This is my second Filipino book and the first horror book this year.
Is it bad to say that I wasn’t horrified at anything I read? Maybe I treat horror books like I do my horror movies: I want that great element of surprise, the kind that would make jump out of seat and skin, jaw dropping in sheer unbelief and terror.
Horror standard aside, I like how the myth and folklore of this book is so accessible, especially for any true-blooded Filipino.
You have the staples tiyanak, kapre, tikbalang, manananggal, and diwata. But Tan’s settings aren’t always in far flung provinces or isolated mountains spots. She makes use of Quiapo, San Juanico area, and even Virra Mall. The places alone make the reader feel that these are modern stories. But the practices of the characters add realness: parade of famous religious images, selling of pirated videos by shady men, and the “lagay system” to hasten the adoption process.
Sometimes, you could readily place yourself in the story because it sounds so recent and familiar—especially if you’re a child of the 90s. But even if you aren’t or don’t have that much familiarity with Filipino life then, you won’t feel lost because her stories sound really close to home.