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Gapo: A Novel by Lualhati Bautista
Gapo is a novel by Filipino writer Lualhati Bautista, published in 1988. It tells the story of Michael Taylor Jr., a young folk singer who lives in Olongapo, a city near the US naval base in the Philippines. Michael is the illegitimate son of an American soldier who abandoned him and his mother. He harbors resentment and anger towards the Americans who exploit and oppress the Filipinos in his town. He witnesses the injustices and abuses that his friends suffer at the hands of the US military personnel. He also falls in love with an American woman who has a family back home.
The novel explores the themes of colonialism, neocolonialism, nationalism, identity, and resistance. It portrays the harsh realities of life in Olongapo, where prostitution, crime, poverty, and violence are rampant. It also depicts the struggles and aspirations of the Filipino characters who seek dignity, freedom, and justice. The novel criticizes the unequal relationship between the Philippines and the US, as well as the corruption and complicity of the local authorities and elites.
Gapo is one of Bautista's most acclaimed works, along with Dekada '70 and Bata, Bata, Pa'no Ka Ginawa. It won the first prize in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature in 1980. It was also adapted into a film in 1986, directed by Mel Chionglo and starring Christopher de Leon, Lorna Tolentino, Mark Gil, and Rio Locsin.
If you want to read Gapo by Lualhati Bautista online, you can download a PDF version from Scribd[^1^] or buy a hard copy from Amazon[^2^]. You can also find more information about the author and her other works on her Wikipedia page[^3^].
The novel also offers a critical analysis of the socio-political and cultural impacts of the US presence in the Philippines, especially in Olongapo. It exposes the hypocrisy and double standards of the US government and military, who claim to be allies and protectors of the Filipinos, but in reality treat them as inferiors and enemies. It also challenges the Filipino government and elite, who are complicit and submissive to the US interests, and who neglect and betray their own people. It questions the Filipino identity and nationalism, which are distorted and eroded by the American influence and domination.
Gapo is not only a historical and political novel, but also a human and emotional one. It portrays the complex and diverse characters of the Filipinos who live in Olongapo, who have their own dreams, hopes, fears, and struggles. It shows their resilience and courage in facing the challenges and hardships of their situation. It also explores their relationships with each other, with their families, with their lovers, and with themselves. It reveals their joys and sorrows, their strengths and weaknesses, their virtues and vices.
Gapo is a novel that reflects the reality of a time and place that shaped the history and destiny of the Philippines. It is a novel that speaks to the present and future generations of Filipinos, who need to learn from the past and fight for their rights and dignity. It is a novel that inspires us to resist oppression and injustice, to reclaim our sovereignty and identity, and to assert our humanity and dignity. aa16f39245