[Nonfiction Wednesday] A Bright Green Future For the Philippines

Myra here.

We are delighted to dedicate our Wednesdays to featuring nonfiction titles, as per usual. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading theme throughout the year, when we can.

This year, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:

  1. Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
  2. Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
  3. Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
  4. Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized

Luntiang Kinabukasan: Ang Kuwento Ni Kiko Pangilinan [A Green Tomorrow: The Story Of Kiko Pangilinan] (Pumplepie Books and Happiness)

Written by Eugene Y. Evasco Illustrated by Ara Villena Translated by Yvette Fernandez
Published by: Pumplepie Books and Happiness (2022) ISBN: 9786219669702. E-book freely available from the publisher. Book photos taken by me.

In a few weeks’ time (2nd week of May), the Philippines will be having its Presidential and Vice Presidential election. I personally consider this the fight of our generation: a battle against historical revisionism and fake news, darkness and impunity, tyranny and corruption.

Thus, it brings me great pleasure to share that children’s book publishers in the Philippines have been actively involved in publishing highly accessible picturebook biographies of servant leaders who deserve to be known by the young people of this generation.

Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan is running for Vice President this coming election. In this story written by award-winning author, Eugene Y. Evasco, the reader gets to meet a young Kiko who used to be sickly as a child and who turned to books for comfort and solace.

I was amazed to learn that he is a middle child with four older siblings and four younger siblings. It is great that his mother used to be a school teacher, because I can just imagine how their household may have been like a mini-preschool of sorts with so many children!

One of the challenges in writing a picturebook biography is deciding what to include and what to leave out. I personally would have wanted to learn more about Kiko’s childhood, his teenage years, and how he became a student activist and leader while in the university (same university where I obtained my Bachelor’s and doctoral degree – the University of the Philippines, Diliman).

I believe that his childhood years fighting for human rights and standing up against injustice had been pivotal in shaping who he is now as a servant leader. Most of the information concerning his advocacies for fisherfolks and farmers could have been added in a timeline of sorts towards the end of the book, listing his accomplishments and the many policies he had supported and spearheaded while serving in the government.

That being said, I was moved to see this spread about the West Philippine Sea – unanimously decided by the Arbitral Tribunal to be part of the Philippine Territory back in July 2016. Given how our current reading theme has to do with #DecolonizeBookshelves2022 – this story becomes even more fitting. It is shameful how there are countries who continue to feel emboldened and even entitled in pillaging the resources of smaller and defenseless countries for their own benefit.

I am hopeful that the upcoming elections would work towards electing leaders with integrity who will establish the Philippines’ sovereignty as a country. Hence, as a registered Filipino voter here in the United Arab Emirates, I voted for Leni Robredo as President and Kiko Pangilinan as Vice President.

I was very moved by this campaign rally in Pampanga (which I watched via livestream) when a group of farmers raised Kiko Pangilinan’s hands, endorsing him as the only Vice Presidential candidate in this election worthy of the post:

Kiko Pangilinan is not only a comparative literature major, he is also a lawyer, and obtained his Master’s in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

I encourage more people to be more informed about who they are voting for, to examine the credentials of our government leaders, and to elect people who inspire us towards greatness and become the best versions of ourselves.


#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 36 out of target 100

April 27, 2022 at 05:21PM Myra Garces-Bacsal