The Storytellers

These are stories told in the voice of a Filipina, wherever she is in the world, whatever her medium.

Yanna Verbo Acosta is a cultural warrior, marketing maven, wordsmith, catalyst, renegade, columnist, performance artist, Body Shop addict, domestic goddess, fleeting shadow, resident gypsy, proud mother.

Desiree Balota is from Cebu and she writes in Cebuano, English, and Filipino. Some of her works may be found on her page, Poetry, Scribbles, Verses. She likes pens, leaves, white, pink, and green.

Kimmy Baraoidan is fairly new to street and documentary photography and is still on a journey to finding her own distinct voice. She is fascinated by the youth culture, subcultures, and the rock and roll lifestyle. She is also a rock drummer and an aspiring writer. Her website is Allusions.

Hannah Buena is a literature major in her mid-twenties. She is an artist and a writer who has been drawing at an early age. Samples of her work may be found in her blog.

Desiree Caluza has been rounding the Cordillera region for 15 years, covering stories ranging from culture, environment, women’s rights and human rights, to indigenous peoples’ issues. In her visits to tribal communities in the region, she has proven that Cordillera women have always been powerful and strong.

AC Dimatatac is a freelance photojournalist based in Manila and Bulacan. Her website is

Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo is an award-winning Filipina fictionist, critic and pioneering writer of creative nonfiction. She is currently Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at the University of the Philippines Diliman and Director of the University of Santo Tomas Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies.

Sol Iglesias is currently pursuing a doctorate in Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, where her research focuses on militia violence in East Timor. She left Manila for love in 1999 and found herself stranded in what is probably the Philippines’ political, economic and cultural antipode. She remains in the process of returning home someday.

Little Wing Luna drinks like a fish and smokes like a chimney. She shoots, too.

Avigail Olarte wields her pen like a gun. She believes in this: If the shoe does not fit, leave, shoot the prince.

Artha Kira Paredes grew up thinking it was normal to carry a gun around.

Andrea Rivas wrote her first erotic poem at 17, after lightly touching hands with a student of Theology. Not until she got to Mexico, where she learned about Conscious Evolution, did she come up with the term Evolutionary Erotica. It looks like she is a pioneer in the style — according to Google, it hasn’t been coined by anybody else.

Ninotchka Rosca‘s novel State of War is considered a classic account of ordinary people’s lives under a dictatorship. She was a political prisoner under the dictatorial government of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. She was forced into exile to Hawaii, United States when threatened with a second arrest for her human rights activism by the Marcos regime. She lives in New York.

Jo A. Santos is a freelance photographer based in Quezon City who focuses on street, documentary photography, and visual journalism, particularly stories that delve into issues of culture, human rights, and social justice. Three of her photographs were exhibited in 2011 at the House of Representatives and Quezon City Hall as part of “KaBuhayan: a traveling exhibit on entrepreneurship for the poor”. She has contributed to alternative media groups and is an associate member of the Photojournalists’ Center of the Philippines (PCP). Her website is

TheMitch Meñez is always away. Never still. Still looking for herself.

Mira Yusef is the co-founder and current executive director of Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa. She was a December 2007 recipient of a Masters in Social Work with specialization on Community Organizing and a Masters in Southeast Asian Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.