Sunday, October 09, 2016

Maximum Volume 2: #4 Totems by Catherine Torres

“Totems” by Catherine Torres had me rollicking in laughter and amazement at the middle-eighth, so to speak. And for anyone wanting to read this story, you have to stop now. A “totem” is a token that reminds one of his ancestry, and in this one, it is the “bolitas” – accidentally viewed by JR, the narrator, from a hidden tape of his late dad’s nocturnal adventures as a seafarer. JR turns his boring graduation film project about the parallel lives of OFW’s and Jose Rizal into a winning film called, “Bolitas: The Hidden Life of Filipino Seafarers.” Growing up as a teenager in the side streets of Project Two Quezon City, I’ve heard about bolitas, but I’ve never seen one and have always believed that the sexual powers that it provides are the stuff of myths and lies of the Filipino casanovas. This story had my long buried teen-age dreams and interest of bolitas rekindled, and it makes me wish that the prize-winning documentary that the story talks about is a Google search away. This is a well-crafted story. It grabbed me right at the first page, albeit there seems to be something missing in between pages 57-58 -- perhaps an editorial miscue, but nonetheless, there is enough to keep the story together splendidly

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