Sunday, October 16, 2022

[Plenary Talk] 6th Filipino American Book Festival - San Francisco

On October 15-16, 2022, I attended the 6th Filipino American Book Festival in San Francisco organized by the Philippine American Writers and Artists (PAWA). During the first day, I joined a plenary panel with Ani Rosa Almario of Adarna House, the novelist Gina Apostol, author Reine Arcache Melvin, and the historian Vicente Rafael in sharing my thoughts about "Writing Towards the Future". Journalist Troy Espera moderated. Notably, Gina Apostol delivered a powerful keynote speech about the socio-political conditions in the Philippines:  

Only a few lead comfortable lives in the Philippines … it is a small minority whose lives are threatened with change. But it is also they whose myth-making and golden promises manufacture majority consent to their violence and their greed … It is satisfying to blame the voters, but is a problematic response to fascism’s power. I lay the blame unequivocally on the structural oppression that has produced the voters’ economic condition, which leads them to the desperate hope that Marcos will, with his absurd and incredible lies about his family’s Tallano gold, lift them out of despair.”

Overall the entire book festival was a very enriching experience, which I chronicle in my column in a piece entitled "Partaking of Filipino American experiences". I am grateful to the organizers especially Edwin A. Lozada and Christina Newhard for organizing such a meaningful activity!