My Thoughts About Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin by Bob Ong (Book Review #82)

Despite writing in a pseudonym and his identity is yet to be revealed, Bob Ong is one of the most influential authors in the Philippines today. I consider him as one of the agents of change. His works are always an eye-opener to the situation of the Philippines and the flaws in our system. His books are always, to a certain degree, will make you feel guilty about your actions and be an agent of change yourself. His books have become the staple source of information for those who wants to get a picture of the real situation of the Philippines. His books are insights congealed with humour. His way of pinpointing the fault in the system is what I consider as unique. In order, Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin is his ninth book. I have only read two of his books before this books and that is MacArthur and Alamat ng Gubat.

When it comes to creativity of book format and style, it seems like Bob Ong never runs out of ideas. From his usual short story collections that ranges from fiction to non-fiction, to horror and drama, then moving to a graphic novel type of book, and now his creativity this time takes readers to a book made as a screenplay, yes, like the script in movies. Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin (Loose translation: Get Away from Me) contains three short stories that converge at the end.

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Part 1: Bala sa Bala Kamao sa Kamao Satsat sa Satsat – An action movie that follows Diego’s misadventures, an action star who is seeking revenge against the bad guys that killed his parents, his wife, Ashley, and everyone who attended their wedding on their wedding day.

The plot follows the themes and formats of classic Filipino action and comedy movies popular during the 80’s to 90’s like for instance the use of slapsticks and predictable flow of story and ending.

Part 2: Skake Shaker Shakest – A horror movie that follows a family that is “forced” to stay in a haunted house for several days.

The plot follows the themes and formats of Filipino horror movies. Possession of evil spirits, family drama in the midst of horror and musical score that is the same as the last Filipino horror movie you watched.

Part 3: Asawa ni Marie – A movie drama that follows Maria’s rags to riches story and his search for true love.

The plot follows the themes and formats of Filipino telenovelas popular during the 90’s wherein we follow the struggles, hardships and sacrifices of a poor girl growing up until he gets her revenge to those who wronged her and eventually marry his childhood sweetheart.

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Opening a Bob Ong book is like opening a box that you don’t know what’s inside. One thing I learn from reading Bob Ong is to never be deceived by what’s on the cover. Judging it from it’s cover, from afar, it may look like a Tagalog romance pocketbooks of some sort primarily because of its pink color and the couple kissing. You know, the small size Tagalog love story pocketbooks that frequent the normal Filipino household that reached it’s peak of popularity during the 90’s up until early 2000. But it is very far from that. The book is a satire of Philippine media that covers topics from local movies, local TV reality contests and shows, local print media and social media.

The book’s value in today’s Philippines is very significant. It is a commentary about how the Philippine media is on a steep decline which, as the books points out, not only is being caused by the media companies but also us, who watch, reads and allows it to be that way and how we are also to be blamed for the it’s downfall.

“Yon ang mali sa tinatawag na ‘cool factor.’ Para maging ‘in’ ka, dapat magustuhan mo yung gusto ng iba. Pero pag sobrang dami na ng may gusto, dapat umayaw ka naman dahil magiging jologs ka na. Dapat kakaiba lagi ang gusto mo, para kunyari iba ka.”
― Bob Ong, Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin

The book criticizes how producers in the film and TV are always using the try and tested formula. Producers and directors are afraid to try and create unique and varied content because of the risks that the movie or TV show won’t sell. Instead of focusing on the substance and depth of the film or TV show, the media invests more on overrated concepts, predictable plots, good visuals and good-looking actors. And the ending? Moviegoers and televiewers are always being presented with recycled materials that are either a sequel or a remake. How it seems like the media has taken advantage of us and how the population remains ignorant about it. The author points out that the mediocrity and stereotyped content of the Philippine movies and TV shows have become so common that Filipinos are more keen on patronizing those type of content. We have accustomed ourselves to what we always see, watch and read and that’s what we always support. Expanding the horizons of both the media companies and the viewers is what the author suggests.

The book also talks about the effect of commercialism to us. It talks about how businesses try to influence us but we don’t notice it. It also points out how we are becoming irresponsible with how we use different social media sites. It talks about TV personalities running for public office. It talks about the billboard fiesta in our major roads. It talks about the death of the Original Pilipino Music (OPM). This book really contains a lot! This book’s worth is totally worth it.

“Isa pa, pwede nga ring yung TV talaga ang may sumpa. Dahil ang TV, para ring drugs, pero ligal. Isipin mo, bakit isa ito sa mga unang-unang pinupundar ng mga Pilipino kahit gaano sila kahirap? Kasi malaking tulong ang telebisyon para lumimot. Para tumakas sa realidad.”
― Bob Ong, Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin

The book is written in a script-like form where readers are taken to the scenes itself. The book’s first person type of writing is effective for me especially with how the author wants the message to be conveyed. The author wants us to reflect and feel to ourselves what we unconsciously do and ponder about it.

Reading a book in a screenplay format is a first time for me. The author being known to deviate from the usual storytelling, I find this book so amusing and so unique. I consider it balance, enough to be not too preachy. The thoughts are cohesive to be taken as one. All things worked for me in this novel. I relate to the message of the book because I, myself, is guilty of what the book pinpoints as wrong but we still keep on doing. It’s funny because you get to relate to it but when you realize what the author means, and the author writes sarcastically, you begin to think reflect about it. I like when the author does that, his criticisms are always on point.

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What I also like about this book is how the author encouraged the youth to read. The author values reading and he knows the value of books in shaping the minds of the youth. Instead of criticizing the books that the youth read today, we should applaud them for reading and encourage them to read diversely.

“ako, ang hinahangaan kong tao na mahilig sa libro e yung may matututunan ka pag kausap mo, yung makikita mong naging marunong at mabuti siyang tao dahil sa pagbabasa niya ng mga libro.”
― Bob Ong, Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin

Bob Ong writes about things that we know happens and know that something is wrong but are afraid or don’t know how to point it out. He shows us the slap-in-the-face reality. He doesn’t only criticizes but also offer suggestions. The message and intention of this book is clear. The author wants us to be an intelligent Filipino consumer and viewer. We should demand better content. Maximize and properly use the resources being given to us. We should not use the different social media platforms just for our rants and whines but rather to air our dismay in the current system. There are a lot of things to be done and a lot of things that needs to be changed and definitely nothing will happen unless we start it. If we just keep mum about this things that’s happening, producers and media companies will continue to sell us the same content. Unless our taste changes, nothing will happen.

This book is dedicated to media practitioners that this may serve as a way for them to start the difference and uphold the values that is much needed rather than feed the minds of the general public with unsubstantial content. Like with other Bob Ong books, this book hopes for changes.

“Tatawa lang sila. Tatawa lang sila at sisisihin ang sistema. Ang laging bida at walang kamatayang sistema.”
― Bob Ong, Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin

4 stars out of 5.

BOOK SPECIFICATIONS:

Author: Bob Ong
Format: Paperback
Part of a Series: Standalone
Release Year: December 2011
Publisher: Visprint, Inc.
No. of Pages: 186 pages

A movie was released by Viva Entertainment based on this book last January 13, 2015 which stars Maricel Soriano, Herbert Bautista, Cristine Reyes and Candy Pangilinan among others. I haven’t got the chance to watch it yet but will surely check it out. I’m curious how the book was translated in the movie.

 

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6 thoughts on “My Thoughts About Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin by Bob Ong (Book Review #82)

  1. This book is indeed for Philippine movie fans and bashers. I can’t count how many times I laughed out loud reading this books because Bob Ong is always on point. My thoughts that I can’t put into words, Bob Ong states them all here. Reading the book, it’s not something that can be made into a movie so, it got me curious about its movie adaptation.

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  2. I finished reading most of Bob Ong books at Powerbooks before eventually purchasing them. As a fiction writer, he’s just ok. I think. But as non-fiction author, he certainly owns that “style” that has influenced Filipino writers of this generation. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To the blogger, great review! well I am looking forward to own this one. I have a lot of BO books but not this one. Usually out of stock in Bacolod. Solid Bob Ong, Bob Ong forever. 🙂

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