Vin dela Serna Lopez's 1762 (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2023) was one of the books that caught my attention in the Philippine Book Festival in Manila last June. I gravitated toward it for various reasons. Its arresting cover was a vision in burgundy. Two ships floating on a "wine-dark sea", clearly at odds with each other with all that heavy smoke in between; the prominent number-title reverse-embossed in that ink-blot, blood-like burgundy font; and the reddish British flag of the left ship waving. The synopsis at the back revealed the novel's backdrop: British invasion of Manila in 1762 which lasted for two years. It was a historical event largely ignored in fiction.
The novelist was scheduled to have an autograph signing in the Ateneo Press booth later that day. Thus I went around first on a book buying binge before coming back to the booth after lunch for an autograph. I snagged Vin's signature with this cryptic dedication.