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BOOK REVIEW: F. Sionil Jose's Viajero

Who's afraid of a little F. Sionil Jose?  Well, quite frankly, I am (or was.) 

Ever since coming across his works in High School, of which I still have no inkling as to whether I did understand and fully comprehend his meanings, I have thus so far tried to elude reading another one of his books, preferring instead to while the time away with popular fiction novels.  My cousin, however, being of a much higher intellect and understanding than I, simply devours F. Sionil Jose's works.

As such, I found myself at her home one day and came across Viajero: A Filipino Novel, one of her newest acquisitions.  Being a little curious, I browsed through the initial pages and before I knew it, found myself devouring each and every page.

The story revolves around Salvador dela Raza, "Buddy" for short, a Filipino who is adopted and brought to the United States after having been orphaned during World War II.  As he matures into an intelligent young man, he comes to realize that there is something lacking in his person, a need to determine his Filipino roots, and thus begins his research on the Filipino through the years (full summary available at

It is a known fact that F. Sionil Jose has a certain aversion for the elites who have stripped and robbed our land of it's natural resources, this having been a main staple of more than one of his novels.  Viajero is of no exception.  And he does provide a very compelling case in Viajero.

The book provides great insights into the Filipino culture and is definitely a truly interesting read.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars.


  1. I only read one of his novels, "The Pretenders" Truth be told, I find it depressing. But I do love F.Sionil Jose's essays and articles. There you'll get a lot of wisdom from an old man who's seen a lot of the country. I have also been part of the audience in one of his public speeches. Amazing man. :-)


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