Filipino Poet Promotes Book on Philippine History in Cebu

A Filipino poet and author launched his book about the history of the Philippines intended “for people who know little about the Archipelago.”

Luis Francia, a Filipino poet, journalist, and non-fiction writer, born in the Philippines, who moved to New York in the 1970s, introduced to history book lovers his newest book, “A History of the Philippines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos.”

The term Indios Bravos, according to Francia, refers to the 19th century Filipino expatriates or the Ilustrados, one of whom was the national hero Jose Rizal.

Francia said an editor from The Overlook Press asked him in 2007 if he could write a book about the history of the Philippines.

At first, he did not like the idea of writing the book because he is not a trained historian.

But the fact he is not a historian was precisely what the publisher wanted.

It wanted to publish a history book that is not “swallowed up by academic jargon.”

The book’s theme focuses on the country’s colonial past and its effect on the Filipinos, Francia said.

”Our colonial past is part and parcel of who we are,” he said during the book launching at the Ayala Center Cebu. “Let’s turn it to our advantage.”

”We play the role of victim too much. We need to learn from our colonial past and move forward,” he said.

The Filipino poet and author had won the 2002 PEN Open Book Award and the 2002 Asian American Writers Library Award for his book “Eye of the Fish: A personal Archipelago.”

Francia lamented the Filipino politicians’ subservience to the interests of the United States, one of the country’s colonial masters in the past.

”Our politicians didn’t seem to learn from the country’s past. We need to reassess our relationship with the US, who often protects only its own interest,” he said.

The award-winning author said he believes in the saying “people who don’t know their history are bound to repeat it.”

He joked Filipinos might not have learned from history because the same type of politicians get elected.

The book is published by The Overlook Press, Peter Mayer Publishers, Inc. In New York. (PNA)

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