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Batangas: My Sky and Earth

An Intimate Recollection and Reflection of My Childhood in the Philippines

About the Book

When Bong Serrano learned that his older brother, Boying, had cancer, the notes he had jotted down about his childhood took on new meaning. Memories of his time with his family in the Philippines came rushing back. At the center of those memories were the precious moments he’d spent with his Kuya.

Faced with his brother’s impending death, Bong asked himself: “What if one day I lose my memories? Who will remember us?” Thus began Bong’s yearslong journey of immortalizing not only his childhood but also his country’s history and traditions.

Bong grew up in the southern province of Batangas, on Luzon Island. Batangas: My Sky and Earth is a celebration of that childhood. This memoir takes you into a world made rich by the intricate descriptions of life in the Philippines in the 1970s and ’80s, where the family unit is close, and many households are multigenerational. From family dynamics to church duties to delicious food and the inevitable annual typhoons, Bong invites you to experience his culture from the inside.

Throughout this memoir, Bong honours his childhood home and country and the memory of his beloved brother. The choice to interweave Tagalog throughout this book’s pages helps to steep the story in Filipino culture further. A whole village raised this boy, and as Bong looks back on his childhood, the lessons he learned come to the foreground: clarity, forgiveness, tradition, and love.

Author’s Note

This book is a work of love and memory, and I have done my best to be faithful to both. I have researched and included references to some historical events as well. Any errors, in fact, or of omission, are entirely my own.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Ateneo de Manila Scholarship Fund.

Lisa Fukushima skillfully edited this book, which has been published by FriesenPress in Canada and is distributed worldwide by Ingram Content Group.

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