Astigirl: The Journey of the Contemporary Filipina

Palanca award-winning writer Tweet Sering’s new book <em>Astigirl</em> had our SPOT.ph blogger laughing out loud, cringing with sympathy, and thinking about her own journey.

Palanca award-winning writer Tweet Sering’s Astigirl


Last November I saw a film called Third World Happy primarily because I was morbidly curious: I wanted to see if Sam Milby could pull off something more than his regular pa-cute routine. Go ahead and call me skeptical, but I had seen some of Sam Milby's past work and I was never thoroughly impressed. I wanted to see Sam in a different light and in this quietly personal film by director EJ Salcedo, he was pretty convincing as the lost balikbayan coming home to face his past.

But for me the real surprise in Third World Happy was Palanca-award winning writer Tweet Sering playing a quirky funeral parlor doyenne-part muse, part disillusioned poet-with a penchant for contemporary literature on her yosi break. Tweet and Sam have random and poignant intellectual exchanges in a funeral parlor and while she is not quite part of the film's plot, her character was unexpectedly interesting and subtly portrayed. The strong, intelligent female character tracing her own path resonated with the audience.

Someone once told me there's a need to chronicle the journey of the contemporary Filipina. And now Tweet Sering has written a book about "a grown girl living on her own terms" and has published it herself. (Check out her blog astigirl.blogspot.com) How's that for indie spirit?

I started reading Astigirl when I got home on a Tuesday night and had gone through half of it by one a.m. Then I woke up at half past seven and started reading again. By lunch I had finished it. The strange woman in the film had written a funny, honest, and heartfelt book about her life. She writes about politics and heartbreak, art and film-among other things-in a way that engrossed me, which I haven't been in a while. I was laughing out loud, cringing with sympathy, and inevitably thinking about my own journey and how I would survive it.

 

 

Tweet Sering. Photo by Mark Meily.


In Astigirl, the movie character is rendered fully human. Tweet Sering very bravely bares her flaws and frailty but does it with humor and honesty in equal doses. She succeeds in making her personal journey compelling because she does not hold back on the page. Generous in her revelations and insightful with her realizations, she will laugh at herself but find the central lesson and apply it. As in the film, she is a distinct voice audible over the noise of the workaday world. In this book, that voice is even clearer and wonderful to hear.

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I cannot wait to see this memoir adapted into a film.

 

Astigirl is available at Powerbooks Greenbelt 4 and Alabang Town Center for P799 (hardbound) and P585 (paperback). For bulk orders contact 0999-4712082. For more information about Tweet Sering and Astigirl, e-mail be.astig@yahoo.com.ph or tweet.sering@gmail.com.


Kano: An American and His Harem is on an extended run at the U-View Basement Theater of Fully Booked! Every Tuesday in April, 7.30 pm. For more details, click here.

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