Friday, March 10, 2006

I hold in my hand the new book by Katrin de Guia, Kapwa: The Self in Others published by Anvil.

This book is dedicated to Ver Enriquez. He passed away in San Francisco, 1994. He was traveling from Manila enroute to U of Michigan to take up a teaching post there. He had been ill the months before but refused to submit to hospital procedures for diagnosis. By the time he arrived in SFO, he was too ill to continue on to Michigan; he was hospitalized and diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer and died a week later. We had a beautiful memorial for him before his remains were flown back to Mla. To many of us, he will always be an ancestral spirit who guides our lives towards decolonization and reaffirmation of our Filipino Loob.

I first heard about Katrin from Ver. He told stories about mentoring a German woman living in the Philippines as she worked through a ph.d. program in Sikolohiyang Pilipino. It is all a blur to me now what he might have said exactly about Katrin being in the program. He told me many more stories I couldn't put together until much later; he just told them as if I had been an audience to a saga going on at the University of the philippines - which I wasn't. I relished his trust though, for telling me.

Now I hold KAPWA in my hands -- and I see the impact of Sikolohiyang Pilipino -- it is a beautifully designed book: art work by Filipino culture-bearers; KAtrin's personal narrative interwoven with her scholarly exploration of Kapwa, Pakikiramdam, Loob, Dangal, Paninindigan -- as core cultural concepts; how these values are lived and made manifest in the art of Filipino culture-bearers. She features the work of Kidlat Tahimik, Roberto VIllanueva, Angel Shaw, Rene Aquitania, and others.

Mila, Katrin's friend who forwarded the book to me said: "this book will hold you even as you hold it." How true! This book is more than a text; it is an experience. Thank you, Katrin!

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