|A collection of Resil B. Mojares books|
In the first few weeks of August in 2019, the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale was in Cebu City. As a reader and collector, I spent a considerable amount of time visiting the book fair; browsing through their inventory.
In one of my afternoon book hunts, I was rummaging through a section of second-hand books when I looked across the table and saw Resil B. Mojares. Mr. Mojares is an eminent scholar, historian, and writer who is based in Cebu. He originally came from Mindanao but transferred to Cebu for his University education. He started working as a journalist and was even imprisoned during the first days of the proclamation of Martial Law in 1972.
He was eventually released and shortly thereafter settled in a teaching career with the University of San Carlos. He was instrumental in the creation of the Cebuano Studies Center in the same university. Professor Mojares was honored as National Artist of the Philippines for Literature in 2018.
When I first saw Professor Mojares that afternoon, it took a while for my brain to connect the dots. I was trying to figure out where I have met him. When it finally dawned on me who he was, I was awe-struck and a little surprised to find that he also enjoys reading fiction books.
I surreptitiously tried to check what titles he was buying. I so wanted to approach him and have a photo taken with him but I respected his alone time. When you see fellow bookworms busy digging into mountains of books, you would understand their focus and concentration. When I went back the following day, I saw professor Mojares again. But, still, I wasn't able to muster the courage to approach him. That decision I regretted afterward.
|The War Against Americans, The Feast of the Santo Nino, and Casa Gorordo in Cebu|
My first two Resil B. Mojares books focused on Cebuano History, "Casa Gorordo in Cebu" and "The Feast of the Santo Nino" which I bought from the Casa Gorordo Museum shop in 2018. At around this time, I was slowly building up my Filipiniana book collection.
The next Mojares book that I purchased happened a few months later in a National Bookstore, "Interrogations in Philippine Cultural History". It's a compilation of his Ateneo de Manila lectures. In one of his essays in the book, he described Nick Joaquin (Quijano de Manila) as a "Devil's Advocate" because of Joaquin's propensity to go "against the grain" and holding fast, staying true to his beliefs and personality which one could decipher in his writings.
During the first Big Bad Wolf Book Sale in Cebu in 2018, they invited local publishers to set-up booths. One of the publishers was selling copies of "The War against the American: Resistance and Collaboration in Cebu 1899-1906". I added this book to my haul that day. There's a chapter dedicated to the beginnings of Sergio Osmena and while reading through it, I discovered that Osmena did not fight against the Spanish Colonial Government. In fact, he was even awarded the Medalla de Merito Civil by the local colonial government. That tidbit was quite a surprise for me.
Recently, Shopee sponsored the Aklatan Book Fair which featured several Philippine publishers. I was able to add two more Resil B. Mojares books from Anvil: "Isabelo's Archive" and "House of Memory".
Professor Mojares' writing style, whether in his personal essays or historical musings as conveyed in "Isabelo's Archive" and "House of Memory", is uncomplicated and effortless. Similar to Nick Joaquin, Mojares embodies the type of historian that Teodoro Agoncillo championed, "he must have the literary ability to make the past live again for the readers".
|House of Memory, Interrogations in Philippine Cultural History, and Isabelo's Archive|
Agoncillo, Teodoro A, “Literature as History,” https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/teodoro-a-agoncillo/#literature