Plucking Some Leafs from the Literary Trees of Home

Plucking Some Leafs from the Literary Trees of Home

(On Books I Acquired in the Philippines during My Recent Vacation There)

Every time I’m on a trip or vacation in a distant place, I ensure that I visit bookshops and purchase a number of books that catch my interest as part of the souvenirs or mementos from that place. This makes the books more special and the place more memorable, for every time I would read any of the books, it would remind me of the place where I bought it; in the same manner that when I happen to visit the place again, this might remind me of the books I bought from there.

On Thursday in our first week in the Philippines, my sisters Kimberly and Niña and the latter’s husband Wilson treated us to a trek at the posh commercial complex Bonifacio High Streets in Global City, Taguig. We had an afternoon snack at Conti’s Pastry Shop & Restaurant. At the Power Books there, I purchased the Virgilio S. Almario’s Filipino translations of Jose Rizal’s two novels Noli Me Tangere and El FIlibusterismo.

The next day, we visited Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila, where I bought four Jose Rizal books—Poems, Prose, Letters with Family Members, and A Biography of Jose Rizal: The First Filipino by Leon Ma. Guerrero. Fortunately, Charina’s friend Zarah Escueta (in the picture with me) was the curator of the Rizal Shrine Museum of the historical fort which houses Rizal’s memorabilia, so we had a really great accommodation and introspective tour of the place. Before we left, Zarah gave me two books—Surat Sug (Letters of the Sultanate of Sulu, volumes I and II) by Samuel K. Tan. (Sulu is an autonomous island province of the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The Sultanate of Sulu was an Islamic state that ruled over many of the islands of the Sulu Sea, in the southern Philippines and several places in northern Borneo. The sultanate was founded in 1457.)

The Last Leaf
I would have bought some more books especially by contemporary Philippine authors but because of our hectic schedule, I failed to do so. Better luck next vacation. Or, I might just ask friends or relatives to buy those for me. Other authors whose published books I would like to add to my book collection include Jose Garcia Villa, Nick Joaquin, Francisco Sionil Jose, Ambeth Ocampo, Jessica Zafra, and Bob Ong.