Title: Bakit Baligtad Magbasa Ng Libro Ang Mga Pilipino
Author: Bob Ong
The sequel to Bob Ong’s first book “ABNKKBSNPLAko?!” entitled Bakit Baligtad Magbasa ng libro ang mga Pilipino was published by Visual Print Enterprises in 2002.
It is an anthology of short stories, experiences, commentaries and self-reflections about the Filipino Culture, either positive or negative.
The literary pieces featured and compiled in the book were made by numerous authors that were submitted in Bob Ong’s award-winning website entitled “Bob Ong Pinoy”. These texts serves as an eye-opener to each and every Filipino, especially those who are ignorant on the issues regarding our race, language, beliefs, traditions, and government.
Sadly the website cannot be viewed today for it was taken down after Edsa II.
Bob Ong’s use of words in the title is clever and captivating, enrapturing the people to want to read further and discover the hidden meanings of the book. To understand the meaning of the title though, readers should not take it in a literal sense, but rather in a critical way, to see that it is not about how Filipinos read a book backwards but rather it’s about how Filipinos do what is not expected of them.
Concrete examples written in the book is when some Filipinos see different signages, and instead of following what is written or projected, they sometimes do the actual opposite and not abide the rules.
Another case is when Filipinos choose to work overseas instead of serving their own countrymen.
While reading the book you’ll infer that it is a reflection of what our culture looked like in the past and somehow looks like right now.
You’ll see that the author’s approach in this section was both humorous and nostalgic for he showcased the culture of the Filipinos by providing his own experiences from when he was still a child who likes to play “tumbang preso”, “tex”, “holens”, “sumpak at sumpit”, “pitik bulak”, “luksong baka”, “luksong tinik” and “tagu-taguan” and up to the stage of adulthood where one type of culture he faced revolves around being a passenger of the famous Filipino vehicle, the jeepney.
This is where he witnessed the different types of jeepney drivers, and also different passengers who are labeled by the society as “jologs” and “conyo”.
Another trait exhibited by the Filipino people in this kind of setting is the system of “Sakay na! MALUWAG PA, APAT PA APAT PA!!!” even though you clearly see that there is no available space left. In addition, many Filipinos can relate on having elders that believe on different types of sayings.
Some examples that were mentioned by the author is if you played in the evening you’ll probably step on an unknown or invisible creatures, if you pickpocket, your hand will rot and if you will not behave, you’ll be put in Santa’s naughty list.
Even though the first part of the written piece is wistful and entertaining, Bob Ong also exposed the readers to the different problems the Filipinos faced and are still facing up to this date. The thing is, the Filipinos gets backlash and criticisms from the other countries because they view Philippines as a place ridden of hellish concerns, from the climate, government, traffic, massive unemployment, inhumane poverty, tradition of mediocrity, lack of patriotism and the way of living itself, and the stories and self-reflections shared in the 2nd part of the book by different authors reflect the said issues.
One of them who had a pen name “1delacruise” shared his own experience on meeting a Filipino who is ashamed of his own race and pretended to be someone he is not.
Barth Suretsky also gave his insights about how the Philippine government was incompetent in solving the problems that arose after World War II. Instead of conducting appropriate measures to help those who were in need, they used this situation at their advantage and only prioritized themselves.
Another note-worthy story written in the piece was made by Bob Ong himself.
There, he featured the affairs on poverty in the Philippines, by discussing the way of living in the Philippines. This is where he emphasized that a rich person can satisfy his/her needs easily while those who are not that well-off does drastic measures just to survive.
Overall the author of the book did a splendid job in conveying and making us realize that the problems we are experiencing in our daily lives is minuscule compared to what our society really faces.
It broadened our horizons and made us cognizant about the ins and outs of society, wherein most Filipinos are ignorant on. This book is also a remembrance of our lives in the past, how instead of spending our days going out and having fun with friends and family, even strangers sometimes, and making genuine conversations, without all of the complications that the internet brings, we are cooped up in our room, using only the internet, or electronic devices as our companion/s.
With that being said, we can’t help but prefer a life where the internet does not prevail.
And finally we realized that many Filipinos, including us, do not give our country the love and patronage it deserves. Instances where this happens is when we discourage ourselves from buying and utilizing our own products/services for we think that any local goods or utilities are low quality especially compared to international brands.
Another one is when some Filipinos do not exercise their rights to vote, when clearly this concerns the whole country.
And last but not the least, when some of our countrymen, as mentioned above, are ashamed of their own roots, and tries to hide their true identity to not be labeled all the bad things/words the Filipinos are recognized as.
This book is not just entertaining but it is also an epiphany and we recommend it to everyone who wants to be enlightened with the different issues and affairs in the Philippines.
We salute the author and rate his book a staggering 5/5 stars, a pat in the back should also be given to the people who submitted their literary pieces, a job well done, everyone!
About the Writers and How Do they See Themselves 10 years from Now
Cris James M. Antonio, Student – Pasig City Science Highschool
“Still a kid with lots to learn and always begins with the end in mind”
I see myself 10 years from now, working on with the projects offered to me and has a blueprint for the future house I will live with the ones I love as I became a licensed Civil Engineer. Not just always hungry for food but as well always hungry to learn. Lastly, a human being everlastingly grateful and faithful to GOD.
Kenneth T. Tulad, Student – Pasig City Science Highschool
“A woman who loves to dream, but never forgets to live”
“Ten years from now I’d still be myself, I’ll bet a little older, but also a whole lot smarter, wiser and better as a person. I’d make my family, friends proud of what I’ve become and will pay patronage for they are the reason for my success. I’ll be a woman of principle and faith. ”