Summer and ‘Survivor’

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Karen Kunawicz

Karen Kunawicz

BOOKS are a necessity when I travel because there’s always some level of waiting involved. I’ve finished books upon books in airplanes and airports.

My pre-summer reading consisted of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his book of 12 short stories, Strange Pilgrims—because I am still hung over from picking up Love in the Time of Cholera (which has NO Kindle edition by the way).

However, on my recent trip to Bacolod, I forgot it. So I picked up Nick Joaquin and Ambeth Ocampo at the Terminal 3 bookstore.

I selected Nick Joaquin because like Marquez, they both are masters at painting a picture of life the way it was a hundred years ago. Joaquin was born 10 years ahead of Garcia Marquez in 1917 and died in 2004. Garcia Marquez, treasure as he is, is still alive today at 86.


I love the way they describe homes, people, street scenes, customs, courtship, lovesickness, religious beliefs, clothing and heat—and you can note a few similarities between life in Manila and the islands and life in Columbia back in the day.

Having finished The Summer Solstice and Other Stories, I went over to May Day Eve and Other Stories. The works of Nick Joaquin as with the works of Garcia Marquez are perfect for slow summer days that hark back to the more languid pace of life in the time of our great grandparents—when everyone knew everyone and people knew the stories about the families and remembered the history of the town they lived in. For nostalgia and brilliance, look no further than these two authors.

I got on the Ocampo bandwagon too late. I regret not having been at college while he was teaching. While he is best known for Rizal Without the Overcoat, I picked up Dirty Dancing: Looking Back 2, which is a perfect and accessible little gem—readers need not fear an enumeration of dates, names and places. The book is an easy collection of short and funny essays that give further insight into Philippine history and the Philippine Psyche.

While there’s summer reading, you’ve also got to get some outdoor action—like the boys and girls on Survivor: Cagayan, the fourth season of Survivor shot in the Philippines.

For the 28th season, teams are divided into Brains, Brawn and Beauty. The first immunity challenge involved hauling chests of puzzle pieces on a cart across an obstacle course and then finally solving the puzzle. The winning team was the Beauty team—with a cheerleader, beauty queen and model among others in the tribe. The Beauty team was also the first one to get fire—without flint.

The losing team: Brains.
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If you want to see how this all plays out: Survivor Cagayan airs on Jack TV at 3 p.m. Thursdays.

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