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IN PHOTOS: Pro Bernal, Anti Bio Book Launch

NoInk Team   |   27 November 2017

Ishmael Bernal Finally Speaks

It was 25 years ago when National Artist for Film Ishmael Bernal first started writing a journal for what he envisioned as a unique biography that would tell-all. His biographer was closest friend and constant collaborator Jorge Arago, with whom would be left taped conversations, photographs, and clippings upon Bernal's death.

The goal was an anti-biography that refused to be hagiography or tribute, and instead would be Bernal unexpurgated and uncensored. Arago called this: Pro Bernal, Anti Bio.

Upon Arago's death in 2011, writer and pop historian Angela Stuart-Santiago was left to work with the materials left behind for the Bernal book. Working towards the goal of a tell-all, and with new research and additional interviews, the final product is a memoir unlike any other in the Philippines -- and especially unlike any we have seen from or about a National Artist.

Author Angela Stuart-Santiago

In the book, Bernal speaks freely about his life and times, his cultural work and struggles, the showbiz system that he adored and hated equally, the political landscape during Martial Law and post-EDSA, his activism and homosexuality. He speaks candidly and honestly, without care for who might be hurt or offended.

Here are some friends who graced the book launch:

Filipino Actor and Director Leo Martinez

The Author and Bobi Malay

Poets Tomas Agulto and Bong

National Artist Bien Lumbera and The Author

Joel Saracho

Jose Carreon and Lucy Quinto

Deanna Ongpin Rectom Prof. Randy David, and Prof. Rolando Pena

Filipino Award Winning Actor Bembol Roco

Stuart-Santiago brings in a cast of characters of actors, scholars, colleagues, and peers who speak from the margins of the book, while Bernal and Arago tell this personal-political history in their own words, sometimes gay, often irreverent, but always revealing an intellect and spirit that was ahead of its time.

Author Angela Stuart-Santiago during the book signing.

This is Pro Bernal, Anti Bio. This is Ishmael Bernal. It is time to hear him roar.

Pro Bernal, Anti Bio will soon be available in all leading bookstores nationwide.