The Trilogy of Saint Lazarus, consisting of The Archipelago, Telex Moon, and Sunlight on Broken Stones, and hailed by local and international critics as the greatest modern epic poetry in the English language confirms Bautista's position as the foremost Filipino poet today.
Cirilo F. Bautista is Professor Emeritus of Literature at De La Salle University-Manila. A poet, novelist, essayist and critic, he has published books of poetry, fiction, criticism for which he has won such awards as the Philippine Centennial Literary Prize and Palanca Hall of Fame. He is a resident of Quezon City with his wife, Rose Marie Jimenez Bautista and together, they raised their three children.
One of the books that makes me feel proud as a Filipino.
In my two or three years of voracious reading with distinct focus on local contemporary literature, there is nothing like this book. It is written in English in beautiful, intellectually-stimulating verses. While it can sometimes be difficult to understand, it is a joy to read and never bored me. It is like reading Ulysses (5 stars) by James Joyce. You know you are not probably getting what the author is trying to communicate but you can deduce whatever you interpretation you get from what you are reading. In the end, the book becomes personal: you take whatever you can. At the end of my reading this trilogy, I felt proud of my heritage. Philippines has a rich history of culture and tradition. Its freedom was fought for my many valiant heroes against the colonizers. When Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese sailor, landed in one of the islands in the Philippines in 1521, Lapu-Lapu a fierce chieftain resisted his order and killed him. It was the first time a Filipino fought for his freedom and all the rest followed. Even up to now, whenever there is a threat to our national sovereignty, Filipinos just don't accept foreign domination. We can become silent at times but when push comes to shove, we know how to speak up, fight and even die for what we believe is right. Not only for ourselves but most especially to the generations to come.
This is a brilliant book by the newest addition to the National Artists of the Philippines for Literature. Cirilo Bautista deserves all the accolades and I thought that the award had been long overdue. I felt that way after reading this book.
Only genius could write this book. Only authors with vast knowledge in Philippine history and current events can put a story told in verse like this. Only Filipinos with deep-seated love for our country could pull something like this beautiful, beautiful book.
Read this and be proud. We are Filipinos. First and foremost, we ought to prioritize reading our own books!
Proud to be Pinoy. Congratulations, Sir Cirilo Bautista!