Monday, February 3, 2020


Filipino literature--in the Philippines and the diaspora--is a vibrant area of English-language writing. The Halo-Halo Review is an accessible online summary of critical and other responses to Filipino literature's multiple and diverse forms. We hope that what others are saying about Filipino English-language literature will encourage others to read, teach and engage. 

By "Filipino," The Halo-Halo Review means all who self-identify as Filipino whether they're in the Philippines or the diaspora, as well as mixed and hyphenated Filipinos. Alternative monikers include Pinoy, Pinay, Pilipinx, Pin@y, Pilipino, Pilipina -- we welcome you all as long as you enjoy halo-halo and manga!

Reviews and engagements are sorted by genre. Click on the genre below to see the book titles reviewed and their accompanying links. Multi-genre books may be placed in more than one category (e.g. if a book includes poetry and fiction, it will be sorted in both of the categories).







The Halo-Halo Review has two components. The first component, as described above, is an aggregation of online links to reviews and other engagements with Filipino literature throughout the internet. While the editor has begun collecting such links, readers are also encouraged to share information on other links. Links will be posted on an ongoing basis at the applicable genre sites.

The Halo-Halo Review's second component is The Halo-Halo Review's Mangozine which will contain new reviews. We welcome reviewers (reviewers need not be Filipino) -- click HERE for a list of available review copies (though feel free to review Filipino English-language books from your own sources). Also featured will be a "Readers Show Love to Filipino Authors" section--we are always looking for contributions; more info HERE. In addition, The Mangozine also will serve as the first online publisher for reviews and other engagements (e.g. book introductions)  published in print but not yet available online. Finally, its feature articles will include author interviews. 

While reviewed publications are in English, we will cover bilingual editions, as well as Filipino-language books if the review is in English.

To share information about additional links and/or to discuss your interest in writing a review, please go to the ABOUT section for contact information.


(to be updated over time)

If you're a Filipino writer and you're writing in English, you have to have a clear reason for the language that you're using ... I'm going to write in English: why? ... It really has to do with class ... For me to be part of the world of the enemy and yet to be attached to that world ... For the Filipino, English is a very literary language. The writers in English are always working with or working against the language we are given, the colonizer's language. People who live in a colonized world recognize you are living in a world of translation...

Ricardo M. de Ungria in “An English Apart” ...claim[es] that “[w]riting well in English is [his] best revenge against English,” De Ungria searches the various polemics that surround the English debate: 

But why do I want to take revenge at the English language? … Because it taught me, among other things, to think poorly of my native language and exclude this from the discourse of my deepest needs and joys and aspirations? … Because it foisted upon me a rich heritage of writing that I could never be a part of nor even closely relate to…? Because it left me inside a wonderful labyrinth of a symbolic world whose exquisite emblems and implements only heighten my sense of helplessness and futility at being understood…? Because it has opened me up to a fascinating world where I am condemned forever to live as a stranger? 

In 1898, the United States claimed it owned the Philippines after buying it for $20 million from Spain through the Treaty of Paris. The Filipinos—who had won and declared their independence from Spain—protested, and thus commenced the Philippine-American War, a war that has been called the United States’ “First Vietnam.” With their prowess on the military terrain, the U.S. defeated the Philippines. The U.S. solidified its colonial domination through the cultural and linguistic terrain with the popularization of English as the preferred language for education, administration, commerce and daily living. Thus, English is sometimes called by Filipinos to be “the borrowed tongue,” though enforced tongue would be more accurate.

whenever I sit down to chat your English rises like a mountain peak
Paolo Javier, from "Soldiering On Like The Devil" in COURT OF THE DRAGON

We used to talk about the course of Philippine literature in English as though it passed somewhat miraculously through three stages: a period of apprenticeship, of emergence or growth, and then of maturity. It was in the 1950s a useful if also a subtly condescending way of picturing what was called its “development.” On the other hand, Fr. Miguel A. Bernad, S.J., thought in 1957 that Philippine literature is whatever language was “perpetually inchoate” because, first, the writers couldn’t earn a living from their writing; second, we were torn by several languages or had not mastered English well enough; and third, we were culturally confused or had not fostered enough our own hybrid culture. It is well worth quoting Fr. Bernad:
Filipino writers in Spanish flourished at the end of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth. But this flowering of a culture never bore fruit: its roots were soon withered. While Apostol and Guerrero, Bernabe and Balmori, Barcelon and Recto, were writing poems that were admired in Spain, a generation of Filipino was growing up that would not understand the language in which they were written.
This is not to deplore the coming of English to our shores. Its coming was by no means deplorable: it was a cultural windfall. It does explain, however, why Philippine letters, which had finally flowered (and it is a curious thing that it did not come to its full flowering until after Spanish political domination was over) died out quickly, even in flower. Philippine letters had to seek other roots in a different cultural soil. This is why even after sixty years of English in the Philippines, Philippine literature in English is still young. But it has much promise: it may eventually attain to full maturity. (Bamboo and the Greenwood Tree) 1957/1961).
Gemino Abad,  from Our Scene So Fair: Filipino Poetry in English, 1905-1955

Today, whatever standing I may have as a poet in the Philippines will probably be based on my Tagalog poems. But I will also probably be remembered, or remain notorious, for my last poem in English. // It’s an acrostic poem, and the first letters of the lines, if read downwards, spell out a Tagalog slogan popular among demonstrators before martial law: MARCOS HITLER DIKTADOR TUTA (Marcos Hitler, Dictator, Running Dog).
—Jose F. Lacaba, from "Why I Stopped Writing Poetry in English"

Monday, November 11, 2019


The Halo-Halo Review is open to reviewing English works by Filipino authors. Titles reviewed need not be recent releases. If you are a publisher, author or publicist who would like to submit a review copy for consideration, please contact us at galateaten at gmail dot com

Deadline for Issue #9: April 15, 2020

We are open to reviews of books for which reviewers already own copies. In addition, we provide a selection of review copies, as listed below in alphabetical order by the authors' or editors' last names.  Any reviewing style is acceptable. 

Inexperienced reviewers should feel free to participate. Editor Eileen R. Tabios is willing to work with you, if you need support.

Note: We are also open to reviews of individual short stories and poems and not just books. This includes short stories and poems published in the internet.


The Kissing by Merlinda Bobis (Aunt Lute Press, San Francisco, 2001)+

The Descartes Highlands by Eric Gamalinda (novel, Akashic Books, Brooklyn, N.Y., 2015)

STAMPED by Kawika Guillermo (Westphalia Press, Washington D.C., 2018)

MANILA NOIR edited by Jessica Hagedorn (short story anthology, Akashic Books, Brooklyn, N.Y., 2013)

Age of Blight by Kristine Ong Muslim (Unnamed Press, 2016)

AMERICAN SON by Brian Ascalon Roley (W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 2001)4

EXACTLY HERE, EXACTLY NOW by Nadine Sarreal (Giraffe Books, Philippines, 2000)

The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing by Lara Stapleton (Aunt Lute Press, San Francisco, 1998)

SILK EGG: Collected Novels (2009-2009) by Eileen R. Tabios (Shearsman Books, U.K., 2011)5

Monsters: Stories by Lesley Tenorio (Ecco, 2012)

Jack & Agyu by Justine Villanueva with illustrations by Lynnor Bontigao (Sawaga River Press, 2019)+

THE MUSIC CHILD and Other Stories by Alfred Yuson (short stories, Anvil Publishing, Pasig City, 1991)


After projects the resound by Kimberly Alidio (Black Radish Books, 2016)

THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU PROJECT, Eds. Ivy Alvarez, John Bloomberg-Rissman, Ernesto Priego and Eileen Tabios (Meritage Press and xPress(ed), San Francisco & St. Helena and Puhos, Finland, 2010)3

KALI'S BLADE by Michelle Bautista (Meritage Press, San Francisco & St. Helena, 2006)

1000 Views of Girl Singing edited by John Bloomberg-Rissman (Leafe Press, U.K., 2009) 
Description: The starting point was the poem "The Secret Life of an Angel" by Eileen Tabios, itself a response to the poem "Girl Singing" by Filipino Poet José Garcia Villa. Bloomberg-Rissman used various transformational procedures to produce versions of Tabios' poem, or new poems based upon it. More information is available HERE.

Bridgeable Shores: Selected Poems (1969-2001) by Luis Cabalquinto, edited by Eileen Tabios (Kaya Press, New York, 2001)2

BABAYLAN: AN ANTHOLOGY OF FILIPINA AND FILIPINA AMERICAN WRITERS, edited by Nick Carbo and Eileen Tabios (Aunt Lute Press, San Francisco, 2000)

TATTERED BOAT by Luis H. Francia (University of Philippines Press, 2014) 7

Flippin': Filipinos on America, co-edited by Luis H. Francia and Eric Gamalinda (Asian American Writers Workshop, New York, 1996)

SCREAMING MONKEYS: Critiques of Asian American Images edited by M. Evelina Galang, in collaboration with Poetry Editor Eileen Tabios, Nonfiction Editor Sunaina Maira, Art Editor Jordan Isip and Found Images Editor Anida Yoeu Esguerra (Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, 1996)
DOCUMENTS by Jan-Henry Gray (BOA Editions, Rochester, N.Y., 2019)

BLUE by Reme Grefalda and Wesley St. Jo (Paloma Press, 2017)

traje de boda by Aileen Ibardaloza (Meritage Press, St. Helena & San Francisco, 2010)3

THE BUDDHA WONDERS IF SHE IS HAVING A MID-LIFE CRISIS by Luisa A. Igloria+ (Phoenicia Publishing, Montreal, 2018)

A Series of Un/Natural/Disasters by Cheena Marie Lo (Commune Editions, 2016)4

THE GULAG ARKIPELAGO by Sean Labrador y Manzano (Tinfish, Hawai'i, 2012)
ARCHIPELAGO OF DUST by Karen Llagas (Meritage Press, St. Helena & San Francisco, 2012)1, 8

A Series of Un/Natural/Disasters by Cheena Marie Lo (Commune Editions, 2016)

FANBOYS: Poems about Teaching and Learning by Lani T. Montreal (Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, KY, 2018)

WE WILL SEE THE SCATTER by Jasmine Nikki C. Paredes (chap, Dancing Girl Press & Studio, Chicago, 2014)

ALL THINGS LOSE THOUSANDS OF TIMES by Angela Penaredondo (Inlandia Books, Riverside, CA, 2016)

By Astrolabes & Constellations by Cristina Querrer+ (Agave Press Manuscript & Portfolio Series, Portland, OR, 2019). 

AMANDA by Amanda Ngoho Reavey (An Operating System Publication, Brooklyn, N.Y., 2015)
A TRANSPACIFIC POETICS, edited by Lisa Samuels and Sawako Nakayasu, featuring Filipino writers Barbara Jane Reyes, Sean Labrador Y Manzano and Eileen R. Tabios (Litmus Press, Brooklyn, 2017)9

FOR THE CITY THAT NEARLY BROKE ME by Barbara Jane Reyes (chap, Aztlan Libre Press, San Antonio, TX, 2012)

INVOCATION TO DAUGHTERS by Barbara Jane Reyes (City Lights, San Francisco, 2017)

Anemal, Uter Meck by Mg Roberts (Black Radish Books, 2017)

ANNE WITH AN E & ME by Wesley St. Jo (Paloma Press, San Mateo, 2018)

The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku: Selected Tercets 1996-2019 by Eileen R. Tabios (Marsh Hawk Press, 2019) 8

ONE TWO THREE: Selected Hay(na)ku Poems by Eileen R. Tabios (a bilingual edition with translations by Rebeka Lembo) (Paloma Press, San Mateo, 2018)

HIRAETH: Tercets from the Last Archipelago by Eileen R. Tabios (Knives Forks & Spoons Press, U.K., 2017)

MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION: A Poetry Generator by Eileen R. Tabios+ (Dos Madres Press, Loveland, OH, 2018)

LOVE IN A TIME OF BELLIGERENCE by Eileen R. Tabios (Editions du Cygne, Paris, 2017)6

MANHATTAN: An Archaeology by Eileen R. Tabios (Paloma Press, 2017)

THE OPPOSITE OF CLAUSTROPOBIA: Prime's Anti-Autobiography by Eileen R. Tabios (Knives Forks & Spoons Press, U.K., 2017)5

THE CONNOISSEUR OF ALLEYS by Eileen R. Tabios (Marsh Hawk Press, New York, 2016)3

INVENT(ST)ORY: Selected and New Catalog Poems 1996-2015 by Eileen R. Tabios (Dos Madres Press, Loveland, OH, 2015)2

THE THORN ROSARY: Selected Prose Poems & New (1998-2010) by Eileen R. Tabios (Marsh Hawk Press, New York, 2010)

ALL TITLES (that are not out of print) by Eileen R. Tabios are available for review; check list of her books by going HERE and clicking on "Publications."
VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA: A Storm of Filipino Poets edited by Eileen Tabios (Meritage Press, San Francisco & St. Helena, 2014). Description available at the Book Blog. 3, 8

PRAU by Jean Vengua (Meritage Press, St. Helena & San Francisco, 2007)3

HAY(NA)KU 15 Edited by Eileen R. Tabios (Meritage Press / Paloma Press, 2018)

THE CHAINED HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY Edited by Ivy Alvarez, Ernesto Priego, John Bloomberg-Rissman and Eileen Tabios (Meritage Press, San Francisco & St. Helena)

THE HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY, VOL. II Edited by Jean Vengua & Mark Young (Meritage Press, San Francisco & St. Helena, 2008)1


DIASPORIC INTIMACIES: Queer Filipinos and Canadian Imaginaries, Edited by Robert Diaz, Marissa Largo, and Fritz Pino (Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL, 2018)

#30 Collantes Street by Lisa Suguitan Melnick (memoir-vignettes, Philippine American Writers and Artists, San Francisco, 2015)

A TRANSPACIFIC POETICS, edited by Lisa Samuels and Sawako Nakayasu, featuring Don Mee Choi, Melanie Rands, Jai Arun Ravine, Ya-Wen Ho, Barbara Jane Reyes, Sean Labrador Y Manzano, Eileen R. Tabios, Murray Edmond, Susan Schultz, Craig Santos Perez, Corey Wakeling, Lehua M. Taitano, Stuart Cooke, Myung Mi Kim (Litmus Press, Brooklyn, 2017)  [If reviewer wishes, focus should be on the Filipino authors]9

TO BLACK PARENTS VISITING EARTH: Raising Black Children in the 21st Century by Janet Stickmon (Broken Shackle Publishing, El Cerritos, CA 2018)

A LOLONG TIME AGO: a Prehistory of the Philippines by Michelline Suarez, Joonee Garcia, Divine Reyes and Benjor Catindig (Tahanan Books for Young Readers, Manila, 2016)

FLYING OVER KANSAS: Personal Views by Rowena Tiempo Torrevillas (essays, Giraffe Books, Quezon City, 1998)

The Epistolary Criticism of Manual A. Viray: In Memoriam, Collected by L.M. Grow (Giraffe Books, Quezon City, 1998)

Note: A "+" by the author's or editor's name indicates the review copy is being perused by a potential reviewer and may not be immediately available. But just query the Editor to be sure.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

THE HALO-HALO REVIEWS' Mangozine: Issue 8

In addition to aggregating reviews from the internet, THE HALO-HALO REVIEW presents The Mangozine which features new reviews and serves as the online publisher for reviews and other engagements (e.g. book introductions) published in print but not yet available within the internet.  Other features, including author interviews and reader testimonials, also will be presented. The following presents a Table of Contents for Issue 8 -- CLICK on links to go to the reviews.

(November 2019)

Editor's Note:  Welcome to the eighth issue of THE HALO-HALO REVIEW where we provide engagements with Filipino-PilipinZ literature and authors through reviews and engagements, interviews and other prose. We hope readers, writers and publishers will continue to participate and share information about numerous Filipino authors and the wide variety of their writings. 

The Mangozine's Review Copy information is HERE; you are encouraged to fatten up the list as well as pick some to review! Submission deadline for the ninth issue has been set at April. 15, 2020 (though I will take reviews sooner than the deadline if that is more convenient for the reviewers).

Go HERE to continue the Editor's Note.


THE BETRAYED by Reine Arcache Melvin (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2018)
Engaged by Eileen Tabios

America Is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan (Penguin Books, 2019)
Reviewed by Paulino Lim Jr.

GLIMPSES: A POETIC MEMOIR by Leny Mendoza Strobel (Paloma Press, 2019)
Engaged by Maileen Dumelod Hamto

“Hawak/Hold (Davao Gulf)” by Katrina Bello (graphite on paper, 2019)
Engaged by Eileen Tabios

The Pink House of Purple Yam Preserves & Other Poems by Aileen Cassinetto (Little Dove Books / Our Own Voice, San Mateo, 2018)
Reviewed by Neil Leadbeater

The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku by Eileen R. Tabios (Marsh Hawk Press, New York, 2019)
Reviewed by Maileen Dumelod Hamto

NO TENDER FENCES: An Anthology of Immigrant & First Generation Immigrant American Poetry  edited by Carla Sofia Ferreira Kim Sousa & Marina Carreira (fundraising anthology for RAICES, 2019) 
Reviewed by Cristina Querrer

The Hour of Daydreams by Renee Macalino Rutledge (Forest Avenue Press, Portland, OR, 2017)
Reviewed by Maileen Dumelod Hamto

Returning a Borrowed Tongue: An Anthology of Filipino & Filipino American Poetry edited by Nick Carbo (Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, 1996)
Reviewed by Neil Leadbeater

VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA edited by Eileen R. Tabios (Meritage Press, St. Helena & Sean Francisco, 2014)
Reviewed by Neil Leadbeater
All Reviewed by Aloysiusi Polintan

Her Wild American Self by M. Evelina Galang (Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, 2016)
Reviewed by Neil Leadbeater

ARCHIPELAGO OF DUST by Karen Llagas (Meritage Press, St. Helena & San Francisco, 2012)
Reviewed by Neil Leadbeater


Jose Padua

Michelle Peñaloza

Kawika Guillermo


Go HERE to read:

*     Eileen R. Tabios on Ninotchka Rosca
*     Cristina Querrer on Eileen R. Tabios, Barbara Jane Reyes, Luisa A. Igloria, Tony Robles, Aileen Cassinetto, Iv Alvarez, Marivi Soliven, Rodrigo Dela Peña, Kai Coggin, Monica Macansantos, Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor, Michelle Peñaloza, Jose Padua with Heather Davis, Kay Fabella, Betty Ann Besa-Quirino and Melinda Luisa de Jesús
*     Eileen R. Tabios on Grace Talusan
*     Beverly Parayno on Veronica Montes
*     Vina Orden on Mia Alvar
*     Melinda Luisa de Jesús on Erin Entrada Kelly 
*     Prosy Abarquez-Delacruz on Eileen R. Tabios 
*     Ivy Alvarez on Luisa A. Igloria
*     Beverly Parayno on Tony Robles
*     Eileen R. Tabios on Jose Elvin Bueno
*     Margo Stebbing on Leny M. Strobel
*    Maileen Dumelod Hamto on Eileen R. Tabios


Reviews & Engagements

Figures in a Long Ago Mirror by Cesar Ruiz Aquino (Silliman University, 2019)
Reviewed by Alfred A. Yuson

HUMANITY: An Anthology (Vol. 1) edited by Eileen R. Tabios (Paloma Press, San Mateo, 2019)
Reviewed by Marjorie Evasco

Marawi and Other Poems by Simeon Dumdum, Jr. (Bughaw / Ateneo de Manila Press, 2019)
Reviewed by Alfred A. Yuson

Wala: Mga Tula ni E. San Juan, Jr. (Polytechnic University of the Philippines Press, 2016; revised edition, Philippines Studies Center, 2018)
Reviewed by Karlo Mikhail I. Mongaya

From Books: Introductions, Prefaces, Forewo
rds, Afterwords and Author's Notes

Doveglion: Collected Poems by José Garcia Villa
Engaged by Luis H. Francia

Eileen R. Tabios presents the Introduction to HUMANITY, Volume 1 edited by Eileen R. Tabios (Paloma Press, San Mateo, 2018)

EVOCARE: Collected Tankas by Ayo Gutierrez, Eileen R. Tabios, and Brian Cain Aene
Engaged by Andrea E. Lodge