Writing Home: 19 Writers Remember Thier Hometowns
Edited by Ruel S. De Vera
191 pages, An anthology of essays, poems and short stories
As of writing this review, I am yet to finish four more entries: The Bacon vendetta by Eileen R. Tabios (Santo Tomas, Candon, Ilocos Sur), The Adopted Hometown by Alfred Yuson (Dumaguete), Habit of Space by Karina Africa Bolasco (Lipa) and Outward Journey by Jaime An Lim (Cagayan De Oro).
Just immediately before I sat down to write this review, I read one which is closer to home: EBJ Freedom Park by Alex de los Santos (Antique) which is a poem that remembers how the park came to be when "we heard the volley of gunfire that made this park a tomb." EBJ stands for Evelio B. Javier who was a much-beloved Antique Assemblyman and governor who was assassinated in 1986. In the poem's opening lines, the park for Antiquenos is "here is where we rise, here we bury victories." And as closing lines, the freedom park is "here is where we bury all hate; here we unearth our greatness."
Among what I finished to read, my top three favorites are: First, Silay: Ang Banwa sang Dulce by Doreen G. Fernandez (Silay) because it is closer to home and the food journey of the author, although many decades apart from mine, are very much familiar. It was a delightful read.
Second, A Son of Palawan Returns by Aureaus Solito (Palawan) is also a heartwarming story of "leap of blood" towards a homeplace. While I visited the tourist-ready Coron, El Nido and Puerto Princesa, I believe there are remote places in Palawan to which one can agree that it is the last forefront of our archipelago. The author shares one of these places, and reminds us that its little culture and history needs to be retold.
My third is a tie between My Iloilo by John Silva and Looking North – to Baguio. These two stories are more than talking about a hometown, they are homecoming to childhood. I equally loved both of them. The former talks of an Art Deco boat house by the Iloilo River which the author lived when he was a child of tender age and returned for a visit. The latter talks about her memory of Baguio and why it was dear to her, the reasons why the place still has rhythm in her heartbeat despite the distance from where she is now.
Other entries are Dabaw by Joey Ayala, Welcome to Alcantara by Jose Y. Dalisay Jr., The house on Carola Street, Sampaloc by Bino Realuyo, Sugbu Sedux by Carlos Cortes, Bohol Plaza Dwellers by Clovis Nazareno, Mangled, Marbled Mangoes by Alfredo Mendoza (Mangatarem), Proheme to Zamboanga by Cesar Ruiz Aquino, The Badjao Cemetery by Anthony Tan (Muddas), St. Martha's Duckyard by Jose Lacaba (Pateros), Prelude for the Volcano by Marne Kilates (Daraga).
When I got hold of the anthology and delighted on its title, I immediately thought of making one for my hometown. I'm glad i did. Pick up this one and be inspired to talk about your hometown too!
Here is my poem about my birthplace and hometown:
La Carlota City in Negros Occidental, Philippines