Mia Tijam is acknowledged as one of the editors who have advanced Philippine Speculative Fiction and its writers, co-editing with Charles S. Tan the "Philippine Speculative Fiction Sampler". Her fiction had been published in Philippines Free Press, Philippine Genre Stories, Expanded Horizons, Bewildering Stories, and anthologies like Philippine Speculative Fiction, The Farthest Shore: Fantasy Fiction from the Philippines and BRAVURA: An Anthology of 21st Century Philippine Fiction.

Leaving Metro Manila to return to her home in the Bicol Region, Mia has devoted her time to care for her child with special needs, family, and her work in the learning development sector in Naga City. Recently she contributed her nonfiction work in "In Certain Seasons: Mothers Write in The Time of Covid" published by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and PEN Philippines. And served as the Special Section Editor for PWDs and PADs in the literary journal of the Cultural Center of the Philippines ANI 41: "Paglalakbay: Lakad, Layag, Lipad".

Flowers for Thursday by Mia Tijam

The flow of the agimadmad, the native imagination, is constant and ceaseless in "Flowers for Thursday". This lucidity springs from the consciousness about Iriga. It is, however, not just a story of a place. Iriga, a precolonial settlement and center of the cult to aswang, only serves as a wharf for sailing to the boundless expanse of wondering and the wandering imagination.

Distinguishing the act of writing and narrating is needed to be noted here as most of the stories in the collection are rooted in the time of orality, when articulation was the medium for education and entertainment. The stories are in the forged tongue of English interwoven with the native languages of Rinconada, Bicol, Tagalog, Filipino, and Baklese which is the dynamic language of the Philippine LGBTQIA+ community.

Crossing the bridge of difference and boundary of expression between the visible and invisible world, between the past and the present, "Flowers for Thursday" is where the known and the stranger, the joyful and melancholic merge in a space given free reign.


• There's a feeling I get when reading a book that is utterly original and outside my experience, a visceral thrill that propels me to devour every word and revel in the uniqueness of the creator's vision and presentation. That's the feeling that swept over me when reading this work by Tijam, a collection of stories unlike any other. Flowers features a unique alchemy of Philippine folklore, contemporary fantasy, and LGBTQIA+ culture that truly dazzled me. It often knocked me off-balance, but in a good way, upsetting my personal worldview by showing me life and legend through the eyes of others who are different and challenging in the most extraordinary ways. Reading Flowers is like traveling to a strange and distant land, a place filled with magic and faith, and realizing that my own home is stark and Spartan by comparison. If you enjoy unforgettable reading experiences that mingle diverse cultures in thrilling and poetic ways, you will want to embrace this book and recommend it to everyone you know…and have yet to meet. It is truly a wonder. – Robert Jeschonek



  • "…These stories are not straight up fantasy or science fiction, they are more tales of everyday life wherein the supernatural intrudes, or the bizarre occurs, or the Aswang, demons and sprites of Philippine culture or other entities from local folklore are at play. I find them ultimately engaging because they are so well grounded in a kind of clear-eyed reality…Not everything is explained and as I move through the pages of the tales I feel as if I am visiting another culture and slowly learning about it as one does when actually there…"

    – Jeffrey Ford, Shirley Jackson Award, Nebula Award, and World Fantasy Award-winning writer and author of “Big Dark Hole: Stories”
  • "…In H. Francisco V. Peñones Jr.'s introduction to the book, he uses the term "native imagination" to describe the strain of magic embedded in Tijam's stories… Tijam's ability to tap into the infinite imagination of her heritage and mesh that with the wounds of modern life speaks so much of the powers of her writing —"

    – Don Jaucian, CNN Philippines Life: “Our Best Books of 2021”
  • "…It is thus a welter of layers of seeming verbal hieroglyphs — all that as a departure from the usual structural and textural world-building efforts found in spec fic…"

    – Alfred A.Yuson, The Philippine Star Life: “Antic Narratives, Of Much Bewilderment”




She was hiding. Nana Kuring, her mother's yaya, found her in what was once the zaguan under the old house, which now served as the bodega for all the things unwanted, forgotten, or not needed for the time being. The little girl was almost buried in the dark—hidden by old junk, a metal bed, a wooden carriage wheel, sacks of paruy— and surrounded by the musty smell of concrete walls and the sweetness of copra. She was filthy from burrowing into the dust of her hiding place and in her face that filth was streaked by tearstains.

"Igin, what are you doing here?" Nana Kuring asked, surprised, as the afternoon light that filtered through the open door illuminated where the little girl was hiding. The child only looked back at her, and then huddled deeper into the dark when both of them heard the light footsteps on the wooden floorboards above, coming and going, coming and going, as if searching. A door closed and there was silence once more.

"It seems even your cousin is awake when both of you should be asleep for siesta," Nana Kuring sighed.

The child stiffened.

"What is it?" Nana Kuring asked, noting the child's alarm, moving towards her. She drew the huddled body into an embrace but the child flinched and pulled away.

Nana Kuring looked at her unblinking stare and after a time gently said, "You can tell me."

The child opened her mouth but no words came to her and none came out.

Nana Kuring watched the child close her mouth and swallow her tears. "Come, child…" She softly bade her to follow with a nod of her head, careful that she wouldn't touch her, "'Yang na, Igin, 'yang na."

The child gingerly stood up and warily followed her out of the bodega, into the afternoon light, and through the dirty-kitchen— a hut beside the main house where the old women chopped everything on a long wooden table and cooked in a kiln banked by dried wood. The old woman led her to the deep-well pump beside it. The child waited silently as Nana Kuring lifted the tin basin that was shaped like a soft drink bottle crown and filled with laundry to hoist it on top of her head while bending to pick up the palo-palo. The old woman began walking towards the gate that led to the road and after a dozen steps stopped when she realized that the child wasn't following her.

The child was looking up the windows of the old house, at those shuttered shell windowpanes, and then looked at her. Nana Kuring swung the palo-palo in a forward motion to the child and the little girl hurried after the old woman.

They walked out of the old house's red rusting gate into the deserted asphalt road, with her leading and the child following. For a time the child only felt the sun on her hair and followed the old woman's feet until she saw that she was walking on soil and dead leaves. There was no path. There was no sun. There was only the creaking of the trees and the rustling of the leaves. She suddenly stopped— the sounds ceased— and she felt eyes watching her.

The child raised her bowed head to look at Nana Kuring's back. "Don't be afraid," the old woman said without looking back, "That's just Tata 'Ulian. Remember him, your Papa 'Iton's good friend? He would sometimes come to the house after dusk. Your Papa 'Iton probably sent him after us."

The child remembered an old man with a big sac for a nose who would always carry a Minasbad with him, its scabbard belted around his hip with a hemp rope, and what looked like a dog head carved as the wooden handle of the sword. Her grandfather told her that Tata 'Ulian had wandered into the mountain one night and returned with the mountain's gift.

She looked behind her and there he was, a brown dog looking at her with the blackest eyes. She looked back at Nana Kuring who had turned to smile briefly at her, "He knows this land and knows as many stories as your grandfather."

The little girl looked behind her once more, but the dog was gone.