#GetLit: Peace, Pasta & the Pulitzer


This week’s biggest news: the Pulitzer Prizes! Even bigger? Black Pulitzer Prize winners:

Screenshot of a tweet from my favorite person/poet/writer ever, Saeed Jones AKA @theferocity.

I was elated to find out that Colson Whitehead won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction with The Underground Railroad (Amazon | Indiebound), which I read and reviewed on this blog last year (Read: A Lifetime of Remembering with Colson Whitehead).

I have yet to read Tyehimba Jess’s book of poetry Olio (Amazon | Indiebound), but I am planning to while getting into this month’s poetry books. We’re about midway through April, National Poetry Month, so are you getting your daily dose of poems? Check out a girl’s lifelong affair with poetry.

* * *

If you’ve been weary from the news these days, from Trump’s brand of all-the-things-your-worst-dreams-are-made-of, here’s a little reprise: hope. I’ve been using Deepak and Oprah Winfrey’s latest meditation series (cost: free) called Hope in Uncertain Times and it’s been giving me the kind of peace and calm I need. I’ve been a fan of these series since 2013, and trust me — this stuff is gold.

Me on a Saturday, at Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

* * *

After doing the necessary inner work, there’s a ton of things happening around us we can always be plugged into. Unless you’re a monk, of course, but for folks like me (brown, queer immigrant activists in the belly of the beast) there’s this: Peace Tour 2017.

In this week’s book review (War and Turpentine by Steffan Hertmans), I wrote about reading the story of the author’s grandfather, who was a soldier and a painter. I intentionally omitted the war years, because 1) honestly not a fan of war novels and 2) here we are in another war again, dropping missiles on other nations (Syria).

What I don’t see in the realm of international geopolitics are attempts to address the root causes of conflicts, which is why the Peace Tour 2017 gives me infinite hope. As a Filipino, I’ve long wondered about the longstanding civil war between the government and the “other government,” led by the Communist Party of the Philippines. If you’re interested in finding out more, look up to see if the tour will be making a stop in your city!

* * *

If you follow me on Instagram (and I think you should 😉), you’ll know that I like to eat my feelings. Here are a few things that have brought me joy in the past few days:

Damn good homemade pasta at Affina.

Also: live music in someone’s living room in San Francisco (yes, like the good ‘ol days). Lattes in the rain, specially turmeric lattes like the one pictured below from As Quoted in San Francisco.

* * *

Have you ever fallen in love with a magazine? Because I have, four times a year for three years now. Kinfolk magazine, to be exact, which is one of a kind. It’s a lifestyle magazine filled with thoughtful pieces on philosophy, music, culture, art, design, fashion and cooking. Reading it is almost meditative; you can’t help but be completely present to the page. 

Imagine my joy at As Quoted cafe with Kinfolk as pictured above, as I read and learned about Shoshin, a Buddhist concept of “a beginner’s mind which refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions.” Total hyggeligt.

* * *

Please say hi.

Until the next post,
your friendly Libromance creator + curator, Pia

The Nobel Prizes: Peace & Protest

Sunday Spotlight

The Nobel Prize has always fascinated me, even as a little kid in the Philippines. I never fully understood what winning the Nobel Prize meant, but I knew that it was important. I was also slightly amused at the inadvertent wordplay: “Was it noble, or novel,” I heard my lolo muse one time.


I’ve been anticipating this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature since the announcements began last week. This morning, I manage to rouse myself at 5:00 AM to see who was awarded. First it was shock, then mild confusion — Bob Dylan? I scrolled through my Twitter feed to see what people were saying, and it was a mix of ~finally!~ and “When is Stephen King going to win the Rock’n Roll prize?” I came across Bob Dylan’s Secret Archive from The New York Times and it all started to make sense. The NYT piece alluded to an extensive archive of poetry, songs, manuscripts and other pieces of writing. My favorite line from the article: The range of hotel stationery suggests an obsessive self-editor in constant motion. I’ve never listened to any of his music before but this morning, I fell back asleep to “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.”

The Nobel Prizes for Medicine, Chemistry and Physics were announced last week, with the Peace Prize awarded to Juan Manuel Santos last Friday. Santos is the current president of Colombia. His merits? For continuing the peace process between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).


The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end, a war that has cost the lives of at least 220 000 Colombians and displaced close to six million people. The award should also be seen as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process.

While voters rejected the current peace deal by a slim margin, the Nobel nod to Santos’s efforts is not unnoticed. That the Nobel Peace Prize is also “a tribute to the Colombian people, who despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace” gives Filipinos like me hope.

In spite of the international media spotlight of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, what is buried in the news are the peace talks currently happening between the National Democratic Front (NDF) and the government of the Philippines (GPH). Since 1969, a civil war has been raging in the countryside due to a host of issues affecting majority of the population. The goal of the peace talks is to end the armed conflict by addressing the structural problems of the country: landlessness, feudal exploitation, state brutality against the poor and marginalized. (See 10 Things to Know About the Peace Talks)

Now on its second round in Oslo, Norway, a bi-lateral ceasefire between the two forces by the end of October, the release of political prisoners and negotiations on socioeconomic and constitutional reforms are all on the table. It’s also encouraging that the deputy ambassador to the Colombian peace process “gave a concise but extensive sharing including what were the conditions and factors that may have contributed to the rejection of the peace agreement in a recently held referendum, ” a perspective crucial to the peace process.


NDF Consultants

The Nobel Peace Prize for Santos is a testament to the urgent need for just peace in Colombia, similar to the just peace Filipinos hope to attain. In true Nobel fashion, here’s one of Bob Dylan’s songs.

Far between sundown’s finish an’ midnight’s broken toll
We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing
As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds
Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing
Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight
Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight
An’ for each an’ ev’ry underdog soldier in the night
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

* * *

To learn more about the peace process in the Philippines and to support just peace, check out #justpeacePH.

Peace & Food

Sunday Spotlight

Build a team of people who work together, who care and who learn and you’ll end up with the organization you deserve. Build the opposite and you also get what you deserve.

– Seth Godin, Function

I’m going through a lot of shifts and changes lately at my economic work, as well as in my organizing (with the Filipino community here in the San Francisco Bay Area). A reminder like this helps me refocus on what matters: building deeper relationships with the people who care.

And when I think about people who care, my heart and mind goes out to people who have been working tirelessly for issues that go beyond themselves. Recently in the Philippines, 14 political prisoners were “temporarily released.” These political prisoners are also peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) who were jailed on trumped up charges, in violation of guarantees that have already been in place to protect them.


I am grateful for their release so the peace process can now be continued in the Philippines, between the NDFP and the Philippine government. If you would like to support the peace process in my homeland, check out JustPeacePH!

In other news, peep this.

Literally mouthwatering isn’t a misnomer, but a fact made possible by Egg in Brooklyn:

For about five years now, we’ve hosted the Tables of Contents dinner series at Egg in Brooklyn, cooking many-course meals inspired by great literature.

In cooking the TOC dinners at Egg, we’re consistently amazed by the power—creative, nostalgic, emotional—of translating text into food. If you’ve never cooked and eaten a dish from a favorite book, do it. Nearly any great book has moments of food in it, not just because characters have to eat, but because our relationship with food exposes so much about our identities, cultures, time, and place.

– Lithub, The Ultimate Literary Ten-Course Meal