can come up with an equally literary genius as this book. And only someone, who has a wife like Yolly, can publish a book with such a witty title as Supreme Quotes.

Take for example the breadth of literary references collected in this book — from the varied versions of the Bible, to Children’s Fairytales, Proverbs, Idioms, and even to the slapstick humor of the Three Stooges. It goes without saying that many times, our Supreme Court justices do not want to bore us with plain legal stuff. They try to bridge the law to readers by making use of literature to make their decisions more accessible to every Juan and Juana.

Browsing through its extensive Table of Contents, I came upon a phrase, Lagaring Hapon, for the first time in my life. It was defined using the Filipino Cultural Dictionary as having either a positive connotation (one who works diligently or is employed in various menial jobs in order to earn substantially) or a negative one (a deceitful person, or one who received a bribe from both sides). The phrase was used in a decision regarding a case, Per Curiam, Magarang v. Jardin, Sr., A.M. No. RTJ-99-1448, April 6, 2000, 330 SCRA 79, 89-90. It read:

Respondent judge miserably failed to measure up to stringent judicial standards. Complainant has sufficiently established the corrupt acts of respondent judge in connection with Sp. Civil Case No. 887. He received a bribe from both sides, “lagaring hapon.” He has no place in the judiciary. He dishonored the judicial robe he wore. His acts could even be criminal in nature. We have unhesitatingly removed from office judges and court employees for less serious transgressions. We removed a deputy sheriff from office for asking a bribe of only P1,500.00. We have no reason to depart from this ruling. Respondent judge’s acts of corruption clearly show his unfitness to remain any minute longer in his judicial robe.

Alas, the book also reflects the literary dispositions of our Supreme Court justices. There is very scant reference to Filipino literary works. You will read many references to works by Shakespeare or foreign historical figures and famous people such as Kafka, Machiavelli, and Martin Luther King, Jr. There are almost none by Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio or Philippine national artists on literature. Me-wishes the collection can also help ignite appreciation of Philippine literature among its readers.

The book’s main content is 698 pages long! Not exactly your everyday, novel-by-the-beach reading fare. For interested non-lawyers, this is more than a handy book to keep, not just on your coffee table for more awesome-ness projection, but on your bedside table for actual bedtime reading. For researchers and students of the law, it is an important library tool. It would therefore be very helpful if the indexing of the book could be supported by the National Library of the Philippines.

All said, as a non-lawyer, I am grateful Supreme Quotes was published by the UP Law Center. It gives us a new lens with which to view our Supreme Court justices. That they are not just boring people in heavy robes. That sometimes, their ponencias can also be fun and interesting. (Interested in a copy? Buy yours from the UP Law Center.###sfp

The Little Prince Finds a Home in the Philippines

Next only to the Bible, Antoine de St. Exupery’s The Little Prince is the most translated classic literature in the universe. As of April 2017, when the book came out in Hassanya, a north African Arabic language, translation versions were pegged at 300 languages. A relatively comprehensive list compiled by Patrick Tourreau of foreign editions in various languages from Earth to Asteroid B-612 so far counts 674 editions! This list however, is not exhaustive as the Philippine editions are not comprehensively covered.

A cursory browsing of Philippine translations of The Little Prince reveals the original Filipino translation was spearheaded by Dr. Lilia Antonio, while she was still studying at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. She based her first translation on Katherine Woods’ original English translation of the book. This was first published by the now defunct Alemar’s-Phoenix Press in 1969. 

It was followed by another translation to Filipino with the same title by Desiderio  Ching, published in 1981 by Claretian Publications.

The features only the Filipino translations.

Yet, the well-loved book has been translated to other Philippine languages as well. In 2011, Fr. Wilmer Joseph Tria self-published a Bicolano translation, An Sadit na Prinsipe. Then in 2018, Jerome Herrera self-published El Diutay Principe in Chavacano, a Spanish creole-based language spoken in Zamboanga City in Mindanao. Within the same year, another Chavacano translation, El Principe Niño, written by professor Dr. Robin delos Reyes, was also published. In 2020, Dr. Lilia Antonia rewrote her original manuscript by basing a new translation to Filipino on the 2000 work of Richard Howard. This now stands as the foremost translation to Filipino, published by Southern Voices Printing Press as a Limited Edition version. In 2022, Southern Voices Printing Press released the Student Edition version of the same translation by Dr. Lilia Antonio. 

illustration by Jerome Herrera

We begin 2023 with the Hiligaynon version translated by Stephen Matti, Ang Gamay nga Prinsipe freshly off the press (launch date to be announced by Mr. Matti in the next few days). That makes for a total of eight editions published in the Filipino, Bicolano, Waray, Chavacano and Hiligaynon languages! And soon, perhaps in February of 2023, Jerry Gracio might come out with his Waray translation, entitled An Guti nga Prinsipe. Then we find out there is also an Ilokano and Cebuano version in the works!

photos by Southern Voices Printing Press

If only the burgeoning of translation editions in the Philippines could reflect the increase in readership in the various local languages, one could say there is hope that perhaps, it is not exactly true that Filipinos do not read. ###

Note: The author welcomes corrections or addendums to the various translation works and editions of The Little Prince in the Philippines.

SANTELMO, Liwanag sa Dilim

SVPP’s First Print Project in 2023

Kudos to indie publisher San Anselmo Publications, Inc., for coming out with the SANTELMO Liwanag sa Dilim magazine, a literary and arts platform for both multi-awarded writers as well as up and coming unpublished authors. To date, SANTELMO stands out among magazines and journals not published by various universities. Many of the magazine out on news stands are lifestyle magazines, with a large percentage of its pages dedicated to outright ads or ads posing as articles. SANTELMO for its part, in its first three issues, remains true to its dream of contributing to the blooming of a thousand flowers. Its third issue comes out soon!

Southern Voices Printing Press is honored to help deliver this baby by providing its offset printing services to San Anselmo Publications, Inc., a true partner in the Filipino indie publishing web.

A 2023 Full of Good Wishes for Everyone!

Photo by Tairon Fernandez:

As we recently celebrated the New Year and are about to celebrate the #2023ChineseNewYear on January 22, we send you good tidings of a bright 2023 for you and your family!

We hope this year augurs a period of good health and plentiful blessings. We hope this year, many of us can say “We face a better future, full of the lessons learned from the dark days of the pandemic.”

For its part, Southern Voices Printing Press (SVPP) learned important lessons in the past two years, and we’d like to share these major lessons with you, our dearest clients and supporters:

  1. You are our most important allies in this journey towards living out SVPP’s mission. We missed seeing you, talking with you and meeting up with you during the lockdowns. After the most severe of lockdowns, we learned alternative ways of communicating and doing work — largely through online means.
  2. We learned that ‘times, they are a changing.’ The growth of the printing industry in the Philippines is slow, but it has to keep in step with changes in the global printing industry where paperless e-printing is becoming a norm in other countries. This spells much for small offset printers like us, who invested in heavy offset machinery with still quite a number of years’ capacity to function well. At the same time, we also need to look towards the digital technology side of the printing business.
  3. We learned that we need to take stock of what really is important in this life that we have, while we still have it. We needed to step back and take a look at what we were doing rightly or wrongly, and choose our next paths wisely. 

We know the pandemic and the Philippine economic crisis continue to bring threats to the accomplishment of SVPP’s goals and 2023 objectives. Since they are factors we cannot fully control, we will do our utmost to be better in the things within our influence.

Thank you for your partnership in these past years and we look forward to a strengthened relationship with you in 2023!

With warmest regards,

Sophia Perez, SVPP Proprietor and publisher

Communicating, the Zen Way

(Part 1 – Communicating with Ourselves)

I recently came on board with the notion that e-books can broaden our readership beyond borders. In an attempt to learn more about the e-book publishing world and its practicality in the Philippine setting, I GMG’d (‘google mo, ganda’, as my lawyer friend taught me) most anything I could find on the subject.

Then I thought the best way to really learn about it was to be an e-book buyer and reader myself. As I strode onto the internet highway of e-books, I came across Thic Nhat Hanh’s (TNH) e-book, The Art of Communicating. I’ve downloaded many free e-books in the past, but TNH’s The Art of Communicating, happens to be my first e-book purchase ever.

Thích Nhất Hạnh was a Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk, peace activist, prolific author, poet, teacher, and founder of the Plum Village Tradition. Recognized as the main inspiration for engaged Buddhism, he is also known as the “father of mindfulness”. (from Wikkipedia)

Coffin of Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh is carried to the street during his funeral in Hue, Vietnam Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. A funeral was held Saturday for Thich Nhat Hanh, after the renowned Zen master died at the age of 95 in Hue in central Vietnam on January 22, 2022.

Let me share with you an e-summary of this wonderful e-book. It starts off with these basic premises: First, everything we consume using any or all of our senses — our eyes, our ears, our nose, our tongues and our bodies — can either heal us or poison us; and Second, conversations and messages we either send or receive are a kind of food for ourselves and others around us. We can choose to consume either healthy or toxic messages from what we hear, read or see.

Proceeding from these basic premises, Thic Nhat Hanh or TNH teaches us how to communicate the Zen way.

First he teaches us how to build our capacity for mindful awareness and COMMUNICATING WITH OURSELVES the Zen way by STOPPING everything we are doing with the external world and being present in the moment. 

What does being present in the moment mean? Basically it means taking deep inhalation and exhalation breathes, and getting in touch with our bodies — Do we feel well? … inhale… Are we experiencing pains or aches in some parts of our bodies that we might have previously disregarded?… exhale…  

When we inhale deeply, we also take this moment to get in touch with our emotions — do we feel sad, … inhale… irritated,… exhale… excited, … inhale… angry, … exhale… and all other emotions one can find in the emoticon dashboard. 

ctto Jared Rice

Next, we repeat this pattern and take some more moments to perceive the world around us, preferably with our eyes closed — what do we hear from the world around us? inhale… Can you hear the wind blowing through the leaves in your backyard tree or outdoor plantita plants? exhale… Listen… listen… listen… inhale… to the birds singing, to the insects flying through the early summer warmth, … exhale… to the binatog seller’s pot-pot or the ice cream vendor’s kiling-kiling…inhale… Can you smell … your cat’s poo? … exhale…  The incense burner? …inhale… The coffee brewing?… exhale… Your neighbor’s adobo? …inhale…

ctto Dennis Oliveira @

TNH is known as the father of mindful awareness. He emphasizes the value of these moments for mindful breathing as it promotes communication between the mind and the body. We mostly breathe unconsciously as a means to survive, but we must learn to breathe consciously to live well and connect with ourselves. We listen to each inhalation and each exhalation, and say to ourselves that “I am breathing, because I am alive and in this moment in this world.”

“Mindful breathing is a practice of nonthinking and nontalking. Without thinking or talking, there is no obstacle to get in the enjoyment of the present moment,” TNH writes. He affirms that mindful breathing allows us to listen to our  pain, our sorrow and our fear — and welcome them instead of running away from these feelings — to decide how and when changes in our lives need to happen. 

Yes, welcome even the feelings society teaches us to avoid, those feelings labelled as negative emotions — for how can there be happiness without sorrow? How can we feel brave when we don’t get in touch with and understand our fears? 

ctto Tom Pumford @

TNH reminds us to be mindful of what we consume because many of us tend to consume unhealthy or even toxic shows, music and books as a way of escaping from the pain, sorrow or fear within us. “We consume not because we need to consume but because we’re afraid of confronting the suffering inside us,” he further writes.

When we invest the time and energy for mindful awareness, we become better at communicating with ourselves.

After we can truly connect and communicate with ourselves, then we start the journey towards communicating well with others. (to be continued by Pia Perez for SVPP) ###

SVPP joins The Indie Publishers Collab -PH (TIPCPH) at the Pasinaya 2022 of the Cultural Center of the Philippines

Sharing here an article on TIPCPH’s website as TIPCPH spearheads the Kalayaan Book Fair at the Pasinaya 2022:

#AkoAngBida sa Aklat (I am the Story’s Hero/ine)

It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations — something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out to towards people whose lives are quite different from their own.

Katherine Patterson

Well said, Katherine. A Chinese-born American writer best known for children’s novels including Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine has won two Newbery Medals and two National Book Awards. 

Making her words true is one Filipino teacher of preschool and kindergarten learners, who did stretch her learners’ imaginations in this January 2022 winning entry to the literacy campaign spearheaded by Southern Voices Printing Press (SVPP).

The contest rules were simple enough. Anyone who posts on FB or IG a selfie role-playing a character in one of the books published by SVPP, tags at least 3 friends and the SVPP fb or IG accounts, and uses the following hashtags — #akoangbida, #cosplaysvpp, and #OdettePH — is a potential winner of a 2022 Ang Munting Prinsipe Planner, a book voucher, and a PhP500 donation to Odette Relief efforts in her/his name.

Teacher Lita went way beyond a selfie post. Her class topic for the day was on ‘parts of the body’, particularly the HANDS. She encouraged her young learners to imagine how their hands could be used to help others and do good. She ended the short class period with a story reading session of JAMIN, Ang Batang Manggagawa (JAMIN, The Child Laborer).

Later, when asked if Jamin was a happy child, one of Teacher Lita’s learners responded: “Hindi siya masaya kasi lagi na lang siya pinatatrabaho ng kanyang boss.” (She is not happy because her boss keeps forcing her to work). When asked “Do you think Jamin also finds time to play?”, the response was “Sabi ko nga sa iyo, may boss siya. Bad. Bawal maglaro.” (I told you so, she has a boss. Bad. Playing is not allowed).

A 2011 Survey on Children of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reveals that of the 2.1 million Filipino child labourers aged 5 to 17 years old, about 95 per cent of them are in hazardous work. Imagine how much more children were forced into hazardous forms of labor during this period of the pandemic, just to help their families survive.

Teacher Lita showed us how a simple game/contest can be stretched beyond our expectations and revealed just how much learning children can get when taught to read good books, and allowed these learners to reach out to people whose lives may be different to their own.

Let’s see how the February edition* of the #AkoAngBida ng Aklat and #cosplaySVPP stretches our imaginations!###

*check out our FB page ( for our February contest rules.

Check out our bookshop too!

Gungho for 2022!…???

Trending product searches suggested by the Shopee dropshipping site a few days ago were JOURNALS and PLANNERS. It seemed people were starting to be upbeat and gungho for 2022, just before the latest omicron surge peaked. 

ctto Estee Janssens from

This was not the case at the beginning of 2021. With so much uncertainty, people did not seem to have the energy to muster a life plan for the year.

Maybe early on last year, Hollywood actor Heath Ledger’s philosophy prevailed. He said:

“I’m not good at future planning. I don’t plan at all. I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow. I don’t have a day planner and I don’t have a diary. I completely live in the now, not in the past, not in the future.”

Contextualized to the poorly managed Philippine setting under this pandemic, we could also say: “There is no good at future planning if we cannot be promised the light at the end of the tunnel. We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.” Maybe at times of crisis, completely living in the present, “not in the past, not in the future”, is a healthy way of coping. This is especially true when things seem to be running out of control.

On the other hand, Alan Lakein, author of ‘How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life’, at the polar opposite of Ledger’s worldview, said:

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

We ask ourselves, just how much planning do we need to do to succeed in our goals for 2022? 

John Naisbitt, author of ‘Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives’, asserts

“Strategic planning is worthless — unless there is first a strategic vision.” 

How, where (and why) do you see yourself at the end of 2022? When you sit back, think hard and try to answer this question, don’t forget to put in a lot of imagination.

ctto Patrick Perkins from

Don’t do the same things over again especially when they’ve been proven ineffective. Listen to Gloria Steinem, who imagination is the most potent ingredient of a good plan. She said —

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”

So go ahead, dream, envision, think things over, and start writing down your strategic and short term goals for the year. You will feel relieved once you’ve done it, even in the face of the uncertainties of the pandemic. In fact, envisioning a future that attempts to break through the ‘locked-down’ thinking imposed on us during this years of the pandemic, might be best for many of us.

Once you’re done with planning, DO IT. Planning is the theory, DOING IS THE PRACTICE. Without the practice, you can never tell whether your plan was good enough.

ctto Glenn Carstens-Peters from

At the end of the day, no matter how much attention to detail your planning went, no matter how much energy you spent in DOING, Phil Cosby, management guru and author, reminds us

“If anything is certain, it is that change is certain. The world we are planning for today, will not exist in this form tomorrow.” 

Planning, it turns out, shouldn’t be one-directional but a spider-web of what ifs… if Plan A did not go well, there is always room for Plan B. 

Here’s to a more successful 2022 for all of us, as we collectively struggle to get out of this mismanaged pandemic!

Note: With much regret, many articles on Planning on the net are mostly western articles; we would appreciate referrals to Filipino-contextualized articles or books on planning – strategic or otherwise.