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Chulalongkorn's Elephants: The Philippines in Asian History (Looking Back #4)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  72 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
"Chulalongkorn’s elephants are the bronze elephants the King of Siam gave to Singapore and Java as gifts during his travels in 1871. I met the Singapore elephant first as I traced Rizal’s footsteps and found a reference to it in his diary. It was upon meeting next the Jakarta elephant that prompted me to compile this collection of essays that begins and ends with an elepha ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published 2011 by Anvil Publishing, Inc.
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K.D. Absolutely
Dec 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: pinoy, history, english, series
Thailand is one of the countries that I had the opportunity to visit the most. Along with Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, my previous and current employers sent me to these countries for business many times that when I finally had enough frequent-flyer mileage, I was able to bring my family to go with me. I estimated my trips to Thailand around 20 times (4 of which with my family at tow). I now can commute around the city without fear of getting lost and I could still remember some conversati ...more
Michael Gerald
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I bought this book at the Manila International Book Fair at the Mall of Asia last year. What made this book memorable was Ambeth Ocampo himself was in the place when I bought it, so I got to have the book signed by him and even had a short conversation and a photo taken.

Although the book is a far cry from his previous books because of its small size, the contents are what really matter. It's another must-read. I really liked the piece about the Philippine Commonwealth's help to Jewish refugees
Aries Eroles
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Less satirical, more serious. This is what the first leaf till the last contains. And Ambeth Ocampo already made that clear on his introduction that this issue is quite different from its previous.

However, like in his previous, Ambeth's writing style of surprising connections and unexpected revelations is still manifested in this book.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I got a free copy of the book when I attended Ambeth Ocampo's lecture ("Parricide in Paris: Juan Luna in His Paintings") at the National Museum today. The book is a bit different from the usual 19th century history that Dr. Ocampo usually writes about, as the topics of his essays varies from pre-history, colonial Philippines, even the Commonwealth years and World War II. I read the two-thirds of the book on my homeward commute (very long trips) and I couldn't help but giggle while poring over it ...more
JL Torres
Aug 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I first read a book by Ambeth Ocampo when I stumbled upon Rizal Without the Overcoat in our high school library. I got immediately hooked. It presented tidbits of interesting facts about Rizal that would normally not be mentioned in a dreary classroom setting.

Ocampo’s approach to move the historical subject off the pedestal continues in this slim volume. The subject was not one personage, but scattered historical connections he was able to glimpse off his travels abroad. By and by he was able t
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
About Philippines and Other Asian Countries history and how they linked.
"History? Fun? Yes! History, after all, is a collection of stories, complete with characters, settings and plots. History, in Filipino, is “kasaysayan,” which means “salaysay na may saysay.” That translates to 'meaningful stories.' People like stories, right? More so if they bring meaning to them. Some of these stories can be found in the Looking Back series by Ambeth Ocampo." Continue reading our post here.

Please note: We don't use ratings but for this purpose, we tag books with three stars by
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite books so far in the Looking Back series
Tet Roberts
Jan 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays, history
Very inspiring historic essays, a joy to read and very helpful to understand Philppines’ past.
Oct 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I appreciate how Ambeth discusses history in a conversational and compelling manner. Unlike textbooks and essays that talks too seriously, Ambeth's works are engaging because it has a pinch of humor into it. Most of the people don't want to read history written in a very serious tone! If history is written too "academically", it would deliver its reader to boredom. No wonder why many people hate reading history.

This book offers fresh tidbits of history to its readers. The works here spanned from
Matthew Lopez
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book when it was released during a lecture on Rizal in 2011. This is more serious book because instead of the usual social commentaries of our heroes, it harkens towards the Philippine role in Southeast Asian and East Asian history in terms of commerce, politics, foreign relations and even word etymology.
Trixie Garvida
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
This different from the previous books of this series, not only because of the lack of a Rizal essay, but also because Philippine history is viewed with respect to surrounding countries. Still informative and a must read.
Jan 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Admittedly not as good as his other books, but still it gets 3 stars for enlightening (most agreeably!) this reader about her country's history.
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Lamberto R. Ocampo better known as Ambeth R. Ocampo (b. 1961) is Filipino historian, academic, journalist, cultural administrator and author best known for his writings about Philippines' national hero José Rizal, and for his bi-weekly editorial page column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, "Looking Back." He became the Chairman of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in 2002 unti ...more
More about Ambeth R. Ocampo

Other books in the series

Looking Back (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Looking Back
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Death by Garrote
  • Rizal's Teeth, Bonifacio's Bones
  • Prehistoric Philippines
  • Storm Chasers (Looking Back 7)
  • Virgin of Balintawak (Looking Back 8)
  • Two Lunas, Two Mabinis (Looking Back #10)
  • Demonyo Tables: History in Artifacts (Looking Back 9)
  • Independence X6 (Looking Back #11)