In his fourth book, Siege Malvar went back to where he started: writing about the magical and the supernatural.
“Wasakang Wasak” offers three short stories that feel like a mix of recreated narratives from contemporary American fiction, Filipino komiks, pop culture, and the realities of Manila living. One theme, however, weaves the stories together into a collection: sex.
“Ang Kama ni Stella,” is about a man-eating bed. Previously we’ve heard about vaginas with teeth and deities with vaginas that expand so wide they can swallow men. This is another welcome version of the story. Woman of the world Stella feeds her bed with random horny guys in exchange with mindblowing sex from the bed itself. What makes this story a page turner is a passionate narrator that shamelessly mentions cocks, pussies, putas, and funny invectives in Xerex Xaviera fashion. The plot thickens until Stella gets her karma: meeting the man she’s willing to take seriously. How this karma unfolds is what the book is about.
“Ang Mutya ng San Isidro,” is reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s landmark story, “The Lottery.” This time however, the setting is in a rural barrio, and the lottery turns into a beauty pageant. Ladies, including the protagonist Ruth, join the contest where the winner becomes a human sacrifice to ensure abundance of the community’s next harvest, along with the promise of a huge stake of this harvest for the winner’s family. In this story, readers are entertained primarily by the dialogues of the fag-hag duo of Ruth and Dindin, their statements filled innuendos, insults, bitchfits, and metaphorical references to pop culture.
Sandwiched in the middle of this narrative is an undeniable social commentary on the RH bill, with Ruth and Dindin engaging in a lengthy and didactic discussion on the catholic church’s staunch position against the legislation. Sweet at first, and annoyingly preachy in the long run, Mutya ng San Isidro could have been crafted better in a way where the pageantry and the RH commentary are tied into a clean and cohesive knot.
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