IT WAS a rare and welcome literary afternoon at the audio visual room of St. Theresa’s College (STC), where “Birthrises and Gratitude,” a dual book launching, was held. Dr. Gloria H. Longakit, dean of the school’s college department, welcomed the book-loving crowd to the special occasion, the launching of two books written by STC alumnae: “Color Me Grateful” by Mercedes Balota Suleik and “What Name Shall I Call Her? And Other Birthrises” by Desiree L. Balota.
After the unveiling of the books by Resurrecion Giberson and Angeles Generale, and the introduction of the speakers, excerpts from the books launched were read.
Suleik, a high school and magna cum laude accounting graduate of the school, is based in Metro Manila. Her book is a compilation of her essays culled from her columns in metropolitan newspapers and publications. Her school and work background—she used to work with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas under Jose B. Fernandez, and the Development Bank of the Philippines under Roberto de Ocampo, shows in her essays which she categorized in sections: Her heroes, her interests, her beliefs, her favorites, plus two poems she wrote for her daughters, Trixie and Tina. Excerpts of her book were read by Angeles Generale, Benjamin Joseph Balota, Estrella Godinez, Resurrecion Gibrson, Ma. Teresa Geraldina V. Atienza, and Nina Lim and Mary Donnavel Libron-Buloron.
Balota is with the STC faculty. “What Name Do You Give Her? and Other Birthrises” is her third book of poetry—and the first in English. Her first two books are “Hibla ng Tubig, Hiba ng Himpapawid ug mga Pagpukaw ug Pagmaya” and “Pagsubang sa Bangaw, Pagsidlak sa Bulan.” She categorized her poems in her current book into four sections: “Fourms. Fources;” “Riddles. Reveals;” “Flashes. Flows” and “Birthbreaths. Birthrises.” Most of her poems are short—tankas; haikus; three, four, five-liners. She explained that her poetry is an attempt at poetic surrealism.
Her poems were read by John Fitzgerald Icamen; Daphnie Manigos, Jo Anne T. Villarosa and Rechel Tupas; Nicole Enriquez, Shane Diaz and Anne Rebutazo; Victoria Pauline Enriquez Asuncion and Gilberta Fidelis Mausisa; Malou Alorro, Leah May Lim-Atienza and Liean Rama; Rendon Geraldizo and Joy Pastorfide Roman; Dante O. Cuales, Jr. and Maribel Torre-Cuales; Sheilalaine G. Romulo and Charisse L. Piramide.
After the readings, with a beautiful mother and daughter song duet by Christine Pepito and Andre Dominque Pepito as intermission, Sr. Macon Lopez and Dulce Jesus Baricuatro gave their response on the books at hand. The book signing followed after the authors gave their responses.
The meaningful literary afternoon came to an end, with the hope of more such inspiring afternoons to come.