Balut, Beer, and Bards

To think of Bohol as a place of nature and laid back rural beauty alone is to paint a very incomplete picture of what it means to be a Boholano.

As the rest of the country celebrates National Arts Month, the poets of Bohol came together at the heart of Tagbilaran City at the Plaza Rizal to an open mic night of poetry entitled, Balut, Beer ug Balak (Balut, Beer and Poetry) on the eve of Valentines Day.  The event was organized by KAKA or Kaliwat ni Karyapa (Kindred of Karyapa). In coordination with the Center for Culture and Arts Development of the Governor’s Office.

Participating poets proudly posing post presentation.

Don’t let the thought of balut keep you away though. There is no fear factor event included where you will be required to munch on it.  Though I must say it certainly be a good opportunity to try your first one.

It’s so typically Filipino that such gatherings are centered on food and drink. The event was a gathering of old friends and a welcoming of new ones,  and a chance to finally ask the names of people you see often enough but not have the chance to socially bump into.

When I got there I found out that the event was already on its 4th year, leaving me to wonder why I haven’t heard of it before, c’est la vie. The event however, was superbly stimulating. Between segments of Boholano poets, participants and audience alike were treated to quite a number of indie short films. There were outstanding pieces with mind-bending screenplays, socially conscious scripts interspersed with the quaint and the comical. There was also mini gallery to show off paintings of local artists and live musical performances which also highlighted the use of indigenous instruments.

Musical Diversion

But it was poetry reading night and poetry was definitely the highlight of the evening. There were old school senior poets that composed poetry on the spot. There was a mix of metered poems, free verse, blank verse and spoken word. The poems ran the whole gamut of topics from love to social commentary, to the mundane, to the naughty, coming from wordsmiths in their teens to senior citizens reciting in English, Filipino and Visayan.

My turn at the mic.

Come to Tagbilaran and indulge your inner beatnik. We’re ready for you.



  1. Nice write-up, Keats. BBB5 can’t come soon enough. 😉

    Anyway, we render Kaliwat ni Karyapa as Kindred of Karyapa. She is said to be the first recorded Filipino poet. She was a babaylan and, incidentally, also a Bol-anon.

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