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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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Friday, January 07, 2022

entry arrow12:15 AM | Manong Frankie

To paraphrase a famous quote from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, he lived long enough to find himself become a villain.

I’ve always steered clear of the National Artist at local lit events, even during those at his bookstore. I think my reservation came from the fact that I was there that one notorious Palanca night when he tore apart the winning play — in front of the young playwright and hundreds of people.

I never introduced myself to him for years, nor sought his company. But during my last visit to Manila before COVID hit [in January 2020], I answered his invitation to be his lunch guest at his house in Quezon City.

It was a great meal, to be honest. He was charming and accommodating — and that was my last living memory of him. But I had to sigh several times over the succeeding months every time he opened his mouth to opine — and out came things I disagreed with in vehemence. [Sigh.]

And now he’s gone, unfortunately remembered more as the cantankerous senior writer who kowtowed to a strongman than for his stories, some of which I genuinely liked. [I love “Progress.”] And I guess he’ll never win his coveted Nobel Prize for Literature ever.

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