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HOW BUHAY SA ANGONO (Life in Angono) CAME ABOUT

Shortly before the author turned 65 in 2001, he began to reminisce about his hometown of Angono, in Rizal province in the Philippines, and started to write down some of his thoughts. He had written poetry in the past and decided to put his memories in poetic verse in Filipino (the formal form of Tagalog, his native tongue). Some of the things he recalled were visions of the beautiful scenery around Angono and of locals working on boats in Laguna Lake or in ricefields.

As more things came to mind, the author made outlines for poems and began to write verses in longhand. He wrote the majority of the poems from May to December 2001, two to three per month, on average, sometimes rising in the middle of the night to jot down ideas that came to him while he was in bed. He started typing his poems on the computer in January 2002 and by the end of the year had completed twenty-two poems, the first poem entitled "Ang Mangingisda," or "The Fishermen," and the last "Ang Panadero," or "The Baker."

The author had written so many poems that he decided to produce a book of them. He had a feeling that fellow Angonians, especially those who had emigrated, might appreciate a book of poems about their hometown. He talked with friends, though, and realized that a dual-language book, in Filipino and English, would appeal to a much broader audience. It would be a book that his children, not being fluent in Filipino/Tagalog, grandchildren, and future generations could read and appreciate. He made plans to translate his poems into English after he finished writing his poems. However, with English as his second language, the author thought it would be better to have someone who had a stronger command of the English language to translate his poems for him. The ideal translator would be a close Angonian friend who had studied English beyond high school. He set about creating the talahuluganan, or glossary, for the book and completed it on Christmas 2002. From January to February 2003, the author and his wife Dolly spent nearly a month visiting Angono. During that visit, he approached “Ate Nene,” Mrs. Leonor S. Bautista-Samson, who lived in the house across the street from his childhood home about helping him with his project. Mrs. Samson had taught English at Angono Elementary School and had also served as an assistant principal at the school before retiring. She was then teaching her grandsons creative writing and offering her writing and English translation services to others. Even though the author would not be able to pay her for the translation work, she agreed to translate his poems because of her shared love of Angono and desire to share memories of their town with others. Before leaving Angono to return home, the author and his wife traveled around town and took photographs of places and things for possible use in the book.

Once home, the author began to choose which poems and photographs, some taken back in 1965, to be included in the book. He asked his second daughter Mary P. Saguinsin to begin editing some of the English versions of the poems already sent by Mrs. Samson. He also wanted to start work on the book’s layout. Mary began created a document combining the two versions of the poems; on the left page would be the poem in Filipino, on the right the English transation.

For the cover of his book, the author looked to his youngest child, Tim D. Saguinsin, who had earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, for help. His artist-son, living in Northern Virginia, had spent three months in the Philippines during his second visit there and could best help his father make a cover that would depict the Angono in his father's poems. While the younger Tim worked on a book cover design, the older Tim continued to write more poems and completed his last one, "Ang Simbahan," or "Church Bells," in April 2003.

In August 2003 the author received the remaining English translations of his poems from Mrs. Samson through her son, Mr. Marlon “Bong” Bautista Samson, a good family friend also living in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The author was elated upon reading Mrs. Samson's wonderful English translations of his poems. Not only had she captured the essence of his writing in her translations, she had done so in skillful rhyme. The editing of the book’s rough draft began in October 2003, after the Filipino poems and English poems were paired.

The author applied for and on November 21, 2003, received a copyright in the United States for his book of poetry entitled Buhay Sa Angono (Life in Angono): A Dual-Language Book in Filipino and English. He and Dolly traveled to the Philippines for another visit to Angono and while there took additional photographs. While visiting his oldest child, daughter Donna F. Saguinsin, and her family in London in the United Kingdom, he applied for International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) for his book. The first ISBN would be reserved for a perfect-bound/trade paperback version of his book and the second for a wiro-bound paperback version.

After returning to Virginia Beach, in May 2004 the author received the book cover his son Tim had designed. It included a black-and-white photograph of the author with others at Sapang Dulangan, Angono, Rizal, around 1965. The following month his daughter Mary helped finalize the contents and her husband Jon C. Embry the cover of the book for its first printing. During the third week of July 2004, the first copies of the perfect-bound book were produced by Colley Avenue Copies and Graphics in Norfolk, Virginia. The following week copies of the wiro-bound version of the book were produced by C2Media, Inc., his son-in-law Jon’s employer based in New York City.

On August 28, 2004, the author officially launched his book with a book reading and signing at his residence in Virginia Beach. The event was attended by family, friends, and neighbors, and a story about it appeared in The Beacon, a special section of the Hampton Roads area’s newspaper The Virginian-Pilot. A few weeks later, from September 17 through 19, 2004, the author signed copies of his book at the Navy Exchange at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, in Norfolk, Virginia, the base the author had spent the last years of his military service.

The author still remembers the Angono of 1965. The town was still relatively unchanged in the four years he had been away since joining the U.S. Navy. Fishermen still roamed the shores of Laguna Lake, the freshwater lake on the western side of the town, and the children were still using bingwit, or hook and line with bait. Farmers still plowed the muddy ricefields with the help of water buffaloes, or carabaos. In the 1970s and 1980s the Angono of his youth began to change. Ricefields surrounding Angono were soon replaced by new housing developments due to the town's population growth, and the town has continued to grow ever since. In order to preserve and share some of his memories of his beloved hometown of Angono, the author wrote his book of poetry, Buhay Sa Angono (Life in Angono).

 

 

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