Ateneo de Manila University • Loyola Heights, Quezon City • 1108 Philippines
The Stories of Alejandro R. Roces
Arturo G. Roseburg Philippine Studies vol. 6, no. 2 (1958): 139–154 Copyright © Ateneo de Manila University Philippine Studies is published by the Ateneo de Manila University. Contents may not be copied or sent via email or other means to multiple sites and posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s written permission. Users may download and print articles for individual, noncommercial use only. However, unless prior permission has been obtained, you may not download an entire issue of a journal, or download multiple copies of articles. Please contact the publisher for any further use of this work at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Stories of Alejandro R. Roces
ARTURO 6. ROSEBURG
LEJANDRO R. Roces was born in Manila on 13 July 1924 of a prominent family that has been connected with newspaper and magazine publishing for many decades. The Roces family is the country's biggest publisher of newspapers and weeklies in several languages and dialects. Lately two of the author's brothers have entered politics. Roces finished high school a t the Ateneo de Manila, after which he went to the United States to tqke up engineering a t a New England university, but for reasons of health he went west and took up liberal arts a t the University of Arizona.
Roc= became a writer by accident. While an undergraduate a t Arizona he kept telling stories to his American roommate, who happened t o be a writer, in the hope that the latter might use them as material for his stories, but the American told him one day to write them up himself. Roces did. His first attempt, We Filipinos Are M l Drinkers, won a literary id award from the University of Arizona. Since then he has won five other awards from his alma mater. His stories have been published in several American magazines: The Arizona Quarterly, Southwest Review, New Mexico Quarterly and the Pacific Spectator, being the first Filipino writer to break into the pages of the last mentioned magazine. I n a nation-wide short-story contest sponcored by the Writer's Digest in 1950
Roces won second prize in competition with American writers. Two of his stories have been included in Martha Foley's Best Short Stories oj the Year. His other stories have been republished in local publications and included in anthologies. Since his return to the Philippines after his studies abroad, he has revived his brother's column in the pre-war Tribune ("Thorns and Roces") with the reverse title of "Roses and Thorns" currently appearing daily in the Manila Times. At present he is head of the English department and dean of the institute of arts and sciences of the Far Eastern University. In spite of a busy schedule he tries to find time for writing, which is his first love. As soon as the "Cocks" series of stories is finished, he plans to write a collection of stories about American G. I.%in the Philippines, of which We Filipinos Are Mild Drinkers is the first installment. Hs stories have not yet been c o l l d and published in i book form. He has written eight so far, all af them h u m o m . We shall examine here seven of them. "WE FILIPINOS A E MILD DRINKERS" R
When T. D. Agcaoili's Philippine Writing appeared in 1953, Willis Knapp Jones, who reviewed it in the Saturday Review of Literature, said that Roces' W e Filipinos Are Mild Drinkers "is the only really funny story in the whole collection." Martha Foley listed it as one of the distinctive stories of the year. It was first published in 1947 by the Arizona Quarterly. Since then it has been reprinted and anthologized several times. I t is a simple story with a simple plot based on a single incident. It is about a friendly drinking bout between an American G. I. whose unquenchable thirst has made him drink anything brewed by man and a...