Friday, January 21, 2011

SF launch of two great books on Philippine culture

If you have time tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 22) and live in or near San Francisco, you can check out the book launch by my friends and colleagues, Virgil Mayor Apostol and Lane L. Wilcken.

I've known Virgil since I launched my own first book, The Naga Race, back in 1994.  He helped me promote my book and I contributed a section to a book on the Philippine healing of which he was the lead author.

Way of the Ancient Healer is the first Virgil's first solo book and it offers a really thorough study of the many types of indigenous healing systems that exist in the Philippines.  The types of therapies range from the purely spiritual to methods based on manipulation of the body and the systematic use of herbal medicines.

While the Virgil's previous work dealt more with the ins and outs of actual healing, Way of the Ancient Healer is more focused on the sacred realm of Philippine healing traditions.  The healer was also a mystic, shaman, medium and prognosticator.  The idea of classicism was virtually absent in local traditions, which were instead very syncretic and synthetic readily incorporating new ideas so long as they appeared to work.

Virgil comes from a long line of indigenous healers and he has studied with many of the world's most noted teachers of ancient traditions.

The famed guru and public speaker, Dr. Deepak Chopra says of Virgil's book:

"In Way of the Ancient Healer, Virgil Mayor Apostol brilliantly blends the art and science of the sacred teachings of Filipino traditional healing to help people find their path toward health and happiness."

I met Lane Wilcken first over the Internet not too long after the publication of my first book.  Lane was just starting to prepare his book on Filipino tattoos and I referred him to Virgil who comes from northern Luzon where the tattooing tradition survives to this day.

Lane did a tremendous amount of research for Filipino Tattoos Ancient and Modern venturing deep into the mountains of northern Luzon to meet the last traditional tattoo master from those parts.

Filipino Tattoos Ancient and Modern is destined to become the premier work on Filipino tattoo tradition as no earlier work has taken on the subject in any thorough detail. Lane's book will give readers a deep understanding of tattoo symbols and the cultural and spiritual underpinnings of the tradition.

Lane also does a marvelous job of linking the tattoos of the Philippines with those of the wider Austronesian cultures of which the Philippines belongs.

Both Virgil and Lane will be at the event on Saturday to sign books and to discuss these topics with participants.


"the Dude" said...

A Luzon pot with Malay/Javanese & Visayan inscriptions translated: