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Gency Joyce G.

Baluyot
BSA 1-11
Book Review: Viajero by Francisco Sionil Jose

Viajero is one of the novel that I loved even I dont

have interest in books with history. And if you love history

or dont like me, then I will assure you that you will enjoy

this book because it can gave us a more deeper understanding

about the world beyond that which only revolves around

yourself, it can tells us a stories of various Filipinos who

struggling to reach the kind of country and this book can help

us to understand the suffering of many Filipinos. Viajero gave

me an opportunity to wander the history of the Philippines

through the man named Salvador Dela Raza and made me realize

that what grade school and high school textbooks were just an

impression and the contents arent just what they are. I

recommend this book to anyone who would love to know about the

Philippines through imagination.

The author of this book, Francisco Sionil Jose really

impressed me when he put the prose of Gat Jose Rizal and

translated by Nick Joaquin in the beginning of the novel, it

is like Dr. Jose Rizal reminded him first to remember the love

for his country and what our motherland inherited to him must

be shown in the book.


The Foreword is the part that I hated the most because

its gets me to boredom. I regret reading it for it gave me a

little spoiler about what the novel is all about. It was

little closer to the ending itself but I really hated that the

author mentioned the lead character already and some

information about him. Some things written in the foreword

gave me some hints of what is going to happen next like

Badong/Buddy went to the Philippines, lived like an NPA and

died eventually.

The first chapters where theres a tragedy, oppression

and the development of the lead character- biologically and

psychologically brought me into a cinematic scene. The younger

days of Badong from the plateau to America gave me non-

dialogue scenes just a motion picture of what was happening.

The words from each pages were so vivid playing my imagination

and appeared those scenes that I usually seen in movies. It

made the book a page turner. The characters were introduced

clearly. The diversity of the characters is what I loved the

most.

The best parts that I can say that the chapters written

in italics that gave a story telling of the pre-colonial

period of the Philippines. As James ad Buddy talking about


past and how is it associated with ones identity, it became

clear after reading the italicized passages and its content,

the same experience as what Badong had.

When I read the chapter where Buddy traveled around the

world it was like he took me with him. When buddy was in

London and he described it as wet and dreary and the English

and their horsey faces were homogenous was my favorite part.

It made my impressions to the English people renewed as I view

them before as a real fairytale characters. The people who are

white-skinned, having towering height and a great accent are

my impressions. A journey to Badongs searching for his

identity as a Filipino and his hunger for it made me ashamed

of myself that once I never appreciated this kind of culture.

It was lately when I discovered that women in pre-colonial

period were respected that time.

The middle up to the last chapters focused alone to

Salvador Dela Raza and the part wherein he was already in Asia

made me turned the pages again as Im waiting for the chapter

that he finally back to the Philippines. In the middle chapter

where can read Buddys exploration in Japan and Philippines is

what I loved the most. It makes me fascinated to love the

places more through the way of book describing the beautiful

culture of Japan and the busy streets of the old Manila. It


was very detailed especially the part when he was wandering

old Manila and also the beauty of Kyoto. I loved how he

explored the Geishas as it reminded me the novel. Japan and

Philippines are the countries that always comparable in terms

of modernization and preservation in culture. Im impressed to

Francisco Sionil Jose because he never compared this two in

the book; it was like that both are beautiful on their own.

The chapters near the ending part where Salvador is

already in his old age waiting himself to die but seeing the

satisfaction in his life made him in integrity. As he

described his interaction with Filipinos around his place made

me think that hes finally home unlike in San Francisco that

he was like a lost child living with strangers but treated him

as a family member for so many years. His words were full of

wisdom as I read the last passages. He could still recall the

time he woke up when hes looking for his Itay and spent

boyhood with Apo Tale and Mayang.

I had only one part that I really disliked and this is

the foreword but I have so many chapters gave me good points

those made me rereading this book again soon and share this

online. Reading Filipino novels give me the same feeling when

I dance Philippine Folk dances, how my imagination showed the


splendor of my country as I interpret a particular scene in

the Philippines where the culture is showed through hand

gestures and footsteps. The book Viajero gave me other things

that I never knew. Beyond my parents and teachers told me

before.