The University of Santo Tomas Publishing House (USTPH) launched last February 12, 2017 one of its recently published titles, Navel n. the central point of a place by Rica Bolipata-Santos at National Bookstore in Glorietta 1, Makati City. The book is a memoir that colorfully narrates intimate tidbits of Bolipata-Santos’ childhood, marriage and family life, and her blossoming as a writer. With unflinching honesty, she tells tales from home and the academe.

Present at the launch were USTPH Director John Jack G. Wigley, PhD., and USTPH Deputy Director Ma. Ailil B. Alvarez. “Rica pushes readers to face real life head on. She writes of the seemingly mundane and turns it into her own brand of extraordinary,” said Wigley in his introductory speech before officially handing over the books’ first copies to the author.

Friends and family of Bolipata-Santos read excerpts from the book to give audiences a taste of the author’s distinct storytelling. Among those who participated in the reading was the author’s husband, Dino Santos, who readers will come to know more about in Navel.

“Armed with words and an elephant’s memory, Rica is unyielding; she can be both beauty and beast. She is damsel in distress one minute and heroine the next. She is mother, daughter, wife, sister, teacher, writer, woman, master of her craft. She is also strikingly tender and raw and powerfully insightful. No doubt her genuineness bleeds through paper until she and the page are one and the same—her writing effective and affective,” Wigley said.

Present too at the launch was the artist Elmer Borlongan, whose painting titled “Tire Swing” was featured as the book’s cover.

“Navel” is divided into four parts: “All Things Mother,” “Teodoro Essays,” “On Becoming Woman,” and “On Family.”

 

According to author Cyan Abad-Jugo, who is also a professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, through Navel, “Bolipata-Santos carves a path one might follow, into the whorls of the navel and out to the world beyond, if one were only as brave or as bold.”

“Here is a collection of essays that come to a point, to an eye, that can stare within at a self at the same time that it watches, unblinkingly, the world,” Abad-Jugo said in a blurb that appeared in the book.

Before ending the event with words of thanks, Bolipata-Santos held a book signing session, where fans got to meet and greet the author.