December 23, 2009

Karakol Fluvial Festival, Puerto Princesa City, 7 December 2009



The Karakol Festival is a fluvial parade held yearly in the City of Puerto Princesa on the eve of its patron saint’s day, the Feast of the Immaculada Concepcion. It begins with a mass held in the virgin’s honor, after which her statue is paraded the short length from the place of the holy mass (within the premises of the pier) to the docks. From inside the port the statue is carried in a procession into a waiting boat decorated with banderitas – flaglets that express the cheer of expectation and celebration of the virgin’s triumphant arrival. A sizeable number of devotees follow her in procession and ride on the boats parked in the quay. More than a dozen boats and small bancas participate in the parade. The boating parties, led by the virgin’s boat, will then circle the entire cove of Puerto Princesa Bay. Throughout the procession on land and sea, a marching band strikes their vibrant music. The entire parade takes about an hour at sea. Devotees believe that joining the festival ceremonies will bring good luck to them in the coming New Year. It is a beautiful spectacle to behold and I am happy that I was able to join this year’s festivities. The following photographs are some of the ones I took in this year’s celebration.




Before the parade the priests who led the holy mass open the baskets containing butterflies to release them in the air.




The march begins.



The procession to the docks draws a large crowd.



The statue is loaded aboard the banca.



Followers ride on the boat.



The band plays on.



The boating parties.



Coast guards standing by for rescue.



Aboard.



Small boats join in the sea parade.



A plane passes by.



The giant city Christmas tree in the baybay or park by the coast.



Passing a Chinese fishing vessel parked offshore.




Along the baybay.



Nearing the end of the sea journey.



The full military band.



Reaching the end.



Coming to a stop.






Disembarking.



The sacristans wait for the statue of the virgin.



The statue carried aloft from the boat.





Exit procession.


December 18, 2009

Don't Cry For Me Copenhagen







Theme song dedicated to the world leaders gathered in Copenhagen to negotiate a deal on easing off climate change


Don't Cry For Me Copenhagen

(with apologies to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice)


Sung by Mother Earth in the role of Inevitability:

It may be queasy
You'll know it’s strange
When I try to exhale how I feel
That I still need your love
After all that you've done

You won't believe me
All you will see
Is an earth you once knew
Although she's messed up to the nines
At sixes and sevens with you

Climate had to let it happen
Climate had to change
Couldn't stay all my life trapped in heat
Looking out of the greenhouse
Frying under the sun

So I chose boredom
Spinning around absorbing everything new
But nothing has cooled me at all
I never expected it too

Don't cry for me Copenhagen
The inconvenient truth is I never left you
All through my flooded days
My warm existence
I kept my promise
Don't keep your distance

And as for carbon and as for methane
I never invited them in
Though it seemed to the world
They were all I desired
They are emissions
They are not the solutions
They promised to be
The treaty was here all the time
I love you and hope you love me

Don't cry for me Copenhagen

Don't cry for me Copenhagen
The inconvenient truth is I never left you
All through my flooded days
My warm existence
I kept my promise
Don't keep your distance

Have I prayed too much?
There's nothing more I can think of to pray to you
But all you have to do
Is hold my hands to know
Global warming is true


(Photo by Ryan Fuentes)

December 17, 2009

The best of Bolaño is yet to come



Or at least the one-half of it. If Bolaño himself (crafty mythmaker) is to be believed. Forrest Gander mentioned in his not-fully-available-online essay, “Un Lio Bestial,” in The Nation, that ‘Bolaño considered Tres (Three), a book of poems published in 2000, to be "one of my two best books."’ The other best book being ... I don’t know.


Such straight pronouncements are characteristic of Bolaño, whose essays are often riddled by Parra-like (Parrian?) puzzles. These puzzles of Bolaño appear like Freudian slips that are both conscious and unconscious, thrown to the wind and catching them at the same time.


Bolaño has interpreted a poem by the anti-poet Nicanor Parra, a poem that plays on numbers: “The four great poets of Chile / Are three: / Alonso de Ercilla and Rubén Dario.” Bolaño’s close reading of this poem was recounted in an essay by Marcela Valdes, also in The Nation. This anti-poem inspired a joke which I’m sure Bolaño will appreciate: “So the two best works of Bolano/ Are one/ Three.”


And then there is this last advice of Bolaño to an aspiring short story writer: “Read Anton Chekhov and Raymond Carver, for one of the two of them is the best writer of the twentieth century.” He does not say which one. I’m inclined to vote for the Russian but then the “seriousness” of the joke is bound to be broken once I made the wager.


Tres, by the way, is a compilation of three poems. Another collection of Bolaño poems is Los perros románticos (The Romantic Dogs) which collects the poems of Bolaño starting from 1980. Both poetry collections were published in 2000; I’m not sure which came first. But so far I loved The Romantic Dogs. Intentional or not, a sort of “Parrian subtraction” is actually embedded in the book. At the back of the book it says that it is “a bilingual collection of forty-four poems,” but strangely I (dizzy) counted only 43 in the table of contents. I'm counting again later to make sure. And also at the back page, there’s a blurb by Forrest Gander about a poem describing some "fist-fucking" and "feet-fucking" and mentioning “Pascal, Nazi generals, Shining Path bonfires, and a teenage hooker.” Well, pray tell me which poem is this in the book, because I haven’t found it. Maybe I did not read close enough. This could be the 44th poem so it has to be somewhere in there.


A few months back I came across Garabatos, a journal blog by Laura Healy, the translator of The Romantic Dogs. It was started sometime in June, I think. I cannot open it directly now; you need to subscribe. But I have my RSS feed. There were only two journal entries to date.


In the first entry, “Introduction,” we get to have a glimpse of Healy's background: “The Part About the Translator of Poetry.”


I started this blog to help me study for my general exams as I start my first year of work toward a PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard. My specialty is 20th-century Latin American literature. I’ve always known I should start a reading journal, but I’ve just never had the discipline, so hopefully this blog will be a way for me to record my initial reactions to different texts, without having to adhere to any particular format. That’s the hope. We’ll see how it goes.


And then she provided her reading list in Spanish lit for the course she's taking, 154 books in all!


Poetry has always been sidetracked in favor of prose. B was aware of it and so he “shifted” to fiction to better fend for his family. The quantity of his novels far outweighs that of his poetry, but readers do not complain.


Even in translation, focus has always been given to B’s novels and stories rather than his poems. Of course, his poems are the batteries energizing the flashlights of his fiction.


Here's the beginning of the second journal entry by Healy ("A Bolaño Fanatic"):


I’m not quite sure where to start here, since Bolaño has been such an incredibly important figure for me. I first found out about him from Zach and Jonah in 2005. Jonah had heard about him from some friends in Chile and Zach had been reading Chris Andrews’ translations of Distant Star (1996) and By Night in Chile (2000), both published by New Directions. Distant Star is a beautiful, flawless little novella, though I found myself more engrossed by the voice of Father Urrutia in By Night in Chile. I could say much much more (obviously) but I’ll leave it at that for now and go into more detail in future posts.

Anyway, around the same time that I read those novellas (in English), I decided to take some time off from school and travel around Europe with Zach. After bopping around for a while, we rented a room in an apartment in Barcelona and stayed there for a few months. Zach’s Spanish wasn’t very good at the time and he was on a poetry kick, so he bought me a copy of Los perros románticos, a collection of Bolaño’s poems, and asked me to translate it for him. I already had my eyes peeled for a translation project because I would need to complete one in order to graduate, so I gave it a shot.

Translating a book of poems is no small potatoes, so I figured I might as well milk it for all I could. I contacted Bolaño’s literary agent, was put in touch with New Directions in New York and somehow managed to get permission to translate the collection and submit my translations for publication. By the time I returned to school, I had completed most of the collection and Forrest Gander (a great poet/translator and also my advisor) helped me to edit them and polish a final draft. He also advised me through a translation of another collection of Bolaño’s poems, Tres, which will hopefully be published eventually (the opening series of prose poems “Prosa de otoño en Girona” is one of my all-time favorite pieces of writing).

...


Great story on how the translator first discovered the work of her author and the circumstances leading to the publication of her translation.


Healy’s acclaim regarding the opening prose poems “Prosa de otoño en Girona” of Tres corresponds to that by another translator of the same cycle of prose poems. Chad W. Post of Three Percent interviewed Erica Mena, a translator who will publish her version of “Tales from the Autumn in Gerona” in the March issue of Words Without Borders. I can’t wait to read it. Erica Mena chose this project as her best translation to date, adding that B’s prose poetry is “much, much better” than his other poems. Bolañophiles alert!


I also wonder, like Chad W. Post, who will finally translate the entire book for publication.


What I’d like to happen is for the two translators, Healy and Mena, to complete their separate versions, and then we will have side by side two interpretations of what could really be one of B’s two best books.


To venture an opinion: I’m not surprised that B will excel in the form of prose poetry, a necessary hybrid that interleaves the savage spirit of his poetry within the sturdy clothing of prose.


But still, the question begs itself: Is Bolaño’s (other) best book yet to come in English language? Is it this much-vaunted, much-awaited (by me at least) Tres? The knight’s answer may or may not be the same as the knave’s. If we don’t trust Roberto, then I guess we should always trust his translators. After all, when Roberto asked the essential question: “How do we recognize a work of art?” he himself answered it without reservation:


That’s easy. We must translate it. That the translator not be a genius. We must rip out pages randomly. We have to leave it strewn in an attic. And if after all this a young person appears and reads it, and after reading it makes it his own, and is faithful to it (or unfaithful, it makes no difference) and reinterprets it and accompanies it on its journey to the edges and both are enriched and the young person adds a grain of value to its natural value, we are in the presence of something, a machine or a book, capable of speaking to all human beings: not a tilled field but a mountain, not the image of the dark forest but the dark forest itself, not a flock of birds but the Nightingale.


That rambling prose poem is your answer.

I can be led to believe that Tres is one of the two best books of Bolaño, the other being the rest of his oeuvre.


December 12, 2009

“The Dinosaur” (Augusto Monterroso)







Note to the reader: The following review may contain spoilers. Please read no further if you have not read the story yet.


Sleeping giant: review of “The Dinosaur,” a short story by Guatemalan writer Augusto Monterroso


Yesterday I read (for the second time) in one sitting Augusto Monterroso’s story called “The Dinosaur.” I re-read it many times, fourteen times maybe, I lost count. I tried to analyze the story in terms of prehistoric literary theories: stunted evolution, creationist realism, posthumous savagery. It was a radical novel. Anyway, after I wrote a first draft of my review, I checked my email, and then I slept afterward. It was not a peaceful sleep. I was trashing left and right on my bed. I dreamt of a Uranusaurus rex just like the one in Stephen Szpilman Bergman’s movie Triassic Park, based on a TV show created by Michael Flintstonnes (pronounced flight-stuns).

When I woke up, I read again my review. I worked on it some more, polishing the paleontological arguments. After some not-so-extensive revisions, I saved the file. I looked behind me and jumped. The U. rex was still there.



December 8, 2009

"Ang Gabi ay Gabi " (Axel Pinpin)


The Night is the Night

If,

He is the double of sleeplessness and dream,
he’s the expert in doubt and slumber

His youth enlivening and aggressive,
his depth an invitation to drowning.

He is patient waiting for the burglar,
He is brave gambling in wakes.

His essence starving in unease,
the extent of his threats is worrisome

Fear awakens his pallor
his heat, yawning, is alert

The night is the night
If,

His water tide is stretching its limbs from the bed.

August 18, 2006

(translated from Filipino)



( Axel Pinpin, Tugmaang Matatabil, Southern Voices Printing Press, 2008 )

December 6, 2009

"Awit ng Bilanggong Politikal" (Axel Pinpin)


Song of the Political Detainee
BY AXEL PINPIN

My prison walls more than cold and sticky
Are framing whips of twisting agony.
My floor isn’t only rough and dirty,
In it is trapped a searing ennui.
The iron bars coated with rust,
The freedom I so want has greased its crust.

Smear with verses the slipping freedom!
Tear and tear down the silken iron!
Shut and shut off the plague’s kingdom!
Rise from the darkness lighted by anguish!
Smash and smash the walls of cowardice!
Smash the corral with the cry of release!

August 23, 2007

Translated from Filipino
From Tugmaang Matatabil (Southern Voices Printing Press, 2008)

December 4, 2009

2666: The part about the title



Previously, the only connection that I found between the Roberto Bolaño novels 2666 and Nazi Literature in the Americas was the character of General Entrescu who appeared in "The Part About Archimboldi" and whose name was listed in Nazi Literature's "Epilogue for Monsters." Recognizable because of the mention of the general's “asset” and his cinematic (if weird) death.


A clue to the book's title can be found from the epigraph of 2666 taken from Charles Baudelaire’s poem “Le Voyage”:


An oasis of horror in a desert of boredom.


The original poem in French and several English translations can be found in here. The exact quote from the book comes from the version of Geoffrey Wagner; it is the last poem in the above link.


In part VII of “The Voyage”, the first stanza reads in full:


O bitter is the knowledge that one draws from the voyage!
The monotonous and tiny world, today
Yesterday, tomorrow, always, shows us our reflections,
An oasis of horror in a desert of boredom!


The last line ends in an exclamation here and the thread is explicit in the futuristic aspect of the year 2666: “today / Yesterday, tomorrow, always …” The implication is that 2666 is just an arbitrary year, albeit a convenient and conscious choice as the number refers to the mark of the beast, thereby invoking an apocalyptic resonance. The Quarterly Conversation's great review of 2666 interpreted these extended lines of the epigraph as a direct evocation of the heinous crimes in Santa Teresa. The translator Natasha Wimmer, in her biographical essay on B, points out from these poetic lines the literal health hazard posed by a long and arduous travel in the desert.


The book’s subject matter supports the notions of apocalypse and the futuristic in the enigmatic title. Throughout the book, individual and collective histories are given a chilling treatment, from the world wars to the holocaust to unsolved mass murders in Santa Teresa. Human struggles and the persistence of evil are the voids that characterize the desert of human heart. The traveller’s journey, into the “desert of boredom”, will invariably lead him and his thirst into “an oasis of horror”. A pure black vision.


The notion that evil is here to stay, that it is a permanent feature of existence, is terrifying and, what’s more disturbing, it is of our own making. Because by our silence and omission, we manifest our refusal to act against the tides of injustice and crime. Etc., etc.


Anyway, what strikes me is that the lines quoted can very well constitute the general framework of 2666. The world that men created here on earth, at this time, at any time (past, present, future), is just a reflection of human folly. It just “shows us our reflections.” This phrase of Baudelaire’s occur in other translations as “shows us our image”, “The horror of our image will unravel”, “we see / ourselves today, tomorrow, yesterday”, “The small monotonous world reflects me everywhere”, “So terrifying that any image made in it / Can be splashed perfunctorily away”, “where trite oases from each muddy pool / one thing reflect: his horror-haunted eyes!”


Our reflections. In terms of Jared’s chosen quote in Nazi Literature, the novel’s pages are “darkly mirroring” a book of history.


To contextualize further the intertextuality between 2666 and Nazi Literature, I'm quoting in full Jared's brilliant take on it:


In Nazi Literature in the Americas, the entry on Harry Sibelius contains the following quote describing Harry's own monstrously-sized (and -charactered) novel: "Then the novel proper - The True Son of Job - begins: 1,333 pages darkly mirroring Arnold J. Toynbee's Hitler's Europe."

Which is interesting. This "novel" is a kind of negative image of Toynbee's, it is in fact "darkly mirroring" it, which is to say that it presupposes another alternate set of 1333 pages, totaling out to 2666 of them.

Further down the page, another interesting passage materializes: "In the final analysis, the British professor's [Toynbee] aim is to testify against crime and ignominy, lest we forget. The Virginian novelist seems to believe that 'somewhere in time and space' the crime in question has definitively triumphed, so he proceeds to catalogue it."

These two sets of quotations easily reminded me of the novel 2666, especially of the 2nd volume's exhaustive and brutal account of the murders in Sonora. The sheer amount of ink devoted to the individual murders is vastly unsettling, and leads the reader to question why Bolano would have him/her sit privy to such a bloody catalogue. The first hypothesis mirrors Toynbee's motivation: perhaps Bolano wants to testify against crime and ignominy, lest we forget. And I believe that this is a part of it. But the answer seems more complicated than that, too. Bolano touches on each murder case with the cold but meticulous gaze of a forensics expert, devoid of judgment, but casting an extremely intimate eye, infringing on the privacy of each character with the kind of omniscience that only an author can possess. And yet there's a public aspect, too, in which the sheer frequency of the publicizing resembles newspaper articles. The great paradox of news media is that horrific events are prodigiously reported, but that such reports reported in such magnitude lose their emotive effect; the public becomes numb to violence, and reports become mere catalogues. Bolano, I think, takes this paradigm to its most taut logical extension: around 250 pages (I admit, I haven't read the book in about 6 months' time) of brutality, daring you not to wince, daring you to ignore it. This, to me, is one aspect of 2666, the theory of narrative strategy: if one wants to write about horror, the horror of history or the recurring horrors behind it, how does one most effectively communicate that horror? To testify sometimes seems naive, and too overtly subjective; perhaps even too optimistic at this point. Perhaps selection is more important: instead of using declamatory statements or opining or rallying, one ought to simply record, record, record, organize, and publish. If the criminal horror exists, if it already exists and will continue to exist up to the year 2666, one might as well write about it and leave it at that.

Or something.



Elsewhere in Baudelaire’s poem, one can associate the main character in 2666 with the desert traveler: the novelist Archimboldi, perennial dreamer in sleep, disappearing without a trace:


… the true travelers are they who depart
For departing's sake; with hearts light as balloons,
They never swerve from their destinies,
Saying continuously, without knowing why: "Let us go on!"

These have passions formed like clouds;
As a recruit of his gun, they dream
Of spacious pleasures, transient, little understood,
Whose name no human spirit knows.



And the poem’s ending can also loosely refer to Archimboldi, a bold diver of the depths of the sea, welcoming Death should it join him swimming amid the seagrasses and seaweeds:


O Death, my captain, it is time! let us raise the anchor!
This country wearies us, O Death! Let us make ready!
If sea and sky are both as black as ink,
You know our hearts are full of sunshine.

Pour on us your poison to refresh us!
Oh, this fire so burns our brains, we would
Dive to the depths of the gulf, Heaven or Hell, what matter?
If only to find in the depths of the Unknown the New!


Ah sunshine! The sun whose metaphor so suffuses the book in many instances. And there is certainly a hope that in the horrifying depths of the Unknown (void), something New can still be found. It does not matter whether the discovery of the (shocking) New is for the good or bad. So long as the sunlight accompanies the journey.


In her essay, Wimmer also quoted Bolaño about the closed-looping relation of the Unknown to the New (which in effect is the Cure):


While we search for the antidote or the medicine to cure us, the new, that which can only be found in the unknown, we must continue to turn to sex, books, and travel, even knowing they will lead us into the abyss, which, as it happens, is the only place we can find the cure.



How elusive the cure. Meanwhile we can read more books, we can take leave and travel, and then we make love.



November 19, 2009

The return of Roberto Bolaño


It seems like B's second collection of stories in English will be called The Return instead of Assassin Whores ("Putas asesinas"). I wonder why the publisher New Directions did not stick to the original title.

They called the first collection Last Evenings on Earth instead of Telephone Calls ("Llamadas telefónicas"). This could be justified by the jumbling of stories between the two books. The contents of Last Evenings are selected stories from each of the two collections in the original Spanish while the contents of The Return are presumably the remaining stories not collected in Last Evenings. But then, thinking hard of the adopted title, it does have its charm. Through these stories, B will "return" to us again. Anyway, I love the draft book cover:















Meanwhile, the cover art of Antwerp goes for an unassuming clean text look. This one obviously deviates from the usual font (see above) of the author's name in previous New Directions books.

Does the employment of translator affect the cover design of B's books? The books translated by Chris Andrews, such as the above book, have the distinctive font and font placement - the O's in "ROBERTO" and "BOLAÑO" aligning in a mysterious order - in the cover text, while the cover layout of those translated by Natasha Wimmer, as below, is different in the way the artworks of 2666 and The Savage Detectives (which are released by FSG) are. Too, the Chris Andrews translations have lately been featuring the photographs of Allen Frame, who I bet took the above photo.

In any case, I always love the tilde! (Wimmer's book covers always seem to emphasize the diacritic more.) And Antwerp is bound to be another idiosyncratic masterpiece. It was called the "Big Bang" of Bolañoverse.




November 12, 2009

Roberto Bolaño – a bibliography



(Updated bibliography at THIS LINK.)


Bolañophile that I am, I have made it a point to read all of the Chilean's works. I have come to anticipate the English translations that are slowly coming in trickles.


I have only ever read Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) in English. Of the first 8 books I encountered (I have yet to receive my copy of The Skating Rink, the latest publication in English translation, it's on its way now), my favorites thus far are the large novels The Savage Detectives and 2666. As for the small ones, I loved Last Evenings on Earth, Nazi Literature in the Americas, and Amulet, as well as the poems in The Romantic Dogs (review).


Here then is a listing of the works of Bolaño (so far), in chronological order of book publication in Spanish language. The ones in English are highlighted. I took them from various sources available online. The years in which the English translations appeared are also indicated. Anthologies of poetry and stories edited by Bolaño are excluded.


(Updated bibliography at THIS LINK.)




More than 20 works were listed. Several were still unpublished as they were just discovered in the past year ("found" among the author's papers in Spain). What is so impressive about this list is that the bulk of Bolaño's outputs was practically written in the last decade of his life, from 1993 to 2003. To have written that quantity of books in such a short time, and to have sustained a high quality of writing in a variety of forms (novel, novella, poem, essay, book review – it seems the only thing lacking is dramatic play), he must have been a fast and furious writer. He must have hoarded a stockpile of imagination.


A purported last part of 2666 is included among the newly discovered materials. Surely Bolaño never intended this chapter for publication? Otherwise he would have included this in 2666's 'final draft'. He had specifically outlined the contents of the novel and given instructions on how it is to be published, as what the editor mentioned in the book's Afterword.


There also exists a book called Una novelita lumpen (2002). It's strange that no publication date for an English translation was scheduled for it, either from the publisher New Directions or Picador. Whatever the reason (copyright issues?), this book will surely be in the mainstream soon, not only because it is part of brand Bolaño, but because it also has an interesting premise. Here's how it is described in The Columbia Guide to the Latin American Novel Since 1945: "With Una novelita lumpen ... Bolaño changes the setting [of his book, from Chile in By Night in Chile,] to Rome, so his typically extreme characters are now engaged in new types of experiences, including the discovery of some of the best and worst aspects of sexuality."


Extreme characters. New experiences. The best and worst aspects of sexuality. That sounds like a Bolaño, alright.

November 8, 2009

Cross-posting with Facebook



We're now linked with Facebook too. It's done via an app called NetworkedBlogs.


All these hyperlinking and forking paths, did Borges really dream of these labyrinths?



November 7, 2009

Cross-posting with Multiply



This blog is now directly linked to my Multiply account. The linkage enables me to post simultaneously in Blogger and in Multiply. Neat. I was able to import in Multiply all my previous posts here. The comments to the posts however were not preserved.


Actually this is a test. Right now I'm typing this in Blogger. The moment I click "Publish Post" is the moment it will be cross-posted in Multiply? The only way to know is to check if the teleportation will indeed take place. How long before the radioactive material decay and trigger the release of poison gas? Now, should I write in Multiply too and check if the whole thing appears here?


Is that Shrödinger's cat meowing?


UPDATE: It's not working so far. I'll open the box again later.

2nd UPDATE: It worked!

3rd UPDATE: However it appears that whatever I edit here will not be reflected there. So much for astral projection.



November 1, 2009

Trese: Murder on Balete Drive (Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo)





Note: This review may contain spoilers.


The reference code, according to the French thinker Roland Barthes, is that mode of writing characterized by a confident appeal to a universal (or consensual) truth, or a body of shared cultural (or scientific) knowledge. This appeal can be made on a text loaded with cultural references that are constantly being alluded to, elided, or inverted. The rich commonsensical and supernatural beliefs and belief systems can be the text's sources and materials—the references. The entities which the symbols fashioned after them refer to the writer's referents. The seamless integration of reference and referent constitutes an artist's repertoire of the reference code, also called the cultural code.


As an example, the reference code is the mode of analysis that the über-critic James Wood used (in his guide book How Fiction Works and in his other review essays) in interpreting the fictional works of Leo Tolstoy and José Saramago. The writings of these two novelists are grounded in naturalism that are floating in a sea of imaginative events. The repetitive appeal of these writers to everyday-life acts and situations, including their character's surprising responses to (actual) experiences, shapes a narrative that is reference-driven. The schema and structure of their novels themselves are designed in such a way as to capture the references.


So what gives, this painstaking introduction?


I see no reason why the reference code cannot be applied to the reading of graphic fiction. In comic books we see scenes boxed and captioned, progressing in their visual narrative through the accumulation of details. Comics is a medium most receptive to the omniscient point of view, a major requirement of the free indirect style of narrative progression. Visually at least, we are privy to the introspection of the hero, the frozen details captured in a swirl of action. The illustrations and texts strive to communicate verisimilitude and references. Taken as a whole, the graphic's universe is a frieze or a tableau, built up from its constituent references and can itself be an ultimate reference point.


The weird world of Trese, as written by Budjette Tan and illustrated by Kajo Baldisimo, is one such universe rife with mysterious happenings and references. The Philippine mythos and legends are the references. The referents are the unusual suspects—the white lady, the tikbalang, the nuno sa punso, the Santelmo (St. Elmo's fire), and the superhero. All these figments appear in a new light. Tan and Baldisimo have successfully reinvigorated the mythos with new meanings and they have provided new ways of looking at their indigenous source materials. It is a great credit to them that they have given a deep interpretation of Pinoy mythos in the modern setting. They have commanded deep respect to their material and sources.


Take the case of the "double dead" white lady, the first case in the first volume of the series (Murder on Balete Drive). The story starts simple enough but then suddenly the weird takes a turn for the weirder. Alexandra Trese, the "para-crimes" consultant, investigates a case where a white lady was found murdered. Clearly the logic of Trese operates within a dimension where the unwritten rules of the otherworldly are meant to be violated, that is to say, where everything is possible. The goal is perhaps not so much a quarrel with clichés but peacefully working around them. After all, there will always be white ladies in Balete Drive, so we might as well permit the killing of them once in a while.


The reference code here operates on the simple idea of the immortality (or rather, mortality) of ghosts. This unique variation, an inversion, is novel enough, but around this neat trick, the story is given perfectly fitting details, each of them also grounded in manipulated references—the consultation with a resettled nuno sa punso, the fine dust made from a truly exotic material, and the aswangs (ghouls).


The three other cases in Trese 1 demonstrate the skillful use of the reference code. The second case ("Rules of the Race"), that of an unbeatable drag racer, is another refurbished look at a supernatural being. In the race, as in the world of Trese, there are in fact no rules and whatever remains of the rules are to be bent. From tell-tale hoof prints found in the scene of a car accident, Alexandra Trese, aided by her opposable emoticon-masked twin sidekicks (charismatic characters, they are), begins her investigation and proceeds like a vampire, sniffing the elusive imprints of a delinquent underworld. In these cases, Ms. Trese's unearthly-like informers are "slightly" cooperative, and they hide where you least expect them: in a manhole, in a penthouse suite of a tall tower, in a spa.


The fourth case ("Our Secret Constellation") is something else. It is a masterful rendition of the story of fallen heroes. Sure enough, heroes and villains here are permanent fixtures of old Pinoy comics. But what else can be gleaned from them? The genius here is in the slow realization, in the slow recognition, of the identities of characters and their tragic situation. The genius here is in how it portrays a destructive force that is love, in how it can be the true weakness of a seasoned hero, yet with another referential twist to the superhero myth: a nod to the psychological repercussions of sibling love, love that is too much, too sensitive, too loving. For strangely enough, love is a recurring theme in the first Trese installment. The fragility of love is such that it can be misguided, misdirected, and distorted. The hero is out to save the world, her willpower and dedication will propel her to achieve her objective (fight evil), but she can, will, never control the force of feeling around her.


Love is a primary motive for perversion, in its varying permutations in the four cases handled by Ms. Trese. To save the world with just a swallow of a stone. How does one invert that innocent notion? That simple act, of swallowing a stone, can also turn innocence into monster. It is perhaps one of the greatest homages one can give to Philippine comics artists like Mars Ravelo: to produce a work that is not just sheer parody of one's creations but a recreation and inversion of meanings and possibilities. It is after all in the Philippine komiks that these references are popularized. The referent-creatures may be borne by folk fairy tales and oral traditions, but their appearance in Philippine komiks is the major instrument in the cultivation of our generation's consciousness of them, their aesthetic and their cultural value.


The first four cases told in the first volume of Trese herald a new appreciation of the tradition of Philippine comics. Their creators' handling of the reference code is done with glee and panache. The art work, black and white grit, illustrates a city that is full of seething passions and black motives. The landscapes of the supernatural and superheroes are confidently resurrected with a nudge to the impossible.


Trese is now at the forefront of a new interest in Pinoy comics. And it now inspires a well deserved cult following. In the byways and pathways of Trese, be it in Balete Drive or C-5, Paco or Malate, are creations and creatures which can be referred to their original templates but which, when viewed from the perspective of the reference code, will easily hold their own.


In re-mystifying rather than demystifying Pinoy mythos and urban legends, Tan and Baldisimo upended an old set of references, imbued the perception of meanings with extra-sensory recognition, and created an alternative framework from which to view supernatural realities, replacing old spectacles with a new set of contacts.


* * * * *


Hold on to your references. Trese continues with the second volume, Unreported Murders. And something I look forward to: The 3rd volume is out.



(The above photo is of the enchanted hundred year old Balete tree of Siquijor Island, which my friends and I visited on September this year.)

October 21, 2009

Rise’s Classic Reading Before He’s Dead List




Over at Brilliant Babes (And Dudes) Who Read Selectively, one of my online book groups, the skewering of flawed 100 best books lists is ongoing. It started with the much maligned listing of the Penguin Classics' compilation of 100 greatest books.



Another list, from the publisher Vintage, was published. Vintage asked several reading groups in the UK to name 15 “Modern Classics” – 15 of its books that will still be read in 100 years time. The full list of Vintage is here, with a link to the longlist of 100 classic reads. Most recently, the lit weblog The Millions came up with the twenty best fictional works of the current millennium to date.



Such lists are useful and informative. They give us an idea of what respected people (academics, writers, critics) deem to be books of great substance and literary import. They validate us when books we have read are reflected in them. Somehow, the x days that I expended in wrestling with Book A was worth it since this list said that Book A is a classic among classics. At the same time, lists can be controversial, not only by what were included but what were left out. There can never be a politically correct and balanced list, I think. There are too many contending schools of literature, schools of thought, and literary theories: feminism, structuralism, naturalism, magic realism, surrealism, 19th century literature, postwar literature, contemporary literature, Western literature, American literature, Russian literature.



Some lists have at least the semblance of a balance, but still we find something was overlooked: why of all her books was this book of Author B listed, surely her more challenging and innovative second book should have been the one listed, it even won the prestigious Prize C. If we keep on scrutinizing lists, we can certainly find something to needle at. How much more would we scoff at 1,001 books to read before the oxygen that pumped the living breath expired out of the palpitating heart. Yet surely 1,001 books would achieve the comprehensiveness that the 100 will certainly lack. I commend anyone who can successfully slog through the thousand books and one book, giving themselves an enviable arsenal of ideas and in the process maybe cheating death. For surely one who constantly reads (usually in the confines of home) is not prone to accidents on the road. The "before you die" is such a justified and justifiable phrase. Avid readers who can rise up to the 1,001 challenge will have a peaceful trip to Rivers Styx and Lethe.



Reasons to love and hate such lists are bountiful. I wouldn’t enumerate them here. For me though, the basic operating picture of a serious reader is freedom to choose what one wants to read. This freedom is curtailed if there are individuals or entities who want to shove you a list and tell you that this is it. You can’t die peacefully if you haven’t read the all of it. It's it or never. Suit yourself: it's it or you die without it.



As a “corrective” or one must say, a considered reaction, my online group decided to come up with an exercise for its members. To come up with our own personal reading lists of 100 classics. There will be no constraints as to the definition of “classic”. It will loosely refer to great books one has read (a favorites list) combined with books one wants to read (wish list), plus books that one feels should be on the list (for whatever reason).



The lists we came up with so far are very telling. They are all personal. And I think they all boil down to taste, preferences, and cultural/economic/educational/etc. factors and circumstances. There is no reason to think that, in the field of art and literature, genetics and biological determinism play a role in the drafting of such lists. Or do they? Listing is a pretty much straightforward exercise, subjective, very arbitrary, and by no means final.



I'm certain my reading will still evolve. There is no predefined direction (genre, author, geography) that my open mind will not yet absorb. But for now, these listed books are what my instinct tells me are worthwhile reads.



Making book lists is forward-looking, too. I’m interested to know what I will think of my own list three, five, ten years from now (by which time I’m sure to have dimmed my near-perfect vision by going down through the list).



So how did I make my list? To make a list, I consulted other lists. I filtered down books that I feel I must read. Just because. There is a mixture of certainty, gut feel, and uncertainty in this exercise. What are my criteria for selecting? Like other members in my group, I have certain favorite authors and favorite books which I feel must instantly populate my 100. I consulted the publicity pages of publishers that put out quality literary books in their shelves. Penguin, Vintage, NYRB Classics, and New Directions are the usual suspects. Indie presses like the latter two are known for their fantastic inventories of world lit authors. To fill the list, I researched on an author's works and raffled off the titles (nah). I trimmed down my personal wish list, my books-to-buy-now-or-in-the-immediate-future list, my save-for-later lists. I tried to imagine which are the books that I myself will be reading freely, gleefully, and unimpeded. Books that I will not hesitate to buy. I also consulted literary web blogs devoted to world lit and books in translation. Certainly, there are still books that will make us question our faith in what we have previously read? That will shake our reading foundations and bury under rubble the books that we thought are unassailable in our list. It's a gladiatorial battle among books. An endless tournament of books in which the classics in their firmament will always be on the edge of being unseated by an upstart enfant terrible.



For as long as books are being written, published, and read, there would be a trickle of classics. And there will be pitting of books against books, authors against authors. And there will be ranking and listing. Speculative, nonsensical, prophetic, quixotic, hedonic. The best one can do is to look at the title of the book and approximate one's past/present/future relationship with it. To look at a title of the book and relate it to the whole. For one is given a limit as to the quantity (100 books) and one is limited as to the quality (acknowledged classic or classic-to-be).


And so, here’s my list before the appointed hour, 100-ish, from which I’ve read only quite a very few. Most are already in my shelf (pretty convenient for me to select them), and about half of these books I have yet to hunt down, in BookMooch, in Amazon, in some innocent used book store. Half were read or owned, the majority known only by reputation. Some are already canonized, some were published very recently, and some are not even translated into English yet! I first came up with 200-odd titles before narrowing it down to around 150, and then down to 125, and then there's this list. Enjoy.




1. Inter Ice Age 4 – Abé Kobo
2. How German Is It – Walter Abish
3. Poems of Akhmatova – Anna Akhmatova
4. Rashōmon and Other Stories – Akutagawa Ryūnosuke
5. The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri
6. Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
7. Emma – Jane Austen
8. Persuasion – Jane Austen
9. Gathering Evidence – Thomas Bernhard
10. Old Masters – Thomas Bernhard
11. 2666 – Roberto Bolaño
12. The Savage Detectives – Roberto Bolaño
13. Labyrinths – Jorge Luis Borges
14. The Plague – Albert Camus
15. Crowds and Power – Elias Canetti
16. Oscar and Lucinda – Peter Carey
17. The Stories of Raymond Carver
18. Poems of Paul Celan
19. Red Earth and Pouring Rain – Vikram Chandra
20. The Three Sisters – Anton Chekhov
21. Peasants and Other Stories– Anton Chekhov
22. The Master of Petersburg – J. M. Coetzee
23. Nostromo – Joseph Conrad
24. Hopscotch – Julio Cortázar
25. No Longer Human – Dazai Osamu
26. The Brothers Karamazov– Fyodor Dostoevsky
27. Demons – Fyodor Dostoevsky
28. The Maias – Eça de Queirós
29. Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
30. The Waiting Years – Enchi Fumiko
31. The Siege of Krishnapur – J. G. Farrell
32. The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
33. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
34. A Boy’s Will and North of Boston: Poems by Robert Frost
35. The Autumn of the Patriarch – Gabriel García Márquez
36. Dead Souls – Nikolai Gogol
37. Loving – Henry Green
38. Hangover Square – Patrick Hamilton
39. Hunger – Knut Hamsun
40. The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
41. Les Misérables – Victor Hugo
42. Black Rain – Ibuse Masuji
43. The Unconsoled – Kazuo Ishiguro
44. The Ambassadors – Henry James
45. The American – Henry James
46. The Woman Who Had Two Navels – Nick Joaquín
47. The Unfortunates – B. S. Johnson
48. Ulysses – James Joyce
49. The Castle – Franz Kafka
50. The Old Capital – Kawabata Yasunari
51. Memed, My Hawk – Yashar Kemal
52. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
53. Romance of the Three Kingdoms – Lo Kuan-Chung
54. A Perfect Vacuum – Stanisław Lem
55. A Sand County Almanac – Aldo Leopold
56. Under the Volcano – Malcolm Lowry
57. The Executioner’s Song – Norman Mailer
58. Doctor Faustus – Thomas Mann
59. Joseph and His Brothers – Thomas Mann
60. The Magic Mountain – Thomas Mann
61. Your Face Tomorrow – Javier Marías
62. Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
63. A Treatise on Poetry – Czesław Milosz
64. Senselessness – Horacio Castellanos Moya
65. The Discovery of Heaven – Harry Mulisch
66. 1Q84 – Murakami Haruki
67. Sixty-Nine – Murakami Ryū
68. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
69. Metamorphoses - Ovid
70. Life: A User’s Manual – Georges Perec
71. The Book of Disquiet – Fernando Pessoa
72. The Republic – Plato
73. Morte D’Urban – J. F. Powers
74. In Search of Lost Time – Marcel Proust
75. Exercises in Style – Raymond Queneau
76. Tigers are Better-Looking – Jean Rhys
77. The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
78. Grande Sertão: Veredas – João Guimarães Rosa
79. Call It Sleep – Henry Roth
80. The Radetzky March – Joseph Roth
81. Sabbath’s Theater – Philip Roth
82. Pedro Páramo – Juan Rulfo
83. Cain – José Saramago
84. The Stone Raft – José Saramago
85. The Emigrants – W. G. Sebald
86. Antony and Cleopatra – William Shakespeare
87. I Am a Cat – Natsume Sōseki
88. The Charterhouse of Parma – Stendhal
89. The Red and the Black – Stendhal
90. Zeno’s Conscience – Italo Svevo
91. View with a Grain of Sand – Wisława Szymborska
92. The Makioka Sisters – Tanizaki Jun’ichirō
93. A Woman of Means – Peter Taylor
94. Walden – Henry D. Thoreau
95. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
96. The Leopard – Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
97. Virgin Soil – Ivan Turgenev
98. The Complete Henry Bech – John Updike
99. Selected Poems – César Vallejo
100. Bartleby & Co. – Enrique Vila-Matas
101. The Aeneid – Virgil
102. Jakob von Gunten – Robert Walser
103. To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
104. The Story of the Stone – Cao Xueqin
105. The Post-Office Girl – Stefan Zweig




September 23, 2009

Palawan at the Crossroads: Development and the Environment on a Philippine Frontier (edited by James F. Eder and Janet O. Fernandez)


Palawan at the Crossroads (published in 1996 by Ateneo de Manila University Press) is divided into four parts: Introduction, The Setting, Change and the Indigenous People, and Change and the Environment. The editors, Eder and Fernandez, introduce the book, laying down the anthropocentric framework that guided the selection of the case studies from American, European, and Filipino academic specialists. The paradigm centers on the Malthusian perspective of burgeoning population and its attendant limiting effect on the carrying capacity of ecosystems. The editors hint at the increasing politicization in the last frontier: “Many of the issues that confront Palawan specialists today have significant political or emotional overtones that make it difficult for any observer to be fully ‘objective’ about Palawan.” Indeed, with the passage of the Local Government Code in 1991, the broad powers devolved to local government units have made governmental policies and actions critical factors in shaping the course of development in the province.

The reduction in forest cover from 68% of Palawan Mainland area in 1985 to less than 50% at present is an indication of the intensification in logging, mining, shifting cultivation, and land conversion. The status of Palawan as a Promise Land in the 1950s propelled the influx of migrants from different areas in the country, and this trend continues up to the present even in the face of wanton degradation of resources in critical forests and coastal zones.

Nilo S. Ocampo, a historian from the University of the Philippines, opens the second part, The Setting. His essay is a brief history of Palawan, viewing this history, in microcosm, as reflective of the history of the Philippines—from cradle of civilization to a colony under foreign rulers to a sovereign republic. The histories he raised are rich and varied: from tultul, the origin myth of the Batak, to the concept of frontier going back 50,000 years from the Pleistocene and Neolithic times to the Spanish influence in the Calamianes and Cuyo [1], to the Muslim influences of the Tausug and Jama Mapun immigrants in the south, to the cultural encounters with the indigenous peoples, to the American administration in the province, and up to the identification of “quantitative and qualitative change underneath the surface” resulting to tribal extinction.

The next two papers, by Miriam S. Chaiken and by the editors, present cases of the rootedness of migrant settlers in their new setting. The first argues for acknowledgement and buildup of natural kinship as a model for frontier settlement, debunking the studies on immigration centering on disputes—interethnic tensions, competition for scarce support and resources from management entity. The second delineates at the household level the ramifications of husband-wife relationship effecting the economic strategy choices of second-generation families. Eder and Fernandez observe that “choice of strategy is not a one-time event” but rather an evolving phenomena. They also find that parents and in-laws of couples may have powerful and positive influence in the internal workings of a Palawan household, suggesting that close family ties are an invisible thread binding families to their place in the world. Finally, the editors observe that Cuyonon cultural tradition still wield a very strong influence on the economic behavior of households.

The second half of the book is concerned with “change” in the indigenous peoples (IPs) of Palawan and in the environment. The IPs are appropriately the centerpiece of the book (the shift here narrows from anthropocentric to ethnocentric) since they are the ones directly affected by the “historic transformation of Palawan.” Going indigenous is not a trend, it is a need [2], and each of the articles gives dimension to this fundamental need. Rowe Cadeliña’s article describes food-sharing among Batak households and presents a lucid connection of the decline of inter-household food-sharing to the disappearance of the forest. The coming of tourists and the infusion of more cash are also considered as threats to the Batak worldview and traditions.

W. Thomas Conelly focuses on the strategies of resource use among the Tagbanuas. He discusses the changing socio-economic environment that has confronted this indigenous group in the twentieth century, and the impacts these changes have had on their subsistence. Forest utilization was daily affected by the arrival of lowland Christian settlers who encroached onto ancestral domains, thereby creating tensions, insecurities, and questions of identity.

A series of black-and-white photographs depicting livelihood practices of Palawan inhabitants and Palawan landscapes, faces and ceremonies, follows the first two articles on the chapter on IPs. They show Palaweños in the act of collecting honey, hunting, farming in the lowlands and uplands, and fishing.

The third article on IPs is the study of Elaine C. Brown, “Tribal Displacement, Deculturation and Impoverishment.” It describes the patterns of Pala’wan agriculture being more and more unsustainable due to similar trends described in the previous articles. Brown concludes that “Pala’wan will never be the primary beneficiaries of development introduced by non-Pala’wan.” Her recommendation is for Pala’wans to be given access to education up to the college level in order for them to develop skills (e.g., knowledge of Philippine legal system) and social relations required to defend themselves and to better pursue new economic opportunities. For indeed who else, in this competitive arena of diminishing goods, have the dedication to help them but themselves?

Lanfranco Blanchetti-Revelli completes the chapter on IPs with an exposition of the Molbog’s conception of ecology, rice and debt. The tension between Christians and Molbog shapes the latter’s increasing dependence on external resources and contingencies.

The disenfranchisement of the IPs in the four articles supports the notion that the interface between the indigenous and the contemporary can never be reconciled. Perhaps only a reversal of the two roles can bring peace to the “war on the environmental resources” [3]. That is, if the non-indigene “stoops to the level” of the indigene and acts with justice and compassion, and if the indigene is “civilized” according to non-indigene standards, to the point that he can regard his “betters” as his “peers.” When the indigenous become the contemporary, then tribal extinction will be quelled, even if extinction already means the condition of irreversible loss. And what else can be done to regain what is already lost? To retrieve a soul? To resurrect the spirit?

The final chapter outlines the agenda, government and non-government, for development that has began to emerge in the last 25 years. Ricardo M. Sandalo provides a brief disquisition on sustainable development and the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan. Sandalo was formerly the Executive Assistant for the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), and he was involved in the formulation of the SEP Law. In his regular column in a weekly newspaper, Sandalo [4] confessed that one of the many reasons why he left the PCSD Staff is that he can no longer stomach the abusive politicking of some members in the Council. He was ‘burned out.’ In the same article, he gave an unsolicited advice to the present director of PCSDS:

…for PCSD to become relevant, it has to constantly recognize the important role of the communities in the scheme of things that the Council is trying to do. These communities are what is meant by sustainable development’s “present and future generations.” The PCSD should always have time to hear what the communities have to say. Good governance means listening to the governed. A mechanism has to be devised by the PCSD to facilitate meaningful community participation in policy making. Conversely, communities should be able to articulate their sentiments.

The final article by Yasmin Arquiza traces the evolution of environmental movement in Palawan. Some groups and movements she mentions in her discussion include the PIADP, Haribon Palawan, Tubbataha Foundation, Ulugan Bay Foundation, Tanggol Kalikasan, NATRIPAL, local Jaycees chapter, Palawan Movement for Educational Advancement, Palawan Mountaineers, Timefreezers Photo Club, the musical group SINIKA, Palawan Songwriters’ Guild, Pista Y Ang Cagueban, 10-Knots Resort, PANLIPI (Legal Assistance Center for Indigenous Filipinos), Oplan Linis, Bantay Dagat, Bantay Gubat, Andres Soriano Foundation, and Crocodile Farming Institute. Some of these groups and their programs are short-lived; what was formerly loud is now silent. Others are still operating, while others change faces and are frontliners for new interests.

The book’s Appendix provides a compendium of Palawan research studies, the literature cited throughout the book, as well as a comprehensive bibliography. The bibliography is categorized into books, monographs, edited collections, theses and dissertations, articles in academic journals, selected articles in magazines and newspapers, and other media format. This list is particularly useful for students who are specializing on an aspect of the living laboratory that is Palawan. An update of this list would be a good undertaking, considering the amount of published material that might have accumulated from 1996 onwards.

Palawan at the Crossroads is a must-read primer on Palawan for anyone curious of what is happening in the last frontier, to its people and its environment. It presents a strong case for the precautionary principle and it champions the cause of the indigenous. The selection of the articles is by no means exhaustive, since Palawan is a complexity in all ecological and social levels, but it is representative of the current issues prevalent in the province. The studies in the book are good starting points for a holistic conservation/development perspective and for the development of sensitivity for the future of this ecoregion. They suggest, implicitly, that forthcoming studies need to delve deeper into the mud. It needs more than generate baseline data. The thesis should underscore strategies for coping with the stresses and fluctuations imposed by land use intensification and degradation, and it should tackle uncertainties and biases inherent in the field of politics, culture, human psychology, and economics.

The consolidation of all these academic studies should be a primary goal of the academe and research and development organizations. There should be a repository for these outputs in order to preserve the repertoire of environmental management options that can be gleaned from these scholarly papers. Unfortunately, it looks like the buck stops right after these works go to the printing presses. The findings, recommendations, and conclusions put forward by the specialists and consultants are seldom applied and considered by policy makers and planners. Consultants come and go, and Palawan remains afflicted with the “diminishing core zone syndrome.” That is to say: the tragedy of the commons is becoming more common.

The research and development agenda for Palawan must now begin its “dirty work.” And it must do so without qualms. It must start to “corrupt the minds” of the managers and administrators who have so much of the chance and the opportunity to map Palawan at the crossroads and at the destination.

Notes:

[1] The recent discovery of a historical ruin—the Spanish Fort of Caseledan—amidst a hill forest in Linapacan, attests to the surprises still brought about by surfacing history. See “Lost 17th century fortress found" by Cheyenne Morrison, SEAIR Inflight, February-March 2005 issue, pp. 9-10.
[2] PCARRD. (1998). People, Earth and Culture (Readingsin Indigenous Knowledge Systems on Biodiversity Management and Utilization). Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development. Los Baños, Laguna: PCARRD-NCCA. 303p.
[3] It is very telling that the Nobel Prize for Peace is now being awarded to environmentalists, as in the case of 2004 winner Wangari Maathai—an African woman environmentalist espousing reforestation in her native land—and 2007 winners Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore.
[4] Sandalo, Riki M. “Summit: So Near, Yet So Far.” Bandillo ng Palawan, Vol.8, No. 6, February 7-13, 2005 issue.