TACLOBAN CITY–The first Philippine literary book on climate change was launched in UP Tacloban here on Saturday, June 28, 2014, the second in a series of launches set in Quezon City, Berkeley in San Francisco, and Manhattan in New York City.
Titled Agam, an early Filipino word for foreboding and memory, the book broke new ground with its collection of 26 images and 24 narratives in eight languages.
Inspired by the drama and desperation resulting from typhoon Yolanda’s aftermath, Agam has been called “audacious and groundbreaking” since it raises awareness about climate change through narrative pieces, poems, and photographs.
Agam is composed of original creative narratives by 24 Filipino writers, minus the crutch of scientific and NGO jargon. Works were submitted in the languages of Tagalog, Waray, Maguindanao, Bikol, Ilocano, Cebuano, Sinama, and English, together with 26 images taken by the photographer Jose Enrique Soriano.
“If we are haunted by what has come to pass, by the things we’ve neglected, we can also be guided by what ought to be. I hope the stories of Agam can provide the reader a compass to guide them through these harrowing times,” said Merlie Alunan, an award-winning poet and one of Agam’s contributors.
More than 50 people—including Alunan, herself a Tacloban native—attended the Tacloban launch at the multi-purpose hall at the campus of the University of the Philippines in Visayas, whose structures were destroyed by supertyphoon Yolanda.
The book is published by the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC), the same organization that will soon be bringing eJeepneys in Tacloban City.
The Katig Writers’ Network, an organization of literary artists in the Visayas, helped organize the book launch in Tacloban.
All proceeds from the sale of Agam will go to the RE-Charge project, an integrated solar and sustainable transport services and training facility that is being set up in Tacloban City. iCSC is a pioneering climate policy group that approaches big problems sideways, by incubating ideas, innovating approaches and implementing solutions.
It will be available in all branches of Powerbooks and major outlets of National Bookstore throughout the country.