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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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Sunday, February 26, 2023

entry arrow10:59 AM | Tabi Po

I spent the morning bingeing on Mervin Malonzo’s Tabi Po series! I’ve meant to finish the three books since the first volume came out in 2014 [and the last in 2017], so I finally set aside time this Sunday morning to do just that. Thanks to Michael Reyes of 451°F Books and Café [ IG: @451bookscafedgte ] for lending me the last two volumes so that I could binge!

I find it fascinating that Jose Rizal’s novels continue to be the template for many contemporary stories, including the latest run of GMA’s Maria Clara at Ibarra. Malonzo’s take is not exactly the novels, but he takes many of the characters to populate his tale of aswangs in Hispanic Philippines.

There’s one particular excerpt in Isyu 3 that struck me the most, because it sums up very well the Filipino in the post-EDSA period. The old revolutionary Matanglawin is attempting to rescue Isagani from a mob about to lynch him for the cannibalistic murders of Padre Damaso and Padre Salvi, among others [who are actually the victims of Elias, the main aswang of the series]. Matanglawin attempts to placate them by telling them that if it were true Isagani is guilty of these deaths, then he should be considered a hero for saving them from the systemic abuse these people were actually guilty of. The town people’s response is telling. This is the stuff of the Marcos Restoration.

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