Leveling the playing field: Cebu Zine Fest 2017

Text: Tiny Diapana
Images: Ernest Diño

 

WHEN we talk zines, we talk creative liberty. We talk artistic determination. We talk rock and roll. Unlike the commercial magazine, the rough and tumble definition of the zine allows creatives the freedom to explore any topic in any manner they choose, making it one of the emblems of the relentless do-it-yourself spirit of the creative community.

Guests and zinemakers listening to Josua Cabrera’s Artist Talk presentation.

Celebrating the dynamic tenacity of DIY publishing and alternative media, zinemakers and readers gathered together at 856 G Gallery to participate in this year’s Cebu Zine Fest earlier this month. Organized by the Tropical Futures Institute, the event allowed guests and readers to browse and purchase self-published material from a diverse set of artists, writers, designers, studios, presses and all sorts of independent publishers.

“Aside from Fortuna Circuit and other pop up shows, Cebu Zine Fest was one of the many different activities that Chris John and I used to plan under the Tropical Futures Institute back in 2014,” Sebastian Estavez, one of the event organizers explained. “There are a lot of different zinemakers scattered around Cebu. Bomba Press was one of the first that started making zines on the Island. Back in 2014, we organized a small zine fair with Bomba Pres and Misua Soup. It wasn’t a grand event; we just wanted to gather the zine makers in the community to inspire others to create.”

Happy Garaje’s wares
USC PALABRA (Pulong Sa Mga Alagad Sa Obra) selling their chapbooks.

Running from June 3 to 4, this year’s Cebu Zine Fest featured an array of zines, posters, stickers and a slew of self-made merchandise from zinemakers who registered to join the event.

This included Erik Tuban, Joshua Cabrera, Yoyoy Comics, Karla Quimsing, Bathalad, Happy Garaje, TFI, Joseph Ingking, Weebong, Artflux, Claire Lua, Monster Pirate Crew, Siamese Rat and Astraberry, Van Kevin Opura, Dylan Briones, Kathryn Layno and Morgan Tornilla, Angelyn Khu, Althea Ybañez, Jefrrey Sisican, Bugz Saavedra, Ernest Dino, and Streetkonect.

Kathryn Layno and Morgan Tornilla preparing their wares for Cebu Zine Fest.
The power couple Mark and Johanna

“As a zinester, I believe that, similar to books, zines should be more crucial than ever. As we live in a time of short attention span and blind bigotry disguised as populism, getting to know other people’s opinions and insights allows you to be more aware and sensitive to the world around you, not just in fleeting hindsight , but in the grander scheme of things,” Bomba Press’ Erik Tuban told Sunstar Weekend. “Book publishing which has been the domain of the established authors/artist and the privileged few since time immemorial, has always been clouded and shrouded with the air of elitism. Zine(s) levels the playing field and destroys that barrier so that everyone can come out and play, so to speak.”

Erik also gave a similar speech in a zine-making workshop held during the event. Spreading this passion to other creatives, Tropical Futures Institutes hosted artist talks featuring writers like Karla Quimsing, artists like Lucille Umali and Joshua Cabrera, and art studios like Happy Garaje.

Zinefest Poster by Knuckles & Notch from Singapore
Karla Quimsing and Erik Tuban

Winding down the program, Cebu Zine Fest also had an eclectic poetry reading and acoustic session called “The Reading,” a screening of “Hinagunoy sa Goryon” by Karl Sia and a cool vinyl dj set afterparty called “Marsh Mallow”

After a successful run, Estavez says that Tropical Futures Institute continues looking forward to Cebu Zine Fest 3.

Zinesters from Bathalad and Bomba Press
Anne Amores selling zines.
Wessui Bacareza, Rapi Sescon and John Mark Maglana showing off their haul.

“We hope to stay grounded. Our plans for the future really depends on the community and local zinemakers,” Estavez said. “This zinefest wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of everyone involved. We hope that this enthusiasm for zine-making continues to show so there can be another zine fest next year.”

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