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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.


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Monday, November 21, 2005

entry arrow4:01 PM | A Legacy in Flames


NVM Gonzalez was the compleat Filipino writer, whose works -- although written mostly in English -- had that unmistakle texture of the native that made them distinct from the literary outputs of most of his contemporaries, like Joaquin, like the Tiempos, like Arcellana. Iconic still in the teaching of Philippine literature is the image of Lupo in the river. His novels were masterful studies of the common tao (usually a kaingero or a fisherman in Mindoro), and even The Bamboo Dancers, that strange novel which is more cosmopolitan than the rest of his ouevre, can still be studied as a piece that tries to situate the common Filipino as he is in the world. Teaching The Bamboo Dancers once, a long time ago, was also a joy of studying the subtle touches of character and narrative that only the true master can do. (Most Filipino writers -- both of the printed word and the cinematic -- can do well to study that non-hysterical style.) When he died a few years ago, we in the Philippines felt it as a great loss. It was a harbinger of sorts that also signalled the gradual passing away of the old masters, which happened in the ensuing years. But, we told ourselves: they will live on in their works and in our memories. But now, most of those works by Gonzalez, as well as mementos of a life well lived, are gone, in flames. The Manila Times, with Bing Sitoy reporting, has the complete story.

I'll soon be posting information on how to send donations or help, if you want.

[this news via a text message from Susan Lara and an email from Janet Villa, my co-winner in the 2003 NVM Gonzalez Award]

Update from Gemino H. Abad:

I visited with Narita yesterday. She is taking it very well, and speaks of rebuilding their cottage. It was her dream before the fire that their cottage would also serve as an NVM library and museum. At the moment, cash donations would be deeply appreciated. Lili (Liliosa Mangosing) Evangelista will soon go to the Philippines. [For those who are U.S.-based], you might, I think, give her your donations. Later in the future those of us who have some NVM memorabilia (photos, letters, etc.) might donate them also to Narita. I do not have the address of the Lesaca family -- Narita's immediate neighbor -- where Narita and family are staying temporarily. You can use my address, if need be:

Gemino H. Abad
Department of English, Faculty Center
University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City

Send your help now. You can also read Babeth Lolarga's report from the scene in Frank Cimatu's blog.

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