Are you from Marinduque? Do You have relatives and roots from this Island? If you are and have not read the book, Playing with Water by James Hamilton Paterson, you are missing one of the best book that has been written about the rural life of the island from a foreigner's point of view and perspective. I am re posting an article I wrote three years ago about this book that I believe will become a classic in the future.
Playing with Water: Passion and Solitude on a Philippine Island (Twentieth Century Lives) James Hamilton-Paterson
I have read this book a few years ago. I have almost forgotten this book, until last week when a fellow blogger from Marinduque posted an article about this book. It triggered pleasant memories of Marinduque. So, if you are a true-blooded Marinduqueno, this is a must read book, even if you do not like to read books. I love this book so much, I read some chapters twice. I am not quite sure where the exact location of the author's cottage was. WHAT barangay is it in Boac or Gasan? Perhaps other readers could give me a definite answer to my question.
The following two reviews summarizes of what the book is about. But to me, it is one of the best book, I have read about my island Paradise and My Retirement home-Marinduque. It was written and published in the late 1990's but the lessons one can learn from this book is still applicable today.
1. This review is from: Playing with Water: Passion and Solitude on a Philippine Island (Twentieth Century Lives) By firstname.lastname@example.org (Munich, Germany),1998.
Paterson is living on a small island in the Philippines and he is joining the natives in diving (i.e. fishing) for a living. We scuba-divers, as we only come for 1-2 week vacations, often are not experiencing the reality around our dive sites. Paterson's book was helping me understanding more of the countries I was visiting. Very instructive are his personal insights about ecology in a third world country and the connections to the economical and social structure. I found it very valuable that the insights do not follow the well known beaten paths about the third world but are rather well founded, personal observations. This makes this book a much more interesting read than any other book about the subject that I have ever read before.
2. Go read...it's good!, September 21, 2002
By A. N. Teodoro III (River Edge, NJ, USA) - (REAL NAME) This review is from: Playing with Water: Passion and Solitude on a Philippine Island (Twentieth Century Lives)
I read this book so many years ago, but I can still remember how good it is. This book is not only about the underwater world but also about the goings-on in a typical barrio in the Philippines. It has a socio-economic aspect to it that I found quite realistic, having been born and raised in that very same third world country. It amazed and pleased me that a foreigner like Hamilton-Paterson could, quite accurately, capture the very essence of filipino rural society---like the old woman who he suspects isn't so aloof and taciturn as she seems and the children of the barrio who frolic in the water and in their humble amusements, oblivious of the shortcomings of a third world upbringing. The book is an unusual stew of underwater adventure and an unpatronizing account of a life among barrio folk.
...a work of such genuine commitment, balanced perception and responsive passion that it will certainly be condemned to become a classic. (New York Times Book Review )
A classic travel book...entirely original: at once astringently and gorgeously written... (Andrew Harvey )
Unforgettable. The Philippine landscape and these remote islanders are crystalline and at the same time mysterious; the writing itself superb. (Ronald Blythe )
James Hamilton-Paterson spends a third of each year on an otherwise uninhabited Philippine island, spear-fishing for survival. Playing with Water tells us why he does. Beyond that, it gives an account of life in that class-bound country as a whole. For it is in places like this rather than Manila of the international news reports that the underlying political and cultural reality of the Philippines may be seen.
About the Author: Described as one of the most reclusive of British literary exiles who shares his time between Austria, Italy and extensive periods over the last 30 years in the Philippines, is poet and novelist, James Hamilton-Paterson.
He is generally known as a commentator on the Philippine scene, where he has lived on and off. His novels on the Philippines includes “Ghosts of Manila”, and “America’s Boy” (1998), the latter setting the Marcos regime into the geopolitical context of the time.
One of his books, “Playing with Water”, sold more than 4 million copies, described in a book review by New York Times as “a work of such genuine commitment, balanced perception and responsive passion that it will certainly be condemned to become a classic.”
Note: This book is available on-line( Amazon) or your local bookstores as well as in your public library.(in US).
Planning to Retire Soon!
If you are planning to retire in the Philippines soon, I suggest you visit several excellent websites on pro's and cons of retiring in the Philippines. However if you want to retire in the provinces, where life is simple, standard of living cheaper, less traffic congestion and pollution, availability of fresh seafood and vegetables compared to the big cities, my island province is the place for you! If this is your first time in my site, welcome. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news in the right side bar of this blog. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on the infringement of your copyrights. The photo above is the front yard of Chateau Du Mer-Our Retirement Home in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines