“Yes, Big Deal.”: The New Anthology Redefining and Showcasing the Plurality of Women’s Voices

“Yes, Big Deal.”: The New Anthology Redefining and Showcasing the Plurality of Women’s Voices

The painful events women experience are usually automatically dismissed with a wave of a hand and one simple sentence: “It’s no big deal.” 

From this statement which has now evolved into a shared encounter, consistent across most conversations women have had with others, managing editors Katya Lichauco and Yanna Garcia began to curate visual art and literary pieces that redefines the identity of the modern Filipina at the Big Deal Grand Launch held on June 26, 2022, at Manila House BGC, Taguig. 

The archaic idea that femininity is equated to weakness, that being loud and opinionated is unbecoming, and that vulnerability must only be present in women, are just some of the themes that the anthology intends to challenge and dig deeper into. A large void exists in the writing community which has to be addressed due to the evident lack of recognition for literary works and art by women. What the contributors and the editors are now helping all women achieve is not just visibility, but also inclusion, truth, and passion materialized. Yes, big deal.

Big Deal: An Anthology of Filipino Women’s Stories and Art Volume I presents pieces and essays referring to anecdotes of women and their experiences with a patriarchal society. Why Big Deal? What was a small idea being discussed in the middle of the night later transformed into a women's project. 

Back in 2020, Katya Lichauco and Yanna Garcia were already questioning the many factors running constant in society’s norms. With the book being added as a modern anthology with a collection of women’s stories combats the lack thereof of modern women empowerment in today’s literature.  

About 70 guests from the industry, media, and prominent individuals savored a custom high tea set along with complimentary beverages at the elegant interior of Manila House’s Bonifacio Main Dining room. 

A new book by a Philippine book publisher, Bookshelf PH helps self-published authors and brands reach more audiences. Big Deal is all about being big enough to be noticed and convincing to take action - with an upcoming special e-book edition including Risa Hontiveros’ foreword.  

Although Big Deal is filled with first-hand accounts of women, it is not exclusive to the modern Filipina reader. Everyone is encouraged and invited to read the anthology regardless of sex, gender, and status in life. It presents different lives depicting anecdotes of women’s everyday struggles and dismantling stigmas. 

3 contributors joined the evening: singer-songwriter Dani Zamora and her piece Impatient Vessel portrays the fragmented images of a woman’s specific body parts being plastic wrapped. Isabel Saludo and her piece, Magnolia, transcribes the experience of a woman “losing her petals.” The metaphor for a woman’s value represented by that of a wilting flower. It was written and wrought from the judgment women usually hear from traditional people: that as women go through experiences, especially sexual ones, they begin to lose their beauty, appeal, and luster. The last contributor, Keziah Acharon and her piece entitled: THE WOMAN’S BODY IS NOT HER OWN states the obvious but also reiterates the value of being seen and heard.

After the contributors shared their own stories, Laura Verallo de Bertotto and Luis de Terry from the Flipping the Narrative podcast stepped onstage. Quick-witted and good humored, they managed to touch on a plethora of topics related to womanhood and the courage all women inherently possess. Recognizing the bravery of all the people involved in the making of the anthology, Luis de Terry said: “Kudos to the bravery of telling stories.”

Offering a toast before the program proper, Katya Lichauco and Yanna Garcia expressed their gratitude and hopes for more safe spaces for women’s stories saying, “To all the women who came before us, whose stories paved the paths for our own. For the women in the present who are braving persistent opposition. For the women in the future who are still finding the words to express their own truths.”

The dynamic team who joined the editors were copyeditors Mio Borromeo, Monica Padillo, Leanne Tria, Veno Centeno, Kyle Nate, and Samantha Balinado, cover and layout artist Maxine Garcia and assistant cover and layout artist John Dave Isono. 

Your copy of Big Deal can be purchased here: https://bookshelf.com.ph/pages/big-deal


Written by Aleia Anies, Marcelino Quiambao III, Lance Jester Zafe

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