Fil/Lit

#GetLit, A Hella Pinay Edition

This post was originally written for Hella Pinay, a “space for positive representation of the diversity and complexity of Pilipina womxn, and facilitate dialogue between Pinays in the Philippines and throughout the diaspora.” I’m happy to announce that I’ll be writing a monthly column on all things literary for the site! * * * To be…

Poetry as Vulnerability, with Words Anonymous and Juan Miguel Severo

It all started with Juan Miguel Severo. Thursday evening dinners are a thing in our family, as my siblings and I, along with our partners enjoy a homecooked meal at home with my parents. Over pork cracklings (toppings for a mung bean dish), my sister showed me video that has just gone viral. It was…

Gagamba: The Filipino Spiderman, with F. Sionil José

No, he is not the dashing Filipino iteration of the well-loved superhero around the world. Nor is he the lean prototype of a man scaling the side of towers and buildings, saving lives, saving everything. But to be fair, there is a building in the story, “Camarin” as it is known, a story in which…

Loving in the Martial Law Years, with Lualhati Bautista

“Martial law” was just a buzzword when I was growing up, hemmed in within the walls of an all-girl Benedictine school compound, something we talked about in passing during our history class. While the lesson itself was short, I remember feeling a sense of indignation towards the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his family who…

The Life & Death of Andrés Bonifacio, with Ambeth R. Ocampo

“History does not repeat itself. We repeat history.” –Ambeth R. Ocampo These lines from Ocampo couldn’t have been more relevant today, as the Philippines is facing yet another political crisis: on May 23rd, President Duterte declared martial law in the southern part of the Philippines (Mindanao), after terrorist groups clashed with the country’s armed forces.…

May’s Reading List

The month of May is a lot of things: May Day or International Workers’ Day (May 1), Mental Health Awareness Month, Memorial Day in the U.S., Mother’s Day (May 14), Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Malcolm X Day (May 19) among a slew of other celebrations and observances. I’m still reading Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of…

An ARKIPELAGO of You and Me: Finding Filipino Books in San Francisco

The South of Market district in San Francisco is home to a plethora of things — tech giants like Twitter, swanky residential hotels, studios and art spaces, the newly renovated Museum of Modern Art plus a hum drum of restaurants, clubs and bars — ideal for tourists and would-be residents to call home. While this…

To Break the Wall Between Self and the Future, with Carlos Bulosan

“I will be a writer and make all of you live again in my words.” –Carlos Bulosan My introduction to Carlos Bulosan, perhaps one of the greatest Filipino-American writers to have ever lived, is a little late. While most of my peers learned about Bulosan and read his work in college, I finished the book…

Filipinos for Export and Their Stories, with Mia Alvar

About 6,000 Filipinos leave the Philippines each day, off to countries around the world in search of better opportunities for themselves and their families. Off to any place where any currency except the Philippine peso is stronger, where dreams of living large are bigger. In the 80’s, the term “Overseas Filipino Worker” or OFW became…

5 Books to Celebrate Filipino-American History Month

“America is also the nameless foreigner, the homeless refugee, the hungry boy begging for a job and the black body dangling on a tree. America is the illiterate immigrant who is ashamed that the world of books and intellectual opportunities are closed to him. We are all that nameless foreigner, that homeless refugee, that hungry…

Lumád Women You Need to Know

Oakland, early Sunday evening. A sense of calm is rare while driving on the Bay Bridge, but it was there as I made my way from San Francisco to the other side. Comrades from the Philippines were giving a report back on their recent trip to the motherland and I thought about the ever present…

Pasalu-book: Gifts from the Motherland

My parents got back from the Philippines last week, after spending two blissful weeks in the homeland. Every time they go for a visit, they always come back electric and full of life. Along with that renewed zest is also a tinge of melancholy, written in their faces as they slowly readjust to life back…

Sunday Spotlight: Filipino Literature

The month of April is National Literature Month in the Philippines or #BuwanNgPanitikan and in its honor, I thought of doing this Sunday’s feature on the literary work of Filipinos. I grew up with mostly American literature and found it incredibly difficult to engage with Filipino lit. Although my first language is Tagalog, it was much easier…