I met Ms Janina Gillian Santos at Visprint’s WIT 2 event. Thanks for the support, Janina! She reviews my short story collection on Dibuho Pilipinas.
Before I actually met the author, I’ve already read one of her works in Philippine Speculative Fiction. It was a story called Monster. Honestly, I really did not pay attention to the writer’s name, but what I found out was she has a thing for taking creatures of Philippine Mythology and spinning humanity into them. This is what caught made me re-read Monster several times. It reminded me of another Filipino work I enjoyed – the indie film Yanggaw. In Eliza Victoria’s world, even aswangs go online and surf the Internet. They work for a living. They party, drink beer, and do drugs. They fall in love. Not the typical portrayal in mainstream media that’s already kaskas.
I remember Ms. Eliza wearing a cute dress and tights when I first saw her. I thought she was funny and girly. Her stories, however, are anything but. They remind me of twisted fairy tales. One particular story was An Abduction by Mermaids, which starts out with an apathetic guy working in a newspaper office. He gets a call from his mom who tells him that his sister has been abducted by mermaid. Guess what happens? Of course, the main character has to go on a quest, but it isn’t a quest you’d be prepared for. It doesn’t end with happily ever after either. It seems that none of Ms. Eliza’s stories do. Actually, they don’t seem to end at all. I guess I would never cease to wonder what would happen to David Cruz, whose sister was supposedly kidnapped by mermaids. Or how it was possible for all the dead of a small town to rise from the grave and live again. Or if business deals with gods and goddesses were really as brutal as Ms. Eliza portrayed.
Truth be told, it was the second time I’ve read the book, but I couldn’t really resist flipping through the 197-page volume again.
You can read the rest of her review here.