Lualhati Torres Bautista (born December 2, 1945) is one of the foremost Filipino female novelists in the history of contemporary Philippine Literature. Her novels include Dekada '70, Bata, Bata, Pa'no Ka Ginawa?, and ‘GAPÔ.
Bautista was born in Tondo, Manila, Philippines on December 2, 1945 to Esteban Bautista and Gloria Torres. She graduated from Emilio Jacinto Elementary School in 1958, and from Torres High School in 1962 being one of the brightest in her class. She was a journalism student at the Lyceum of the Philippines, but dropped out because she has always wanted to be a writer and schoolwork was robbing her of precious time to pursue her dream. Her first short story, Katugon ng Damdamin,<ref: Liwayway Magazine, November 17, 1963 issue> was published in Liwayway Magazine and thus started her writing career.Cite error: A tag is missing the closing (see the help page). Meanwhile, in 2015, Bautista launches another book entitled Sixty in the City which tackles life of three good friends Guia, Roda and Menang – who are in their mid-60s, realized that there's a good life out of being just a wife, mother and homemaker.
Two of Bautista's short stories won the Palanca Awards, namely "Tatlong Kwento ng Buhay ni Juan Candelabra" (Three Stories in the Life of Juan Candelabra), first prize, 1982; and "Buwan, Buwan, Hulugan mo Ako ng Sundang" (Moon, Moon, Drop Me a dagger), third prize, 1983. On 1991 Bautista with Cacho Publishing House, published her compilations of short stories entitled Buwan, Buwan, Hulugan Mo Ako ng Sundang: Dalawang Dekada ng Maiikling Kuwento.
Lualhati Bautista's venture as screenwriter produced several critically acclaimed works. Her first screenplay was Sakada (Seasonal Sugarcane Workers), 1976, which exposed the plight of Filipino peasants. Her second film was Kung Mahawi Man ang Ulap in 1984, which was nominated for awards in the Film Academy of the Philippines. One of her best screenplays, also written during the same year was Bulaklak ng City Jail based on her novel about imprisoned women, has won almost all awards for that year from various awards guilds including Star Awards and Metro Manila Film Festival. In 1998 her work was used for Chito Rono's film adaptation of Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa Starring Vilma Santos. In 2000 she even wrote Gusto Ko Nang Lumigaya the screenplay for Viva Films starring Pops Fernandez for Maryo J Delos Reyes political drama thriller.
She became a national fellow for fiction of the University of the Philippines Creative Writing Center in 1986. Bautista also served as vice-president of the Screenwriters Guild of the Philippines and chair of the Kapisanan ng mga Manunulat ng Nobelang Popular.
She was the only Filipino included in a book on foremost International Women Writers published in Japan in 1991.
Bautista was honored by the Ateneo Library of Women's Writings on March 10, 2004 during the 8th Annual Lecture on Vernacular Literature by Women. In 2005, the Feminist Centennial Film Festival presented her with a recognition award for her outstanding achievement in screenplay writing. In 2006, she was recipient of the Diwata Award for best writer by the 16th International Women's Film Festival of the UP Film Center.
Translations of her novels
Excerpts from Lualhati Bautista's novels have been anthologized in Tulikärpänen a book of short stories written by Filipino women published in Finland by The Finnish-Philippine Society (FPS), a non-governmental organization founded in 1988. Tulikärpänen was edited and translated by Riitta Vartti, et al. In Firefly: Writings by Various Authors, the English version of the Finnish collection, the excerpt from the Filipino novel Gapô was given the title "The Night in Olongapo" while the excerpt from Bata, Bata, Pa'no Ka Ginawa? was titled "Children's Party".
A full translation of Bautista's best works could better represent the characteristics of Filipino writing in international publishing. Dekada '70 has been translated to the Japanese language and was published by Mekong Publishing House in the early 1990's. Tatlong Kuwento ng Buhay ni Julian Candelabra, (ist prize, Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, 1983) was translated in English and published by The Lifted Brow in Australia.
- Sila At Ang Gabi: Isang Buong Laot at Kalahati ng Daigdig (1994)ISBN 9712703290
- Ang Babae sa Basag na Salamin (1994)ISBN 9716850328
- Araw ng mga PusoISBN 971685014X
- Apat Na ScreenplayISBN 9712704475
- Ang Kabilang Panig ng Bakod
- Hugot sa Sinapupunan
- Sumakay tayo sa buwan
- Sakada (Co-writer)
- Kung Mahawi Man ang Ulap
- Bulaklak sa City Jail
- Kadenang Bulaklak
- The Maricris Sioson Story
- Bata, Bata...Pa'no Ka Ginawa?: The Screenplay
- Dekada '70
- Gusto Ko Nang Lumigaya "Screenplay"
- Sex Object
- Isang Kabanata sa Libro ng Buhay ni Leilani Cruzaldo (Television drama)
- Dear Teacher (Co-writer)
- Daga sa Timba ng Tubig
- Pira-pirasong Pangarap
- Desaparesidos (1998)
- ^Sixty in the City, Lualhati Bautista, date retrieved: 4 July 2016
- ^"Buwan, Buwan, Hulugan Mo Ako ng Sundang". Goodreads. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
- ^Lualhati Bautista, Ateneo Library of Women's Writings, date retrieved: 27 May 2007
- ^Lualhati Torres Bautista: The Author, Geocities.com, date retrieved 27 May 2007]
- ^Firefly: Writings by Various Authors (Lualhati Bautista Translated into Finnish and English), Edited and Translated by Riitta Vartti, et al. Our Own Voice June 2001 (OOV Bookshelf 2001), date retrieved: 27 May 2007
- ^"Bata, Bata Pa'no Ka Ginawa? (Lea's Story): Title Page from Geocities.com". Archived from the original on October 27, 2009. Retrieved 2010-10-07. , date retrieved: 27 May 2007
- ^English Language Summary of Bata, Bata Pa'no Ka Ginawa? (Lea's Story) from Geocities.com, date retrieved: 27 May 2007
- ^Vartti, Riitta (editor). Preface to the Finnish anthology Tulikärpänen - filippiiniläisiä novelleja (Firefly - Filipino Short Stories), Kääntöpiiri: Helsinki, Finland 2001/2007, retrieved on: April 14, 2007
- ^"Metro Manila Film Festival:1984". IMDB. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
Author: Lualhati BautistaRating: ★★★★★
Then I picked up one of the books in my TBR, Bata, Bata...Pa'no Ka Ginawa?, last June 12 since it's Philippines' Independence Day, and I cannot help but write about it. I feel like I should. This is a deviation from my usual light fiction because this is actually pretty heavy stuff, a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, and very realistic. And this is also not a book that I would recommend to be read by everyone who can read in Filipino, especially by Filipinos... Unless you're old enough to know that life isn't black and white.
The literal translation of the book's title is Child, Child...How Were You Made? While this may extract snickers from the young, or eye-rolling from the old, the title's meaning actually goes deeper than that. It's more about how was the child made into a mature person, and what the experiences were of the child that led him to grow up into a mature person.
The book is written mainly in Filipino, with a mixture of English words and sentences. This mixture of the two languages is what we Filipinos call Taglish. Speaking in Filipino interlaced with English words is a common occurrence in the country, and if you know a Filipina or two, or have heard them speak, then you would know what I mean! I am writing my review in English because I have a lot of international readers, and the Filipinos I know who read my blog are also conversant in the language. Also because I want to invite the non-Filipinos to pick up the book and read if you can. I believe it is included in Firefly and translated into Finnish and English.
The book is centered around the life, and growth, of the main character, Lea Bustamante/de Lara/Gascon, a mother of two, to Roberto 'Ojie' de Lara and Natalia 'Maya' Gascon. The story is about her trials in being a mother of two, with her husband estranged from her; her trials having a second "husband" (live-in), with people talking about her and questioning her very young children about it; and her having to deal with her second husband's (Ding) mother. It talks about the choices she made as a mother, to make sure her children will grow up healthy and sure about themselves, that they know the truth about their parentage. Bata, Bata...Pa'no Ka Ginawa is also about the choices she made as a woman at a time when being a woman living with someone not her husband, and having a child with him, was still considered scandalous. It was about Lea making sure to continue to live her life for herself, to pursue her dreams and not lose who she is just because she was married, despite the various men in her life trying to control her.
This took place in the very messy Martial Law era in the Philippines, when we were under an oppressive regime and a lot of people who are outspoken against the Marcos government were found dead or declared missing.
Lea was a very outspoken and honest woman. She was honest with herself about her needs as a woman, both sexual and emotionally. She was also honest with her children that she loves both their maternal fathers, and she was honest about her marital condition. She was even requested to transfer one of her children to another school because it was considered scandalous that her children had different surnames. She stood up for herself and for her children's right to stay in that school. She was also part of the Martial Law movement, part of the human rights group that put up posters, attended symposiums, all to deplore and defend the human rights of the Filipinos in the 1980s.
Her life was pretty peaceful, until one day her estranged husband, Raffy de Lara, came back to Manila, and contacted her because he wanted to see their son, Ojie. This created mixed feelings in Lea because feelings she thought long-gone rose to the surface. This interfered with her relationship with Ding, who was insecure and afraid that she was going to cheat on him with Raffy. This also affected Ojie, who was torn between going with Raffy to the U.S. or to stay with Lea in the Philippines.
As Lea's relationship with Ding slowly deteriorated, she started to become attracted to her married co-worker Johnny, and they ended up having a one-night stand. The next day, Johnny was captured for his protests against the government and he was never seen again.
Both Raffy and Ding wanted Lea to quit working for the human rights group because they keep saying that the children need her, that she should just be a stay-at-home mom. Her children never asked that of her as she always made sure that she was there for them when they needed her and she always tried to make them happy. She even bought them a bike, which Ding rebuked her for saying that it was unsafe. Lea responded that they cannot forever prevent them from doing normal activities.
Bata, Bata...Pa'no Ka Ginawa was very refreshing for me, because while it involved romance and sex, the depiction of Lea was not some lovesick woman who cannot survive without a man (although she wanted one). Even with all her heartbreaks and disappointment, she stayed strong and was even optimistic about finding someone new again. Instead of getting browbeaten by the expectations of society and the controlling behavior of the men in her life, she stood up for her right as a woman, without compromising her role as a mother.
The characters in the story are very realistic. We have Raffy, a man who makes his own choices and does what he wants even if he has to leave his family; we have Ding, the more repressive kind who thinks women should just stay at home, and is a momma's boy; Ojie, a growing young man torn between wanting a father and yet knowing his mother is doing what's best for him; and Maya, a young preschool who knows more about real life than her peers do at that age. We have characters who have lost hope (such as the mother who committed suicide), men who think that just because a woman had sex with different men means she's "easy", people in position who try to do what they think is right, and in the end understands that Lea is so much more than her sexual history.
Lualhati Bautista has long been one of my favorite authors, since I read Gapo and Bulaklak sa City Jail because she always writes about the nitty-gritty of everyday life in the Philippines. Bata, Bata...Pa'no Ka Ginawa also aroused more curiosity in me about the Martial Law era because it happened before I was born, but my father was quite active at that time. My parents would sometimes tell us stories about it but I was never really interested, until I read in here that their fight was about the oppression and human rights violations. I am so glad that they fought alongside with majority of the Filipinos and that we are free (somewhat) from the ex-president's rule.
Bata, Bata...Pa'no Ka Ginawa made me smile and laugh while reading it, but in the end, I was actually sad because it dawned on me that no one writes like this anymore. Books nowadays are always light and fluffy, or too sexualized. This book also reminded me why Lualhati Bautista is one of my favorite authors.
I honestly don't think this should be forced to be read by high school students, or even in school. Maybe this could be recommended in college, but it's not a book that people who are not yet exposed to such realities would enjoy or understand. I think it needs a lot of self-honesty as well on the part of the reader, to be able to sympathize and understand Lea's choices.
I hope you enjoyed my review of Bata, Bata...Pa'no Ka Ginawa? and that you're somehow inspired to read it as well.