2022-10-06 ● Maka(walang)hiya

An animated gif of pixel art of bushes of makahiya plants opening and closing, with a wooden sign that says makawalanghiya distro against a backdrop of the sky and some grass.

My buddy Keet and I started a zine distro called MakaWalangHiya Distro and we finally debuted at Canzine! I know it’s a mouthful, but it’s a play on words, after the makahiya plant (aka Touch-Me-Not, or mimosa pudica, because its leaves shyly close up when touched) and the concept of “walang hiya“ (having no shame) in Filipino culture.

We started this distro because we wanted to close the gaps between Filipino creators from the homeland and the diaspora. We aim to feature and sell more works from either parts of the world, and are not limited to personal and literary zines, comics, TTRPGs, posters, cards, and stickers. We also want to start a database of location-agnostic Filipino creators, writers, designers, and artists, hopefully to connect and foster the larger Filipino creative community regardless of where they currently are, or where they were raised and grew up in.

A masked, bespectacled Keet tilting their head sideways and making the peace sign before our table spread of zines, posters, and stickers to sell.

We are also especially concerned with what is happening in the current political milieu in the Philippines. We distributed some free zines about prison abolition, anti-fascism and anti-imperialism by Makò Micro-Press and Kwago, as well as free zines about Filipino consciousness and spirit by Sikodiwa. To our relief, we emptied out our free pile, and we hope that the messages contained in those zines reach near and far, Filipino or not. Never forget!

Keet and I also collaborated on our split-zine, All Girls, about growing up queer in all-girl Catholic schools. It was a tumultuous process to write it. I had to dig up a lot of memories and feelings that I hadn’t thought about for years. I interviewed two other friends who were in the same year as me at school, and maybe telling their stories gave a sense of relief and closure. Our wish is that our stories can be of some use to others who might be going through the same tough things. Akap.

A screenshot of the MakaWalangHiya website with pixel art of bushes of makahiya plants with a wooden sign that says makawalanghiya distro. There are four small window-like boxes with text and some image content.

We launched our website, finally! Thanks to Snow for her great work on the pixel art, as always! We’re figuring out logistics for our shop, and want to reach out to some creators to sell their work, maybe partnering with local risograph printers to make limited copies in Canada as opposed to having them send them off via expensive air mail from the Philippines.

Hope the kickoff at Canzine keeps us at this momentum! There are so many great Filipino artists out there and we want to spread the love.