Note: Use this page to write your own blackout poetry! Grab a marker or pen and redact words to create a poem.
“Ikaw sa bawat paboritong musika at pelikula.
Ikaw ang sining. Ikaw ang hahanapin ng bahagi kong malikhain. At aalalahanin—sa matatamis na linya at romantikong eksena. Ika’y hahanapin—daranasin ang pangungulila. Dahil kung magagandang likha, ikaw ang ibig kong sabihin.
Kahit sa mga pinta, sa mga tula, mga liham at larawan—lagi kang magiging paksa. Ikaw ang temang hindi pagsasawaan. Bawat bahagi mo’y magmimistulang panitikan. Ikaw ang magbibigay kulay, ritmo, tugma, ganda—at laya.
Sa piling mo, ako’y malaya.”
Seventy-five words were enough for Ron Canimo to demonstrate his artistry. This excerpt from his third book, Ikaw Sa Bawat Araw, is only one of Ron’s thousands of poems, all of which are odes to our national language, crafted with consistent diligence and natural flair.
His poetry page, Mga Tala at Tula, has 1.2 million Facebook followers and 193,000 Instagram followers. In an interview with Young STAR, Ron shared his journey into being a content creator, poet and self-published literary author.
Ron’s story is written in the stars, and it unfolded early on in his childhood. He joined pagbigkas ng tula competitions in elementary school, and although there were twists and turns in his path from high school to adulthood, all roads led him back to poetry.
He first constructed his Facebook page in college, where he studied journalism. “Ang intention ko talaga noon ay para magkaroon ng platform kung saan ko mailalathala ‘yung mga creative pieces ko na hindi mai-pa-publish sa campus paper namin. Para mabawasan ‘yung feeling ng rejection. Para ma-feel ko sa sarili ko na kahit papaano, may na-accomplish ako,” he recounted. “From 2013 to 2016, mga nasa 500 lang ‘yung followers ng poetry page na ginawa ko.” This page would go through four rebrandings before Ron found his footing.
Nakakatuwa kasi marami pa pala sa kabataan ang mahilig sa tula at panitikang Filipino. Nakahanap ako ng deeper purpose. Hindi lang pala ‘ko nagsusulat para mailabas ‘yung emosyon ko, (pero para) magkaroon din ng boses ang mas marami pang tao. Hindi lang dahil nakaka-relate sila sa mga pyesa ko, kun’di dahil na-i-inspire din silang magsulat.
He graduated in 2016 and stopped writing and posting soon after, when he officially regarded himself as a young professional. When the coronavirus pandemic cleared out everyone’s calendars, Ron found his way back to creative writing. He made the executive decision to focus solely on using his Facebook page as an outlet for his emotions. He was writing, ultimately, for himself.
But that post in 2020, his first one after a long slump, went viral. From then on, after all his lows, there was nowhere to go but upwards. As stated by the first line in Ikaw Sa Bawat Araw: “Tapos na ang mahabang gabi.”
Ron writes about anything and everything under the sun. “Or should I say, under the stars, because I typically write at night,” he quipped. He writes whatever he feels, and with his no-nonsense writing style and honest voice that packs a punch, Filipinos find resonance in his pieces. “I find poetry to be a powerful medium that allows us to experience strength and vulnerability at the same time. ‘Pag nagsusulat tayo ng literary pieces, mas pinapagana natin ang emosyon at puso natin sa pagsusulat. At kadalasan, ‘yung experiences natin—rejections, heartaches, and failures—ito ang sinulid natin para makahabi ng magandang piyesa at makakonekta sa iba.”
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“Nakakatuwa kasi marami pa pala sa kabataan ang mahilig sa tula at panitikang Filipino. Nakahanap ako ng deeper purpose. Hindi lang pala ‘ko nagsusulat para mailabas ‘yung emosyon ko, (pero para) magkaroon din ng boses ang mas marami pang tao. Hindi lang dahil nakaka-relate sila sa mga pyesa ko, kun’di dahil na-i-inspire din silang magsulat.”
His readership grew until Ron realized he wanted to build an online community. In August 2020, he expanded his passion project into a Facebook group with over 250,000 members. They’ve hosted countless online exhibits and seminars, mental health and creative writing talks, writing contests, fundraising campaigns, donation drives, and more. “Naniniwala kami na poetry has a significant role in our society,” he said. “Poetry kindles hope. It saves lives. Sa panahon na walang-wala na, magagandang salita ang nagbibigay sa atin ng pag-asa.”
“Social media helped me achieve my dreams and my purpose: to publish, to teach, and to help. Mula sa simpleng poetry page, nakabuo ng community na ang layunin ay hubugin ang kabataan sa sining at panitikan at maghatid ng tulong sa kapwa Pilipino, hanggang sa mabigyan ako ng tyansang tuparin ang childhood dream kong makapag-publish ng libro.”
“Sa self-publishing, ikaw talaga lahat. Magmula sa planning, conceptualization, sa paghahanap ng artist at pag-drive ng collaboration, sa mismong pagbuo ng libro, marketing, customer service, and even sa distribution,” he said. “Mahirap, pero doble ‘yung satisfaction at happiness.” When Ron announced his first book, he expected 100 to 200 orders, most from his family and friends. But today, he has sold thousands of copies of his three books, Mga Tala at Tula, Sa Buwan Kita Natagpuan and Ikaw Sa Bawat Araw. On TikTok, reviews, readings, and even clips of a single excerpt from his books garner thousands of views and likes.
Most of Ron’s pieces are in Tagalog, and in this age when the English language would have provided a bigger audience and market for him, this choice was intentional. Aside from his goal to introduce the beauty and rich intricacies of the language to the younger generation, he also wanted to connect with more Filipinos. “Mas makakakonekta ako sa masa.”
But it was his father—his best friend and number one supporter—who was his target audience. “Nagsusulat ako ng Tagalog para maintindihan ng mas maraming tao, at maintindihan din ng mga taong malalapit sa puso ko,” he explained. “My father is not a college graduate, at hindi bihasa sa wikang Ingles. Gusto ko ‘pag nagsusulat ako, maiintindihan din ng parents ko.” His father was there every step of the way: from teaching him how to act out poetry pieces for his pagbigkas ng tula competitions as a kid to funding his first batch of books and helping him pack online book orders. It was also their heart-to-heart talks that first taught him how to articulate his feelings.
In his advice to aspiring writers and poets, it is evident what distinguishes Ron’s craft: he lays his heart and soul bare in his writing. “Write to give hope and to remind people of kindness. In a world that can be harsh, write creative pieces that will make people feel that they are alive and breathing, that they are understood and not alone. This is the greatest purpose of your words.”
“Ang pinakaepektibong paraan upang maipadama ang pag-ibig at pag-asa ay sa pamamagitan ng sining, kaya’t gamitin natin ito lagi, gamitin ito nang tama.”