#30 Collantes Street
A Divinely Driven Journey to the Philippines
Lisa Suguitan Melnick
New York Times Bestselling Author of
the Aimée Leduc Murder Mystery Series
What a unique and courageous journey, so filled with visuals, tastes of food, and culture—an array of delights which touches my soul and tastebuds. The people are awesome, so vividly described, depicting joy, laughter, sadness, and happiness. I hear the sounds and voices of the people. I see the sights and smell the food. I enjoyed partaking in Suguitan Melnick’s colorful and creatively told story to the land of her ancestors.
VANGIE CANONIZADO BUELL
Author of Twenty-five Chickens and a Pig for a Bride:
Growing up in a Filipino Immigrant Family
Lisa Suguitan Melnick has put together a collection of tender and loving, yet very realistic observations on the lives of Filipinos in the Philippines from the perspective of a first-time visitor U.S. born Filipina. By celebrating and appreciating similarities and differences, she subtly provides a running commentary not only on Philippine life but also on the Filipino-American life from which she hails. The feel of the writings is authentic, never self-serving, even when she shares her longing to meet maternal relatives and family in Cebu, some of whom her own mother never had a chance to meet.
Author of Seasons by the Bay, and Full Deck (Jokers Playing);
Recipient of the prestigious Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas from the Philippines
In #30 Collantes Street, American writer Lisa S. Melnick gifts us her vivid memories as a Pilipino child in San Francisco. I came to San Francisco as a child in the 1960s, where Pilipinos were all but invisible by American society. Feeling ignored and reminded daily of being the ‘other’, the Pilipino ways anchored and reassured me that I belong to a strong people who claim and inhabit 7,100 beautiful islands—over there, on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, complete with our own culture, languages, and values.
A Mindanaoan healer once told me that the liver holds our ancestral memories. Given the right circumstances, we can experience these stored narratives. In that moment, we align with the ancestral energies and experience ‘state of grace’. Recounting her journey to the Philippines, Lisa captures the anxieties, fears and joyful ‘discoveries’ of visiting the country from which she is two generations removed. She expresses a moving recognition of her deep connectivity to a people she has never met, but who welcomed and embraced her without hesitation.
Through her lusciously written stories, Lisa allows us to vicariously experience ‘state of grace’.
Artistic & Executive Director,