An Insight about Philippine Literature

It’s the last day of August, also known as Buwan ng Wika in the Philippines. I just want to share a bit of insight and appreciation of the Philippine literature.

If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for?

Franz Kafka

I usually find Philippine literature or stories about the Philippines a bit dark or gloomy or tragic. Reading such books feels so real even though it is fiction, maybe because as a Filipino, it’s close to home. Narratives that seem constantly screaming “revolution” despite of the war that ended decades ago. But most of them believe that these “wars” will never cease. They will be forever part of our existence, of our survival as humanity which is sad I think, but those stories were simply a reflection of the reality that the country perennially facing.

Maybe it is where the authors find their creative energies flowing, in melancholy. One of the best works in the Philippine literature is Noli Me Tangere that were written during the Spanish occupation in the country. It was one of the worst times in the Philippine history where Filipinos were incessantly abused and when nationalism has not been “invented” yet. Though, the novel was brilliantly written that it enlightened the Filipinos and helped sparked the revolution towards freedom.

Embarrassingly, I have not yet read that many books written by Filipino authors, so I think I’m not very much qualified to write this insight. I’ve only read few and some were even obligatory as a part of school’s curriculum, like Ibong Adarna, Florante at Laura, Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo, and The Last Time I Saw Mother. And some were spontaneous, such as Smaller and Smaller Circles, Dekada ’70, Banaag at Sikat. and Patron Saints of Nothing. They are all unforgettable stories that will let the reader see reality in a different perspective.

Perhaps the most notable thing about these books is how powerful the messages are. The authors were able to convey their words in a strong and passionate manner but in a artistic and perceptive way. Whenever I finished reading these books, it feels like I was punched in the gut and honestly, I feel scared. Nothing frightens me more than reality, because I know that the story I’ve read is just a fraction of the society I’m living in.

But that’s the thing. These rational fears are only temporary. They open your eyes in a much deeper sense and make you a little bit wiser than you were. Becoming aware of the happenings around you and discovering something more within you. Putting yourself into someone else’s shoes and seeing the world quite clearer with an objective mind. And feel more connected with your fellow countrymen.

This might be a biased opinion given that I’m a Filipino, quite as well promote local, as they say. I’m planning to read more books written by Filipino authors because I know that there are more genres that the Philippine literature has to offer other than political genre which was what I have mostly read. As much as possible, I’m also trying to read some that are culturally diverse such as the books in this list thus, my TBR list just got longer (😣too many books, so little time!). Regardless, I know that learning and discovering different cultures, especially the Filipino culture, is still a long way to go but something tells me that this journey will be worthwhile.

Thank you for reading!

Do you have a favorite book written by a Filipino author? What local (or anywhere in the world you’re from!) reads you’ve read this month?

Book Review: “The Alchemist”

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Plot

“Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different, and far more satisfying, listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.”

From Goodreads

Review

Rereading the books that was once mandatory during our novel study in high school English class gives their stories a whole new meaning. It has a plot twist that one cannot easily forget because it made one read an entire book just to discover that the story can be much more shorter. I always find my first time reading The Alchemist hilarious. I remember I was very frustrated and amused as well.

Well, that was almost seven years ago I guess. And that, perhaps, the beauty on rereading your old books; you can tell if you have changed based on your new interpretation of the story.

“Its the not the Destination, It’s the journey.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

This second time was when I appreciated the in-between rather than anticipating the “grand” ending I often expect when reading any book.

spoilers ahead (assuming you haven’t read this wonderful book yet, which i highly doubt)

Welcome to #StartOnYourShelfathon! Read The Unread Books On Your Shelf and Help Castor the Star Collector Find The Stars

The Quiet Pond

#StartOnYourShelfathon: A 2020 readathon hosted by the quiet pond. read your unread books and collect stars!

Introduction

Welcome friends, to The Quiet Pond’s #StartOnYourShelfathon!

The concept of the StartOnYourShelfathon is simple: from December 18th 2019 to December 31st 2020, join us in this readathon and read as many unread books that you own on your bookshelf (physical or electronic)! (You can read the readathon’s information post here.)

XL faves copyThe number of unread books you want to try and read during the readathon is up to you – whether you have 15 unread books on your bookshelf or over 200, you set your own challenges! Ambitious participants of the StartOnYourShelfathon may want to try and aim to read every single book on their bookshelf, whereas participants who want to participate but don’t want to stress about reaching a specific goal may commit to reading three or ten books a month. However you want to participate in #StartOnYourShelfathon is entirely up to you!

Though the aim of the…

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“The Old Man and the Sea” Book Review

Title: The Old Man and the Sea

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Published: 5th May 1995 by Scribner (first published September 1st 1952)

Plot

“This short novel, already a modern classic, is the superbly told, tragic story of a Cuban fisherman in the Gulf Stream and the giant Marlin he kills and loses — specifically referred to in the citation accompanying the author’s Nobel Prize for literature in 1954.”

From Goodreads

Review

Fishing 101. It’s about how the old man catches the Marlin, then romanticized it. Boom! That’s it.

Some described it as a story of endurance and faith. I get it. Maybe that is why The Old Man and the Sea is about fishing. Fishing is a skill that requires patience and endurance in order to excel at it. Perhaps, Hemingway took fishing as a metaphor of achieving one’s goal in life.

But the narrative is amazing. It brought me to the boat and empathized with the old man regardless of not being too descriptive. I believe it has more depth that I’m unable to reach or understand due to my limited wisdom. I hope someday, when I read it again, I could go deeper and find the truest sense of this book.

Rating

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Thank you for reading!

Have you read “The Old Man and the Sea”? What do you think?

“See You in the Cosmos” Book Review

Title: See You in the Cosmos

Author: Jack Cheng

Published: 28th February 2017 by Dial Books

Plot

“11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover—from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.” (From Goodreads)

Review

Did the dog died? No, it didn’t but I still spent several chapters worrying about the dog more than the protagonist does. Though, it has a happy ending for both the boy and the dog so plus points for the author for considering the possible emotional impact of the narrative if an unwanted tragedy happened. A very considerate author. No sarcasm implied.

Overall, it’s a good book. “See You in the Cosmos” is a feel-good story that lets you see life in the eyes of an optimistic eleven-year old child (like we all used to be). Jack Cheng did an excellent job on allowing the reader see every scene through Alex’s perspective and through the lens of the older characters around him despite of Alex being only the narrator in the book (*wink wink*).

In simpler terms, not only the characters developed positively as the story goes but also the readers themselves. At first half, the level of independence showed in this book, I’m telling you, can be near to child neglect but not there yet. To be honest, I envy Alex’s freedom. It helped him to discover his true calling: astronomy and rocket science.

Nothing is more unbeatable than a person with a solid goal in life. Because sometimes, the problem is not how to achieve a dream but how to have a dream. We live in a world that almost everything we need is here. We didn’t live in the prehistoric ages, struggling to hunt for food and dreaming of a more comfortable life. Humans have evolved, learned agriculture and livestock, and continuously improving over thousands of years because of having that dream. Yet, we still don’t live in a perfect world, thus there’s always something to change or improve. There’s always a chance to dream.

By having freedom, Alex is lucky to discover his passion at an early age. He encountered difficulties, failures, as well as successes that he earned on his own very early in life. The thing is, we grow not in years but in experience. “Eleven years old but at least thirteen in responsibility years.”

Book Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you for reading!

Have you read “See You in the Cosmos”? What do you think? Did it also inspired you?

PPE and Sanitation Supplies for Indigenous communities

Since Tumblr posts still cannot be embed here, I will simply share the news brought by jenniferdamianos Tumblr account about our fellows in Brazil especially the indigenous communities situated there.

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Donations are accepted in this website. (If the link is broken, here’s the URL:https://www.ashaninka.fund/en)

And as a reminder,Screenshot_2020-07-12 usd to brasil - Google Search

Screenshot_2020-07-12 euro to brazilian real - Google SearchScreenshot_2020-07-12 british pound to brazilian real - Google Search

Your money is worth a lot here.

As of July 12, 2020, they have only raised about US$40,000 out of their target US$200,000.

Screenshot_2020-07-12 ASHANINKA FOR THE FOREST PEOPLES(1)

Again, please take time to visit their website , spread the news, and donate.

“The Ashaninka People of the Amônia River, from the Apiwtxa village, are making a call to support the indigenous and other traditional communities of the Upper Juruá River in Marechal Thaumaturgo, Acre, Brazil.

Our purpose is to raise funds for the purchase of support kits for indigenous and non-indigenous families who live in the forest, to help them in this moment of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The kits bring food, equipment, and essential products for the forest dwellers both for daily consumption and to strengthen their local production.”

[Taken from the Ashaninka For The Forest Peoples website]

 

 

Books! More Books!

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Don’t get me wrong. I am not selling any of them. Simply sharing the books I bought at a book fair earlier this year. Speaking of selling books, I am now literally selling books in the internet (but not here, of course)! I can’t believe I am selling stuff. Still haven’t sold any books yet but at least there are inquiries. The problem is that most inquiries involve shipping to far cities or islands. What the actual fork! Well, I posted in the internet, what do I expect?

*waving my index finger like a magic wand* Anyways, back to the books! From the top is “Look Who’s Back” by Timur Vermes. It was about Hitler and “what-ifs” if the man found himself time-traveled to the 2010s. It is one of the few books that I discovered in an actual bookshop by picking it up and reading the back for the summary. I find the plot hilarious so I decided to get its e-book version because that’s what I do before buying its physical counterpart. And voila! Boom! Found it in the book fair.

Going down to the shores of  “Broadchurch”, Erin Kelly wrote an adaptation of one of the beloved television series that will keep you up all night if you don’t finish a whole season. If you haven’t heard of the series, it was about the mysterious death of a child in the quiet and humble town of Broadchurch. What makes it special is how it approach every character realistically and with significance, as well as how thrillingly unpredictable the plot is. As moving as the series, the book provides in-depth and deleted scenes of the story, with the aid of the creator himself, Chris Chibnall.

“A Brief Guide to Philosophical Classics” by James M. Russel is a very convenient and easy book for people like me who does not want to read all the philosophical books out there, especially if you’re planning it to become your hobby. It’s a guide, obviously, and explains some of the famous philosophy books and even the subtle-philosophy books with an objective view. These days, it was my go-to book if I just want to read for past time. Philosophy is my recent interest. Ever since I watched The Good Place, everything about morality or humanity or anything baffles me. Bet you, try listening to Philosophize This! podcast. It has been my jam nowadays.

Speaking of philosophy, let’s do nothing everyday with “Winnie-the-Pooh”. That’s the set of original stories by A.A. Milne. Surprisingly, it is funny. I thought it will be like children bedtime stories (well it is still), but it’s for adults as well, I’m telling you. Eeyore is depressed as fork yet says most of the truth. The “When We Were Very Young” and “Now We Are Six” are collections of wonderful poems that are some related to Winnie-the-Pooh and some are beautiful on its own.

Last but not the least, the controversial “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” which is the 10th anniversary edition, white hardbound cover, and with Sherman Alexie’s signature. Amazing. I’ve read it once. It radiates a Diary-of-a-Wimpy-Kid vibes, like if Greg Heffley is an Indian kid living with white kids. One of the remarkable things about it is, of course, the racial discrimination… Wait for it… ON BOTH SIDES! Meaning, prejudices of the whites to to the Indians and vice versa. Arnold Spirit Jr. grew up in a community/reservation that perceives whites in a negative way. Thus, when he decided to study in a school for white kids… For short it was chaos. But the good side is, Arnold actually made friends in that school, friends who he thought at first will not like him because he’s an Indian and he did not like at first because they’re white. See? It’s a wonderful book. Go grab a copy in your local independent bookstores or borrow in your school or local library.

You’re a significant piece of candy sprinkle!

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I found this two cats in front of a restaurant, with a good mood of trying some “photography” moves. So, I took a picture of them. I am not really fond of cats, the view itself set my mood.

That happened weeks ago. Nothing special today, except having the mood of sharing my thoughts to anyone (just in case, if ever somebody actually reading my posts).  I got this mood or got inspired  by the words of a famous YouTuber. There are no specific phrases or sentences that triggered me to go back in my blog. It just, I do not know, maybe I watched too much of that YouTuber’s content, that’s why it brought me here. It might be because of his humble beginnings, where he started making comics and posting them on Tumblr and being disappointed because he felt no one appreciate his comics (he shared that his first follower is a porn blog, Tumblr has issues on porn robots roaming around in their site). He almost give up, until one of his comic strips got noticed and suddenly has a thousands of notes and reblogs, additionally, that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson retweeted one of his comic strip. He was overwhelmed and looking back, he is thankful that he did not give up.

By the way, the YouTuber is TheOdd1sOut.

I am sharing this not because I also have a dream of becoming famous one day (uhhhh, maybe that’s a quarter and a half lie), but because it shows that perseverance will lead you somewhere. Most of the time, when we feel the need to be appreciated but we keep on hiding it because no one wants to be so arrogant or narcissistic, someone will knock on our door and BOOM! Loneliness is in the town!

We our social beings, it is inevitable to feel lonely and under appreciated. Though, we also need to keep in mind that we do not live for the approval of others. It is not them who will dictate for us what is good or bad for ourselves, it is still you who has the final decision, no matter the scenario is (don’t make me argue in which scenario is not applicable, we’ll both regret it).

To end this post, I am actually thinking of a catchphrase to use every time I end a post, but for the meantime, here’s a picture of a yawning cat:

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