Travelbook: Poems by Shane Carreon

Travelbook: Poems by Shane Carreon | 2013, University of the Philippines Press (book cover from

I’ve first encountered Shane Carreon when I was following the updates of the 52nd UP National Writers Workshop, of which she was a fellow. An essay on her poetics was posted, but I never got to finish reading it. So when I saw her poetry book in Powerbooks Shangri-La, I knew I had to get a copy.

The book’s contents is split in two: the first half contains her poetry while the other is her essay on her poetics (which I’m not sure is the same as the one I read before). The book’s introduction is by Merlie Alunan, Carreon’s mentor.

There are a few poems in Travelbook that really stand out among the others. My favorites are “the mice,” “Pulang Bato,” “Visits to Your Father,” and “A New.” Upon reading, those that come after “the mice” seemed to be more appealing to me. Carreon’s poetry greatly captures the stillness of many things, and a gentle voice is heard in these poems. As for the essay, it seemed like a review of the lessons on lit that I took in college, but it is enlightening nonetheless as it gives us a view of Carreon’s writing process.

Travelbook is a valuable contribution to Philippine lesbian literature, which is still in short supply. It’s also nice to hear newer voices in Philippine lit.


Supremo by Xi Zuq, illustrated by Al Estrella

Supremo by Xi Zuq, illustrated by Al Estrella | 2014, Adarna House Inc. (book cover from

I’m really glad to say that Philippine children’s lit is thriving, and Supremo is a testament to this. The story is about a grade schooler’s journey in running for the highest position in his school’s student council (I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own experiences in running for the student council). Moreover, the book pays tribute to one of the country’s rather underestimated heroes, Andres Bonifacio. Currently, Bonifacio is gaining more attention, and I’d like to think that Zuq’s Supremo is helping in realizing proper recognition of Bonifacio.

The book is great for children because it teaches the values of confidence, courage, and friendship. The story is nary a problem, of course–the protagonist, Andro, has a very powerful opponent, is running independently (though he has his bespren Miyo as his campaign manager), and isn’t a popular as the other kids to begin with. Plus, Andro is not as healthy as the other children–he has a weak heart. Though weak, his heart is big. He is set on running for Supremo, the student council’s highest position, in order to help others. Miyo and Andro are quite endearing. The book is also illustrated by Al Estrella, and the illustrations are charming.

The last time I read books for children was around two years ago, when I took a class on children’s lit. Supremo is the first children’s book I’ve read in a while, and I’m really satisfied with it.

I’m also on Goodreads! Follow my reviews here.

Updates, in Bullet Points

  • First things first–Happy New Year! And before you know it, 2015 will be over. I guarantee it.
  • I read my first post again and I am utterly embarrassed for not staying true to my own word. I actually have no legitimate excuse–it’s just plain and simple laziness. I’m so sorry, Lea from 2014.
  • And since I’m going through the cliche New Year motions, I’ve changed my blog name and blog address. It is now A Very Nice Mess. I want to start afresh, and I think that a new name (and a new theme) will help.
  • I am also planning to create another blog that will house my reviews for books, music, and film and it shall be called… booksmusicfilm, unless someone beats me to it. Yes, I’m creative. Very. (EDIT: I’ve decided to publish all my stuff here! Check out the menu above!)
  • And finally, here is a photo of me and my dog Nacho goofing around.