Introduction

Gutierrez Mangansakan II, Editor

I am afraid of heights. I don’t enjoy mountain climbing. I will be the last to say yes to a free ticket to climb to the observation deck of the Berlin Tower. I don’t like flying either. I dread the turbulence on long haul flights. But when a friend invited me to trek to Sanchez Peak two weeks ago, I immediately said yes. Cooped up inside my apartment for the last three months and a half due to the quarantine, my desire for a change of scenery and a breath of fresh air prevailed over my fears.

After traversing grassy hills, mounds and peaks, I reached the summit of Sanchez Peak rising some 800 feet above sea level, the highest point of General Santos. I was rewarded with the breathtaking view of the surrounding areas – Mount Matutum to the north, the mountains that border Davao and Sarangani provinces to the east, Mélébingóy to the west, and the low lying city of General Santos to the south that extends to Sarangani Bay. From where I stood I was no longer restricted by walls and quarantine passes. I bravely removed my face mask and took in the mountain air. I stretched out my hands in the open seemingly borderless space. I was temporary free from the anxieties of the COVID-19 world.

Now, as I type these words back in the confines of my home office, the city is still. It is almost midnight. I can hear my fat cat snoring on the sofa and the orchestra of crickets by the window. I am still processing the spike in COVID-19 infection that was reported this afternoon by the Department of Health, yet I am overcome by the lingering emotions of that day at Sanchez Peak bringing me to the point why this literary journal was conceived.

When you see the world from a particular vantage point, you realize the immensity of the world around you and even if you assert that you are only responsible for yourself alone, truth is you are part of the world. Even the singularity of a voice matters because it can transcend boundaries and affect us all. Perhaps the power of words can parse the light and shadows that conquer the distance and space.

The Dadiangas Review is imagined as a platform that showcases the works of writers that mirror the temperamant of the times. At an age when microblogging sites and social media are widely available, it is no longer enough that one is writing. There is a need to elevate the craft of writing if one must call himself, herself or themselves a writer. Instead of the insular attitude of focusing on the city’s writers alone, and acknowledging that in the pandemic, the body might be in isolation but the mind remains unfettered, we have opened the journal to writers from all over the country with a whole gamut of literary styles, sensibilities and practice that echo the writers’ position as frontliners in this oppressive regime that has normalized corruption, misogyny and murder. By using the old name of the city ‘Dadiangas’, we seek to decolonize the space for critical thought, imagination and literary creation.

Dadiangas Review is not a distraction from the current crisis but an illustration of the great capacity of the mind to reflect, resist, withstand and hope.

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