Category Archives: libro

Monday ∗ 04 Jan 2016

15 from 2015: kultura

I wasn’t very good at doing arts and culture in the country the past year. But here’s a list of the strange, the good, the surprising in culture for 2015, not at all a best or worst list because … see the first sentence. First a critical aside: having worked as dramaturg for Kleptomaniacs and a bit with Tanghalang Pilipino in 2014 meant keeping the theater reviews to a minimum in 2015. I needed that time to let go of the little inside stories that I know,… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 12 Apr 2015

the voice of celebrity: love and alex gonzaga, life and bianca gonzalez*

I will always spend some hard-earned cash on books proclaimed as “bestsellers” – not by the non-existent bestseller list of local books (because we compete with uh, Fifty Shades of Grey), but based on the ever reliable, absolutely credible opinion of the National Bookstore ate manning the cash register. These two books are placed among the magazines at the cashier’s counter, and with one hot pink cover, and another that’s filled with eye-catching illustrations, these books easily catch one’s eye.… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 23 Apr 2014

Lola Nita, 1923-2014.

“At a certain time of day, between the high heat of noon and the cool afternoon, the streets of Casay have a strange quietness — of a leaf arrested in its fall, or of a vacuum from which air and life have suddenly been drained — a quietness which seems to bide its time. Very infrequently, a car, a truck, or a cart may disturb the stillness, raising brown dust in its trail and sowing screeching echoes into the silence.… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 24 May 2013

hell is here

once again social media Pilipinas and government officials are on the defensive, offended by references to Manila in Dan Brown’s novel Inferno. as i sit and read the novel — because there’s no other way to assess it really, but to read it — here’s something i wrote in 2010 for the now defunct metakritiko, about Filipinos and our inability to handle it when we are told some truth or other about us, and how we miss the point entirely half the… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 01 Jan 2012

on self-help and the Pinay

or let’s begin 2012 by talking about oppression, shall we? My issue with self-help books is that they are mostly American. And anyone who lives off of the Philippines’ contradictions and silences, crises and sadnesses would know that not much of American self-help applies to the every Pinay. The 11 stupid things women do by Veronica Pulumbarit, based on the book by Dr. Laura Schlessinger Ten Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives among other sources, reeks of a… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 28 Oct 2011

because literature IS serious business

It seems like a foregone conclusion: how else would Singapore do a writers’ festival but with seriousness and business-like professionalism? What’s striking about the first few days of the Singapore Writers’ Festival (SWF) though is this: while business sense would dictate the selling of books in relation to the event, there’s also a clear sense here of going beyond that. And the SWF does so by showing us how literature and writing might on the one hand be celebrated as… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 17 Aug 2011

the path for Revolutionary Routes

it was daunting more than anything else, though at some point all that operated was an amount of yabang: i’ve seen friends do this before, i’ve seen wonderful beautiful local books happen without a big publisher behind it, without press releases coming out in papers. and this book, i knew, deserved the major major effort of blood/sweat/tears because it is about family and history. because it is unconventional in form, an almost refusal to fall within the genres that are familiar,… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 30 Jul 2011

the brilliance of two left feet

had an infinitely emotional conversation with this non-fiction narrative of a review of Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa. The teacher of literature, Karen (Jean Garcia), is enigmatic for a reason, but effective like every literature teacher should be. She reads poetry and it comes alive, she asks questions about it with certainty. She is unsurprised by any of her students’ assertions, even as these are necessarily about sexuality and desire, love and intimacy, the act of gazing. Even as… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 08 Feb 2011

art art art!

these were up elsewhere that i love because they are untouched, unexpurgated, and i’m left to fawn or freak out and everything in between. art can only be about how it makes you feel eh? (1) Pilipinas Street Plan at the Lopez Museum’s Extensions. (2) The end of the art world via Kin Misa’s rust and color. (3) J Pacena’s After Mall Hours. (4) the Pinoy toy as art form and mythmaking. (1)

Thursday ∗ 15 Apr 2010

the sadness of here in Ypil’s highest hiding place

a version of this was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 14 2010. Lawrence Lacambra Ypil’s first books of poems has many things going against it, including the fact that it is poetry and that it is in English, both of which limit it to a particular audience. More importantly, it comes at a time when the kind of Philippine poetry in English that’s celebrated – if publication and recent award-winning collections are any indication – has been about… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 07 Jan 2010

2009’s Notable Cultural chevers*

As with all year-ender lists, this is necessarily full of itself, and can be accused of having a false sense of power, imagining itself to be comprehensive and truthful and correct. Unlike many of those Best of 2009! lists though, this is conscious of itself and its limitations, and is willing to be shot in the foot for missing the point entirely. Too, this isn’t really a Best Of list (haha!); this is really just a list of my top… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 13 Sep 2008

The Reality of the Disappeared

The premise of the disappeared is their silence. In Desaparesidos, Lualhati Baustista’s latest novel, what one is treated to is an articulation of these silences that the disappeared bear, over and above the lives that they live as names on a list of people who have been captured and jailed, raped and tortured, and killed. And while you might say Bautista has done this before, or that this story about the Marcos dictatorship is old hat, Desaparesidos is anything but a… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 12 Aug 2008

A Dose of Self-Conscious Pinoy Machismo

If there’s anything that made me pick up Isang Napakalaking Kaastigan by Vlad Bautista Gonzales, it was its size and title – the same things that allow me to pick up books by Milflores Publishing more often than I would any other publishing house. There’s something easy and light about the way their books are packaged, something that calls out to you as you browse through the Filipiniana section of any bookstore. And with prices that are almost always only equivalent… Continue reading »

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