Ask and Ye Shall Receive

One of the things I hate about being away from the Philippines is that there is no easy way to get products I like that are exclusively sold there. When Raquel was still in the Philippines, I would ask her to buy me stuff and send it over to Australia via post. But ever since she moved here, I could only rely on my parents or my brother to do the buying and sending for me.

Sad to say, they are not that reliable when it comes to that. I would call them, text them and email them a list of items I’d like for them to buy and send over. They would acknowledge the request but it would soon be forgotten. Over the years, I’ve come to expect that my requests would eventually be forgotten. It’s a downer, really.

Just the other day, I read Bambi Harper’s Sense and Sensibility column on the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s website titled The ‘Ilustrado’ as Filipino where she talked about a new book written by Australian-based Filipino author Alfredo Roces.

The book is titled “Adios Patria Adorada: the Filipino as Ilustrado, the Ilustrado as Filipino” and was described by Harper in her column as follows:

“… whether the Ilustrados sincerely wanted independence for the good of the country or they wanted it so that they could take over the colonizer’s role. Did they collaborate first with the Spaniards, then with the Americans, then the Japanese and finally with the powers-that-be to fulfill this ambition? And is this the reason the country is in the mess it’s in now?”

I’ve always been intrigued by Philippine history and have bought several books on the subject and brought them with me to Australia. So after reading the column, I knew I wanted to own and read Roces’s book. But the only way to do that is to have somebody from the Philippines buy it for me and post it to me. Uh-oh, I thought. Given my family’s track record, I had to find another way to get my hands on this book.

So, I looked on the Internet if it was available to order online. It wasn’t, as far as I know. The websites for bookstores in the Philippines do not list the book as being available. The book’s publisher, DLSU Press, didn’t respond to my email regarding the availability and distribution of the book.

I told Raquel about the problem and she suggested that we ask her father to buy the book instead. I have really nothing to lose at that point. We texted her father the book details yesterday. Today, he went off to Manila to look for the book.

According to Harper, there were only 500 copies of the book! What were the publishers thinking?!

“De La Salle Press officials claim that they generally sell only 500 copies of their publications. Considering their student body, this is a rather depressing figure. But even worse is the thought that so few would have a chance to understand the Ilustrado and his real contribution to this country.”

Given that there were limited copies of the book, we doubt that it would be available in the regular book outlets so Raquel told her father to try going to La Salle on Taft Avenue, Manila first. When he got there, the security guard at the gate stopped him from entering the campus. The guard called somebody from the DLSU Press to talk to Raquel’s dad. Thankfully, Raquel’s dad was able to get a copy of the book from the DLSU Press staff for 420 Pesos.

Now, I have a copy of the book. Well, actually, Raquel’s father has the book but he texted us that he would send it via post soon. I couldn’t believe how quickly Raquel’s dad got the book for us. I really appreciate it! It now makes me think about the next time. Would I ask my brother to buy me something? Or do I just nicely ask Raquel’s father again instead?

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Published in: on February 10, 2006 at 11:38 am  Leave a Comment  

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