Unshackling the Poet Within: A Journey to the Land of Risk
Philippines Tour February to March 2017
In February 2017, I was honoured and privileged to be invited to undertake a tour of the Philippines. Over a three-week programme of public speaking and book signing, I was wonderfully received at an international conference of educators and at schools and universities in Visayas and Manila, as well as undertaking radio and TV interviews.
We undertook a total of 21 engagements on 18 days, encouraging audiences to take the metaphorical journey to the land of risk with a view to maximizing their personal potential and discovering the underlying purpose of their life journey. Everywhere we were met by wonderful, smiling people, signed countless books and participated in photo-shoots by the thousand!
Arellano university staged a flag-waving welcome more suited to royalty than a poet-writer, and thereby created memories I shall never forget.
Valenzuela University hired a two thousand-seater amphitheatre – and filled it!
Makati University was astonishingly generous in devoting the whole of it’s annual English Week to ‘Celebrating the Voice of Michael Forester,’ including a parade of characters and human diorama based on characters drawn from ‘The Goblin Child,’ and competition setting my poetry to music and turning my stories into musical drama.
Everywhere I was asked profound and penetrating questions that served to illuminate the journey for me as much as for those that asked them.
A few days of much needed down time enabled me to visit Taal Volcano, where once again I reconnected with my own inner poet (see Blogpost 95 on the blog page of this web site). A highlight of the visit was an encounter with the spirit and work of Philippines national poet and hero Joze Rizal, in honour of whose memory I wrote and dedicated the only new poem I wrote while in the Philippines.
I returned home with a much deeper appreciation, not only of a wonderful country and its people, but also of my own work and the way it is received. I remain deeply indebted to Professor Janet Pasqual of Makati University who issued the initial invitation for me to visit. Dr Pasqual and her team worked tirelessly before, during and after the tour to achieve an experience that was surely unforgettable to all of us that participated.
I have been honoured by an invitation to re-visit in 2018, when I hope we shall be able to accept invitations from all the venues which, due to constraints of the schedule, could not be accepted first time round.
Namaste, my newfound, but very dear Filipino friends. Leaving you was hard. I have every intention of seeing you again.