DAWAC and Other Memoir-Narratives by Beatriz Tilan Tabios
ISBN No. 978-0-9826493-5-0 Release Date: Fall-Winter 2012 Available for $12.50 through Meritage Press (MeritagePress@aol.com) and Lulu.com. Available for $14.50 through Amazon.com
Meritage Press is delighted to release a first book by an author just shy of her 83rd birthday: DAWAC and Other Memoir-Narratives by Beatriz Tilan Tabios. DAWAC presents Mrs. Tabios' childhood memories of Babaylans (indigenous Filipino healers) as well as surviving the Japanese invasion of the Philippines during World War II.
DAWAC describes many incidents that would be lost today without the book's existence. They also make history come alive, as only the testimony of someone who lived through the experience (versus a historian's or academic's account) can accomplish. An example is a section that describes how she and her family ran to the forests to hide whenever the Japanese army approached their town. As it turned out, it was during those times of hiding when she ended up being introduced to Greek poets, because Homer's Iliad was a "little" book light enough to carry as she fled.
Beatriz Tilan Tabios received her B.A. with English as her major from the Silliman University in Dumaguete, Philippines. She developed her love for poetry as a sixth-grader reading Homer, William Shakespeare, John Keats, Alexander Pope, William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge while trying to survive World War II. She would further develop her appreciation for literature as a college student instructed by poet Edith Tiempo, the first woman to receive the title of National Artist for Literature in the Philippines. Critic and fictionist Dr. Edilberto Tiempo, then the head of Silliman University’s English Department, encouraged Mrs. Tabios to continue her study of English and American literature. As a result, Mrs. Tabios wrote her Master of Arts thesis, one of the earliest investigations, regarding Filipino literature, of “(The Use of) Local Color in Short Stories in English.” Later, Mrs. Tabios taught English literature at Dagupan College (now University of Pangasinan) and University of Baguio, before becoming a teacher at Brent School, a boarding school initially built for children from U.S.-American military, missionary and gold-mining families stationed in the Far East.
Advance Words on DAWAC include, from award-winning critic and writer Albert B. Casuga:
I found Beatriz Tilan Tabios’ memoir to be in the classical style of story-telling, worthy of her training under Edilberto and Edith Tiempo. I read “Dawac” and liked the characterization of Apo Kattim, particularly the use of an Igolot extract that was the colloquial dialect in the sanctuaries of Baguling, La Union, where my family evacuated and were sheltered by the bagos (Ilocano-Igolot-Pangasinense mix) during the Japanese mop-up operation before Americans and Filipino guerrillas liberated the Northern provinces and the Cordilleras. I still speak a smattering of the Igolot of Apo Kattim, which I picked up as toddler during our refuge in Baguling’s mountains. Mrs. Tabios’ use of the dialect makes for an authentic character as memorable as those mang-ngagas or herbolarios. I, too, was "cured" by an Apo Anong when I was a little boy—he brushed some leaves all over my fevered body (according to my mother) to trap the "evil spirit" inside an egg; after praying to rid the spell that "punished" me, he threw the egg into some banana grove in my grandmother's orchard (my mother swears to God the egg did not break!). The next day found me running around with my rambunctious cousins as I’d been "cured" of the malady. I learned these from mother's own memoir. —Albert B. Casuga, author of A Theory of Echoes and Other Poems
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