Thursday, May 05, 2011

Dogeaters- An Abstract Painting of Philippines

This novel is like a collection of short stories. They are a bunch of stories that make up a novel. I’m not making any sense with the first two sentences. But I understand that this is really a mesmerizing novel (or collection of short stories). Whatever.

And I guess that’s the concept of this novel. Jessica Hagedorn painted with words a human and social landscape of the capital of the Philippines, highlighting the morals and evils of conflicting worlds and parallel lives of the people in this country where the movies the are the promised real life and politics provide entertainment, corruption and abuse of power are remote and virtual realities, where squeaky clean appearances are a virtue and lewd behavior is tolerable quasi normal.  

Again, I’m not making any sense but I do have a full understanding of what I’m saying!

Welcome to Manila, a ruckus and wild metropolitan. The author portrayed Manila and the Philippine culture in its entirety during the 70’s through the eyes of different persons- drug dependent actress, social climber Pucha Gonzaga, a pimp, a male prostitute, a rebel, a gullible daughter of the richest couple of the country, a delusional First Lady, talent-less aspiring actor Romeo Rosales, and Rio Gonzaga, the feisty and precocious school girl who is the main protagonist in this wild story would live in America.

It’s interesting to see my country from the perspective of those who look at it from the top, of those who are unconsciously destroying it as they are driven by their lust for power and oblivious dreams of grandeur, of those who are plainly pathetic and stupid, of those who live in Tondo and the slums, of those who live in Forbes Park, and of those who really care about the nation.

The novel will entertain you, make you laugh, at times make you angry, and at times it will make you sad. Probably because all in all, it is a tragic story, our history. It has always been, it is, and hopefully, it will never be again.

The author Jessica Hagedorn

What’s disturbing about it is that the plot of the story was set in the 70’s, but Jessica Hagedorn seemed as if she was writing our present time because it seems like nothing has changed! Same old system, same old mentality, same old harlots, and same old culture. It’s scarily amazing. When I was reading it, I felt like reading a modern version of Noli Me Tangere and El Fili, except that we are not oppressed by the Spanish colonizers but by our own fellow Filipinos.

Dogeaters will entertain you and shout at you to wake up, to open your eyes and see the realities and push you to do something, and to move your heart and inspire you that love for country is needed for its redemption.

Hagedorn is one of America’s literary genius.


  1. Funny, I've read this book 15 years ago, and we were assigned to come up a term paper on this. True nothing much has changed since the Marcoses reigned, what's worse is that a foreigner has fully understood the culture's origin and reading it is like a heavy slap on the face of the Filipinoes, we really need to come to our senses! Let's not watch others corrupt our country as we die striving for a better life!
    Tsk. Tsk!

  2. hjello sir, thanks for dropping by. babalik ako dito sa weekend heheh


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