PROMDI HEART: HOMETOWN STORIES
by Georgette S. Gonzales, Agay Llanera, Chris Mariano,
C.P. Santi, Jay E. Tria, and Ines Bautista-Yao
Published: March 29, 2017
About the book:
Take a quick tour of the Philippines with six hometown love stories.
Visit Jimenez, Misamis Occidental where a priest might just set you up with a man whose dimples are to die for.
Visit Silay, Negros Occidental and get on a horse alongside hunky, hazel-eyed Negrense royalty.
Visit Kalibo, Aklan and find yourself in the arms of a cute drummer boy who just happens to be your kuya’s BFF.
Visit Hagonoy, Bulacan and spend All Saint’s Day next to a distracting boy who promises to write you a song.
Visit Vigan, Ilocos Sur and meet the hot man you used to bully when he was a shy, chubby boy.
Visit Pundaquit, Zambales and find love in a bronzed fisherman whose eyes hold depths you’ll want to explore.
Promdi Heart instantly caught my attention for several reasons, the most notable of which is the setting. This compilation is composed of six different stories set in various provinces in the Philippines and my promdi heart is more than excited! (For non-Filipinos, promdi is colloquial for “from the province” and is used to make fun of people from the provinces who arrive at the big city for the first time.)
As a reader from the province, it was refreshing to read about the different towns in my country. Reading Promdi Heart made me feel like I was on a trip and immersing my self in a different culture, enjoying the scenery, learning a different dialect, meeting new people — all these then some, like falling in love, for instance.
I really had fun reading each short story. I have already read and enjoyed other works of most of the authors so I was looking forward to reading the stories by Chris Mariano, Agay Llanera, Ines Bautista-Yao, and C.P. Santi. The stories of Gerogette Gonzales, Jay E. Tria gave me a glimpse of their writing and made me take note of their other books.
Only The Beginning by C.P. Santi was the perfect opener for this compilation. I first read about the town of Jimenez in Maybe This Time and I was pleasantly surprised to read about Tony and Rin again. I must say I got all sorts of kilig while reading the text conversations of Andrea and Martin. I feel it noteworthy to mention that I really admire Andrea’s straightforward, no-nonsense attitude. If only I were that upfront like her before, I might have avoided the heartache that comes along with the uncertainty of pseudo-relationships. Heh. 😛
Letters About A Boy by Ines Bautista-Yao reminds me of a sweet teenage crush and this is simply what this story is — it is sweet and pure and all the feels. I didn’t have a hard time picturing the scenes as the setting is in the Visayas where I am also from. Somehow, I kept seeing The Ruins in my mind while I was reading Tin-Tin’s letters. I am touched by the kind of friendship Tin has with Annette which spans through the years.
Chris Mariano is one author whose works I really love reading ever since I first read and thoroughly enjoyed Cover Story Girl. Because of this, I was excited to read Little Drummer Boy in this collection because I know that I would get to read about a place close to my heart — Aklan (which is the town where the infamous Boracay Island is located.) I was not disappointed because this time, Chris wrote about Aklan during the height of the Ati-Atihan Festival. I love how the characters of Reina and Ben were fleshed out despite the length constraints. I love how the mix of drama, mystery, and feels was perfectly paced, building momentum to an ending that is so heartfelt and real.
One Certain Day by Jay E. Tria was the fourth story and by far, I thought my good, happy feelings will be sustained, but I was wrong because this story really broke my heart. I had to pause reading the book after I was done with this one because I really felt bad for Alice. And for Son. Why why why. Why is life like that? Why can’t we control everything and make all stories end with happily ever after? But now, in hindsight, I realize that the story indeed ended with happily ever after. Because who knows? Sometimes the things we feel we love aren’t yet the best for us. But still. Let me grieve for Alice and Son, though.
Once Upon A Bully by Georgette S. Gonzales was fun to read. Oh, the sweetness of childhood (childish?) crushes, haha! Vigan City was a place I really wanted to visit for the longest time and reading about it through the story of Bridgette and Miguel gave me more reasons to intentionally plan and take the trip.
Back To The Stars by Agay Llanera would be my top favorite story in this compilation. I like Leah’s feisty character. Hers is a story of growing up, stepping out of the comfort zone, wading in uncertain waters, and eventually finding her self and the things that really matter — but not without a little help from a hunk fisherman. 😉
Promdi Heart is another proof that the local romance literature is flourishing and captivating the readers with its own brand of romance fiction. Aside from the expected heart-fluttering feels, what I like above all is that the Philippines may be diverse in culture and dialect, but falling in love remains universal.
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