Thursday, November 28, 2013

                                   NGUMITI SI ANDOY - AUTHOR INTERVIEW                           

I’m an Andres Bonifacio believer. So to start, let me first compliment and thank you for coming up with this book. It is a great way to honor him.
There is an on-going petition for a state funeral for Andres. What is your take on that matter? What more do you think can be done to bring spotlight and credit to the Father of Revolution?
Andres B. should be given a state funeral mainly because he is one of our national heroes. Though the state funeral might just be a symbolical one as his remains are missing, it is important that the Government recognize the acts he did for the country. I’m also supporting the petition for naming Andres B. as a former president of the Philippines

Hopefully through this book, as well as the gatherings being held this year for his 150th birthday, the Filipino people will get to know him more than the “fearless freedom fighter” label. I sincerely wish that these things continue even after this year.

It’s interesting that in the story you brought Andres to the modern world. How did the concept come to you? Tell us more about it.

I wrote the story as my entry to the annual contest hosted by the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) []. The theme for the contest was Andres B. as they were anticipating the publication of the book in time for this year’s celebration. I did not think twice about joining the contest since it has always been my dream to write something about Andres B. and his close friend Emilio J.

Besides reintroducing Andres B., my project was to disorient the linearity of time in the narrative especially since it is about a historical figure. I was at that time captivated with statues because they represent a world in the past but exist in the present. I see them as time portals. I also started the story with an ‘ending’ and ended it with another 'beginning'. In the middle, I inserted some flashbacks through Andres B. and the kid’s conversation. But of course, I tried to make my play with time seamless so as not to perplex child readers.

Andres Bonifacio being taught in school as a separate subject like that of Jose Rizal, being a teacher yourself, what us your take on that?
If the Government requires the teaching of Andres B.’s works and life as a separate subject, it would be more than okay with me. But I always believe in including all the acts and lives of those who fought our freedom during a certain period instead of focusing on just a few. This is somehow like the issue on who to recognize as our National Hero – Jose R. or Andres B. Well, I do not believe in proclaiming just one hero. We should have instead National Heroes. I mean, the idea that we rank heroes according to their achievements, works etc. doesn’t sit well with me. For me, we should recognize every hero who gave all their best for the country and how their works and thoughts interplayed with one another.

Since the book is in time for Andres Bonifacio’s 150th celebration, what can you say was your biggest challenge in making the book, if any?
Besides making sure that the history presented is accurate (and thanks to historian Xiao Chua for being our consultant for that aspect), the biggest challenge for me was how to reintroduce Andres B. to present readers. And I decided to present another side of Andres B., apart from the usual stereotype of him being a “fearless freedom fighter”.
In the book, I tried to show Andres B.’s loving side. In my recollection of Andres B.’s life, I saw how invested he was in loving his parents, his siblings, his wives, son, co-Katipuneros, and the Filipino nation. Hence, I could only imagine the thoughts racing through his mind before he was killed – Oryang was harassed; his parents died when he was still young; his first wife Monica died; his son Andres died; his brother Ciriaco died during the encounter between his men and Aguinaldo’s; and he was a witness when his brother Procopio was killed. In the story, I needed to ‘soften’ the tough mold of Andres B.’s statue to give him a chance to release all these pent-up emotions. Andres might be immortalized in statues as the fearless Katipunero but for me he was also a loving hero. 

Since the parents are the ones to most likely purchase the book for the youngsters and having not read it yet, what can you tell them is the most important message the kids can take away from it?

Three things: 1) This book invites us to rediscover Andres B.’s life. 2) Everyone can be a hero by doing something they’re good at or fighting for what they believe. 3) History is not just about the study of facts but also the exposition of real lives.

In the story, Andres Bonifacio came to life. Tell us, if you could have a meal with any living or departed person who would they be? Now if Andres is invited to your fantasy dinner, what would you tell him?

It would be awesome to have dinner with ancient Filipinos (by that I mean, those who lived in our archipelago before the Spaniards came). I got fascinated with them after reading a sixth now of the 40 plus volumes of Blair and Robertson.

If Andres B.’s joining the dinner, that would be fun and odd at the same time. But I would definitely narrate to him the events that happened after his death, especially those concerning his loved ones. I would also tell him how influential he has been in the imagining of our

Any message to the readers and future Ngumiti si Andoy owners?

To the readers and future owners of our book, I hope you enjoy the story. This book, though features Andres B., does not include everything about him. This only serves as a springboard for you to research more about his life. And please don’t ask for a sequel. (Haha!)

More About The Creators: Author and Illustrator

Si Xi Zuq ay isang guro, manunulat at mambabasa mula sa Lungsod ng Heneral Santos. Kasapi siya ng Kuwentista ng mga Tsikiting (KUTING) at Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA). Bisitahin siya sa

Si Dominic Agsaway ay isang ilustrador ng komiks at librong pambata. Siya ay miyembro ng Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan. Nagtapos siya sa Unibersidad de Santo Tomas (UST) at madalas rin tumambay sa parke habang naghihintay ng sundo. Maaari ninyo siyang ma- email sa


More About The Book
Ngumiti si Andoy. Ito ang simula ng kuwento ni Andrew na nagsimula sa kanilang Heroes Park. Gusto lamang niya na iguhit ang estatwa ni Andres Bonifacio nang matuklasan niya ang ilang lihim sa buhay ng bayani.



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