Local Modern Authors Spell Wit, Humor

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - Centuries have passed since the first book was printed in the Philippines, but things stay relatively the same today: people still devour the written word - whether in traditional or digital form - in between shuffling songs on their iPods and web surfing.

Unfortunately, most of us get to encounter classic Filipino reads such as those by acclaimed authors N. V. M. Gonzales, Nick Joaquin, F. Sionil Jose and Genoveva Edroza-Matute in school once or twice, unfortunately never to be read again mainly due to the arrival of famous book series by foreign fantasy story authors such as J. K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, and George R. R. Martin. While they did help in making the kids drop their game consoles and peel their eyes away from the screen even for a bit, they unwittingly took their attention from the countless books written by Filipino authors.

However, in recent years, it can be observed that there is a renewed interest in Philippine literature. There are more new genres such as flash fiction (stories that are often less than 500 words) and speculative fiction (stories that combine science fiction with fantasy and horror), and more brilliant authors who have yet to get recognition from the reading public.

From the roster of numerous modern Filipino writers, three have managed to rise above the rest due to their witty, humorous and often sarcastic and unapologetic works that only Filipinos could get: Bob Ong, Eros Atalia and Jessica Zafra. Arguably, they are the most popular Filipino authors today, specifically to the college kids and yuppies.

The first thing one would learn upon doing a quick Google search on Bob Ong is that the mystery of his true identity remains unsolved even by his avid followers. But that doesn't matter much, because his books remain popular and in print even though some of them were published as early as 2001. …