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 Forumâs 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 ownâfrom Honolulu and back for a five-day stay in the United States for our only daughterâs wedding in Monterey, California, in early Octoberâthat 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.)
Says de Vera in his introduction to the anthology: âI 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.â
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 âexcellentâ and âa great book for people who love travel, whether theyâre jetting off in planes or in their imagination.â
I wholeheartedly agree with her ratings for Connecting Flights
on both counts.Read Sumthinblueâs review of Connecting Flights in the Bookmarked! website now!ABOUT THE BOOKâS EDITOR:
Ruel S. de Vera writes for the Philippine Daily Inquirer
and is associate editor of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine
. He holds a Masterâs 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 Philippines 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.