Saturday, January 21, 2023

Dr. Jenny Ortuoste Writes About Growing Up Filipino 3


Excerpt from New Year Reads on Growing Up, ‘Sudden Fiction,’ and a Past Philippines by Dr. Jenny Ortuoste, Manila Jan. 21, 2023

Growing Up Filipino 3 (296 pgs, pb, 2022), collected and edited by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, are “new stories from young adults.” Among the writers are well-known names such as Oscar PeƱaranda, Danton Remoto, Ian Rosales Casocot, and Nikki Alfar.

The stories showcase a wide variety of children’s and young adults’ experiences coping with the nuances of cultures around the world while also coming to terms with what it means to be Filipino.

In Tall Woman From Leyte, novelist Gina Apostol tells of a kindergarten-aged child who unwittingly stumbles into the presence of a lady who was “very, very tall, with two feet of hair. Really.”

Accompanied by “uniformed men,” the lady was “beautiful. She sparkled in the sunlight. Gold was on her arms, jewels on her fingers. Diamonds, green stones, a ruby.” Diamonds also glitter on this mysterious creature’s shoes, but the shine extends to her skin, which is unflattering: her ankles are “silvery, like fish scales.”

It is Imelda Marcos, and the toddler spends an hour or so with her, Marcos Sr., and their guests, in an encounter that reflects the reality of how they perceived themselves (as larger-than-life parents of the country) and other people (as the recipients of their benevolent largesse).

In The Fancy Dancer, John Jack G. Wigley recounts how as a boy growing up in Angeles City “a few meters away from the Clark Air Force Base,” he led a conga line of U.S. servicemen and Filipina sex workers dancing through the streets. The memory is raw and honest, and Wigley shares it with us unflinchingly.

Brainard’s own The Dead Boy is a peek into the life of the elite of Ubec City, the author’s alternate Cebu. Bill Lowry is murdered, perhaps shot by a PC who spied on Bill and his girlfriend Bebop necking. The incident compels the narrator, a teenage girl, to navigate her understanding of the meaning of love, death, and the tenacity of life.

The collection is an interesting one, with many gems of good writing that scintillate. I look forward to some of the stories being taught in literature classes in SHS and college.


Schedule of Book Events Related to Growing Up Filipino 3: New Stories for Young Adults

Tags: Filipino teens, Filipino books, YA Filipinos, #YAbooks #teenbooks Philippine books

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Invitation to Growing Up Filipino 3 Book Launch - Jan. 28, Fully Booked




Date: Saturday, January 28, 2023, 6 - 8 p.m.
Where: Fully Booked BGC
Readings by Nikki Alfar, Cecilia Brainard, George Deoso, Yvette Fernandez, Patricia Manuel Go, Sarge Lacuesta, Kannika Pena, Danton Remoto, Dom Sy, Jack Wigley
Book Signing

 Book Description:  

Growing Up Filipino 3: New Stories for Young Adults (USTph 2022) collects 25 short stories by Filipino authors in the US and the Philippines about what it means to be young and Filipino. The stories explore the universal themes of coming-of-age, love, angst, family, relationships, and other young adult issues. The stories reveal Filipino and Filipino American culture, mores, history, society, politics, and other nuances. For instance, Filipino respect for their elders, extended families, religious practices, funereal rites, love for folklore are apparent in the stories.

 Growing Up Filipino 3: New Stories For Young Adults follows two earlier critically acclaimed books -- Growing Up Filipino: Stories For Young Adults (2003) and Growing Up Filipino Ii: More Stories For Young Adults(2010), books that have been used by educators and enjoyed by adults and young adults alike.

Tags: Filipino teens, Filipino young adults, Teen books, Filipino books, Philippine books, Book Talk, Literary reading 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023



Consul Dan Sullivan and his wife Margaret and their youngest son Charley


by Margaret Sullivan

Writer and artist Margaret Sullivan lived in Cebu 50 plus years ago. Her connections there have continued as she returned to cover Aquino elections in the 80s and was Executive Director of the Philippine Centennial Foundation in the 90s. Much of this included in “Fragments From a Mobile Life.” 

How does one begin to write about living in Cebu where we arrived 52 years ago—a place with people tucked permanently in your heart? I could fill a book.

From August 1971 to June 1974, my husband, Dan, was the American Consul in Cebu. The Consulate, a small suite of offices on the third floor of the Phil-Am Life Building, was the branch of the Embassy in Manila. As Consul, Dan was the official face of the United States in the Visayas and Mindanao.

He, and, therefore, we, were in a succession of Consuls and Vice Consuls who came, stayed a while, and moved elsewhere. Marisol Borromeo Putong, the long-time secretary provided continuity, and in reality was the Consulate. Marisol knew everyone. Without her, the Consulate could not have functioned.

Monday, January 9, 2023

A Locational Feminist Reading of Filipina American Fiction by Ma. Elena L. Paulima


Many thanks to Dr. Erlinda Alburo for calling my attention to this academic paper about Filipino American fiction published in KINAADMAN Vol, XL, 2018 (A Jounral of Southern Philippines, published by Xavier University).  The study includes discussions of stories from books I edited, including Fiction by Filipinos in America, and Growing Up Filipino 2

Dr. Ma. Elena L. Paulma looks at the works of Amelia Bueno, Lesliann Hobayan, Rashaan Meneses, Julia Palarca, Veronica Montes, Evelina Galang, Leny Stroble, and other Filipino American authors and academics. 

Thanks to Dr. Ma. Elena L. Paulma and Kinaadman for this study. 

Source: Kinaadman Vol XL, 2018,  All rights reserved


A Locational Feminist Reading of

Filipina-American Fiction: A Non-Fiction

Ma Elena L Paulma


This paper tackles the concept of epistemic violence described by Michel Focault and Gayatri Spivak as the erasure of cultures, languages and identities. Taking into consideration several voices, to wit: those of feminist literary theorists, characters from selected Filipina-American fiction, voices of Filipina-Americans whom the writer has had conversations with in America, the creative non-fiction voice of the writer and the writer’s own voice in weaving together this collective experience, this paper elucidates that the search for “home” is the context for the international diaspora of Filipinos. Interlacing critical analysis with creative non-fiction, the paper outlines the creation of the reterritorialized “third space.” By applying Susan Friedman’s five locational tropic patterns, namely: the metaphorics of “glocation”, migration, nation, borders and conjuncture, the paper examines seven selected short stories written by Filipina-Americans, all focusing on Filipina-American characters. The paper shows that Filipina-Americans experience a continuing sense of marginalization as they are neither entirely included in, nor completely excluded from, the American landscape.

Saturday, January 7, 2023


SCHEDULE BOOK LAUNCHES/EVENTS FOR GROWING UP FILIPINO 3: NEW STORIES FOR YOUNG ADULTS - check back for details and confirm before attending.

#youngadultbooks #Filipinoteens #Filipinoyoungadults #filipinobooks

Sunday, January 1, 2023

My Papyrus Painting of the Flight to Egypt


I bought this papyrus painting in Cairo. I was studying it this morning, reflecting on the Holy Family's flight to Egypt.

Imagine having to pack up hurriedly, not have the chance to say goodbye to your family and friends, to leave as quickly as you can to save your child's life, your lives. To walk, ride a donkey, ask for help, hide from danger, travel far to another country to seek refuge. To have to learn their language and customs.

This was what the Holy Family had to do, and this is what current-day refugees have to do.

May the Holy Family bless these modern refugees and bless us too.

#flighttoegypt #holyfamily #christianity #catholic #refugees