PGS 2023 Q&A: Franz Austin V. De Mesa

Franz Austin V. De Mesa is a fiction writer with an unnatural appetite for horror, fantasy, and dystopian sci-fi stories. A certified anime and gaming enthusiast, he writes to explore the dark parts of humanity and indulge in his fascinations with the macabre, alternate timelines, and other what-if scenarios lurking in our world. He is currently a Fourth-Year student of BA Creative Writing at the University of Santo Tomas. Here he talks about some of his process in writing the featured story for May,  IN(DE)CISION.

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by Franz Austin V. De Mesa

It was Saturday, 8PM. Tonight’s ulam was hotdog and egg. And in six days, I was going to become a man.

I sat across from my father who had just come home from work, and he ate like he hadn’t eaten in a month: eyes focused on his plate, specks of rice on his chin, a sweaty neck, greasy hands. Meanwhile, my cup of rice was only halfway gone, looking like a half-moon that was bitten off by the Bakunawa, only I wasn’t as hungry. 

No, there were more important things running around in my head than just eating. I had been thinking about it for weeks now. In my community, there was something called the Handugan that every boy must go through in order to become a man.  

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PGS 2023 Q&A: Daniel C. De Guzman

The author of the featured story for PGS 2023 in April, THE PART-TIME APPRENTICE, is Daniel C. De Guzman, a 28-year-old office staff from Tarlac who started to love writing ever since he fell in love with Dan Brown’s novels. He later got interested in the horror genre through the influence of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. When not writing, he loves playing video games and listening to music that ranges from Deathcore to Japan City pop songs. His stories usually feature creatures from the mythologies of the Philippines, and here Daniel answers some questions about his recent story and his writing.

Where did the story idea for THE PART-TIME APPRENTICE come from?

The idea came when one time I was riding a bus going home. I saw this man on the bus who was actually holding what appeared to be a prayer book and I was expecting he was about to preach inside the bus. However, that realization suddenly halted when I realized that he was not like those bible-preaching passengers before who looked “religious” from head to toe. That’s when the crazy idea began stirring inside my head. I am into stuff about demonology and a big fan of John Constantine so I quickly took a mental note of a scenario about a roguish-looking man who expels demons in the bus by reading verses from the Holy Scripture. That is where the story THE PART-TIME APPRENTICE takes off.

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The Part-time Apprentice

by Daniel C. De Guzman

Yohan met Santino on a bus bound west of the city on the last day of their school year. That time, Yohan’s body was aching to finally have its much-coveted break after the monthly mental torture he endured just to get good grades all for the sake of barely maintaining his scholarship for one more year. His mind was riddled with too many concerns that made him realize that the vacation that was about to start would leave him exhausted yet again.

Remembering the plans of his A-list classmates for this upcoming break didn’t help him that much either. All he heard from them was that they would enroll themselves in short courses to learn new skills that would come in handy both for the academic and professional world. Some will even attend tutorial classes all throughout their vacation so that they would get ahead. These burned like hot rods inside Yohan’s mind as he began to feel the overwhelming pressure of his soon-to-be senior year in college. So instead of binge-watching his favorite shows or going for an out-of-town escapade, he decided with a long, heavy, and exhausted sigh to spend the vacation by squeezing the last of his brain juice for the next couple of months.

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PGS 2023 Q&A: Marco Mañalac

Marco Mañalac is a lover of fantasy and science fiction, a fanboy of combat sports and professional wrestling, and a self-diagnosed stranger to the real world. With more than ten years of corporate experience in Marketing and Public Relations, he is now trying to resurrect his long-gone creative juices by playing video games, reviewing comic books, and starting his own Dungeons & Dragons campaign. When he needs to clear his mind, he is usually boxing or sidelining as a Ring Announcer for fights. He also cosplays every now and then when he’s in a particularly good mood. “THE HISTORY OF THE END OF THE WORLD BY THE LEAGUE OF RESEARCHERS” is his first published short story and our featured story for March, and he happily shares with us his journey.


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