PGS 2024 Q&A: Matthew Jacob Ramos

Matthew Jacob F. Ramos has made it his business to write stories about woven computers and rocketry in the midst of revolution, with works that have received accolades in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards and the Nick Joaquin Literary Art Awards. You can find his writings in The Philippines Graphic, Cha: Writing the Philippines, and The Geek Anthropologist.

His career as a speculative fiction writer became official when Matthew received his bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from the Ateneo de Manila University. These passions allowed him to pursue advertising in a number of small startups throughout the Philippines, before becoming an officer of engagement at a national bank. Today he resides in Quezon City, using his corporate career to fuel his graduate studies into the relationship between islands and technology.

Jake published in Philippine Genre Stories in January 2012 under the Guest Editorship of Alexis “Exie” Abola, multiple Palanca winner and English professor at Ateneo de Manila University: The Tower And The Kite (Part 1) and The Tower And The Kite (Part 2)

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Orphans of Biringan

by Matthew Jacob Ramos

Until very recently, no one had ever made the mistake of confusing Biringan for Biri. Biringan was a city, said to have spires as tall as mountains and a skyline glittering with treasure. Another important difference was that no one was quite sure if Biringan even existed. Some elders claimed it remained hidden in the jungles of Northeastern Samar, concealed between the towns of Catarman and Calbayog. In one story, satellites from a Japanese mining company had even detected traces of gold and other precious metals within the region, only to be met with knitted woodland after days of fruitless searching. No further signs of Biringan’s whereabouts surfaced until a truly rare substance was unearthed from the offshore island of Biri: Uranium.

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PGS 2024 Q&A: Marco Mañalac

With more than ten years of experience as a practitioner in the field of communications, Marco Mañalac is a PR professional by day and superhero by night. When he’s not glued to his phone trying to catch up on all his anime backlog, he’s usually running, boxing, jump roping, or eating. An avid fan of comic books, Marco writes regular reviews for and has published a few issues of his own indie title in the past. Please do check out the local comic book store nearest you and ask for copies of Mythopolis #1 to #3. 

As a reader, Marco has been a fantasy and science fiction fanboy since birth but has also recently taken a deep dive into the world of Dungeons & Dragons to play a more interactive role in the storytelling. But when his brain feels tired, video games often help. Always trying to push himself creatively, he’s taken a stab at writing short stories in the past year or so. Just like when he was doing professional theatre more than a decade ago, Marco still feels like an infant when it comes to creative writing, publishing his first story “THE HISTORY OF THE END OF THE WORLD BY THE LEAGUE OF RESEARCHERS” in Philippine Genre Stories 2023. But he’s always more than willing to give it a shot and here he is with “LEGACY OF THE BETRAYED: A BEDTIME STORY FOR DEMON CHILDREN”.

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Legacy of the Betrayed: A Bedtime Story for Demon Children

by Marco Mañalac

Artwork by: Tala Mayari

Gather ‘round, children! It’s time to sleep! Oh, I know, it’s a tad bit early for your tastes. But I won’t hear any of your complaints, now. No use whining. No use resisting. What I can do is aid you on your journey toward slumber.

How about I give you all a little bedtime story? Yes? You like that? Very well.

What kind of story would you like to hear tonight, my beloved spawns? Oh, something historical, you say? Impressive, how intellectual.

What’s that? A tragedy? How depressing!

Oh, yes, a love story sounds good.

How about this? I’ll give you all three! Now settle down, and tuck yourselves in, children! Those are comfortable beds made of human bones, and warm blankets made of human skin. I wish I had those when I was a youngling.

Ready? Everybody good? Okay, this will be a short tale, but a very important one for you. So, pay attention, because this is the very first time I am telling this story in its entirety.

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New Year Gratitude

If the Philippine Christmas season famously (notoriously?) starts every September and ends on Epiphany (January 6), I personally look at that period between December 31 to the Lunar New Year as a more-or-less month-long period to celebrate the new year. 20 days ago, we marked January 1, 2024 on the Western calendar; in another 20 we will say goodbye to the Water Rabbit and ring in the Wood Dragon. It speaks to who we are as human beings that we tend to identify new beginnings as seasons of hope, renewal, change for the better, and the wish for a continuation of good things.

And so, we are indeed continuing a good thing this 2024. I am writing this short Publisher’s Note right in the middle of this new year’s season to express my thanks to Mia Tijam for agreeing to continue her editorial work from last year to this year. I can’t relay how grateful I am that Mia has agreed to take on the role for another year, which assures us of another set of 12 tales here on Philippine Genre Stories, another 12 reasons to look forward to each month of the year.

Yes, the calendar, whether Western or Eastern, is just another man-made construct of labeling time (but what stories we can weave around these constructs, eh?), yet we mark these dates nonetheless, facing our future with optimism and measuring our lives in moments in time.

In the traditional benediction, I wish PGS readers good luck and fortune as well as happiness for the New Year.