Category Archives: Latest and Upcoming

OUT NOW! Is There Rush Hour in a Third World Country?

Our book Is There Rush Hour in a Third World (translated by Kristine Ong Muslim with an introduction by Eric Abalajon) is now available in various bookshops across the UK and Europe. Always grateful to my publisher the 87Press for bringing this small book to English language readers. This translation is so special to me as this is my first book translated into the English language, outside the Philippines.

Call centre agents and migrant workers, soldiers and charity workers, fresh university graduates and street children — they all navigate the myriad of avenues in which their desires are entangled within the Philippines’ harsh and unforgiving conditions of migration and labour in Rogelio Braga’s collection of stories, Is There Rush Hour in A Third World Country? Now translated by Kristine Ong Muslim into English, the collection offers a glimpse of the lives of ordinary Filipinos, told amidst coup d’états, active conflict areas, late-night convenience store rendezvous, and bumper-to-bumper Manila traffic, given a considered dignity and nuance by one of the Philippines’ celebrated playwrights.

Is There Rush Hour in a Third World Country? was launched last December 2022 at the OTO Cafe near Dalston Junction in East London. You can watch me introduce the book and read an excerpt from the story Mga (translated by Kristine Ong Muslim as ‘Plural’) below:

I have a lot of things to say about this book of stories, and the context of the time when it was all written and published back in the Philippines. But for now, I’d like readers outside my country to enjoy this book, the world I recreated in these stories, and Manila from the eyes of someone who lived in that city all through their life.

Beauty Vlog: Queering St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Imperialism, Colonialism in Southeast Asia

Trans actors Aldrin Bula and Istifen Baklang Kanal of Baklang Kanal. UP Repertory Company’s Gio Potes directed the piece for Pantheons: Sculpture at St Paul’s Cathedral, c.1796-1916 

St. Paul Cathedral in London and the Department of Art History at York University commissioned me to write a piece as an ‘artist response’ to the monument of Granville Gower Loch for Pantheons: Sculpture at St Paul’s Cathedral, c.1796-1916. I was expected to write about 700 to 1000-word piece but I’ve decided to make it extra and wrote a dramatic monologue playing around with the popular social media form of beauty vlogging. Why Handsome Single Guys Die in Burma is my first attempt on stage to engage the British colonial history and empire.

When I submitted the script fabulous folks from York University decided to why not perform it with actors! And so I tagged along theatremaker friends from Manila to develop and perform the script.

You can read the script, watch the video, and read about the Loch and the project here.

This is the monument of the Scottish colonial soldier Granville Gowe Loch inside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Loch died in battle in Burma at the turn of the 20th century. St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Department of History of Art, York University invited 50 artists, writers, and academics across to ‘respond’ to monuments inside the Cathedral.

Okay, here’s more! Weeks after the release of Why Handsome Single Guys Die in Burma, influencer and popular vlogger Martin Rules reinterpreted the piece for her popular YouTube Channel Philippine True Crime Stories.

You can watch Martin here!