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Syjuco Uses his Novel to Awaken the People of the Philippines

Hamid Farahmandian, Arburim Iseni


The Philippines, it might be said, is a country in search of an identity. Its colonial Spanish rulers brought with them the Roman Catholic Church, making the archipelago the largest Christian state in Asia. Adherence to church doctrine has given the country one of the world‘s higher birth rates, but the church's moral teachings haven't made much of an impact. Having a mistress is de rigueur for political figures. Young prostitutes ply their trade in Manila's strip clubs, then go to Mass on Sunday. After the Spanish departed, the Americans left their mark. ―We will become American, says Cristo, one of the characters in Miguel Syjuco's ambitious new novel about the Philippines. ―Our children will learn to speak American. When they are ready, we will send them to America to be educated.

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