Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Subject Categories

Creative Writing


College of Liberal Arts


Literature, Department of

Thesis Adviser

Buenaventura S. Medina

Defense Panel Chair

Marjorie Evasco-Pernia

Defense Panel Member

Paz Verdades M. Santos
Ronald Baytan


A creative writing project, Towards the Last Quarter Storm is a collection of five autobiographical essays that showcases the tenuous process of writing creative nonfiction, relying on memory and remembering, looking back at the past and affirming the present, documenting a spent life and charting a possible future. The collection spans a period of more than three decades, covering the whole Martial Law era, the EDSA Revolution, until the present. As such, it chronicles the personal journey of the writer from his poverty-stricken childhood in the province to the meandering city life spent in the slums, the period of struggles to break free from destitution and decadence up to the yearning years for enlightenment and ideological awakenings, and the glorious days of student activism to the fulfilling role of a family man. The collection is introduced by an essay on my coming to writing which discusses the long and difficult process of producing ideas into words, sentences, paragraphs, and into complete compositions. My own coming into writing also presents the precious insights gained in writing creative non-fiction, explaining in details the pain and pleasure, the agony and affection that accompanied every step of my uphill creative climb. Also included in this piece are the many authors who inspired and consoled me along the vi lonely and solitary journey, and the varied writing books that lighted up those wearisome wakes of writing. The five autobiographical narratives form the core of the writing project, a chronological and recursive retelling of my growing up in Romblon, coming to the city and living in its slums, studying in a state college, discovering my roots and marrying in Samar, and making life as a teacher, student, and family man. Collectively, the essays trace how the New Society shaped, changed, and directed my life in the province, my relocation to the city, and my later wanderings in life. On the whole, the writing project has embarked on how Martial Law had shaped my ideology by dwelling on the historical and political variables of the period and how they had affected my life. The first essay in the autobiographical narratives centers on my happy and sad childhood in Romblon. I have drawn my materials on this piece from the endless stories of hunger and hope, nurture and discipline, at home and in the neighborhood, the church and the school. My maternal grandmother takes a leading role as she grapples with poverty to raise me and my cousins, aided by her abiding faith and grace. My feisty grade one teacher and the dreaded school principal complete the triumvirate with my doting grandmother, all beautiful souls who inhabited with me in the gardens and orchard of my childhood. Written in medias res, this essay also seems to provide the exposition in the five essay, providing the background, establishing my early character, setting the tone and mood of the collection. The second essay focuses on city life awakenings, loss of virtue, corruption and despair in the slums, culture shock and maturity, experimentations and discoveries. A vii compendium of city experiences, urban filth such as drugs and booze in the neighborhood, criminals and police connivance in the depressed areas, among others, this essay tries to become a metaphor of the city itself. Amidst this backdrop is making a clear political stand in the dying years of Marcos rule. This piece also demonstrates that my loss of innocence provides a painful and fruitful turning point of finally making sense of my early miseries in life, of taking a lifelong advocacy to the causes of improving the lives of the oppressed. Covering the period of my coming to Manila and living in Sampaloc, first in the university belt, and second, in the slums, this essay corresponds to an initial incident in the traditional plot structure which gives rise to action, the introduction of the conflict, and a complication is introduced. The third essay covers my full ideological shift from the ambitious, indifferent, starving college student to becoming the audacious, politicized, struggling social activist. Going back to the earliest experiences of military atrocities in Cajidiocan, Romblon and my having acquired a pro-imperialist education, this essay relives how my education at the Philippine Normal College, my stint in the campus paper and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, my discovery of literature, and my flirtation with creative writing all helped to liberate me from the tight grip of my small town mentality. My association with the highly politicized (and marginalized) Tagalog writers at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and my continuing struggles complete the subject of this piece which ends with a lampoon that contains my own brand of ars poetica. viii The third essay provides the crisis to the conflict of a provinciano having equipped himself with some knowledge and ideology. Here, the ante is raised for a great confrontation with my lost family, the great driving force for the conflicts complication and its crisis. My fourth essay dwells on my search for my lost self as I tried to look for my father and his relatives both in the city and in Samar. The lost brother given for adoption to my mothers second husbands sister resurfaces with me at the wake of our dead father before we sail to Barrio Cabunga-an, Sta. Rita, Samar to meet our relatives led by our blind grandmother. Family secrets are shared and old wounds are uncovered. This fourth essay makes for the climax in the narratives with the confrontations with the relatives, the father, the mother, the lost brother, and, finally, the grandmother. Here are the greatest emotional scenes, the peak of a lifelong search for identity, and its heartbreaking discoveries. The last essay reflects on my present role as teacher, student, husband, and father. This piece endeavors to provide humor to break the monotony of the previous four essays by showing a great balancing act at having to work in the city away from my family. This last essay completes the traditional plot structure of a long story by giving the denouement, the falling action, the resolution. Here I have come to terms with life, beginning a new family, and accepting new responsibilities. The conflict is finally unraveled, and my story ends while my life goes on.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

1 computer optical disc ; 4 3/4 in.


Biography as a literary form; Autobiography; Autobiographies

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