Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book


Rate this book
Marty always believed the lab-grown foods he helped produce were miraculous. But in his childhood home of Lucban, real miracles are occurring: artificial food is being transformed into delicious, sustaining produce. As he visits the home he left behind, the vibrant and colorful festival jerks him into a past he both hungers for and wants to forget.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

20 pages, ebook

First published August 12, 2015

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Isabel Yap

33 books184 followers
Isabel Yap writes fiction and poetry, works in the tech industry, and drinks lots of tea. She grew up in the Philippines, and has lived in San Francisco, the Bay Area, Boston, and London.

In 2013 she received her degree in Marketing from Santa Clara University, and also attended the Clarion Writers Workshop. In 2020 she obtained her MBA from Harvard Business School. She likes reading manga, playing videogames, taking photos of her smash-faced dog, and eating excellent ramen.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
15 (9%)
4 stars
40 (25%)
3 stars
77 (49%)
2 stars
21 (13%)
1 star
2 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,978 reviews170k followers
August 8, 2018

He remembers thinking, It can’t be a miracle, because we’ve already INVENTED the miracle.

science, nature, and religion all weigh in on the matter of food. in this near-future philippines, natural food'll kill ya, with all of its diseases and toxins, while bioengineered food is safe and oh-so-delicious, just like real food! i mean, listen to this:

Marty takes a bite of the roasted chicken. It’s delicious. He feels a swell of pride. He helped make these things. Not directly—that was the research team’s job – but he handled most of the exports and imports that provided the raw materials for their meats. After the lockout with China he had shifted grudgingly to more expensive vendors in Vietnam, only to realize that their bio-plasticine millet (BPM) adhered to flavorants more easily, and could be molded into more convincing shapes. Chicken and tuna, in particular, could be replicated using Vietnamese BPM for a cheaper unit cost, and San Miguel was quickly able to launch a new line of canned goods, labeled: More nutritious. Extra-delicious!

convincing, no? bring on the flavorants!!!

it's interesting to take a step back and consider which is the real miracle - that food springs forth from the ground, ready to eat, full of all the nutrients we need to keep us healthy, or that it can be created in a lab, "nearly" as good as the real thing.

good energy, good for leaving hooks in your brain, medium three for me.

i'm determined to continue reining myself in on this SHORT REVIEWS FOR SHORT STORIES path i'm on, although even with these rules in place i STILL managed to leave last week's free tor short unreviewed. time to get it together, brissette!

in a minute.

read it for yourself here:


come to my blog!
Profile Image for Jen .
2,543 reviews27 followers
July 16, 2021
Milagroso by Isabel Yap

Sad and probably true how our future will be re: synthetic food. Listened to this read by the ever velvet voiced Mr. LeVar Burton. 3, can we get a more cheerful, less depressing story next time, stars.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Melki.
5,785 reviews2,340 followers
March 7, 2016
“Real food! Real food! Real veggies, real fruit!”

Imagine - food created in a lab that is healthy, safe and won't make you fat.

Marty remembers the great glass houses they passed on their way to Lucban, lining the fields stretched beneath Mt. Banahaw. Piles of corn and rice, endless rows of pineapple and root crop, stewing in their meticulously engineered domes, more delicious than nature could ever make them. Simply more than God could ever make them.

Would you even miss the real stuff?

Aling Merrigold nods and swallows a spoonful of milkfish relleno. Marty watches her, satisfied. It doesn’t matter that the milkfish is made of the same thing as the chicken, the rice, the vegetables. They look different, taste different, and have the same high nutritional content. They’re better for everyone.

It's food for thought (sorry!), anyway.
Profile Image for Chrysten Lofton.
362 reviews32 followers
July 24, 2021
4.0⭐ “And then I can tell all the kids in my class they’ll be jealous because they’ve never eaten yummy real food, and they never will.”


♡ LBR 2021♡

It’s LeVar Burton Reads season 9, and we’re gifted with "Milagroso" by Isabel Yap.

I know I’ve pumped out a few reviews all at once, and it’s because I’ve been marathoning LBR this week (first real time I’ve had in months!). And while I got these done in a rush, I fully insist that this story is one to spend time with.

There are some things we can lose forever, that we can’t afford to lose. Food, real and nutritious, is one of them. This story is an act of gratitude.

If we lose the bees, this might be it for us.

That last scene knocked the air out of lungs.

Thanks for reading and If you wanna chat about the latest LBR episodes, hit me up in the comments and meet us at the LeVar Burton Reads: The Official Community on Facebook.

- 📚☕♥

Goodreads Official Star Representation

5 - It was amazing
4 - I really liked it
3 - I liked it
2 - It was okay
1 - Did not like it.
Profile Image for Kat.
783 reviews27 followers
June 21, 2022
This book was so thought provoking!
Profile Image for Nancy.
1,400 reviews34 followers
August 16, 2021
Milagroso means "miracle" and that is what Marty is looking for as he returns to his hometown in the Philippines with his family. Marty is a selfish scientist who helps engineer synthetic food and had turned his back on his dying elderly father, only coming back for an annual festival that promises a special phenomenon of real food being transformed from fake food. The miracle occurs and he is torn as to whether he will allow his children to eat the authentic fruit, as he and others are so brainwashed that synthetic food is better.
April 28, 2019
Como será a nossa alimentação no futuro? Já deve ter passado pelas nossas cabeças entender como a indústria alimentícia vai manter as necessidades da população ao mesmo tempo em que imagina uma forma mais saudável para que elas se manifestem. Viveremos de sementes, de comidas orgânicas ou os alimentos serão mais práticos assim como nossos pratos de macarrão instantâneo de todos os dias? Isabel Yap cria uma narrativa muito interessante ao se questionar sobre o que é melhor: um alimento natural e orgânico ou algo que passou por uma transformação industrial para se adequar às massas.

A história é contada pela perspectiva de Marty, um homem que ajudou a inovar o mercado de alimentos ao criar praticidade e saúde para isto. Os alimentos agora podem ser comprados em pacotes simples, bastando pouco tempo para serem feitos. Mesmo pratos sofisticados podem ser adquiridos. E todos eles foram manipulados geneticamente para se adequarem às necessidades alimentícias dos seres humanos. Mas, isto é feito à custa do paladar. É uma invenção revolucionária, mas o gosto se torna praticamente igual para todos os alimentos. Na visão de Marty é um pequeno preço a ser pago por uma revolução na forma de consumir.

Milagroso tem uma série de pequenas críticas sociais inseridas. Por exemplo, apesar de os alimentos serem de alta tecnologia e voltado para atender às massas, ainda não é um tipo de coisa acessível a todos. Os preços são elevados, e como quase não há mais alimentos orgânicos, pessoas mais pobres não conseguem adquiri-los. A crítica é ótima porque revela que não importa o quanto coloquemos tecnologia e o quanto desejemos ampliar o alcance dos alimentos, a desigualdade social é algo intrínseco a tudo. Observamos os acontecimentos se desenrolando em uma pequena vila nas Filipinas. E vemos o quanto as pessoas tem dificuldade para conseguir adquirir alimentação básica.

A questão central tem a ver com a dicotomia entre alimentação saudável x alimentação saborosa. O que preferimos? Hoje fala-se muito em inserir propriedades genéticas em alimentos para fazer com que eles sejam mais benéficos para o nosso organismo. É algo ainda da ficção científica, mas são estudos que avançam todos os anos. Teríamos coragem de abandonar o princípio do paladar em prol de uma vida saudável? Nessa história a autora mostra claramente o quanto é importante o bom paladar para as pessoas. E que se alimentar tem muito mais do que somente se preocupar com vitamina A ou vitamina K. É um baile de sabores que dançam em nossos sistemas digestivos.
Profile Image for Storm.
1,983 reviews3 followers
November 23, 2021
Collected in Never Have I Ever and also lovingly narrated by Geordi from Star Trek: The Next Generation, in LeVar Burton Reads. Philosophy, science and religion collide when Marty brings his family back to his hometown of Lucban to witness the miracle where artificial, "safe" synthetic food is transformed into delicious "real" food. He's always thought his job as a bio-engineer who designs cheap, safe food for the masses is a good one. But it's been a long time since they've tasted real food ...

On the minus side, those unfamiliar with Tagalog (the language of the Philippines) will not understand some of the words here as they are not defined by the author and we are left to figure out the meaning of them based on context. This is a particular pet peeve of mine and I hate it. It didn't affect me much (coming from Asia and knowing some of those words already) but as I review this I realize a lot of those from the wider audience will have no clue.

On the plus side this illustrates a current dilemma - we now have all kinds of genetically modified foods that most people are unknowingly consuming from corn, tomatoes and other produce, to artificial growth hormone injected meat of all types. How is a person supposed to tell if their corn flakes or pastries or corn on the cob is non-GMO or GMO corn?? Hence there's a war to label them even, but honestly a lot of consumers don't read labels and it wouldn't help anyway unless the person is super health conscious or on a diet ... right?

Personally I hate the new beefsteak tomatoes as they might be large and even in color but most are tasteless compared to organic heirloom tomatoes. But I have to admit GMO corn is firmer and sweeter than natural corn, so I'm torn here. The story does nothing but make this dilemma even more difficult, I wouldn't even know how to choose. The only thing I know is now, I'm hungry.
Profile Image for Marina.
133 reviews31 followers
September 20, 2021
My ears were blessed by the voice of LeVar Burton reading off this story of family and miracles.

How can you invent a miracle? When is it worth praising?
Profile Image for anna.
347 reviews
January 23, 2021
gorgeous cover. reminds me of ishiguro's short, the gourmet re food politics and philosophy.
Profile Image for Susana.
916 reviews172 followers
April 24, 2021
Historia muy corta, futurista.

Un concepto interesante: la oportunidad de los pobres de comer, aunque sea comida artificial, en una fiesta. Los riesgos siempre son los mismos ante el hambre.
Profile Image for Heather.
845 reviews6 followers
July 16, 2021
I had the luxury of listening to LeVar Burton read this.
I found it to be extremely unique.
Profile Image for lila.
183 reviews2 followers
May 9, 2022
one more that i heard on mr. levar burton's podcast!! couldn't get into the story, but loved the narration!!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
456 reviews35 followers
August 14, 2015
I got too caught up in the (I'm guessing) tagalog to really enjoy the story. It took me three tries to realize that Mang Kikoy is some sort of hired hand - more than a butler but not family. And Marty's actual family (besides his wife and children) are conspicuously absent, despite his stated desire to see them.

Regardless of that, the notion of all of our food being replaced by bioengineered millet is not all that sci-fi. But I find it highly unlikely that *everything* will be replaced eventually. Of course, this is the Philippines, where farmland is more scarce than in the US. But it is definitely thought provoking.
Profile Image for Marco.
1,116 reviews48 followers
January 2, 2016
This short story would fit perfectly in a (Windup Girl) Paolo Bacigalupi's anthology because of its themes and its plot. It is set in a future where all the food is lab grown and lab produced. Then, one day, something unexpected starts occurring: during a religious procession, the lab grown food is turned into the real one. The "miracle" deeply shakes the faith in science of Marty, and brings up back long forgotten memories from his childhood.
An interesting read, I am looking forward reading more of this author.
Profile Image for Kinsey_m.
346 reviews5 followers
October 5, 2015
Interesting short about a future where no natural foods are available and have been substituted by engineered food which is almost, but not quite, as good as the real thing. The action takes place during a traditional festival in the Philippines. My only complaint is that it is quite confusing, at least to begin with, provably due to my lack of knowledge about the culture in the Philippines, but a bit more inobstrusive explanation would have gone a long way in improving the story.
Profile Image for Maggie Gordon.
1,896 reviews133 followers
May 16, 2016
A quick and focused look at human reactions to food politics in the future. How would people feel about "real" food when we have access to perfectly safe, expertly balanced, manufactured food? Is artificial something we can easily get behind? Throw in some unexplained miracles and you have the beginnings of an interesting story. I would love to see this one expanded into a novel.
Profile Image for Amy.
713 reviews9 followers
February 22, 2016
The story gives an interesting look at food in the future. Real food, with all its health issues, vs. vat-grown totally-safe artificial stuff.
Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.