InnoPub Media’s Artist Series features John Bengan, author of the book, Armor: Stories

By: - May 31, 2023

InnoPub Media, in collaboration with Misfits Coffee, launched its first Artist Series on May 30, 2023, with 2013 Carlos Palanca Awardee John Bengan, author of the anthology, Armor: Stories.

In paying attention to what’s going on in the country, there’s a sense of relief to complete the book.





“We just want to have coffee and listen to smart people,” said Max Limpag, InnoPub’s co-founder, during his welcome remarks.

Bengan, a Davaoeño writer, sat down with Cebu media personalities and creatives, and he shared how his book, Armor, a collection of short stories on summary killings in Davao set in the 90s, took him 17 years to finish.

john bengan

Armor author John Bengan. (PHOTO BY PROF. JAY NATHAN JORE)

Newspaper headlines about these killings were widespread in Davao in the 90s, and it was strange for Bengan, growing up, that people accepted it as part of life. Being a resident there, he said that he always lived in fear. But the stories made him say ‘Yes’ to writing the book.The stories offer an insider perspective of Davao before it blew into the national consciousness.

At the event, esteemed guests Ronald Villavelez, Noreen Capili, and Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo read excerpts from the book. In addition, the Armor author answered guests’ questions about the book’s sensitive theme and personal experiences that influenced his short stories.

“The journalists are the front lines and have always been the target. I’m writing fiction. And ours is not a reading country, unfortunately, but that shouldn’t stop writers from writing,” Bengan said. “In paying attention to what’s going on in the country, there’s a sense of relief to complete the book,” he added. 


Armor by John Bengan book signing. (PHOTO BY: IVAN PETER B. MONTECILLO)

A book signing concluded the event, and Bengan shared how grateful he was for his readers and how they interpreted his book. “Readers are part of the creation of the works. So it’s readers that I’m hoping [for] to bring their own meaning,” he said. 

Armor is available for purchase online in Lazada through ADMU Press and via Shopee.

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