Blaan writer’s book, “Dili Pwede Mogawas ug Ubang mga Sugilanon,” launched 

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 December) – Blaan write Elizabeth Joy Serrano-Quijano’s book, “Dili Pwede Mogawas ug Ubang mga Sugilanon” (Can’t Go Out and Other Stories), was launched Saturday at the Ateneo de Davao University. 

The title of the book is from her short story published in “In Our Own Words: Writing from the Philippines” in November 2019. 

Palanca awardee John Bengan did the translations of her stories into English while Noi Narciso did the illustrations. 

The stories written by the author, a Blaan from Matanao in Davao del Sur, are her advocacies for Indigenous Peoples, environment, motherhood and children.

Quijano finished BA Mass Communication at the Holy Cross of Davao College. She teaches Development Communication at the Southern Philippines Agribusiness and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST) in Malita, Davao Occidental and is finishing her Doctor of Philosophy in Development Administration at the University of Southeastern Philippines in Davao City. 

Her stories have appeared in World Literature Today, Words Without Borders, UP Mindanao Banwa Journal, LIT, Anomaly, Shenandoah, and Barzakh Literary Magazine (translated by John Bengan). She was a fellow to Davao Writers Workshop in 2018, Iyas La Salle National Writers Workshop ub 2019, and Pahilang Rogelio Sicat 12. She is a member of KATAGA, Samahan ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas. 

“The stories are raw, unadorned, and tell of real conflicts and struggles.. Who was it who said that if you want to know the history of a place, read its literature? This is a perfect example,”  said Dr. Macario D. Tiu, another Palanca awardee and Director of the University Publication Office of the Ateneo de Davao University which published the book. 

Rhodora S. Ranalan, former chair of the Department of Languages, Literature and Arts at the ADDU, wrote that the ten stories in the collection “invite the reader into the world of the Blaans of Davao del Sur, not the strereotyped native with their longstanding customs and beliefs, but a modern Blaan coping with the vicissitudes of modern life. These are stories of ordinary folks – a grandmother living alone, a rebel, a teacher, a single mother, a boy dreaming of the city – who are caught I the socio-political ferment in this corner of Mindanao.”

Ranalan said Bengan’s “masterful translation retains the local color of the stories and even enhances them, letting the voice of the storyteller speak of her ethnic heritage in straightforward yet nuanced terms.”

Jay Jomar F. Quintos, Associate Professor at the University of the Philippines described Quihano as “widely imaginative as she explores the monumental and quotidian minutiae from the Davo region as we know it – and as we don’t.”

“Sometimes personal, most of the time political, but certainly Mindanawon in style and aesthetics. The stories are a pleasure to read, thanks to the folkloric elements, the fastidiousness and possibilities, and the complexities of their ever ramifying plot,” Quintos wrote. 

He said the short stories are “susama sa mga hunghong gikan sa yutang kabilin, karaang payag, abtanan nga sapa, ug mamingaw nga sityo nga magpangindahay alang sa katilingbang katarong sa Mindanaw.”

Tiu urged everyone to continue reading stories of Mindanao by Mindanawon writers. 

To buy a copy of the book, please email The book costs 450 pesos at the Ateneo Bookstore in ADDUs’ Jacinto Campus but can be ordered online via Lazada and Shopee. (MindaNews)