Everybody has an obsession. I have friends who are obsessed with Marvel superheroes, Korean Pop and gummy candies. I’m obsessed with princesses, reality television and cute boys.
Now, if you’re obsessed with anything, you can definitely relate to 13-year old Anina Furayda’s obsession with the ocean. She calls the waves her friends, spends her days singing songs overlooking the ocean and has an entire catalog of fish jokes.
Eugene Y. Evasco’s Anina ng Mga Alon (first mentioned here), winner of the National Book Award for Best Young Adult Literature in 2002, tells the story of ocean loving Anina, a Badjao girl living in the small town of Tungbangkao, Tawi-Tawi.
The novel traces her family’s journey from peaceful life in their floating home to the menacing streets of Manila after pirates and conquerors seize their seas. I feel the need to tell you now that a lot of upsetting things happen, but I can guarantee the heart-wrenching events are redeemed by Anina’s captivating passion for her people, her culture and her ocean, whose spirit she takes with her in each part of the journey.
In the current time, Filipinos are demanding more respect and awareness of the country’s indigenous tribes and culture, especially after the fairly recent and ongoing Lumad conflict. Anina Ng Mga Alon, this beautiful book of a girl and the water within her, treats its readers with glimpses into a beautiful culture—to appreciate, respect and accept. And on that note, I think it fits best to call Anina’s ‘obsession’ love. ☁