Jose Carillo's Forum


This page features outstanding works of Filipino writers in English, both past and present. Whenever the need or opportunity arises, a notable work—whether essay, speech, short story, poetry, play, or excerpt from a novel—will be presented here either in its full text or through a link to a website that carries it.

Enjoy the offerings of this series and learn from their felicitous use of the English language!

Overlooked for long, Connecting Flights finally connects with me

Lest I be accused of insensitivity or indifference to notable writing by some of the finest contemporary Filipino writers in English, I am writing this belated introduction to Connecting Flights: Filipinos Write from Elsewhere (Anvil Publishing, 182 pages), an anthology of essays, fiction, and verse edited by Filipino journalist and writer Ruel S. de Vera. I must admit that I had completely overlooked the book all through the past 10 months or so, my nose having been so close to the grindstone minding my own writing and editing jobs and seminar engagements and, of course, putting together this Forum’s weekly updates. In fact, although I visit my favorite Metro Manila bookstores often enough, it was only after my wife and I took connecting flights of our own—from  Honolulu and back for a five-day stay in the United States for our only daughter’s wedding in Monterey, California, in early October—that Connecting Flights finally connected and caught my eye from the shelves of one of the local bookstores. (This, perhaps, is as much a measure of the extent of my personal distractedness as of the dearth of marketing efforts and media exposure for locally produced literary works in the Philippines in contrast to those for foreign titles.)

Connecting Flights

Says de Vera in his introduction to the anthology: “I am honored to be able to invite passengers whom I admire and hold genuine affection for. Connecting Flights boasts of a manifest with some of my favorite writer friends, each checking in with poem, fiction or essay carried forward with the greatest velocity. These are the passengers I want to be with when embarking on a trip that is to change everything, regardless of destination and duration.”

Three of the contributors to Connecting Flights are friends or acquaintances of mine, namely Butch Dalisay Jr. and Krip Yuson, both of whom are Hall of Famers of the Palanca Awards for Literature, and Manolo Quezon, previously with the Philippine Daily Inquirer but now working in the Communications Office of the Office of the Philippine President. Thus, specific words of praise for their featured essays coming from me might sound biased, and those for the works of the 17 other contributors might unjustifiably pale or shine more brightly in comparison.* Either way might just get me into a tight fix with any of these highly talented writers. I have therefore decided to just provide a link to a well-thought-out review of Connecting Flights by the blogger Sumthinblue who, in a web posting last January 7, 2010, rated the collection “excellent” and “a great book for people who love travel, whether they’re jetting off in planes or in their imagination.”    

I wholeheartedly agree with her ratings for Connecting Flights on both counts.

Read Sumthinblue’s review of Connecting Flights in the Bookmarked! website now!

Ruel S. de Vera writes for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and is associate editor of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Journalism from the Ateneo de Manila University and teaches at its department of communication. A literary writer and book editor, he has received the Palanca Award for literature, the Philippine Free Press Literary Award, and the Catholic Mass Media Award.

*The complete list of the 20 contributors to Connecting Flights are as follows (in alphabetical order): Dean Francis Alfar, Jose Dalisay Jr., Lourd De Veyra, Karla P. Delgado, Rosario A. Garcellano, Ramil Digal Gulle, Christina Pantoja-Hidalgo, Alya B. Honasan, Marne L. Kilates, Angelo R. Lacuesta, Ambeth R. Ocampo, Charlson Ong, Manuel L. Quezon III, D.M. Reyes, Sev Sarmenta, Alice M. Sun-Cua, Yvette Tan, Joel M. Toledo, Alfred A. Yuson, and Jessica Zafra.

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