“PAGPAG” Book Launch

In the Dictator’s Aftermath: Conversation and Book Launch for PAGPAG by Eileen R. Tabios

“Pagpag” is the practice of scavenging through trash heaps for discarded food that the poor then attempts to clean and re-cook for new meals. Pagpag heart-wrenchingly symbolizes the effects of a corrupt government unable to take care of—indeed, abusing—its people. PAGPAG’s stories, while not overtly addressing this radical torture of cuisine, relate to what lurks within the stew created by a dictator’s actions. The aftermath is not always obvious like the imprisoned, the tortured, or the salvaged (murdered); the aftermath goes deep to affect even future generations in a diaspora facilitated by corruption, incompetence, and venality.

Featuring (in order of appearance):

Aileen Cassinetto, Paloma Press publisher & co-host

Herna Cruz-Louie is the Director and Co-Founder for American Center of Philippine Arts (ACPA). Herna was awarded as one of Filipina Womens Network’s 100 Most Influential Filipinas in 2011, and was a featured Asian American Studies Alumna of San Francisco State University in 2014.

Melinda Luisa de Jesús is a peminist scholar, poet, Professor at California College of the Arts, and mezzo soprano. She shall share renditions of the Philippine National Anthem and the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice”.

Eileen R. Tabios has released over 60 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in ten countries. Her 2020 books include her third short story collection, PAGPAG: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora. The book already has received some early praise—Ninotchka Rosca calls it “focking brilliant”, Bino Realuyo says “it adds texture to our already failed historical memory,” and The San Francisco Review of Books calls it “an excellent collection of short stories.”

Michelle Bautista, IT System Administrator & co-host

Joi Barrios-Leblanc serves as a Lecturer at UC Berkeley after working as Associate Professor at the University of the Philippines. Her books include To Be a Woman is to Live at a Time of War. She was among the 100 women Weavers of History chosen for the Philippine Centennial in 1998.

Albert Alejo (“Paring Bert”) is a Filipino Jesuit priest and Professor of Sociology, Anthropology, Systematic Theology and Philosophy at the Ateneo de Manila University, with a focus that includes Christian Social Ethics: Corruption and Violence and the Formation of Social Conscience, Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue.

Nerissa Balce is an Associate professor of Asian American studies at SUNY Stony Brook. Her research focuses on race, gender, state violence and popular culture in the U.S. and the Philippines. She wrote the award-winning book, Body Parts of Empire: Visual Abjection, Filipino Images and the American Archive.

Renato Redentor Constantino (“Red”) is the Executive Director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities and the author of The Poverty of Memory: Essays on History and Empire. He also manages the Constantino Foundation which is dedicated to advancing the idea of a usable history, where lessons from the past become active elements of the present.

S. Lily Mendoza is Professor of Culture and Communication at Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan and the Director of the Center for Babaylan Studies. Her research focuses on questions of identity and subjectivity, cultural politics in national, post- and trans-national contexts, discourses of indigenization, race, and ethnicity, and, more recently, civilization and climate change. She is the author of Between the Homeland and the Diaspora: The Politics of Theorizing Filipino and Filipino American Identities and Back from the Crocodile’s Belly: Philippine Babaylan Studies and the Struggle for Indigenous Memory


Pagpag: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora is available for purchase at the special discounted price of $10. Please email editor at palomapress.net or galateaten at gmail.com for details.