Sunday, December 17, 2023

Manu Avenido's Ikigai Ug Ubang Piniling Sugilanon


Prof. Marjorie Evasco sends the best gifts. Consider what came in the mail yesterday afternoon. 

The doorbell was not functioning. Paul was sleeping indoors, defying his masters' orders to watch out for passersby outside the gate. Frustrated that no one was answering his "ayo!", the delivery man called my phone and told me he was outside, clearly sweltering under the heat of the Marbel sun. 

I opened the package. It was carefully prepared, with a note in her exquisite handwriting that warmed my heart. It was Manu Avenido's book, Ikigai Ubang Piniling Sugilanon, translated into English by Prof. Marj. 

I emailed Prof. Marj, and here's an excerpt.

That night, I proceeded to read the first story, Sa Lalaking Naligsan sa may Interseksiyon. I was hooked right away because there are themes about politics of teaching and academic promotions and allusions to Murakami stories I am familiar with. The cadences of language are different and nuanced. Binisaya is beautiful. And so is English. I keep on rooting for the narrator, even as I write this. He seems like someone who actually exists in the real world: an educator who commutes to work and struggles with providing for the family and eking out a good life for himself. I hope he gets his promotion, completes his PhD, get married, and have a great life.



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