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Fourteen Love Stories

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This is a selection of fourteen of the most memorable stories in English written by Filipinos over the past eight decades, since Paz Marquez Benitez's "Dead Stars" was published in 1925. Thus they span a range of times and tempers, celebrating the many kinds of love, and delineating the many ways of falling in and out of it.

122 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2004

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About the author

José Y. Dalisay Jr.

39 books61 followers
Dr. José Y. Dalisay Jr. (Butch Dalisay to readers of his "Penman" column in the Philippine STAR) was born in Romblon, Philippines in 1954.

As of January 2006, he had published 15 books of his stories, plays, and essays, with five of those books receiving the National Book Award from the Manila Critics Circle. In 1998, he was named to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Centennial Honors List for his work as a playwright and fictionist.

He graduated from the University of the Philippines in 1984 (AB English, cum laude ), the University of Michigan (MFA, 1988) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (PhD English, 1991). He teaches English and Creative Writing as a full professor at the University of the Philippines, where he also serves as coordinator of the creative writing program and as an Associate of the UP Institute of Creative Writing. After serving as chairman of the English Department, he became Vice President for Public Affairs of the UP System from May 2003 to February 2005.

Among his distinctions, he has won 16 Palanca Awards in five genres (entering the Palanca Hall of Fame in 2000), five Cultural Center of the Philippines awards for playwriting, and Famas, Urian, Star and Catholic Film awards and citations for his screenplays. He was named one of The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of 1993 for his creative writing. He has been a Fulbright, Hawthornden, David TK Wong, Rockefeller, and British Council fellow.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Profile Image for Rhena.
12 reviews8 followers
March 29, 2013
Originally posted on Snapshot Inkblot Whatnot

Whether we are its readers or writers, a love story is invested with many guilty pleasures. We remember our own lives, when we are lovers and had lovers. We imagine having the strength, or the weakness, to yield to the uncharted and the forbidden. We wish for a love to take us away from the reality of the present. We relish the encounter, taking it on with recklessness and youthful abandon. Our pulse rushes and our throats tighten. We feel a dull ache. The story takes us, and we fall in love, literary predilections be damned.

This is an excerpt from the Introduction of Fourteen Love Stories, an anthology of stories written by Filipinos. Its first featured story, Dead Stars by Paz Marquez Benitez, was our book club's "book/story of the month" for February and so when Bennard chanced upon a copy in NBS-Katipunan, he immediately bought it. I have read Dead Stars back in high school but since it's only sixteen pages long, why not refresh my memory, right? Besides, when we read a story a second or third time, we tend to find new details we might have overlooked the first time, or discover a new interpretation based on new experiences we've undergone since our last encounter with the said story. So I read it again and, true enough, I got to relive past emotions and more--feelings that were incomprehensible to my high schooler version who only thought of coming up with a reflection essay for English 2.

After finishing the first story, I decided to move on to the second. It was far shorter at six pages and since I got nothing better to do that afternoon, I gave Midsummer by Manuel Arguilla a try. You can guess that I liked it too since I eventually read all fourteen stories. It became my little commemoration of the love month and turned out to be Filipino literature appreciation. What rating did I bestow upon it? Five stars, no questions asked.

The stories were arranged chronologically, giving the reader a sense of traveling through time while witnessing the evolution of Filipino love--from conservative styles of courtship to forbidden love affairs. In the first stories, pastoral setting plays an important role as backdrop for these traditional love stories. There are also stories focusing on ethnic customs, showing how diverse we are as a people. One common ground among these earlier set of stories is how Filipinos are greatly intertwined with the community, submitting to (or in some other stories' case, undergoing some extreme contemplation before finally deciding against) society's norms even at the expense of one's own happiness.

Gilda Cordero-Fernando's The Dust Monster marks the start of the new age, with new style and new atmosphere employed. From hereon, stories are more modern, more influenced by Western tradition. Instead of the focus on setting and society, there begins an emphasis on the character itself and the meanings suggested by his/her most mundane activities. From earlier practice of wide viewpoint, the lens now zooms in and tries to capture the quiver of the hand or the drawing of a smile. From being old-fashioned and conventional, new liberal ideas now pervades--first move by the girl; illicit affairs; relationships which defy distance, age, and all social norms.

Reading this selection edited by Jose Dalisay Jr. and Angelo Lacuesta, I am overcome by a sense of pride that these great articles of work are written by fellow countrymen. All stories succeeded in evoking emotions and in making me stop a moment each time I finish one, to ponder and let everything simmer down.

My heart swelled with kilig when Jaymie and Ami of Weight spontaneously drove to Baguio that night, recognizing with unspoken agreement that they are not anymore mere coworkers or travel companions, but something far better.

My ears perked up as I eavesdrop on Katherine and German boyfriend Isaak's long distance calls, giggling like crazy at one minute, then slowly realizing my growing sadness the next--the clash of cultures between the two protagonists I am rooting for in the story Breathe can never be.

My mind wandered with the narrator of Passengers as he went down memory lane and fast-forwarded to futuristic possibilities of the multiverse--both of which involve him and his past lover happily together.

My whole body shook with the sensation not unlike that of getting stabbed in the heart as I watched with Lumnay the wedding dance of her husband, Awiyao, who is marrying off another girl because Lumnay can't bear him a child. What makes the pain more excruciating is the fact that Awiyao is doing it out of duty and the dictations of their tribe despite the love he still holds for Lumnay.

And to think those I've mentioned only comprise a part. I urge you to read it too and revel in the brilliantly written works of Filipinos and the spectrum of emotions they entail.
Profile Image for Carljoe Javier.
Author 17 books32 followers
November 2, 2011
Fourteen Love Stories is a collection that spans not only the various kinds of love, but also serves as a survey of the Philippine Short Story in English. From treasured classics like 
“Dead Stars” and “Tanabata’s Wife” to newer works, one can read the book and witness the development of the short story, as authors adopt different techniques, settings, and ways of storytelling.

On a personal level, I found myself revisiting stories that I had read and studied as an undergraduate. But coming to them a little older, a little more knowing of the world, and a little more scarred and beaten by love, I came to appreciate the bitterness and the sweetness in the stories. “Wedding Dance” and its great conflict, its loss and its depth of emotion finally got to me (I’d studied it in a class, but thought, eh, they’re breaking up, so what?). I rediscovered “The Dust Monster,” one of the stories featured in a comic book project I had worked on, as an all-around errand boy. I can still remember Robert Magnusson’s wonderful renderings of the character, and returning to the source material here I got to further appreciate how good that story is. A reading of “Passengers” by Luis Katigbak yielded not only a chance to go back to a writer who I’ve admired for a really long time, but really an opportunity to experience all those things that not only Luis but that the short story has to offer, those small vignettes that deliver big, big emotions.

There are a lot of great stories in this collection and at the same time it also leads to me thinking of stories and stories that belong in there too. Any good anthology does that I think, makes us think of other stories, makes us remember other great experiences with literature. This slim volume helps to introduce great stories to those who are looking for an entry point to Philippine literature, while providing people like me who teach and write a nice volume of stories to look back at and share. Really that’s what I feel about this collection, it’s something to be enjoyed, and then shared, because these are stories that can be read, enjoyed, and talked about over and over. I’ve been reading and discussing some of these stories since I was an undergrad, and some of these stories were new to me, and I can’t help but admit, I don’t think these stories will ever get old. They way they were written might feel dated at times, but the sentiment, the emotion, and the skill involved, are all fresh and all find ways to mean something new with further readings.
1 review
January 26, 2022
this is a good start to read
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Anne.
330 reviews101 followers
March 14, 2016
I've just read "Dead Stars" by Paz Marquez Benitez a while ago. However, I can't borrow the book in the library anymore because the sem's almost over. I'll read it the first thing next month. I'm so excited to read the rest of the book, especially since I learned that a story from Gilda Cordero-Fernando and Aida Rivera Ford are included! I swear I'll buy mountains of books next semester from the UP Press.

Dead Stars. Four stars. Although written in third person (which blurs between limited and omniscient), it was very lyrical in style. I've read in the introduction of the anthology that this was published in 1925; furthermore, that Paz Marquez Benitez was educated under the Americans. So it's not really surprising that she wrote very fluidly in this language. I don't have much to say about the writing, because it's quite beautiful. The story revolved around Alfredo Salazar - and his character seemed so familiar, so real, as though I knew him personally. This is what I like about reading Filipiniana novels (thank goodness I've realized the beauty of our own literature before it's too late), they are so close to the heart. The characters really underwent a great development in a span of a few pages, especially Alfredo Salazar. I daresay Julia Salas seemed to be the least developed, and at times she appeared too 2-dimensional. I'll definitely re-read this next month and see if my perspective of this will change.
Profile Image for Ron.
362 reviews
April 21, 2016
Wonderful stories. I would be re-reading this before the year ends.
Profile Image for Patricia.
69 reviews3 followers
November 3, 2016
It has been a while since I've read good literature, diving into this has felt like I was given another chance to breathe. "A Normal Life" was definitely my favorite among all of them.
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