"...the instant before something comes into focus is more exciting than any sharp uncertainty...Photography, child, is about the passing of time. Capturing is the goal of literature. Timelessness is the task of music and painting. But a good photograph holds time just as a vase holds water. The water will evaporate and the vase becomes a memorial to it. What separates a snapshot from a masterpiece is that the latter is a metaphor for patience."- Miguel Syjuco, Illustrado
When I first started reading books from or about the Philippines, it was primarily to make sure I would appreciate the culture of such a unique part of the world that we had the opportunity to visit. By the time I had finished the second, I was already back in Lafayette and that did not matter a bit because I had stumbled onto a gem. Illustrado (a reference to the Filipino educated class during the Spanish colonial period) is about a student who explores the sudden death of his teacher Crispin Salvador who is a fictional "controversial lion of Philippine literature," and by doing so, explores 150 years of Philippine history along the way. This book was a great read during our trip and a welcome memory of our time in the Philippines when I finished it a couple weeks ago...so much so that I promised myself that I would jot it down for memory's sake.
I found this book in a local book shop called Solidaridad in Manila (photo below). I'll be honest. I bought it purely because of how it felt in my hand. I'll remember it for passages like those quoted above.