I Wish Filipiniana Books were Cheaper

I picked up a book yesterday for 50 pesos. And it’s a Filipiniana. So that’s surprising.

The book is entitled “Taga sa Bato”  by Ted T. Antonio. First published by Ateneo de Manila University Press in 1994. It is a compilation of Tagalog poems from 1973 – 1988.

But no, there’s no Filipiniana sale going on…

The book was probably misplaced because it was in the international section (I also got Michael Phelp’s “No Limits” for  P100). Foreign titles usually goes on sale. Local titles – well, rare as a unicorn.

What I want to see is for the Filipiniana titles prices to go down.

We need to get Filipinos to read Filipinos – ensuring the Filipiniana are cheaper is a needle moving on the right direction. Comic, magazines and pocket books are the most profitable publications out there, partly, because they’re cheap and easier to read.

The price is a factor. I read a lot but I won’t spend more than 200 or 300 pesos for a book. Every peso counts these days. Books are not supposed to wreck a person’s budget.

I’ve been reading LMG (The Anthology of Leon Ma. Guererro) from the shelves of Powerbooks because it cost 1000+! Who are going to buy these books? Certainly not the average folks.

Not that Filipinos would pick up Filipiniana titles once the prices drop, of course, our schools needs to do their part.

I don’t believe Filipinos, especially students, won’t be interested in Filipino history books for example – Ambeth Ocampo already showed us it can be sold – and in high volumes!

We just have to somehow find a way to keep the prices low.

And, make people like Ambeth write…


13 responses to “I Wish Filipiniana Books were Cheaper

  • John Earle

    Today (Tuesday 2 November 2011) I visited Balay Negrense or the house of the son of Yves Leopold Germain Gaston in Silay City. Gaston senior was a contemporary of Nicholas Loney, first British Vice-Consul in Iloilo, in whom I have a particular interest. The only piece of information missing was the date of Gaston senior’s death. I know when Loney died but cannot find anywhere when Gaston died.

    Does anyone know this and can give a verifiable reference?

    John

    • De AnDA

      What I know is that Yves went back to France. I’ll try to look for more information about the guy.

      • John Earle

        According to an unverified entry on Wikipedia, Gaston senior died while travelling back to France with his wife and family who then returned to Silay. I need to verify where he stands date-wise with Nicholas Loney

        Thanks for your interest,

        John

        • De AnDA

          The only other information about this French-Filipino that I know is that he was a one time Batangas resident and was originally from Normandy. He died sometime in 1863 (according to Lourdes Gaston-Dalupan).

  • Elizabeth Medina

    Filipino readers should ask bookstores to carry Peter Bacho’s books. He is an excellent Filipino American writer. He was born in the U.S. of Ilocano parents. His father was part of the Manong Generation (do today’s Filipino readers know who the Manongs were?).

    Is there a single subject on the literature written in English in the U.S. between World War I and World War II by the Manong Generation being taught in the Philippines schools and universities?

    That literature is in English and it’s damned good, and it’s got the Filipino soul stamped on it.

    Do any Filipino youth know about the struggle of the Filipino union leaders and farmworkers who made the legend of the United Farm Workers defeat of Coors Beer possible in the 1970s, and the iconization of the Mexican farmworkers leader Cesar Chavez, and the forgetting of Larry Itliong?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Farm_Workers

    I personally never heard about any of this until I was no longer even living in the U.S., and in my late 40s. I had become a writer on the Hispanic Filipino past, and that enabled me to make interesting connections in the States. I really did discover a more fascinating native country, but I had to leave her to achieve it.

    Back home, the image that young Filipinos get is the most meaningless, trivialized one of their own country. Nothing has changed.

    As for me, there was only so much I could do on limited resources. But I am at least happy that I did it, because I received so much back, and after all, that is reward enough.

    It’s a struggle, let us not forget. What’s served up on a platter is not worth much. You have to mine your own gold. And it comes.

  • De AnDA

    @Jun Gravoso – Yes, its Teo. Sorry about that.

    @Vincent Maldia – True but ebooks still has a long way to go in terms of popularity among us Filipinos. And I don’t think that publishers here are making the move to ebook.

    @John – Good to hear that your work was well received. I happen to agree with you about the attitude of the Filipinos towards their heritage. This actually is one of my motivations for writing here. I’m sure you have visited Plaza Loney and saw the vandalized monument of the Consul there.

  • Vincent Maldia

    Ebooks have revolutionized the book industry. Instant worldwide distribution and near zero “publishing” or “printing” cost, with no need to kill trees. But not all people like it

  • Jun Gravoso

    Did you read, “Ted Antonio” or “Teo Antonio”? There is a famous poet named Teo Antonio. Are we referring to the same guy? If so, his name is Teo and not Ted. Have a nice day!

  • Marcelo

    Even more disheartening is that you’ll never find any of Rizal’s books written in the original Spanish version. Neither from any of the other Filipino authors at the time, who contributed to the highest quality output of literature the country has ever witnessed.

    A real shame.

  • Anonymous

    I have completed my Masters’ dissertation on the appointment of British Vice-Consul Nicholas Loney and his work in Iloilo and Negros. I am pleased that it was very well received and I was awarded a mark of Distinction (in America, they call that Summa Cum Laude). I have contacted the Director of the Negros Museum in Bacolod City and offered to tell them all about it but I had no reply to my email so they are obviously not interested. That is a pity.

    A professor at Ateneo de Manila University is very interested so I am in contact with him. I had a message from the Tourist Officer of Iloilo City who said that he would contact local history societies for me but I have not heard anything more. In the UK, people are very interested in their heritage so the attitude here surprises me.

    For Filipiniana books to be read more, there must be encouragement to read and also promotion of culture. The Philippines has a long and interesting history going back before the Spanish arrived in 1521 (Magellan) or 1565 (Legazpi) but not enough official encouragement is given. People here are too interested in copying the very shallow and self-centred American culture.

    When money and glamour start to be the main focus of interest, then moral values and concern for others suffer.

  • Anonymous

    I am spending a couple of months in Manila and Bacolod City. Because I am still thinking in terms of UK money values, I consider a book for P300 to be cheap. However, for someone who has to be careful about every peso, I can understand that P300 is a lot of money.

    What troubled me when I was in the National Book Store yesterday was that most books were in two categories:
    (i) British novels which are high quality literature but from hundreds of years ago (e.g. William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Chares Dickens, etc,) – mostly for students, I suppose, but not for most general readers.
    (ii) Modern novels by American authors which are mostly low quality literature and not a good example for readers – I cannot read these.
    No more than about 5% of the books were qood literature which is disappointing.

    In British English, we have developed over the past hundreds of years a richness of vocabulary which allows speakers and writers to choose a word on any occasion which expresses exactly what they want to say. One of the strengths of the English language is that you can achieve subtlety and precise expression by careful choice from a large number of words.

    I do not mean this in any chauvinistic way but simply out of concern that a powerful expressive language is being dumbed down in the world of text speak and emoticons.

    John

    • De AnDA

      Hi John. Its good to hear that you’re in the country. Your thesis on the pioneering British consul, what happened to it?
      The book market here is flooded with American titles. They’re cheaper and more visible. Local titles by homegrown writers are sold higher, which makes them less attractive, less read by a generation that’s highly influenced by American popular culture. The best selling books according to National Bookstore is the Twilight. What I want is for local writers to compete for better readership. I usually don’t like regularization but the government have to create an environment where Filipinos will be read first.

      • Anonymous

        I have completed my Masters’ dissertation on the appointment of British Vice-Consul Nicholas Loney and his work in Iloilo and Negros. I am pleased that it was very well received and I was awarded a mark of Distinction (in America, they call that Summa Cum Laude). I have contacted the Director of the Negros Museum in Bacolod City and offered to tell them all about it but I had no reply to my email so they are obviously not interested. That is a pity.

        A professor at Ateneo de Manila University is very interested so I am in contact with him. I had a message from the Tourist Officer of Iloilo City who said that he would contact local history societies for me but I have not heard anything more. In the UK, people are very interested in their heritage so the attitude here surprises me.

        For Filipiniana books to be read more, there must be encouragement to read and also promotion of culture. The Philippines has a long and interesting history going back before the Spanish arrived in 1521 (Magellan) or 1565 (Legazpi) but not enough official encouragement is given. People here are too interested in copying the very shallow and self-centred American Hollywood culture.

        When money and glamour start to be the main focus of interest, then moral values and concern for others suffer.

        John

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