i love f.

by Evans Yonson

Barcelona – When my former office transferred to Luneta (formerly Bagumbayan, where Philippine national hero, José Rizal was shot), I got to feel the real heart of Manila. Ermita and Malate sudenly became my favorite place to hang out with friends especially Robinson’s Place. This mall occupies half of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital grounds. On one side of this block, the street is called Padre Faura, a Jesuit-priest who founded the Manila Observatory. This street stretches from the Paco Park (where some human parts of Rizal are interred) all the way to Roxas Boulevard (formerly Dewey Boulevard). In one corner is a bookstore called La Solidaridad, owned and managed by F. Sionil Jose. Francisco Sionil Jose is probably the most prolific Filipino fiction writer in English. His books on the Rosales saga is a must-read for all Filipinos but it was in Sin: A Novel that I fell in love with F. I must admit I have never entered this little corner bookstore. But thanks to Amazon, I have bought all F. Sionil Jose’s works.  Today, I will be citing some quotes from the essays and novels of F.

“Indeed time has that ultimate capacity to render the passions of the past when recalled in the present as no more than grandiloquent gestures.” (Sin: A Novel)

“This was one lesson that the war taught me – that every event in time presents opportunities that are recognizable only to those with enough sensibility to see them, that it is possible to thrive in adversity in the needs of the rulers are pandered to.” (Sin: A Novel)

“I believe in humanity – not just you or Mother, but all mankind. Do I sound like a preacher or a cheap politician making a pretty speech? This is not what I intend to do…

I believe in life, that it is sweet and that, for all its occasional bitterness, we-man, that is-are headed toward something better – fulfillment. There is much shame, however, and so much hypocrisy around us and these inhibit our fulfillment as human beings.” — F. Sionil José (My Brother, My Executioner (Rosales Saga, #3))

“We write from life and call it literature, and literature lives because we are in it.” — F. Sionil José (In Search of the Word: Selected Essays of F. Sionil Jose)

“Life is holy and it is for all of us. God’s design, I cannot understand myself and I never will, but I do know that what we are experiencing now will pass and in the end we will all be brothers, not just blood brothers, as we are, but brothers in spirit. Neither you nor I can change the world or human nature and we can only aim at changing attitudes – and perhaps teach those who have so much to give a portion of their blessings to those who have less.” — F. Sionil José (My Brother, My Executioner (Rosales Saga, #3))

“The obscenities of this country are not girls like you. It is the poverty which is obscene, and the criminal irresponsibility of the leaders who make this poverty a deadening reality. The obscenities in this country are the places of the rich, the new hotels made at the expense of the people, the hospitals where the poor die when they get sick because they don’t have the money either for medicines or services. It is only in this light that the real definition of obscenity should be made.”
— F. Sionil José (Ermita: A Filipino Novel)

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