Mila Bongco-Philipzig mirrors her life in books
By Ted Alcuitas
A lack of children’s books written by Filipinos inspired an Edmonton mother to write not one, but two books herself.
The well-travelled Mila Bongco-Philipzig who left the Philippines in 1984 on a scholarship at the Univ.of Alberta is launching her books on June 18, 2016 at the Edmonton City Hall.
The first book, Sandy Beaches to Snow, Snow to Sandy Beaches, is a kids’ story about a family coming from a tropical place to a land of ice and snow, mirroring Philipzig’s own move from the Philippines to Edmonton. It is illustrated by Jamie Bauza and published by Anvil Books in the Philippines.
Good Night Philippines, Good Night World is a dreamy book of different people in different places tenderly saying goodnight to each other. Each spread highlights a specific place and language in the Philippines, as well as a place and language in another country, as separated Filipino loved ones bid each other good night. It is illustrated by Francis Alvarez and also by Anvil Books.
“Because in the Philippines we have so many people who work somewhere else, it’s 11 places in the Philippines, the 11 major ethnic groups in the Philippines, and they are talking to a relative or loved one in 11 different places in another country,” she told the Edmonton Examiner in an interview.
The books area published by the Philippines’ Anvil Books.
A scholarship from the University of Alberta in 1984 saw her moving to Edmonton, where she finished a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, Film and Media Studies and then went on another scholarship from the Hanns-Seidel Stiftung in Munich, Germany where she met her husband, Jan.
After graduating in AB Humanities, cum laude, in 1981 from the Univ. of the Philippnes, she pursued M.A. Literature in Ateneo as a Fr. Galdon Scholarship awardee.
Bongco-Philipzig knows 5 languages and has published a book with Taylor & Francis/Routledge Academic Publishers. She also got other grants and awards that enabled her to travel to and study in France, Belgium, Austria, and Spain.
She is not only well-rounded academically having two masters, a Ph.D. but is an accomplished mountain climber
She is indeed well-travelled – for the last 25 years, Mila and family have not lived longer than 5 consecutive years in any one city. They have now decided to stay in Edmonton, well, at least until their only son, Mats, completes Junior High.UPAAE.
An active outdoors woman, she has climbed many mountains in the Philippines, as well as Mt. Robson in Canada, and the highest peak in Southeast Asia, Mt. Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia.
An avid marathoner, she completed a full marathon in Kelowna, B.C. – running 42.2 kilometers in less than 5 hours.