Field Trip: Not Just a Trip Down Memory Lane

Earlier this year, Rebo Press Book Publishing (RPBP) bannered four successive titles to open the current year’s publishing calendar. Among these titles is “Field Trip at Iba Pang Kuwentong Nineties at Two Thousands” by RPBP author Marius D. Carlos, Jr. Marius is a freelance writer, and he also happens to be the senior editor for English manuscripts at RPBP.

Marius also recently bagged two awards at the Saranggola Blog Awards 2019: third place for the essay and first place for book review/criticism. He says that he is a lifelong learner and reader first before a writer.

Marius D. Carlos, Jr.’s collection of essays, “Field Trip at iba pang Kuwentong Nineties and Two Thousands” were written for three months. (IMAGE | REBO PRESS)

“This has always been my take on writing—that if you don’t make it a point to read, you’re not going to go far with writing. There is no such thing as ‘writing by instinct.’ Ultimately, the lack of reading is going to catch up on you. Reading is part of the writing discipline,” said Marius.

According to Marius, he has always been a fan of traveling, which is why, since the beginning of the lockdown, he has been feeling anxious. “We used to be able to travel whenever we wanted, but now that’s not possible or even safe,” he said.

How did you come up with the idea of a book centered around, of all things, field trips?

“Well, field trips are a huge thing when you’re in elementary or high school. At least it was, back in my day. It was something that students prepared for. They had to negotiate with their parents before they were allowed to join field trips.

“My parents weren’t particularly fond of field trips, so I had to give it my all to join. I admit, there was a time that I thought that my parents were too hard on me, because my classmates almost always got an easy time of it when they asked their parents that they wanted to join field trips.”

How long did it take you to write your second book?

“I write a lot, but not for my projects. It’s kind of sad that I have to squeeze in my work with Rebo Press, but that’s how things go. I believe that I have to balance these things all the time so I don’t lose it. I wrote Field Trip for three months, I think. It’s an on and off thing.

“When I’m able to surface from my heavy freelancing, I gave the book my full attention for days. That was enough to get it done. I struggled with the part where I was supposed to be maturing in the chronology of the events there because even now, I feel like my seventeen-year-old self. I’m just heavier, with more joint pains.”

So why Field Trip? Why not something perhaps, more profound or maybe something that sounded more serious?

“Serious? I’m not a serious person, to begin with, so it wouldn’t sound right. Also, I’m a firm believer that writers should make it a point to first connect with their readers as deeply as possible before bringing in any other agenda.

“My book is something that you would read when you want to decolonize yourself of all the weirdness of being run by a government that doesn’t know what it’s doing. That was the entire point of maybe the first 1/3 of the book. I was questioning the nationalist project that was being fed to kids through museums and exhibits and what not.

“Going on a field trip was going full circle in terms of being indoctrinated ‘as a Filipino’ because you get to see the nationalist imaginings in full swing. But let me clarify that—the national imaginings of the PH government, and not really of the people. I felt it was necessary to help in the effort of unplugging people from these state-sanctioned delusions and outright lies.”

You are planning about an expanded edition this year, or in 2021. Tell us about that.

“Right, so when I wrote Field Trip, I just wanted to do a memoir of sorts, not too serious, but at the same time, I didn’t want it to be limited to me just reminiscing the field trips that I’ve been to, literally. So I expanded it and added new parts that I thought tied up nicely to the beginning or core of the book.

“Now that I’m looking at it, I want to give more. There are areas that I believe I can beef up, and areas that I might clip to give the narrative more coherence. But don’t worry, the new edition is going to have all guffaws and weirdness of the first edition. It’s just going to be better, trust me.”

Awesome. Do you have any message for your readers?

“Yes! Keep reading guys, and please support Rebo Press Book Publishing because we have so much planned this year and the next. Please support indie presses, and let’s keep fighting for a bigger space for all Filipino creators, writers, and artists.”

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