Today, we are visiting the Philippines, where our newly 22-year-old regular at dVerse lives– Kelvin.
Happy Belated Birthday, Kelvin. Did you do anything special?
Yes, I had my 22nd birthday April 22. I normally celebrate my birthday with my family, but for a change and since we were celebrating Earth Day, I decided to spend my birthday with a few friends climbing Mt. Samat in Sabang Morong, Bataan, Philippines where the 302 ft. Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor) Memorial Cross near the summit of Mt. Samat was located.
Sounds exhilarating. I found this link for anyone who is interested. So tell us, who is Kelvin Mangundayao?
I’m a self-proclaimed poet. I say self-proclaimed since nobody has actually declared me as one, not even my parents and siblings, for they have always known me as an artist and cartoonist.
Ahem. May I say something? I think we would all agree that you are a true poet, Kelvin! When did you start writing?
I started writing back in high school Literature class when I was 15. The best English teacher would have always been Mrs. R., who often asked the class to read a sonnet by Shakespeare, and sometimes would even ask us to memorize it for a graded recitation the next day (haha). I honestly hated Literature class, especially when the topic was about poetry, for I wasn’t the type of kid back then who would spend most of his time reading and interpreting something written in old language or so.
That would be tough to memorize a Shakespeare sonnet in one night! Do you think it helped you?
Perhaps consistent and frequent reading of Shakespeare’s works awakened my poetic soul sleeping for such a long time. I can’t remember the official date I formally appreciated and embraced poetry. I just woke up one morning and something had already changed in me. Something inside me already craved for words, pen, papers, books, Shakespeare –yes, more of this and that. Little did I notice, a poet had already been birthed.
Here’s a poem of yours I selected to share with the pub, Kelvin… in the spirit of things, a sonnet.
Sonnet to a Dead Mistress
by Kelvin S.M.
You, when once a wild rose amongst your bees
when every breeze of air adores your grace
and the earth’s tamers seem so hard to cease
from casting enchanted spells for your race.
Ah, in place where mourning seems out from thee
Venus came to shower her precious tears;
with all the glamour now your eyes can’t see
the falling mist of dark pearls wake your fears.
Wrinkles appear, your petals start to fall,
lines of mortality engrave you frail.
Sweet murmurs of hell leave a tragic call
as dried fountain of youth leads you to wail.
You, when once a wild rose so young and blest
now lies in the grave ere your Lord’s behest.
Tell us a bit about your childhood.
I came from a not so different family – an average class, I would say. My mum (Nanay) is a full-time mother, and at the same time, a passionate gardener in her small paradise at our home. Dad (Tatay) has worked in the government for more than 25 years now, and is also a fond lover of music, and of his dozens of roosters and chickens. I have an older brother (Kuya) who was a Fine Arts graduate, and two younger sisters that are still attending Universities. I graduated March 2011 having a degree in BS Accountancy, and I currently work as a corporate accountant in a local Real Estate Company engaged in leasing and other commercial activities.
I was initially born and raised in the huge province of Quezon part of Luzon, Region IV – A, Calabarzon (Calamba, Laguna, Batangas, Antipolo, Rizal & Quezon). Philippines is an archipelago country comprising of more than 7,000 islands that were broadly classified into three main geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. I have to stay with my dad in Quezon City while attending my work in Manila (Philippines’ capital city). Every day I have to travel for more or less 2 hours (both morning & evening) to attend my work and the set-up, sometimes, almost kills me to death, but I know I needed to make it every day to earn a living for myself and my family, of course.
Wow… that is a long commute… good or bad, depending on how you look at it. Would you rather be inside or outside?
I’m not an outdoor buddy. When I don’t have anything to do or an appointment somewhere, I prefer staying home doing arts and poetry. I only go outside if it’s for some business purpose, otherwise I’m a homebody. I like outdoor activities when it’s about nature trippings…. attending reunions, birthday parties, etc seldom get interest from me… maybe I’m not too good at socializing with other people and/or relatives. You can always find me inside my room making doodles, sketching a figure, painting, writing comic strips, etc.- anything that does not require too much effort.
Art? Not too much effort?
Yep, art for me is an effortless thing / activity, for I have always had this rich imagination going through my mind, and I found it easy to translate into figures, shapes and lines on canvas or paper.
I was 7 when I started engaging myself into various art competitions, competing in different places and schools – sometimes I lost, but most of the time I took home the bacon and that really increased my confidence back then.
Would you say you’re introverted or extroverted?
Based on my performance and interest during my younger years, I would say I am more of an extra-curricular-type of person than academic-type. I joined in a variety of clubs and activities related to my capabilities. I became a full-time choir member both in schools and churches from elementary up to high school, active member of art, math, chess, Red Cross and book-lovers club. I have often been a delegate to various speaking contests, primarily on declamations and orations where a piece by Victor Hugo, ‘Death Penalty’ became my winning act.
Tell us a bit more about your cartoon writing and other interests.
For 2 years, I maintained my position as editorial cartoonist to our campus official newsletter ‘til I graduated. I became a catechist, too, during my year in senior high, and was awarded as one of the outstanding catechists of the year by our campus. I, as well, participated in radio broadcasting contests both in regional and national level, and have garnered second spot among hundreds of people who participated and competed. I have always had this special interest in Arts and Media back in my high school days and even until now. Having said that, the fact is that the people around me had expected me to take a degree or course in Arts or Media, or anything related to my talent and interests as earlier showcased.
Yes, I did… as initially planned. I took exams to qualify a place in Mass Communication majoring in Broadcasting as I was so hooked-up to the idea of seeing myself appearing on TV while anchoring a news segment reporting various issues here and there. But, as we all know, fate is the most powerful thing next to time – and yep, it didn’t happen, but rather, I enrolled in a course in Accounting, and it was like an early suicide attempt for me…haha. Thank goodness I have managed to finish all 16 accounting subjects (without repeating a single one) in 4 years – proud and sound..lol..
I have enjoyed college days far more than my high school days basically because of the freedom I get in doing the things I want aside from the things I need to do. Though I became less active in college, I still managed to engage myself in some activities – new activities like acting on stage and on theater. Acting played a very important role in honing my crafts toward my newly discovered interest –Poetry. Because of it I was able to widen my understanding on playing / portraying different roles, especially when I tackle characterization and images and descriptions in my poems. During my active years on stage, I did a lot of researches about the kind of character assigned to me to perform in front of so many groups of audiences. I see to it that I have the time attending acting workshops conducted by prominent directors and Indie film makers. That said, I also spent some bucks in order to achieve the kind of quality being asked or looked for a thespian to have and acquire. Of course, I find it getting too costly already, so I needed to think of some other ways on how to support my passion. During this period I started accepting doing extra roles on TV & Film shoots – super extra roles like running on field while the whole town is on fire and rage of war, shouting and crying on screens for a killed hero who does nothing but only lie and be wet on improvised blood effects, something like that. Extra roles I find most often to be funny, for when you watch the film or the show at the time of its availability on wide screens and on TVs, you barely actually notice your existence or appearance on scenes you were asked to be in as instructed during the actual shoots. This saddens me at times too, yet the best thing there, as always, is I get paid and that’s enough, I think. In the first place, I did it to earn extra bucks to support my acting interest behind the wide screen. I also once worked as a part-timer image modeling on my uncle’s friend’s studio, but no longer these days. Ah, too many memories and experiences to savor. I owe most of my poems these days on those experiences, for if I haven’t had the chance to experience all of those things I went through I don’t think I could ever be the kind of person that I am today – wiser and wider in views about life and of especially nature.
I agree. Do you have any favorite poets?
My favorite poet/s would have been no more but William Shakespeare (that’s actually too obvious as most of my sonnets and sometimes free verse were written after his language and form, but not necessarily to imitate him – just to make things clear, ok..hehe..). He is my ancient soul hero for he had opened my eyes, widened my understanding and lays my soul bare for the world to kill. But I will not die with all these words in me and so I will write, write, and perhaps write more even if that could mean forever suffering in this world of men. My current soul hero is none other than Mary Oliver, and if Shakespeare had provided me understanding, I would say Oliver gives me more reasons to trust and be aware – trust on the moving of the many little feet that surround my very being, the tiny whispers of the spirits of the breeze, trust on every scent of the earth and its scattered decay that I may not forget but love – yes, only love. I say awareness for Oliver has offered me countless possibilities to look at the world in a way that it’s as if I’ve never been here before, a falling leaf, and even to a dying cricket in mid-summer night. Some other poets I truly admire are Pablo Neruda, Confucius, Li-Po, e.e. cummings & Jose Garcia Villa, to name a few. When it comes to forms, I think I have enjoyed more writing sonnets and haikus, while some other forms are merely done on occasional basis or when asked or prompted only like what dVerse is offering in its segment of FormsForAll every other Thursdays.
Have you been blogging for long?
Perhaps some of you may have already encountered me before, writing in blogland under the pen name, ‘Window Lad’. Window Lad is my alter ego, the part of me that has never become real – my ghost. Through the times I stopped writing I have learned to forget Window Lad. I have cursed him for causing me too much misery and pain. And though I have succeeded to escape from him, I know deep inside I couldn’t totally release him off because, somehow, I partially owe him for my gift in writing. He has made me realize so many things I didn’t realize before, or maybe I just didn’t care. I let him take over my life so easily to the extent I did not know already who Kelvin was, for all I was aware of was the fact I am just a little lad looking out into the world from behind a window.
In November 2012, I decided to make a comeback writing poems, and so I have come with a new blog rising after my name to show the world how I have matured from the last time that I have been away finding myself.
Was it difficult to step out into the blogging world as Kelvin as opposed to Window Lad?
At first yes.. writing from behind a pseudonym made it all more easy for me to lurk others, leave a comment, and give feedback both in good or in bad words. You don’t have to worry about your identity because no one has an idea who you really are.. what you look like… or where you are from. You can easily choose the kind of character you would like your readers to see from you. All of these made it more difficult and painful as days went through because no one does actually know you aside from the ghost you create. I realized the more I entertained Window Lad and his character, the more I got lost… the more I became less of a person… the more I became a complete stranger to the point I didn’t know already who the real me was.
Can you share one of your poems with us?
If I have but one poem to share it would be ‘The Secret Poem’ written in 2011. This is a poem about my greatest secret I have always kept in the wind. Here I described what (to me) a poet is, how a poet lives, what makes the life of a poet different and separate to a life lived plainly. You know, many poets choose to live and die. But, with this poem, I demonstrate how I have chosen the reverse side, for I chose to die first then live. If you want to know what I mean read below and see for yourself:
THE SECRET POEM
by Kelvin S.M. / 2011
Listen, for I will tell thee about a secret
I kept in the wind.
I am a poet. Dost thou believe? –
yes, I am.
I am the killer of all hidden words,
the digger of the deepest thoughts.
I am the weaver of all broken souls,
the stealer of the past,
the healer of the present,
the ghost of the coming years.
I am a poet – yes, I, truly, am –
ask the wind.
I write when there is none that writes.
I laugh when there is none that laughs.
I weep when there is none that weeps.
I sleep when there is none that sleeps.
I live when there is none that lives –
because I am a poet, dost thou believe?
and this is my secret, perhaps,
the wind will thee soon.
My life is like that of a bird hidden
in the deep forest –
I will die but there is none that knows.
Beautiful, Kelvin! What are your hopes for the future?
Hmmn… long term goals? Well, of course I would like to get published sometime in the future. If time and opportunity will allow this poor soul, I also want to pursue a career in acting again, and maybe even in singing. I would like to form a live gallery where I could showcase all my art pieces in public, and in a much higher essence and value. I would like to go and visit London and Ireland with Mum and Dad. I would like to establish my own business- not merely on accounting, but maybe a resto or a café, and of course get married if fate would allow me. Most importantly, I would like to accomplish all of these as soon as practicable. Ah, so many desires… so little time…. yet the mere fact of knowing time to be so little and/or fast drives you more to perform and fulfill the desires. or at least that’s how I look at it… smiles…
You are an ambitious and inspring young man. As my grandmother used to say, “Take your time and enjoy it.” How can we reach you, Kelvin?
I don’t have any social networking sites aside from Blogger (www.kelvinsm.blogspot.com) and(www.papersandcrayons.blogspot.com), and WordPress (as asked by dVerse). I have FB but wasn’t active on there as it was only created when one of my professors in college insisted us to have one for she would be using it as a tool in updating us about the latest schedule of quizzes / exams, assignments, topics for discussions /lectures & school projects, etc.
Thanks so much for sharing yourself with us… it has been a pleasure visiting with you. As always, if anyone has a question for you, it will be in the comments.