Reading Filipino in 2019

December 19, 2019 - - No comments


In August of this year, RomanceClass did a challenge to read/watch/listen to Filipino creations, and we had a bingo card for it. I participated here as much as I could but didn’t include my selections in my regular reading list. Some of these are quick reads, essays, not in English, or not books at all, and I wasn’t sure how to consolidate that with my reading list which is mostly romance and/or in English (because that’s professional development you see).

This exercise lets me dip into other genres, and other communities, that aren’t usually part of my reading. Doing that has been both encouraging and a kick to the gut. Knowing that a work exists to fit even the most specific prompt on a bingo card, but then also realizing that I only went looking for it for the first time in my life because of a specific prompt on a bingo card.

Every single year, several times a year, a Filipino creator will question the lack of support they get, and when they do, IMMEDIATELY ASK THEM TO TALK ABOUT THE KIND OF SUPPORT THEY GIVE. Some creators say “community” when they mean “customer.” I have had to explain many times that I don’t mind being seen as a customer. I am one! I buy and read and support! I also get to opt out when the work is mediocre as what may happen when the creator is out of touch with their audience. I’ve needed to navigate this as a creator myself. The kind of work this requires means anyone who does it recognizes when people are only pretending to do it. We’ve had to learn to be honest when we say “community,” or see through the pretense when faced with it, to find real community and real support. If this at all feels familiar, it’s okay to sit down and just be a consumer also. Maybe we shouldn’t be leaders of everything.

For this bingo card challenge I was primarily a customer, but I hope the card (that Tara Frejas made) and what #RomanceClass authors and readers posted on Twitter helped these books and works find their homes and audiences. Here’s what I was able to do:

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About Mina

Mina V. Esguerra writes and publishes romance novels. She founded #RomanceClass, a community of Filipino authors of romance in English.
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