Review: The House on Calle Seminario and Other Stories

Nonfiction by | August 12, 2007

Josie Carballo Tejada. The House on Calle Seminario & Other Stories, A Collection of Short Story Fiction & Essays. Published by The Davao Writers Guild, Davao City, Philippines as part of its Tubao Books Series 2007. Printed by DCT Printshop. Davao City, Philippines, 2007.

Josie Tejada’s collection of short fiction and essays are a unique contribution towards exploring the as-yet unilluminated area we call the Filipino Soul. It includes an introduction by Aida Rivera-Ford.

Josie’s use of Ilonggo lends a regional ambiance to the already unique Filipino taste of the parochial worlds she paints with her words. Mention of the proverbial Ilonggo “lightning” brings a smile. The period piece entitled “The Magician” elicits a slight melancholy one associates with memories of childhood innocence swept away by the passage of time. There is also the exquisitely painful story of anticipating a friend’s death in “Lunch with Victoria” that reminds us of our, and our friends’, mortality.

From Rosa’s quietly emotional typhoon while looking for her father in the title story, on through “Tales from the Lap,” local folk tales as seen and heard from a child’s perspective of tamawo in “The Maid’s Daughter,” and finally to her eulogic essays on her parents and a sister, one cannot help but identify with emotions bared and experienced. Indeed, it is easy for one to come out of the book with the conclusion that the author is all the protagonists she has created in her fiction, and that she finally admits it through her essays at the end of this slim volume of works.

It is, all in all, a truly delightful book to read in this age of computers and a public media that is out of control.

Scenes of my Childhood

Nonfiction by | August 5, 2007

How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood
When fond recollections present them to view…..

Our family moved from Bacolod to Davao in 1956. We lived along Claveria Street just two blocks away from the United Church of Christ at the corner of Bonifacio and Legaspi. Father chose for us to attend this church, not only for its doctrinal similarity to his Presbyterian persuasion, but also for its proximity. Thus did our family become a permanent fixture in the UCCP for the past fifty years.

My childhood memories are permeated with scenes from UCCP. The old wooden Social Hall that once housed the first kindergarten school in Davao City, was also the scene of my sister’s wedding reception, along with many other church related social activities. We had Bible Studies, youth fellowship, prayer, council meetings and parties in that wide-windowed hall just a peeping distance away from the Parsonage.

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