About Self and This Blog

Kanlaon is the name of a volcano found on the island of Negros, in the Philippines.  Read more about the volcano here. It’s sometimes spelled with a ‘c’: Canlaon.

She wrote a 100k word novel about 16th century Philippines called Camarote de Marinero: Voyages. She’s looking for a publisher, but first she has to get an agent. Ha!

  • Why did self choose to name her blog after a volcano in the Philippines?

Self wanted to give it a name that had some personal connection to herself.  Her Dear Departed Dad was born in the Philippine province of Negros Occidental.  And that’s where the volcano is. (Self used to think the volcano was extinct but a careful reader of her blog told her it wasn’t, that it had in fact resulted in the deaths of two climbers, back in the late 90s.)

  • All right, but who, then, is the writer of this blog?

She’s a writer.  Not well-known (for which, in a way, thank God.  She has a life.  Not an exciting one, but just a life).

She was born and raised in the Philippines.  She has a twisted way of interpreting things.  Every now and then, she’ll hear gossip about this or that relative, and she’ll say:  “They may be crazy.  But they’re MY KIND OF CRAZY.”

So, she went off to grad school in Stanford, CA and after graduating in East Asian Studies (concentration in Chinese), she successfully applied for a fellowship to the Creative Writing Program.  Where she got to meet life-long friends Beth Coryell Alvarado of Tucson, Arizona, and Penny Jackson of New York City.

  • Why is this blog written in the third person?

The blog is an experiment in voice.  She found the “I” rather too limiting.  The Drama Queen side of her personality can only emerge when she thinks of herself as a character in some kind of narrative.

A few highlights of her life thus far:

Self has lately been writing horror and science fiction (!!!)  Her first horror story was published in Philippine Genre Stories (“The Departure”).  Her first honest-to-goodness science fiction story appeared in the New Orleans Review (“Thing:”  It’s a story about a new, post-apocalyptic world, populated by strangelings, creatures that cannot be named. If self were writing this for the first time, she would use the word “dystopian,” which she’s heard a couple of hundred times since the publication of The Hunger Games).  Wait.  That’s not quite right.  Her first out-and-out science fiction story can be found in her collection, Mayor of the Roses.  It was a one-off:  “Extinction.”  Still one of her favorites.

Self had a short story included in the April 2009 (the “Blood, Sugar, Sex and Magic” Bacolod issue) of Rogue Magazine! (That on the cover is obviously NOT self —  what were you thinking???)

The coolest magazine to ever have self's name on the cover

The coolest magazine to ever have self’s name on the cover. Next coolest: The Threepenny Review. They put, on the front: MARIANNE VILLANUEVA GOES BACK TO MANILA (when they published “Sutil”)

Since it’s only fair to come clean about what she looks like, here is a recent picture, a selfie taken at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Newbliss, County Monaghan, Ireland (May 2014):

Photo on 5-19-14 at 12.01 PM

Her first collection of short fiction, Ginseng and Other Tales from Manila (Calyx Press, 1991) was simultaneously published in Manila and was short-listed for the Philippines’ National Book Award.

She was a two-time recipient of a California Arts Council Artists Fellowship.

She was a Margaret Bridgman Scholar at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference.

Her story “Silence,” first published in The Threepenny Review, was short-listed for the 2000 O. Henry Literature Prize.

She co-edited, with Virginia Cerenio, an anthology of Filipina women’s writings, Going Home to a Landscape (Calyx Books, 2003), which gathered together the writings of Filipina women from around the world.

Her second book, Mayor of the Roses: Stories, was the inaugural publication of the Miami University Press Fiction Series.  It could only have happened because of Brian Ascalon Roley.  The photo they used for the cover shows nearly all her Bacolod relatives, gathered at the funeral of self’s grandfather, a former Mayor of Bacolod.

In 2007, Frederick Barthelme picked self’s story “The Hand” as the winner of the Juked Fiction Contest.

KulArts gave her play-in-progress, “In Which Menchit Attempts To Improve Her Fortune” a staged reading in the Bayanihan Cultural Center in October 2008 (Looove Alleluia Panis. Just love her)

In 2009, her third short story collection, The Lost Language, was published in the Philippines by Anvil Press.

She is still writing, even after xxxxx number of rejections. And she still thinks writing is the scariest and also the most exciting activity in the universe.

Born and raised in Manila, she currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and tries to spend at least a few months each year in Bacolod, Negros Occidental.

Her Residencies (She is a great believer in these):

  • Fundacion Valparaiso, Mojacar, Spain
  • Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Woodside, California
  • Virginia Center for the Creative Arts
  • Hawthornden Writers Retreat, Scotland
  • Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan, Ireland


  1. writerchick said,

    January 10, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    Wow Marianne, you are hot stuff! I’m very impressed – maybe you could give me some publishing tips. I’d love it. I’m glad you stumbled on my blog – great to meet you.

  2. January 11, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    I can certainly give you publishing tips, but I’m not hot stuff, since I don’t regularly get paid for my stories and haven’t signed on with a big publisher!

    YOU, my dear, are hot stuff. I see all the comments you get on your blog!

    — Marianne

  3. kh said,

    January 30, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    Since you have some problems with insomnia… would you be at all interested in blogging about your experiences trying to improve your sleep habits by following the advice in a (free) book? I have a Dutton author who’s reaching out to people who don’t have diagnosed serious sleep conditions, but who could use some help regulating their sleep habits and getting a better night’s sleep (which is about 99% of us). If you’re interested, drop me an email… thanks! p.s. i studied anthropology as an undergrad and am constantly wondering what i’d be doing now had i gone for a phD…

  4. kh said,

    January 30, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    p.s. not sure if you’ll be able to see my email on your back-end, so here it is:


    thanks! have a great day.

  5. March 3, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    What an interesting and productive life you lead.

  6. March 4, 2007 at 3:49 am

    You find my life interesting? I always thought my life was rather boring — so much of it spent: reading/ studying/ teaching!

    Thanks for the comment, though . . .

    I’ll check out your blog.

  7. May 17, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    You mean it’s true about “starving writers”? 😐

  8. May 17, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    Yes, it’s true. In fact, would you like to initiate a “Feed Your Local Writer” day? I am sure you would get many many starving writers sign up. I wouldn’t mind giving a (free) reading, open to the public, in exchange for food. Hey, I think that would be fun! You’d feed both the mind AND the body.

    Love your blog.

  9. June 18, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    I congratulate you Marianne for a nicely laid out blogsite, and I uoin all the voices there in in continually cheering you to greater heights.
    Speaking of great heights, Nick Joaquin, my late uncle wil soon be the subject of an extended biographpy. Who will write it? I was officially designated by my family to do the honors and I am indeed honored.
    In this connection therefore, you may have something to share vis a vis Nick and your writings. If so, do send them to me for possible inclusion in the coming book.
    Krp Yuson, Butch Dalisay, Pete Lacaba to mention some of Nick’s close friends and fellow writers are poised to see my draft for they too will be part of the “writing team” that will make sure the book is of the quality deserving of Nick and his life works.
    my best to your Mom, Nena, and hope that she continues to fashion the kind of classical piano playing that I have known to admire over the years.
    Much love and prayers,

  10. June 19, 2007 at 2:31 am


    I’m honored that you checked out my blog, that you even consider me for contributing to your book about Nick Joaquin, who as you know was a real inspiration to me and to many many other Filipinos.

    I don’t have any personal stories; aren’t those the kind you want? I would feel presumptuous to write something about him when I only knew him “from afar.” But I look forward to reading your book about him.

  11. Steve Zolno said,

    August 29, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    Hello –

    I am trying to enter a nominee for the category of 100 Most Influential Filipino Women but do not have an email address to send this to.

    Thank you.

  12. August 29, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    Hi, Steve,

    Here’s the contact info I have for the group that issued the call for “The 100 Most Influential Filipino Women”:

    Contact Us
    > email: filipina@ffwn.org
    > phone: 415.278.9410
    > web: http://www.ffwn.org

    I know they had a deadline, but not sure if they extended it . . .

  13. Adriano San Diego said,

    December 16, 2007 at 10:52 pm


    Kanlaon Volcano is not extinct!! It erupted on 12 August 1996 and that eruption claimed the live sof 3 mountaineers.


  14. December 17, 2007 at 4:21 am

    Oh, wow! That’s interesting! Got to do more research on that incident.

  15. Kai said,

    February 22, 2008 at 6:17 am

    Hello, may I invite you to join the February edition of Lasang Pinoy, which is a monthly food blogging event celebrating Filipino food. The theme for this month is coconuts. Details here, http://bucaio.blogspot.com/2008/02/lp-24-loco-over-coco.html. Thanks.

  16. February 22, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Ooooh, yes, I would love to join this monthly food blogging event!

    OK, think coconuts, think coconuts . . .

  17. Phyl said,

    March 14, 2008 at 2:45 am

    Hey, I’m working on a short (hopefully humorous) article—nonfiction—to be entitled “Why I Sleep Late.” Using this “Post-a-Comment” means that I’m not usurping your private blog, right? I’m of an (ancient) generation that does not “understand” blogs. My granddaughter, on the other hand. . . .

    I’m looking forward to meeting you.

  18. March 14, 2008 at 3:19 am


    Post away! It is fun . . .

    In no way are you “usurping” anything. This blog is for sharing.

  19. Karen said,

    March 14, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Hi, Kanlaon/Ms. Marianne, sorry for this very late reply, simultaneous to my hosting Lasang Pinoy 24 I gave birth to my 3rd child, so I’m not full-time on the internet yet as much as I should.

    As for Lasang Pinoy, you can post here on your blog about your entry, then let me know about it by sending me an email at sweet_bucaio@yahoo.com. I’ll also be checking your website. Thanks!

  20. Lance said,

    May 3, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    I am from Canlaon City, a little city in the heart of the Negros Island, but I am working at Cebu City right now. I so much miss Canlaon, and of course our very own Kanlaon Volcano, so I did a little of tickling on google and then got stumbled on your blog. Your posts are fascinating to read, although I can’t seemingly relate to some, but the title of your blog amazed me the most.
    I really miss waking up at home and then take a peek at my window. And I would then sit beside the window and blantly stare at the majestic volcano with some cold misty winds trying freezing me up. Then few minutes later, my Mom would already be screaming my name, looking for me (I am the last person to wake up every morning at the house). I love my childhood days. I just don’t know why I can’t remember all those crazy stuff I did when I was still young. I hate it when my elder sister would recall to me those happenings and then it would just irrated me more because I wouldn’t be able to recall a thing.
    Anyways, I am already blabbering here. Nice Blog! I hope you could gimme a holler back! hehehehe


  21. May 3, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Hi, Lance, and Welcome!

    My father is from Bacolod. We five children spent every summer there until I was 18.

    I love my relatives there and visit them as often as I can.

    Thanks for leaving your comment on my blog!

  22. TheA_rtist said,

    July 26, 2008 at 7:22 am

    Hi Marianne,

    I’d been looking for FilAm artists to feature & I would love to feature you on “Profile of An Artist” at my website:
    Please check it out & let me know what you think.

    I also added you as added your website under the “Artists Directory”
    You can add me on your blogroll if you like.

    I look forward to your response.


    “Let’s connect, participate, collaborate, and create an audience for Filipino American artists & strengthen the diversity in the field of arts.”
    by TheA_rtist

  23. andrea said,

    January 12, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    what a great wealth of information. 😀

  24. August 14, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    […] Marianne Villanueva was one of our delightful Smithsonian APA Program guests for “Filipino American Literary […]

  25. hazel said,

    August 19, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Hi, congratulations on your beautifully laid out blog…
    So I was wondering if you knew any folk lore stories about mt. kanlaon? I visited over the summer and found the volcano and the whole of negros really, quite inspiring… I would like to read some more about it.

    Thanks, and best of luck with your writing,


  26. August 19, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Hi, Hazel,

    It’s wonderful that you love Negros, I hope you get a chance to return.

    The only folk tales I know about Kanlaon are from HISTORY OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, a book which was given to me by my relatives (and I don’t know if it’s still in print). You can also look for blogs by/ about people living in Bacolod, of which I’m sure there are many . . .

  27. Amanda Parker said,

    November 25, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Hi, I just really wanted to stop by and say hi. I am in Liza’s 110 class, at which you visted recently. I just wanted to say thank you so much for coming in. I really appreciated that such a wonderful writer would do something so great for the students. I rally loved your book Mayor of the Roses and most definitely am going to be reading more of ou collections. I also want to thank you for giving me something that I can get into. I thought my love for reading was gone, but now, at least for your books, I’ve found a passion!!
    Thank you deeply,
    Amanda Parker

  28. November 26, 2009 at 3:49 am

    Dear Amanda,

    I LOVED visiting your class. Everyone was so engaged! I tell Liza, anytime she wants me to visit a class, I will. Because, you know, she is truly an exceptional teacher.

    Thank you, thank you for stopping by the blog and letting me know how you felt about MAYOR OF THE ROSES. It means a lot to me.

    AND I want to know what happens to you, so keep in touch and leave me messages from time to time. The blog is a good place to keep in touch!

    All the best,


  29. August 19, 2010 at 3:10 am

    […] story collection The Mechanics of Falling capped the conversation fittingly: “I’d recommend Marianne Villanueva, whose most recent book of stories is The Mayor of the Roses. Some stories are set in the […]

  30. Lisa Taylor said,

    January 2, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Hey! I really love your blog, so many great tips and stories here for writers! Thank you so much for creating it 🙂

    I want to nominate you for the Liebster Blog Award! Here’s a link so you know what it is 🙂


    Keep up your beautiful blog!

  31. January 2, 2012 at 11:30 pm


    What fun! Now that I know the rules (and thank you kindly for nominating me), I’m hard at work selecting the blogs I want to nominate. Thank you for bringing me into your fabulous par-tay!!

    More soon,

    Marianne/ Kanlaon

  32. M Dixon said,

    April 25, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is having a fantiastic Filipino Film Festival with films that have never been seen in the US before. Here’s a link to the complete information: http://www.ybca.org/new-filipino-cinema

    • May 8, 2012 at 6:29 am

      Thanks much for the link! I hate the fact that I will be out of town during the YBC Filipino Film Festival. Next year, for sure!

  33. August 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Greetings from the Philippines!

    I’m Gielizza Marie Calzado, a senior advertising student from the College of Fine Arts and Design of the University Santo Tomas.
    I’m in the process of making my final thesis. My topic is about “Exploring the Method of Collage of Printed Paper to Illustrate the poem, Some Women by Bunny Ty”

    As part of my feasibility study, I would like to ask you about the poet, Bunny Ty. According to the publisher of the book I plan to re-illustrate, the poem was found in a collection. I presumed that it was taken from Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas, a collection which you co-edited. It would be very beneficial for my book illustration project if you can connect me to Bunny Ty. If it is not possible, I would like to ask you some questions regarding literature and art.

    Please let me know if you are willing. Your response will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you and God bless!
    Gielizza Marie Calzado

  34. August 5, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Many things I did not know before here.

    Great stuff Marianne.

    Glad you are doing Horror, why not?

    You’re starting to give me ideas about my daily nightmares.


  35. June 3, 2013 at 3:57 am

    You say you’re not well-known but it looks to me like you’re quite extensively published and thus must be somewhat well-known. Congratulations! 🙂

    • June 3, 2013 at 5:21 am

      Ah, thank you! I’m not complaining — I’m grateful, in fact! I’m known in my niche. Thanks for the congratulations!

  36. June 15, 2013 at 4:44 am

    I love volcanos and am enjoying my wander through your blog. Are you in fact an anthropologist? I don’t know many but the few I do know have some of the most intriguing perspectives around.

    • June 15, 2013 at 5:39 am

      Confession: I am not an anthropologist. I wanted to be one, though. Instead, I became a writer. It’s like being an anthropologist, but the “digs” are entirely in my head. (I DO have a fascination with volcanoes. There’s a big one in my dad’s home province in the Philippines — still active)

      • June 15, 2013 at 5:41 am

        Ultimately writers have a bit of every other career in them I think.

      • June 15, 2013 at 6:06 am

        It’s nice, you’re right: “Writers have a bit of every other career in them I think.”

  37. June 28, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Find interesting aspects here in your blog…. written in the 3rd person definitely adds another dimension to character.

  38. Angie said,

    June 29, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I understand about the dramatic side appearing when in character, I also do that! You’ve got a great collection of articles already. I’m following for inspiration. 🙂

  39. Imelda said,

    May 22, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I am very happy to meet you. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by my blog.

  40. Hamilton said,

    June 22, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    The bloggers of Unexpected Wanderlust have nominated you for a Liebster Award. Check it out here: http://unexpectedwanderlust.com/2014/06/22/liebster-numero-dos/ Your nomination is at the end of the post. 🙂

    • June 22, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      OH, WHAT




      (Stay tuned for my post about the nomination)

  41. November 23, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Thanks for liking my post photo challenge – Angular

  42. Equipping The Saints said,

    January 2, 2015 at 4:53 am

    I spent 15 months in the Philippines, and found the people to be very nice.Your blog is very good. You might find mine to be interesting to you. Please have a blessed new year.

  43. Tiare Meegan said,

    February 4, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Hello Marriane, how kind of you to find me at Wahine Wednesdays! I have a more active blog, basil-1.com, that I post to regularly. I am fascinated with your exploration in voice and look forward to reading your blog frequently. Thank you again for searching me out, Tiare

    • February 5, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      Tiare, I’ll link to your more active blog now. Do you know, I was in southern CA several times last year, and because of your pieces I kept wanting to make it to Newport Beach. I went once. But didn’t stay very long. It was a Friday. The traffic getting back to LA was — ugh.

  44. Kevin said,

    February 8, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    I couldn’t remember how I found your blog, but I did, and am grateful for having found it.

    Then there’s the story you wrote (The Hand) where Frederick Barthelme picked for Juked, which I read (and liked so much)… what an honor to have seen your blog!

    And yes, I LOVE reading stories by Frederick (and Donald) Barthelme. Stumbled upon his collection, The Law of Averages, and it’s one of my favorites! Can’t get enough of it. Maybe it’s a phase, just as I had one with Salinger, but I’m hoping this one’s longer. And I was thinking why he picked your story, and it’s most likely because your writing is simple but nuanced. Makes me feel proud that he picked a story by a Pinoy, that’s all. 🙂

    • February 9, 2015 at 12:49 am

      “Makes me feel proud that he picked a story by a Pinoy”: THANK YOU! YOU MADE MY DAY!!!

      A few months ago, I was scanning my bookshelves, when I came across Frederick Barthelme’s novel NATURAL SELECTION. I stopped buying novels years ago, but I remember bringing this one with me to a residency in Mojacar, Spain, which was over a decade ago. What’s really strange and amazes me no end: When I read that book in Spain, I of course had NO idea that I’d be connected to Barthelme in a very personal way, 10 years in the future.

      The other amazing thing about “The Hand” is, this was one of those stories that I never sent out, because I didn’t frankly know WHAT I was doing when I wrote it. I remember hearing about the Juked contest, and telling some friends about it. It was the TELLING to friends that actually prodded me to submit to the contest myself. And I submitted “The Hand” because I hadn’t really seriously considered it would have a chance, ANYWHERE. It was just too strange. So, submitting to Juked on a whim, paid off for me BIG time!

      Thank you again.

  45. Karin Uphoff said,

    February 19, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    I love the way you describe ‘Self’ in third person – very clever – great humor!

    • February 19, 2015 at 11:11 pm

      Blogs are tricky things. I only felt comfortable blogging after adding an extra layer of “persona” I could hide behind — hence, the birth of “Self”!!! Thank you, I’m glad you like my third person blog!

  46. awax1217 said,

    March 4, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Interesting take on life. Write on.

  47. Jordan Bates said,

    August 29, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Hello I have nominated you for the Creative Blogger award!


  48. November 28, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Lovely blog!

    • November 28, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      Thank you kindly! It began as an experiment. After almost 10 years, can I still get away with calling it an experiment? More like an extension of me, now!

      • November 28, 2015 at 4:50 pm

        I would say quite an extension. I love observing your evolution. Kudos.

  49. March 5, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    What an utterly fascinating and absorbing “about” page! I loved reading it and want to know more.
    Thank you for visiting my blog!
    ~Dreamer of Dreams

  50. amoralegria said,

    June 28, 2016 at 4:34 am

    Thank you for visiting my blog (the post was WPC: Partners). Because you liked it, I found yours! I like your attitude about writing. I love writing too but have never published anything (except my blog) – but I have many interests, including music and travel! Your reason for using 3rd person is really fascinating, especially the drama queen part, which I tend to be (maybe I should try using 3rd person also)!

    • June 28, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      I can guarantee that you feel much more comfortable being a drama queen when you write in the third person! I’d say, Try it.

  51. September 4, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    This blog is amazing! I very much look forward to following

  52. March 30, 2017 at 8:34 am

    […] , and a two time Palanca Awardee in Short Stories in the English Category. I would like to thank Kanlaon, a blogger who wrote an article and tribute to my […]

  53. Karren said,

    December 9, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Dear Self, Are you going to AWP 2019 in Portland, OR? I see you picked up Bad Names for Women by Hilary Tham some time back and liked it enough to post one of her poems. I am the one who convinced you to take Hilary’s book home. We have a lot more to talk about. Yours in Poetry, Karren Alenier (more from DC than NY)

    • December 9, 2018 at 6:07 pm

      Hi, Karren, I was not planning on going this year. I LOVE Hilary Tham! But it’s expensive, so I will limit my going to AWP to every other year. Do you pass by San Francisco ever? Because if you do, we could meet up.

  54. April 30, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    […] Rashaan Alexis Meneses, Veronica Montes, and Marianne Villanueva to explore the different ways in which Filipinx history infuses their work. Quick readings by the […]

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