Big Deal: An Anthology of Filipino Women’s Stories and Art Volume I, an anthology featuring Filipina authors, contains stories and illustrations that encourage Gen Z and millennial women to speak up on the challenges they face.    

“When I was reading through it, I saw myself in many of the stories,” said Michelline Espiritu Suarez, an author and columnist at the Philippine Star, at the recent book launch. 

Among the themes that resonated were that of being the eldest child in an Asian family, as well as that of being validated on the basis of physical appearance.   

“More than anything else, it’s about the power of finding the words to describe the experience young women face,” she said. “When I was growing up, there were no such words.”   

The diversity of voices — and media — in Big Deal was intentional, according to book editor Katya F. Lichauco.  

“When it comes to discussing the issues women face, we didn’t want a single voice. We wanted a chorus of voices. The message of each author and artist on an individual level is important, but what they signify as a whole may be just as significant: Filipino women everywhere must speak out,” said Ms. Lichauco in a press statement.  

Contributor Keziah O. Acharon, a 23-year-old literature graduate and law student, added that the Big Deal is important because it allows “voices from the periphery to rewrite the predominant male narrative” and differentiates the Filipina experience from that of her Western counterparts. 

“Filipinas share the same context and hence, share the same collective experience,” she said, noting culturally distinct concepts such as panliligaw (courtship) and dalagang Filipina (the traditional Filipina maiden).   

Big Deal is the first in a series published by Bookshelf PH. It is available for pre-order. — Patricia B. Mirasol