Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

The UP Asian Center is holding—via Zoom—an online book launch and art exhibit, “The Battle of Marawi: Special Edition” on 19 October 2021, Tuesday, 3 pm to 5 pm, Philippine Standard Time. The event is free and open to the public, but sign-in to a basic Zoom account is required.

About the Book

What really happened in the Islamic city of Marawi four years ago, when pro-ISIS jihadis tried to take control of the Lanao del Sur’s lakeside capital?
The Battle of Marawi gives a blow-by-blow account focusing on the battleground itself, and why it took the government troops five months to end the siege in 2017. First published in September 2020, the book has been reformatted in a new special edition that features impressive pen-and-ink drawings and finely detailed maps.
October 19 signifies the end of the Marawi siege, which will be discussed by author Criselda Yabes and artist, Lan Mercado. They will talk about what happened behind the scenes, showing the up close and personal of the battle, and reflect on why violent extremism reached Marawi in the saga of the Mindanao narrative. The aim is to draw discussions on the issues plaguing the Muslim Filipinos’ right to self-determination, the elusive quest for peace in the region, and the future of a ruined city that saw the largest and longest battle in recent years.
Excerpts from the book will also be read. The Battle of Marawi is the first book of Pawikan Press, an imprint of yMedia Publications based in Davao City that specializes in books on Mindanao and Palawan.

Art Exhibit: Scenes and Maps of the Battlefield

The event will also showcase the pen-and-ink illustrations—drawn from life by Lan Mercado—and used in the book’s special edition. Also to be exhibited virtually are maps by Jose Mari Ramos of Marawi, the battle sites, and tactical movements of the protagonists.
Watch the virtual exhibit shown during the launch on 19 October 2021.

The Author and Artists

Criselda Yabes and Lan Mercado both received the Glory award which honors outstanding alumni of the UP College of Mass Communication.
CRISELDA YABES is a journalist and novelist who has published several books, mostly on the military and Mindanao. As an international correspondent, she has covered insurgencies and political conflicts in the Philippines and across the globe. Her novel “Below the Crying Mountain” won the UP Centennial Literary Prize in 2008 and was nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2010. Her previous literary journalism work “Peace Warriors” won the National Book Award for non-fiction in 2012.
LAN MERCADO is a long-time feminist, as well as development and humanitarian worker who has worked closely with the internally displaced people of Mindanao. Had her grandfather allowed her, she would have studied fine arts. When she turned 50, she started making ceramics and watercolor paintings for soul work. The pen-and-ink illustrations in this book are her first.
JOSE MARI S. RAMOS is a former cadet at the Philippine Military Academy. He has also been a reservist, an ad agency artist, and a corporate trainer in human resources. His hobbies include reading military history, art and illustration, photography, and scale models.

The UP Asian Center offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. The Center offers a Ph.D.  program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. The Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website. For other news and upcoming events at the Asian Center, click here.