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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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Saturday, March 24, 2007

entry arrow4:00 PM | Is There Sex in Philippine Fiction in English?

[this is a post-dated entry. for recent posts, see below]

This will be a very strange post. Perhaps because it began with a strange question I was asked a few weeks ago -- which I could not exactly answer with anything concrete (even until today), largely because I never really thought about it, and never did make any kind of formal and sustained research to find the answer.

The question was: Who writes or has written the best erotica in Philippine literature (in English)? The emphasis given was on fiction, not poetry.

While I could easily give the names of women writers (they did produce the anthology Forbidden Fruit, edited by Tina Cuyugan), and gay writers (in the Ladlad series edited by J. Neil C. Garcia and Danton Remoto, and the lesbian anthology Tibok edited by Ana Leah Sarabia) -- I was stumped trying to come up with a list of (heterosexual) male writers, writing in the vein of Henry Miller. There are a lot of raunchy stuff in Dean Alfar's Salamanca, so I could start with that. I could make a case with Manuel Arguilla's subtle sensuality in "Midsummer." Cesar Ruiz Aquino and Sarge Lacuesta have touches of the erotic in their fiction, and I think Krip Yuson has also written one or two erotic stories. Timothy Montes has suggested that traditional love stories have always been dominated by women writers, and that Erwin Castillo has some juvenile stories that are both "macho" and "sexy" -- but that in his novel Firewalkers, he ultimately decided to forego writing a sex scene. Tim ends with this suggestion: "Doc Ed [Tiempo], in The Standard Bearer, has a funny sex scene in an early chapter. Something about eating oysters."

I remember Butch Dalisay, in an old, old column, saying something like "there is no sex in Philippine literature." Is that really true? And if it is, why? Any suggestions will help. Email me, or comment away. It's something worthwhile to look into, and then perhaps I can cobble together an essay trying to catch the erotic in Philippine literature.

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