BOOK TALK: Poetry, Memoir & Film at Philippine Expressions Bookshop
SAN PEDRO, California – Philippine Expressions Bookshop is hosting a post-Filipino American History Month event, “Poetry, Memoir & Film, and a segment for children, “Story and Activity Time.”
The event is on Saturday, Nov. 12, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Philippine Expressions Bookshop, 479 W Sixth Street, Suite 105 in the historic Arts District of San Pedro, the Port City of Los Angeles.
Originally scheduled in October to celebrate FAHM, Book Talk #12 features the poetry of immigrant rights advocate and California State Commissioner Cynthia Buiza, the World War II memoir of Ludy Ongkeko and a documentary on LA’s Filipinotown Mural by filmmaker, Joe Virata.
Filipina author, Norma Olizon-Chikiamko visits from the Philippines to share the story behind her award-winning book, Pan de Sal Saves the Day and to demonstrate a special ”sipa” craft from its new companion activity book. Eva Ybarra will read from her new book she has edited, My Poems: A Lifetime Collection of Poetry. written by Sis. Maria de Jesus Ybarra.
Cynthia Buiza, executive director of the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), will read from her debut poetry collection, The Future Is a Country I Do Not Live in, an intimate look at the lives, hopes, dreams and often brutal truths surrounding the immigrant experience. Boris Dralyuk, Editor-In-Chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books, describes the collection as delicate and uncompromising.
“Who leaves their [native land] to suffer and sacrifice so much if not to seek a better way of living and being? Poetry is the immigrant experience made visible,” says Buiza in an interview. She earned a master’s in International Affairs from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, with a concentration on human security studies. She also holds certificates from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Buiza currently serves as a California State Commissioner with the Little Hoover Commission and the CA100.
Educator, activist and organizer Joe Virata spent over 30 years pushing back against the restrictive structures of higher education administration. He served as Director of Asian Pacific Student Programs at Loyola Marymount University and UC Riverside, and completed his sojourn through higher education as Assistant Dean of Students.
An American born Pinoy, Virata has wrestled with finding identity while straddling two cultures. In his retirement years, he seeks ways to nurture creativity in his life. This exploration into CLAIMING SPACE: Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana: LA’s Historic Filipinotown Mural is an expression of community identity, place making and claiming space.
The project examines the HiFi Mural, its history in Historic Filipinotown, and the artist who designed it, and explores its impact as an example of cultural expression, an educational tool, a marker of place, and the largest, most iconic mural depicting the Filipino American experience in the US.
In Philippine HIstory, October is an important month. It was on October 17, 1944 when General Douglas MacArthur launched the Philippine Campaign of 1944-45 for the recapture and liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese invaders, and Lourdes J. Astraquillo Ongkeko, Ph. D, will talk about her book and experiences as a child during the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines, 1941-1945. Her book of memoirs is entitled A Child of World War II Writes: LOVE IS TIMELESS IN WAR AND IN PEACE: A Truth Beyond Compare.
A journalist, educator and author, Ongkeko received honors at school even at an early age not just for her writing, but also for her academic and oratorical skills. She completed her bachelor of science and arts degrees earned as a college scholar, a university accomplishment that led to her acceptance as a reporter on beat at the Manila Daily Bulletin in 1949.
She has been a columnist of Philippine News, an almost 60-year-old coast-to-coast weekly of which she has rendered a more than five-decade affiliation; she is a regular contributor to TheFilAm, a New York monthly. Ongkeko speaks six foreign languages, aside from eight Filipino homeland dialects, all different as night from day. As a mother of three, grandmother of six, and great grandmother of seven, she is thankful that writing has remained a virtual plus of her life.
Norma Olizon-Chikiamco writes for a leading newspaper in the Philippines and has written several cookbooks and books for children. She has received an Outstanding Journalism Award from the ANZ Chamber of Commerce and a National Book Award from the Manila Critics Circle. Her children’s book, Pan de Sal Saves the Day, won first prize in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, the most prestigious literary competition in the Philippines.
She will narrate a back story on the making of the character Pan de Sal and her friends Croissant, Danish, Muffin, Super Bread, Honey Bread, Bread Stick and Doughnut. She will also demonstrate how to make sipa, an old-fashioned toy that Filipino children loved to play with before the age of computers.
Eva Ybarra, a retired principal of the LA Unified School District where she had worked for 29 years, will speak briefly and read a poem from My Poems: A Lifetime Collection of Poetry, an engaging book of poems written by Sis. Maria de Jesus Ybarra throughout the course of her religious life. She was exposed to the discrimination of farmworkers and became an advocate of social justice as a member of the Dominican Sisters of Tacoma Congregation. Years after Sis. Maria passed away, her sister Eva edited and published her poems for all to enjoy. Proceeds from the sale of her book will benefit the Dominican Sisters of Tacoma.
This is Book Talk #12 in the Series. To view past programs, visit the bookshop’s FaceBook page or their website. The program is free and open to the public but confirm your attendance by registering thru Eventbrite: https://bit.ly/3t7kB9x
The Book Talk Series is part of the ongoing program of the bookshop in order to increase the visibility of FilAm and Filipino authors in the American literary scene, as well as increase awareness in the Fil Am community of our literary artists. Established in 1984, visit their online bookshop:www.philippinebookshop.com Email: [email protected] Tel Nos: 310-514-9139 Cell and 310-548-8148 landline. During this pandemic, the physical bookshop is open only on Saturdays from 2:00 – 6:00pm and by appointment. It is best to call first if you are more than 5 in a group. (Masks are no longer required to attend the in-person program.)