A Strange Magic

No nation in Southeast Asia offers the storyteller richer material than the Philippines; certainly few places need more explaining. Superficially, the country appears to be the most Westernized in Asia, after centuries of Spanish colonialism and a formative interlude as an American dependency. Yet its soul is rooted in a panoply of ancient cultural traditions and magic religions as fabulous as any in the region.

The Philippines is a land of storytellers, but the saga of the modern nation remains largely unknown beyond its own shores. Han Ong would appear to be in a good position to fill...

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