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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Akeanon Literary Circle


by Melchor F. Cichon
July 29, 2014


It was in the early 1990s when Dr. Leoncio P. Deriada, known as the Father of Western Visayas Literature, started engineering the local literature in Western Visayas. He started conducting literary workshops to literary people in Iloilo, Antique, Aklan. Some of those Aklanons he taught the techniques in poetry and short story writing were Melchor F. Cichon, John Barrios, Alex de Juan, Joeffrey Ricafuente. Later he also encouraged elder writers like the late Roman dela Cruz to attend literary workshops. While conducting these workshops, he also encouraged the participants to enter literary contests. Some of those who won literary contests were Melchor F. Cichon, Alex de Juan, John Barrios, Pett Candido, and Roman dela Cruz.
Dr. Deriada also encouraged the Aklanon writers to form a literary group. Spearheading this was Joeffrey Ricafuente, John Barrios, Pett Candido, and Alex de Juan. They called their group as Akeanon Literary Circle. The first president was Mr. Ricafuente. Their adviser was Mr. Cichon.

One of their aims was to help develop the Aklanon Literature by encouraging all Aklanon writers all over the world to write in Aklanon.  Alongside with the founding of their printed literary journal, Bueabod, they also made use of the internet most specially so with the coming of the presence of blogspots. The editors of the printed issues of Bueabod were Melchor F. Cichon, John Barrios, and Alex de Juan. Its first issue came out in December, 2005. After its ninth issue in September 2006, Bueabod folded because de Juan and Barrios had graduated from college and had been busy with their respective careers. 

Bueabod resurrected in May 2010 when Arwena Tamayo, John Barrios, Alex de Juan and Melchor F. Cichon met in Kalibo, Aklan to discuss the possibility of reviving Bueabod. So Volume 2, Number 1 came out in that year featuring a short story of John Barrios and the poems of other Aklanons from around the world. 

Aside from the publication of Bueabod, the Circle conducted workshops in Kalibo, Aklan to encourage more Aklanons  to write poetry with Dr. Deriada as the resource person. Later, the late Dominador Ilio shared his expertise as a resource person in its succeeding literary workshops.

After several workshops, Dr. Deriada along with Mr. Cichon and others edited an anthology of poems written by Aklanon. This was published in 1993 as a special issue of ANI, the literary journal of the Cultural Arts of the Philippines (CCP). This was the first time that an anthology of Aklanon poems were published nationally. This special issue, Ani 21, featured 48 poems by 27 Aklanon poets. Most of the poems were the products of several workshops led by Dr. Deriada himself.

Other poems written by Aklanons were also included in a book, Patubas. It was published by the NCCA.

Except for the website, Bueabod, in Facebook, which is maintained by Cichon, the Akeanon Literary Circle has become inactive.

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