Serrano family portrait featuring (from left): daughters Evelyn, Josie, Susan, parents Pining and Cayo, Bong, daughter Majel, and Boying. Taken at Arce Subdivision, Batangas City, on September 12, 1967.

Vancouver Author’s New Memoir Celebrates Filipino Roots, Heritage, and Culture

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Batangas: My Sky and Earth Honours Bong Serrano’s Late Brother While Fuelling Pride and Nostalgia Among Expats

VANCOUVER, CANADA, Dec. 1, 2023 — Vancouver-based author Bong Serrano is proud to officially release his new memoir, Batangas: My Sky and Earth.

Written as a heartfelt tribute to his late brother, Kuya Boying, who succumbed to kidney cancer in 2014, Serrano’s debut work provides readers with a unique opportunity to delve into the rich culture and traditions of the Province of Batangas, Serrano’s childhood home on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. For one of the world’s largest diaspora populations, the meticulously researched book will fuel pride and fond memories of Filipino and Batangueño life and culture.

Batangas: My Sky and Earth book cover
The book cover of Batangas: My Sky and Earth

“Publishing this testament to the most memorable times of my life fills me with emotions ranging from sheer excitement to a profound sense of fulfillment,” Serrano says. “Reflecting upon my childhood has been a labour of love, and I feel a deep sense of satisfaction in knowing that I have done it justice. Ultimately, I wanted to ensure that my precious memories of Batangas, and of our time together as a family with my dear late brother, would not vanish when I too am gone.”

Click the photos to reveal their captions.

Batangas: My Sky and Earth paints a deeply personal portrait of the people, culture, and traditions that shaped Serrano’s formative years. It transports readers to a bygone era as it explores the landscapes and experiences of a child’s life unfolding in a little-known subdivision atop a hill. The memoir shares the universally relatable joys, challenges, and growth of Serrano’s childhood, while celebrating the inspiring love, guidance, forgiveness, and resilience of the surrounding community. It is a tale of connection, remembrance, and the power of storytelling to illuminate the rich tapestry of our shared human experience.

“This is a remarkable and engaging book on several levels,” said Howie Severino, one of the Philippines’ most decorated journalists. “In remembering granular details of growing up, the author evokes a time and place in the tradition of the best memoirs. This book is important not just to a close-knit family but to anyone interested in Batangas in the 1960s and 70s. Colorful descriptions such as the sounds of mahjong tiles, and how the author’s grandmother had the common, and harmful, habit of smoking cigarettes with the lit end in her mouth, add vividness to the writing. If you’re of a certain age, references like these will bathe you in nostalgia. If you’re much younger than the author and I, this book will make you regret missing that era before mobile phones and social media, when kids still gathered in kitchens listening to an elder’s stories, and teens looked at the same lyrics in a magazine while singing along to a live guitar.” (Read Severino’s full endorsement from the link below.)

Through Serrano’s partnership with FriesenPress, Batangas: My Sky and Earth is being distributed in hardcover, paperback, and digital editions through a global network of online booksellers:

“I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to connect with others through my words, to touch their lives, and hopefully to leave a lasting impact,” Serrano said. “With each page turned and each reader immersed in my narrative, I hope to evoke a sense of nostalgia, spark conversations, and inspire reflection and joy.”

A portion of the proceeds from sales of Batangas: My Sky and Earth will be donated to the Ateneo de Manila Scholarship Fund, which aids deserving but financially challenged students in the university’s Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, among other departments.

For review copies, excerpt opportunities, and media inquiries, please call Serrano directly at +1 (604) 716-5233, or email him at

About Bong Serrano

Bong Serrano lives in Vancouver with his partner of 30 years and loves engaging with good stories, listening to music, taking long walks along the seawall, and cooking adobo when he’s not watching Asian dramas. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram, and read his blog at

Editor’s Note: This post was originally sent as an attachment to the email pitch entitled, “Filipino Expat’s New Memoir Provides Heartfelt Complement to Global Celebration of His Homeland’s Heritage and Culture,” and addressed to media outlets worldwide on November 29, 2023.

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