Author interview: Gina Apostol


A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure to meet US-based Filipino author Gina Apostol, whose work I first encountered in the anthology “Manila Noir,” so I quickly agreed to interview her when I received the invitation some months back.

I read her two books, “The Gun Dealers’ Daughter” and “The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata,” which proved to be quite an interesting experience. I enjoy non-linear narratives (because they mess with your mind, haha constantly make you think), and while these were not easy reads (the vocabulary is intimidating!), these two books showcase some darn fine storytelling, not to mention a historiographic wonderland for both postcolonials and postmodernists.

I read “The Gun Dealers’ Daughter” first and was surprised to find it was a coming of age novel. Soledad “Sol” Soliman is a young woman trying to come to terms with a traumatic past, struggling to emerge from her dreamy haze to piece together her memories and discover what her psyche is blocking out. And while there are entirely too many novels set in Martial Law Philippines, I enjoyed the deeply personal way the novel tackles this period in history, making it Sol’s own story and telling it in a different way.

“The Revolution According to¬† Raymundo Mata” is a metafictional delight set in my favorite period of Philippine history, the Philippine Revolution. Raymundo Mata is a fictionalized historical character, whose journals are being translated and annotated by scholars. As Raymundo tells his story, another story is being told in the footnotes, as the translator Mimi C. Magsalin and two rival scholars Diwata Drake and Estrella Espejo begin to create meaning out of the text (and then some!). I loved the way Raymundo Mata was neatly slotted into history (as a childhood friend of Aguinaldo and a patient of Rizal), but I enjoyed the comedy happening in the footnotes even more: the petty catfight brewing between Diwata and Estrella, and the ongoing commentary on the text, reflecting the way history is never fully objective. As they get deeper into the text, more questions arise, leaving the reader to form their own opinions on this historical mystery.

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The last of the MIBF loot


It’s the week after the MIBF and I hit the ground running at work, picking up where I left off on the various other ongoing accounts at the height of our events season. It’s the busiest time of the year for us and I’m running ragged at this point.

Readers have been telling me they want to see the rest of my book fair posts, but this week was more than a little crazy, and so was the weekend at the book fair. There were so many people and so many things going on all at the same time!

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MIBF 2013: Day 2


It’s been such a long day so this post will be mostly photos. Day 2 is normally the lightest of all the days I work at the MIBF, but for some reason, all my major tv coverages coincided on the same day and I ended up overseeing shoots from early morning breakfast show to primetime news all the way down to late night news!

(The only reason I’m still awake is because the caffeine hasn’t worn off yet. Because I’ve had plenty.)

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MIBF 2013: Day 1 Report


Back from Day 1 of the Manila International Book Fair, and I’m pretty worn out, but happy. I was not in book shopping mode (not yet), and I was only able to get one book (it’s true!), but it’s been a very productive day otherwise.

Opening day is always my busiest, and it was busier than usual this year. Most of my work is concentrated on opening day, as I have interviews lined up across the day, and I have to snatch pockets of time in between to write some book fair stories to send out immediately. So mission accomplished on that end.

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Manila Noir (Part 2)



After the interview with Jessica Hagedorn, I headed over to the National Book Store flagship in Glorietta 1 for the “Manila Noir” launch.

Luckily, we got there early, as a huge crowd turned out for the launch that afternoon. Not only did the event showcase “Manila Noir” editor Jessica Hagedorn; a good number of contributors also graced the event, including Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, Rosario Cruz-Lucero, Jose Dalisay, Lourd de Veyra, Angelo Lacuesta, and R. Zamora Linmark.

As promised, here’s Part 2 of my Manila Noir reportage:

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