Amapola and Tomas Morato

Ricky Lee, a known Filipino script writer recently published a novel entitled, “Si Amapola sa 65 na Kabanata”.  The story narrates the exploits of a gay impersonator who was able to save the Philippines with the help of a Noranian Policeman.  The novel has all of Ricky Lee’s trademark style: witty, captivating, satirical and has deeply-rooted portrayal of the socio-political conditions of our country. In this case, Tomas Morato is depicted to be the capital of the Philippines where important events such as election, presidential campaigns, and demonstrations and rallies take place.

Other than the story, what caught my attention was the use of the map of Tomas Morato in the book’s front, back, and bookmark cover. In the 3-D map found at the back of the book, the author represented Tomas Morato as a district. Buildings and places used in the story where mapped in this so-called district. Since some of the major places (like heaven-eleven, ba’ang café, and high notes) used in the story are fictional,the map at the back would help the reader’s picture out these places, combining realistic places that could be seen on Tomas Morato and those that are fictional. The map at the front cover serves only as a design cover, using the road shapes of Tomas Morato as background body of a “manananggal” where the wings that are also roads is atteched. One that is not familiar to Tomas Morota would easily grasp the setting without going to the actual place because of the presence of the map in the book.

Unlike Eraserheads map in their album cover where the fruitcake heights map only serves as a cover design for their album, maps in the cover of the novel act as representation and tool to express the content of the novel. It helps the readers to visualize what Tomas Morato is, especially to those who are not familiar with this place. Put simply, this innovative attack in literature which is further accompanied by cartography is an indicative that maps could be used to provide better appreciation of the readers.

Source:  Si Amapola sa 65 na Kabanata by Ricky Lee. (All pictures are property of the writer)


One comment on “Amapola and Tomas Morato

  1. Alip has done a very good job in discovering an excellent example of mapping used as a tool in illustrating literature. His comprehensive explanation of the map and how it was used in the book is truly exhaustive. It is easy to agree on his point that the map was used as a tool in helping readers to visualize Tomas Morato, though I cannot fully concur on his observation that the map also served to represent “what Tomas Morato is”. Perhaps he could have expounded more on a disclaimer that the map showed a different face of Tomas Morato– a place known as a “district” to the characters of the plot, and that it may be misleading to those who knows the place differently. He could have left recommendations on improving the map, or if he had none– criticism is more than sufficient. On other hand, his comparative remarks between the Eraserheads album cover and this map on Ricky Lee’s novel is definitely welcome in his detailed emphasis on the map’s objective. His essay is descriptive in every way, and truly refreshing in a parched world where mapping is only seen as a tool for science.

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