Las Yslas Filipinas in the World

San Diego Public Library

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                       

CONTACT:    Marc Chery



Central Library Hosts “Las Filipinas in the World” Book Discussion Series

San Diego, CA… The San Diego Public Library will host a Filipino Book Discussion Series: Las Filipinas in the World featuring professor John Blanco of UCSD’s Literature Department in conjunction with the 2014 One Book One San Diego annual reading campaign at 6:30 pm on four consecutive Mondays between October 6 and November 3 at the San Diego Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common, located at 330 Park Blvd in downtown San Diego. Monstress, the 2014 One Book One San Diego selection by rising literary star Lysley Tenorio, is a book of quirky short stories set amongst Filipino-American communities in California and the Philippines, a thrilling debut collection of vibrant Filipino-American life.

The series will feature books by both Filipino and Filipino American writers, including the history-making Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) by Filipino national hero José Rizal which inspired the Filipino revolution and helped create a unified Filipino national identity. The series title Las Filipinas in the World speaks to the many complexities about the Philippines in the age of empire: over 350 years of Spanish colonization, English and Tagalog as official languages, most Christian country in Asia (the old cliché), etc.  And the word “Filipinas” in English refers to women instead of the country as it does in Spanish. The books in the series are:

October 6, 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) and El Filibusterismo (Reign of Greed) by José Rizal

Professor Blanco begins the series with a discussion of the influence of Rizal’s books and their central role in the Filipino literary tradition. Come hear why Noli Me Tangere and its sequel El Filbusterismo are required reading for high school students in the Philippines. More than a century after its publication, Noli Me Tangere remains the most important Filipino novel ever published, and the most succinct symbolic drama of the Philippines at a crossroads between a decaying Spanish empire and the rise of European and U.S. imperialisms in Southeast Asia.

October 20, 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Tagalog Literature: Florante at Laura

Discussion of one of the masterpieces of Filipino literature, the epic poem: The History of Florante and Laura in the Kingdom of Albania (Pinagdaanang Buhay nina Florante at Laura sa Kahariang Albanya). Originally written in Tagalog by Filipino national poet Francisco Balagtas in 1838 while he was imprisoned by the Spanish colonial rulers.  Balagtas is so greatly revered in the Philippines that the term for Filipino debate in extemporaneous verse is named after him: Balagtasan.

October 27, 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Male Filipino American Writers

Professor Blanco discusses two classic works by Filipino diaspora writers:  America is in the Heart (1946) by pioneering Asian-American poet, novelist, and labor organizer Carlos Bulosan; and  The Man Who (Thought He) Looked Like Robert Taylor (1983) by Bienvenido Santos, an important novel about the personal and emotional experiences of Filipino migrants in the U.S.

November 3, 6:30 – 8:00

Filipina Voices: Three Works by Filipina American Writers  

Discussion of the works of three Filipina American writers including American Book Award recipient and human rights activist Ninotchka Rosca (State of War, 1988), celebrated novelist and playwright Jessica Hagerdorn (Dogeaters, 1990), and Palanca Award winner Marivi Soliven (Mango Bride, 2013).

Dr. Blanco is a professor of comparative literature, Spanish, and cultural studies at UCSD. His research interests concern the colonial roots of globalization between the 16th-19th centuries. His courses engage with these themes in and through the study of Philippine, Latin American, Caribbean, and US minority literatures and cultures (religious, political, and artistic). Widely published, he is the author of Frontier Constitutions: Christianity and Colonial Empire in the Nineteenth Century Philippines. Visit him at:

Library cardholders who would like to read the books in the series prior to the talks may borrow them from the San Diego Public Library. Online versions of Noli Me Tangere in the original Spanish, English, and Tagalog may be found at

One Book One San Diego is an eight-year-old partnership between KPBS, San Diego Public Library, and San Diego County Library designed to bring the community together through a shared experience of reading and discussing the same book.  One Book is made possible by the Linden Root Dickinson Foundation, Lloyd Pest Control, the Cubic Corporation, the Henry Fox Foundation, and the San Diego Public Library Foundation.

Learn about One Book One San Diego and other programs at the San Diego Public Library’s Central Library and 35 branches, find links to numerous additional resources, or search for materials in the Library’s catalog online at

Inspiring lifelong learning through connections to knowledge and each other


Las Filipinas 1014 pr


About jdblanco

is a denizen of San Diego, a border city that has never mustered the courage to embrace its uniqueness as such. It gathers in the world's diasporas with all their idiosyncratic ways of reinventing the idea of an imperial melting pot, and scatters them across this Great Pacific stretch. I work at the local university, researching the cartographies of non-Western modernity between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries, and I teach literature and culture courses on the wild side of enlightenment: from the conquest of the Americas and the Philippines to the cultures of Orientalism and the baroque in modern literature. I love music, laughter, and philosophy (in that order), I do yoga, my wife is a novelist, and my daughter just blew almost a year's worth of allowance on an American Girl doll.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s