Intimations of Mortality: Sulu Stories and Other Essays | Anthony L. Tan

What Dr. Edilberto K. Tiempo said: Anthony Tan, who earned his M.A. and Ph. D. at Silliman, and who has a considerably leaner output, writes leaner and almost flawless prose as demonstrated in “The Cargo.” There is a hint of Conrad in the story, but Tony Tan is, quite manifestly, his own boss. This is not saying that one sees the author obtruding in the work; on the contrary he “depersonalizes” himself, for without using Conrad’s frame within a frame, or employing awkward props like figurative rabbits materializing out of his sleeves, Tan manages to achieve complete detachment. […] He is in his element writing the story about a wholesale murder, where the victims constitute the cargo on board the boat that plies in the Sandakan—Tawi-tawi barter trade. The murderer is Tadji, who is the pilot’s Asmawil’s nephew; Asmawil in turn kills his nephew in self-defense. Asmawil returns to Siasi in spite of the possible annihilation of his family and himself at the hands of Tadji’s relatives who would demand the prosecution of the Moslem code of justice—a body for a body. Asmawil’s long meditation as he lets his boat drift away from Siasi until he decides at last to head back for home is a model of cool, clinical, courageous self-assessment. Even older writers can learn a lot from Tony Tan.
— from Mindanao Harvest 1: An Anthology of Contemporary Writing,
edited by Jaime An Lim & Christine Godinez-Ortega

When Tony retired after 43 years of teaching, he had taught in four schools: Notre Dame of Siasi [Siasi, Sulu]; Silliman University [Dumaguete City]; Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology [Iligan City]; and De La Salle University [Metro Manila]. His poems, essays and short stories have appeared in various magazines and journals, here and abroad, and his poems have been anthologized in poetry journals, and have been collected in book form. He has won three Palanca awards: two for poetry and one for the essay. He has sat as a panelist in various writers’ workshops across the country. He was editor-in-chief of the special/literary/centenary edition of the Silliman Journal in 2013. He has been appointed director of the 58 th Silliman National Summer Writers Workshop in May, 2019. And, lastly, he has another book scheduled to come out in 2019, titled Crossing the River: Poems Old and New.