Gilda Cordero Fernando has done it again! Done what? She produced a book but this time it isn’t a hard – bound coffee table volume but her autobiography. Entitled “Last Full Moon”, it got me running to the nearest bookstore only to be told that the book has been sold out! Oh well, that means I have to exercise patience and thrift. It’s a waiting and saving game when you’re chasing a book by one of your favorites.
The many GCF books released through the decades are replete with Dag (short for Daguerreotype) photos and portraits, vintage art deco and furniture but no antique Coke soda fountain mirrors. In the book “Household Antiques and Heirlooms” you will find photos of old perfume bottles, antique gin (locally distilled) bottles but no vintage Coke bottles! PCF (Pinoy Coke Fanatics) members might not enjoy Dag photos with no Coke memorabilia but I hope some of them will catch on. It’s not easy to resist antique print ads of tobacco, Escolta jewelers, Singer sewing machines and other products at the turn of the 20th century. The nostalgia bug bites on!
On hindsight, my initial response to the “publish or perish” catchphrase prevalent in the academe was a humble monograph entitled “Rural Folk and their Business: Representations in 19th Century Art”. I wrote GCF a letter asking her permission so I could reprint a vendor drawing that appeared in her book “Turn of the Century”. My letter was mailed (as in snail mail) back to me with her handwritten response : “Okay and best wishes” followed by her signature. I felt good. Only a few well-known writers have that kind of informality. Gilda Cordero Fernando agreed to a reprint of the lithograph of the woman vendor in my monograph. My essay was published in time for the centennial celebration of Philippine independence. Even then, I expressed my interest in Philippine fauna as well as some ‘health drinks’ said to aid in post-partum recovery.
I should have looked for GCF’s autobiography earlier. I am certain that her descriptions of the socio-cultural geography of a certain era are very absorbing. I look forward to seeing Dag portraits of her ancestors and folks.
“Is the book hard-bound?”, I asked. The girl behind the customer service counter told me that it wasn’t described in the computer screen. I know that I will be thinking about that new GCF book until the day I get hold of it myself.
Meanwhile, my own monograph is for sale but I only have a few copies left. My “Images of 19th Century Filipinos as Described by Europeans and Americans” is also available here at UP Campus. If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, just send me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cordero-Fernando, Gilda, Turn of the Century, GCF Books
Cordero-Fernando, Gilda, Household Antiques and Heirlooms, GCF Books, Manila
De Leon, Catherine, Rural Folk and their Business:Representations in 19th Century Art, Catherine Q. De Leon, Q.C., 1998