Dive Into a Steampunk-Colonial Manila in This New YA Novel By a Pinoy Author

Let Alinam bring you to a Manila you could have never imagined.

ILLUSTRATION War Espejo

(SPOT.ph) Imagine a Manila that is part-steampunk, part-folkloric, part-Spanish colonial, and more. This is the world of Alinam, an alternate city that you can discover in Alinam: Diego Domingo and the Mandato Ruiz, a new young-adult novel written by Mickey Ingles. It set to be released in September.

PHOTO Summit Books / Alinam
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The story follows the character of Diego Domingo, a shy student who is used to just blending in. He lives in our version of Manila but is suddenly thrown into the strange, alternate world called Alinam (get it?) together with his best friend Luis and "It" girl Sophia. Alinam is a city where magic is real, and where a rebellion led by mythical creatures is brewing against the tyrannical governor-general.

The three then end up crossing paths with a mysterious figure from Philippine history who just happens to be leading a secret resistance to prevent civil war. And what follows is an epic tale as Diego, Luis, and Sophia try to make their way home, not realizing that their journey could change the fate of both worlds forever. 

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A map of the not-so-fictional Alinam. Check out the Gisap River!
PHOTO Summit Books / Alinam

"This 1898 map of Manila caught my imagination. I started wondering what actually happened in those streets," said author Mickey Ingles about what inspired his debut work in a statement. You might remember his name from the 2012 bar exams—he was a topnotcher—and this fantasy YA novel is his first foray into publishing.

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Alinam has been in Ingles' head since 2009; a full three years before he became a fully-fledged attorney. It was one of his escapes as he was studying for bar and it continued to be throughout his career as a lawyer. The book takes inspiration from pictures and stories about Manila and Intramuros during colonial times and even some Shanghai influences. "The more I read and traveled, the more aspects of other cities got in there."

The fantasy novel was also heavily influenced by the magical worlds of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, among a string of mystical influences. But needless to say, it is still Manila that played the biggest factor in the book.

"The city is patterned on our own streets and waterways, and it was fun trying to match a place in Alinam to a place in Manila," said the author. "In a way, it's a romantic and idyllic view of what Manila could've been ...minus the dangers, of course."

Alinam: Diego Domingo and the Mandato Ruiz (Summit Books, 2020) will be released in both print and digital for P395 in September. Interested readers can preorder the book from the Summit Books Shop on Lazada, Shopee, and Shopify soon.

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