This is one of those required readings for Filipino subjects in high school that I actually liked. With its plot's bones carefully molded at the joints to strongly deliver the meat that is the philosophy of the story, this is a good medley of social and political commentaries (Marxism?), a coming-of-age tale backdropped by the modern portrait of poverty and violence, and a touching romantic epiphany. It struck a chord with me when I first read it, partially because I felt the setting's description is spot-on (I grew up in Tundo for more than half of my life), and partially because I can identify with the character's main concerns. I enjoyed it a lot. :) I think a reread is in order.