“I used to play as a violinist in an orchestra in high school. Cirilo Bautista reminds me of a conductor who orchestrates a symphony, intertwining Philippine history into a multifaceted poetic narrative.
The ‘Trilogy of Saint Lazarus’ is an absolute masterpiece, it is history retold in a three- part movement – a crescendo introducing our first colonial conquerors then to the sonatas of ordinary people
and to modern times. You can feel the rhythm change as the characters shift, bringing you an overture orchestrated with layers of emotions and thoughts, blending a meta-narrative of the past, present
and future. The poetic Trilogy takes on the victors and unsung narratives lost in history, lending a voice to the ghosts of the past.”

TRACIE BEJAR

Portrait by Kevin Nuñez

“It felt heavy the first time I read his work. I had to revisit it again and again. Oftentimes even if I’ve read the same passage, I find something new.
It was like an archaeological excavation of fragments of Philippine history.
The deeper I went, the more pieces I found to piece together.
Bautista gives a strong sense of why heroes fight for what they stand for and allows their voices to speak again.

I chose this excerpt because of the philosophical perspective on life that Cirilo beautifully wrote about. In the context of our time – the technological world
we live in has become more complex, we constantly worry. In life, we always strive
for a sense of “why,” the reason why we are alive. Sometimes we only keep these ‘whys’ as dreams, unrealized. As a youth, our journey towards our aspirations and dreams should be turned to action despite how seemingly unsure we are of what
our future may be especially with this worldwide pandemic.

This was one of the passages I didn’t expect to read. It was about cormorant fishing in Toyohama, Japan. A duality in the situation of our Filipino ancestors vividly described in this stanza was the unending cycle of abuse like the Phalacrocorax Carbo, catching fish for the fisherman who exploited our ancestors into labor – the Españols.”

“The passage on the steps of the ‘House of Words’ installation begins
with ‘the archipelago’ referenced in ‘Sunlight on Broken Stones’ 29 years late after
he wrote it. Given the current events of 2020, now more than ever the Philippines wears a mask to hide the decay and corruption that has plagued our society
and politics. We are affected by this disease left
after hundreds of years of corruption


History has no meaning without people— both the victors and the unsung victims. The lenses we were given in school were biased and were often the history written by our conquerors, not our own. Cirilo’s epic trilogy returns the humanity lost
in the records of Philippine history. It is definitely a must-read
for all generations of Filipinos.”