October 11, 2010

A Pinoy in White Man's Clothing

(Rafe's NYC book reading promo video)

I first learned of Rafe Bartholomew from this video posted above which a friend had sent me. I was intrigued and impressed with how well he spoke Tagalog and that he considers Cafe 81 (love that place too!) his second home. I knew immediately that I wanted to get his book, Pacific Rims, which is about the Filipino's obessession with basketball. It also turned out that I would just be missing his book reading in NY Barnes and Noble by a few days since I was in NYC the weekend of June 19th. Luckily though, I got an invite from my friend Francis who was helping Rafe organize a book sigining in Chicago. As it turned out, Francis learned of Rafe from me and has been communicating with him in twitter (such is the circle of life!).

So last Friday (Oct. 8, 2010), Pacific Rims had a book reading and signing at Dolce in the Albany Park neighborhood in Chicago. Same neighborhood where Rafe first took Tagalog lessons. Attended by Filipinos and a few of Rafe's former Northwestern University basketball teamates, roommates and professor, the evening was lively, delightful and pretty intimate. Mingling with Pinoys (slang for a Filipino) who were there, it was amusing to hear him say "Tagalugin niyo ako" (talk to me in Tagalog) when people were speaking with him in English. We talked about the PBA (the equivalent of NBA in the Philippines), Crispa vs. Toyota (a sort of Celtics vs. Lakers rivalry in the PBA back in the days), the UAAP (the NCAA tournament in the Philippines) and the Ateneo vs. La Salle rivalry (ala Duke vs. NC rivalry). He knew all about them and it was fun for me to recall them since I was following all those when I was younger.

It wasn't all about basketball though for he also loved to talk about the Philippines and his experience there and the people he met. From what I heard him read from his book, he writes well, with humor and great insight and understanding of the Filipino culture. He is indeed a Pinoy in white man's clothing. I'm so excited to read the book.

Some photos from the event:

Pacific Rims

Rafe Bartholomew reading from his book

Rafe talking about his stint in a Filipino teleserye (soap opera), Bakekang (a Filipino Ugly Betty but more un-PC)

Rafe siginging away

I got Lani a signed book. It says "I hope you like what I wrote"

His note for me reads "Thank you. It's an honor for me to share this book with you".


Jon said...

The fact that he is very easy on the eyes makes him more likeable to the Filipino community. uhuh...

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