Following a successful career in journalism spanning over three decades as a Los Angeles Times writer and award-winning writer of “Nazia & Nudists” and “Jenny on the Street,” David Haldane — based in Siargao — chronicles his experiences as an expat in the Philippines in his latest book, “A Tooth in My Popsicle: And Other Ebullient Essays on Becoming Filipino.”
The book follows David’s experiences living in the country in a collection of short essays. It gives a fresh and nuanced view of the country’s rich culture and traditions through his entertaining anecdotes and stories on becoming Filipino.
The book launch, held at the University of the Philippines-Cebu’s Jose Joya Gallery, was attended by a diverse crowd of book lovers, enthusiasts and literature students all eager to hear about the author’s experiences in the Philippines, plus writing tips.
David says about his experience with Philippine culture: “I am constantly shocked and awed by seeing things that I did not know and it’s part of what makes living here exciting so fun for me because it’s a constant learning experience.”
An amusing chapter “The thing about poop” is an example of his experience, focusing on his first encounter with local toilets or rather the lack thereof.
It shows how he is a stranger in a strange land but slowly and, with joy, becomes Filipino.
Here are some lines from the book that might spark some interest:
“What you are asking her to do is trust you -- someone she probably just met -- to provide for her, protect her and guide her into an unforeseeable future fueled by the vague notion that your world will one day be hers.”
The story starts with David inviting his wife Ivy to live in the United States away from her home, the Philippines, promising a new and happier life.
“For what began at the church had spread to the beach. Thank you, I thought, for this most amazing moment. Thanks for the ocean and the moon and the stars. Thanks for the fireworks that lit up the sky. Thanks for this marriage that has lasted these years. And thanks for this place that has inspired joyful tears.”
Infected with festive cheer during their renewal of nuptial vows, David found himself crying tears of joy thankful for where was at that time.
David’s latest book is more than a testament to his profound love for his family but also a story of how one can find home even in the farthest of places.
“A Tooth in My Popsicle: And Other Ebullient Essays on Becoming Filipino” is available for purchase online.