“Louie Jalandoni’s illustrated biography could leave the reader stunned by the double impact of its edifying and insurgent message — in its account of a youth who was a witness to the greed of traditional Negros landowners and their callous indifference to the plight of their workers.”
By RONALYN OLEA
MANILA – Who would not be intrigued by the story of a priest turned revolutionary? Or of a man from a landlord clan who disposed all his wealth for the farmers and the poor?
Such storyline might be unbelievable especially for those who have not met Luis “Louie” Jalandoni.
The book “Louie Jalandoni Revolutionary” presents the journey of a person known to the public as the chairperson of the peace panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
The book is a product of an amazing collaboration. The narrative is written by Ina Alleco Silverio and illustrated by seven artists based in the Philippines and in the United States — Roberto Elias, Max Santiago, Enrico Maniago, Renan Ortiz, Leonilo Doloricon, Fernando Argosino and Mervin Malonzo.
In his speech during the launch, Jalandoni thanked all those who worked hard for the book. He also paid tribute to individuals who were instrumental in his political transformation —the Negros farmers, his sister Lourdes or Inday, his caregiver during his childhood, Graciana Barsolis whom he fondly calls Mamang, the youth who gave him a copy of the Philippine Society and Revolution, Edmundo Legislador or Ka Pendong, among many others.
In her note, Silverio said Jalandoni constantly refers to the lives and actions of those who shaped his own destiny. “Far from extolling his own virtues, he praises the creativity, commitment, courage and strength of those who give their lives to the struggle for a just and lasting peace,” Silverio said.
National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera provided the gist of the narrative “Louie Jalandoni’s illustrated biography could leave the reader stunned by the double impact of its edifying and insurgent message — in its account of a youth who was a witness to the greed of traditional Negros landowners and their callous indifference to the plight of their workers. In response, Louie expands his wealth and moral fervor to ease the needs of the deprived and the oppressed. Eventually, he is drawn to political action, involving himself in the perilous struggle of the workers for liberation.”
In his review of the book, Roland Tolentino, dean of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, said the book is “both political and popular art.” “As political art, it discusses mass disenfranchisement and seeks social transformation as evidenced in the life and body of Jalandoni. As popular art, it seeks to appeal to a larger audience.”
Lisa Ito, professor at the College of Fine Arts in UP Diliman, commended the artists. “They represent different generations of progressive artists based inside and outside of the Philippines, each with distinct styles and artistic strategies that complemented the texts,” she said.
In his foreword to the book, Jose Maria Sison, NDFP chief political consultant said the book is “a necessary, enlightening and interesting read for all those who wish to know and understand more the advance of the revolutionary forces in the Philippines and the international work done on their behalf.”
Jalandoni, now 80 years old, continues to live the extraordinary, revolutionary life he has chosen. For him, “serving the people through the revolution is deepening the practice of Christianity.”