Violence against journalists and Tokhang killings inspire new Pinoy novel

“The Waters of Manila Bay are Never Silent” written by Filipino author Iris Sheila Crisostomo-Lopez is among the latest fiction titles released by Penguin Random House SEA. This socially relevant book highlights the dangers faced by journalists, broadcasters and other members of the press as they fulfill their tasks of bringing the news, forming public opinion, and championing the truth.

Set against the backdrop of the previous administration where its anti-illegal drug campaign, “Oplan Tokhang” left thousands of dead bodies in its wake and families of victims grieving and pleading for justice, the story revolves around the life of journalist and news editor, Zechariah “Zeke” Dipasupil.

When an article about a boy who was killed after being tagged as a drug runner lands on his desk, Zeke felt it deserves to be on the front page. He empathizes with the dead boy whose cries were unjustly silenced, revealing his personal struggles since he also lost his voice as a child suffering from selective mutism.  His quest for a follow-up article puts his life and his lady love in danger but it doesn’t deter him from seeking the truth.

Zeke’s struggle to defend the weak and the voiceless caught in the middle of the government’s war against illegal drugs is reminiscent of the activist movement during the Martial Law years in the Philippines. As he struggles to rise above societal oppression, he finally finds the courage to respond to the many unsettling silences in his personal life.

“The Waters of Manila Bay are Never Silent” is described as a fiction thriller that would keep readers on their toes. By combining a sentimental narrative with a good blend of witty dialogues, suspense, and a bit of romance and comedy, the story can appeal to the serious reader and tickle the funny bones of those who just want to while the time.

Iris Sheila Crisostomo-Lopez earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts from the University of the Philippines Los Banos and her Master’s degree in Creative Writing from De La Salle University Manila.

She has published short stories, essays and poems in local publications such as Philippines Graphic Magazine, Philippines Free Press, Mirror Magazine, Manila Bulletin, Panorama Magazine, and Philippine Daily Inquirer. Her short story, “Passage” is anthologized in “Hoard of Thunder II: Philippine Short Stories in English” published by UP Press. She is also the author of a YA action-adventure novel, “58 Minutes in Driftland” available on Amazon dot com which is now a trilogy after two sequels. She also wrote a children’s picture book in Filipino, “Si Lola Apura at si Lolo Un Momento” published by Adarna House.

“The Waters of Manila Bay are Never Silent” by Iris Sheila Crisostomo-Lopez is published by Penguin Random House SEA. It’s available in the Philippines through Fully Booked branches nationwide. For readers abroad, it can be purchased online via Amazon dot com and in select Asian countries via Kinokuniya dot com.