Tuesday, February 4, 2014

An Afternoon with Philippine National Artist for Literature, F. Sionil Jose

Tuesday afternoon, I visited Philippine National Artist for Literature, F. Sionil Jose, and his wife Tessie in their bookshop, La Solidaridad, in Ermita, Manila.

I take some pride in the fact that I'm allowed to call him"Frankie" and that I get to kiss him and his wife on their cheeks to greet them.

They are very kind to me.

There was a time when I didn't visit them because of Manila's awful traffic, and he let me know he wasn't happy about my absence. Ever since, I've made it a point to brave the traffic from Makati to Ermita to visit Frankie and Tessie.

(In any case I had an interesting trip coming home when I shared a cab with a handsome Italian gentleman (Gabriele from Florence) on his way to the Italian Embassy. But that is another story.)

When I visit Frankie, we exchange literary and political gossip, and we talk about writing and about the Philippines and Filipinos. In fact, we talk about any topic. Today he shared his assessment of the writings of some Filipino and Filipino American writers. The one thing with Frankie is that he is brutally frank (did I just make a pun?).

Aside from sharing a picture of Frankie, Tessie, and me that needs photo shopping badly, I'm posting pictures of Frankie's "world" in Ermita, Manila: his beloved La Solidaridad bookshop, the antique house beside his bookshop, and his favorite Indian restaurant beside the antique house.

The next time you're in Manila, do visit the iconic La Solidaridad Bookshop, on 531 Padre Faura, Ermita, near Robinsons Mall.  It's described as a bookshop with gravitas.

And have lunch at Kashmir's two houses down. It has great Indian food.


Read also
Lunch with Frankie Jose

All for now

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