Elpidio & Alicia

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I was randomly trawling the MIBF floor (taking my Pokemon for a walk, if you must know) last Sunday, avoiding the more crowded aisles as I already did the bulk of my shopping (ha!) when this lovely book, “Elpidio &¬†Alicia: The Love Letters,” caught my eye at the National Historical Commission booth.

Now I’m trying to be more conscientious about the number of books I add to my shelf (I am, I promise), and it’s rare these days for me to come across a book for the first time and instantly want to buy it, but the more I thumbed through this particular book, the more I knew I wanted it for my collection.

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Maktan 1521

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It’s the eve of Independence Day, and I thought it was a fitting occasion to read and review “Maktan 1521” by Tepai Pascual.

I spotted it on a bookstore shelf a few months back and thought the cover was kick-ass (yes, I judge books by the cover). I enjoy reading¬†historical fiction, and the Battle of Mactan is a memorable chapter in history for me — back in college, historian Ambeth Ocampo gave us an exam wherein we had to tell the story of the Battle of Mactan from the point of view of a fish!) — and I thought I’d enjoy this graphic novel.

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Looking Back

I discovered historian Ambeth Ocampo’s essays back in high school: we were taking up the Noli and El Fili in Panitikan (Literature, in Filipino) class and our teacher wanted us to compile newspaper clippings about Jose Rizal. We didn’t have a newspaper subscription, but I lived a few blocks away from the Inquirer office so I went to their library to get some clippings. The library lady handed me a whole folder of articles (pre-digitization; this was the late 90’s) — most of them were from Ambeth Ocampo’s newspaper column, and I remember being so engrossed reading them that the librarian had to walk over and nudge me to let me know they were closing for the afternoon.

As soon as I enrolled in Ateneo for college, I had my heart set on taking Ambeth Ocampo’s History 165 (Rizal and the Emergence of the Philippine Nation) class, and fortuitously, I got a good random number during reg that sem I was scheduled to take that subject so I was able to enlist in his class.

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Bookish Bonifacio

November 30 is Bonifacio Day, a day that commemorates the birth of Andres Bonifacio, Father of the Philippine Revolution. I’d been saving a book for this very occasion: Supremo by Sylvia Mendez Ventura, with drawings by Egai Fernandez, which I got at this year’s Manila International Book Fair.

While I’m predisposed towards being partial to Jose Rizal (I can’t help it — the educational system leans heavily on the national hero, but I also went to a school that counts Rizal among its alumni, and oh yes, I love Rizal’s geekiness), I’ve had a soft spot for Bonifacio when my high school Filipino teacher revealed he was a bookworm.

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