Santiago Villafania

Santiago Villafania


Santiago Villafania is a bilingual Filipino poet who writes in English and in his native language of Pangasinan. He advocates for the resurgence of Pangasinan as a literary language.


His works in the vernacular are some of the most representative, if not among the few that comprise that Pangasinan contemporary literary body. In his first book, Balikas na Caboloan (Verses from Caboloan, 2005), the Pangasinan anlong resurfaces asserting its tradition amidst intersecting and pollinating genres and literary influences.


His book of poems, Malagilion: Sonnets tan Villanelles (2007), is an attempt to open the propylaea of literary renaissance in Pangasinan. This second book by Pangasinan’s leading poet today is impressive in both form and substance. Villafania has created 300 sonnets and 50 villanelles in his own language that attempt to reflect the primacy of native culture and return the poet to the central stage of social life.


His works have also been translated into Spanish, Italian, Hindi, and Arabic. His unpublished book of poems ‘Murtami’ was translated into Hindi entitled ‘Premanjali’ and was released in the New Delhi World Book Fair in 2013.


He is one of the 11 Outstanding Pangasinenses conferred with the 2010 Asna Award for the Arts and Culture (Literature) during 430th Foundation Anniversary of the province of Pangasinan on 5 April 2010. His book, Malagilion was recognized by the National Book Development Board and Manila Critics Circle as Finalist for Best Book of Poetry in the 27th National Book Award; and he also won 1st Prize in the 2007 Gawad Komisyon (Gantimpalang Tamayo sa Tulang Pangasinan).


His books are available at



Sonnet to a Pilgrim Soul


When the sun gilds the sky in the morning

And deep darkness makes a noble retreat

O hear the music in the air fleeting

For you can never recapture the beat


When the morning spreads her warm golden wings

And the sapphire sky is wordlessly deep

Look yonder and feast with your eyes the things

Which you seldom see in your dreamful sleep


Don’t you feel forlorn beloved pilgrim

If the world will mind your lowly a state

A time will come when their eyes will grow dim

And they too will fall on our self-same fate


An empty shell to decay into dust

When our days in the sun come into the past







in the beginning

I AM all

word and yoni

is a uni-

versal song

a voice

a name

I AM one

with my(self)


(is) a night

of void and





I’ve spoken

my prenomen

and i came

to be what


a world

of my own

my name


(the atoms

of my existence)

I AM become

light – the first







crowning my head

godhead within

godhead without

first born of

the parthenous


I AM life

–force incarnate

a makir

a fakir

and foremost

a (man)poet




my voice

married the dark(

ness) and the abyss

and the fruit

of this incest

is chaos and

out of which

the primal light

sprung from

my fore(head)

i breathed shaping

the firmament

in cosmic gyration

heavens were born

poems unpoemed




i stood



upon the ground

where I AM

is I AM

God angered

he beat

the hell

out of me


a bone

or two

my rib

is broken

broken and

Eve of the broken rib

appeared so dovely

than Lilith

my Adamhood

is complete





with God’s scallywag

I saw Iesu

the anchored angel

while i ate

my last supper

my first sin

the Word

on my tongue

his blood

on my lips

the best meal

I’ve had

so far

no wonder

the Selfless One

has forbidden

the fruit of






the serpent


in the east

of the orchard

there is a door

with the sign



and I

moved out

covering our (wo)man-

hood & humanity

with the colors

of decay


Swansong of the Sea


That night I heard the swansong of the sea

the erolalias of nameless lovers

stealing a heaven and eternity


there was a crysong of a pilgrim bird

that punctuated the silence of the night

but the winds and the waves whispered a hush


I waited for the waking of the day

feeling the breathing of the earth beneath

the palpitations of the Milky Way


then Atlas moved a finger and it came

the gyrations and the

sudden trembling

O the sea had wings of a tsunami!


death came without warning or a reason

to those who heard the psalms of oblivion


and then I heard the swansong of the sea

… and the crysongs of those who went away






that night how i long to be one with you

quivering like a leaf i sought your lips

& indulged your sweet surprise with kisses

so warm and moist like an afternoon breeze


your trimmed mossy is a perfumed garden

piquant & salty like the calm sea air

your body trembled as i plunged myself

into the vortex of your first delight


your hands reached out to take my fevered face

pulled me back to your soft & sultry lips

i lingered there lulled into that moment

until i heard the music of the sphere


& into the depths of your yoni-verse

i throbbed & burst into a billion stars




Zeus to Danaë





is nothing

with my cunning

with my swift lightning

it does not have

the corn flower blue intellect

or the exquisiteness of

a padparadscha sapphire

but for you

i will be

a shower of

golden rain

to petrify

your night


you are


bedazzled with

the sheer sweetness

the unhurried jazz of

our most profound






a ciryl for our terquasquicentennial or septaquintaquinquecentennial anniversary



my heart

you are

in every


between heartbeats




in that space

a thousand yottametres

between quantum couplet



& deduce

this myocardial-

algebraic expression

where space time continuum

are coefficients




you are a constant–

the nonzero coefficient

of highest degree




the mathematics of modern love


let me begin

with the concept of derivative

where it is at the core of

rather between calculus

and modern love


there are three

different approaches

to define it


one is the physical concept

the approach used in Newton’s

classical mechanics where

it can be best explained

when two people

parabolic ally meet

in instantaneous velocity


second is the geometrical concept

where the equation of

the tangent line

can be best




line of

sight and

lips are just a

few inches away


and the third

forget both concepts

let’s just go to bed and make love


































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