I’ve been meaning to write about my trip to the Philippines for weeks now, but life keeps intervening! In short, it was extraordinary.
The inspiration behind the journey was the 50th anniversary of the National Writers Workshop at Silliman University in Dumaguete, aka the oldest creative writing program in Asia. Founded by two graduates of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop (the venerable Edith and Edilberto Tiempo), the NWW gathers more than a dozen Filipino essayists, novelists, poets, and playwrights around a table for an Iowa-style workshop for three weeks each year. We — the thirty members of Iowa’s Overseas Writing Workshop — arrived just in time to help them celebrate at a gala complete with singing, dancing, “magisterial photos,” and a blow-out feast of lechon (a young roasted pig that is crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and delicious through and through).
From there, we spent about 20 days island-