Batangas: My Sky and Earth hardcover

From Sunset to Book Cover: The Journey of a Memoir

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Exciting news! The print version of my childhood memoir, Batangas: My Sky and Earth, is now in production with the publisher. While we wait for its release, I wanted to share a bit about my publishing journey so far, starting with the process of choosing the book cover.

One day, I posted a photograph of a sunset on Facebook and received a meaningful comment from a beloved elder and neighbor. She said it looked just like the sunset we used to see from our neighborhood on the hilltop in Batangas City. Sadly, that view is now completely obscured by housing developments and urbanization. But the comment sparked an idea in me: why not use this image for the cover of my book, as a tribute to the place where I grew up?

Amazingly, the photograph was taken from one of my sunsets here in Vancouver, where I have lived for the last 25 years. It’s a beautiful reminder that even though I am far from home, my memories and experiences in Batangas still shape who I am today.

One chapter of my book, titled “Ang Buról” (The Hill), reflects on the changes in Batangas over the years. Here’s an excerpt:

“Today, the hill is no more; the view of the breathtaking sunset from Batangas Bay is obstructed, overtaken by structures and housing developments, and there are no traces of the three mounds and the valley beneath the buról.

The small hill exists only in our memories now, each one a precious moment recounted by those who played on what once was this wonderful place my childhood friends and I fondly called ‘Ang buról.’”

As for the back cover, I wanted to include testimonials from people who have read and enjoyed my book. Here are a few quotes:

“Bong Serrano’s musings in ‘Batangas’ beautifully evoke memories for Filipinos and take them on a journey down memory lane. His narration weaves an intricate tale of his life journey in an idyllic province filled with playgrounds, corner stores, and narrow streets leading to majestic mountains and bustling creeks. As a Batangueño myself, his vivid recollections from childhood to adolescence deeply resonate with me.”

—Celeste Dimaculangan, a childhood schoolmate

“Bong Serrano’s writing is a captivating journey that not only illuminates his personal experiences but also brings to life the rustic and familiar places of Batangas. His rich storytelling style effortlessly transports me back to ‘Old Town Batangas,’ reacquainting me with long forgotten yet recognizable faces of our contemporaries.”

—Roberto David Loyola, a family friend

I’m thrilled to be publishing with FriesenPress in 2023, and I can’t wait to share my book with you all. Stay tuned for updates on its release!






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