A book that’s covered in blood

June 20, 2006 at 1:32 pm 3 comments

[]… The newly released adventure novel Palawan” has it all. There is an exotic tropical island location. … [] Bookwire http://www.bookcatcher.com/index2.php?a=2&b=802#images

Often comes along a book-or movie that seeks to profit from a very real tragedy – it is the stuff of legend that some people like to see $$$$ over telling the real stories which are harder to do – this author from Las Vegas – perhaps not gutsy enough to write about all the tragic suffering in his own city.

Seeks to look for misery on distant shores. In the essence of free speech yes it is his right to write – to do so – but that does not make it right for anyone to do so without putting facts on the table even in a book of non-fiction.

So another swipe at my old hometown takes place from a guy living where I once did in a place that has more than enough violence, bloodly clashes, crime, and kidnapping than ever happened in entire history of the island who chooses to malign by naming his book after.

One day perhaps – he'll even go there on the profits perhaps of his book. But I doubt he'll ever do so- looks like a typical shut-in type who wouldn't know the much bigger story and intrigue that lies right before his eyes and the very real horror of the crimes of his city he chooses to ignore- Like I hope people will his book.

How he shames the memory of the lives lost – of the tragedy and victory in the end that makes the real story of what happened so much better to read.


Entry filed under: abu sayyaf, Afghanistan, Al Gore, al qaeda, asia, border security, Bush, china, Democrats, Dubai, fil-am, Filipino, filipino-american, free speech, freedom of speech, immigration, Makati, news, News and politics, News Of China, OFW, Palawan, philippines, Pinoy, pirates, Rants, Raves, Whathaveyou..., terrorism, war, war on terror.

Report: Massacre in Palawan… 8 PRC fishermen arrested New rumblings in the ‘Corps’?

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. coastychuck  |  March 30, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    This is an old post that I just found, but I would like to set the record straight. My book was fiction and not based on any particular incident. However, having said that, the kinds of things that are described in my book do and are happening fairly regularly in the Southern Philippines.

    It is also obvious that the person who posted the original comments had not read the book or he/she would know that I not only traveled to the Philippines many, many times between 1966 and 1968, but that I actually lived on the Southwestern end of Palawan Island from 1969 to 1971.

    The people of Barrio Malabugan, in the Tarumpitao Point area as well as those living in Punta Baja knew me as “Doc Williams”. I was the medical person for a remote U.S. Coast Guard LORAN transmitting station. Being the only medical person in the area I was able to assist many local people with health care and actually saved a number of lives during my time on Palawan.

    My book was not intended to malign either the Philippine people or Palawan Island. My wife of thrity-eight years is a Filipina and my son is half Filipino. It was an adventure novel using the backdrop of an area that I was “very” familiar with.

    I have traveled in the philippines from Zamboanga in the South to the Mountain Provences of Northern Luzon and I have traveled Palawan from the Balabac Straights to Puerto Princessa.

    I’m sorry you seem to be upset with me. Get over it. And next time you post something on the web be sure of your facts.

    C.D. Williams
    Author of the Novel Palawan


    Mr. Willaims,
    The events described in your book which you say is fiction however do describe in very similar terms an actual event – people and places that did happen, perhaps in your travels around the area as you say these thing inspired you then.
    But the reality of it all is those events did happen. The entire island of Palawan and on Sipadan island suffered for over two years to bounce back. They have – and tourist visitor numbers are at the highest levels. By and large through efforts of local people and others around the Philippines that have foled several similar attempts since then.

    However your story fails to show how people did not only in palawan but elsewhrere did rise up fight off the bandits-pirates and terrorist band and by and large have shut them down. In fact most of original leaders of the group are now dead.

    As to your life there – yes thats good that you lived there. Perhaps I should change my terms to describe you as the ‘Kasemawa of Vegas’ noting the cuyonon and tagbanwa term for fellow Palawenyo – Tarumpitao Loran station- it’s runway and part of its old building (most of it gone now) is now the central district of the town of Rizal.

    The runway is now ‘main street’ its a nice little place really. But a shame they didn’t preserve the runway. Which even in the mid 80’s was where planes could still land.

    I will ask around and see if anyone remembers you. The parents of the Burnham couple the victims of the ‘real’ story that is so similar to one in your book would have also been in the area around then -also others like them – perhaps at the language schools small missionary home… east of what is now in Rizal, Palawan in a town then called Brooke Point now Espanola.

    My comments are my own for the most part. And for my small pool of readers.
    Worse comments came from people on Palawan who felt someone tacking another swipe at them for a sole events of crime and kidnapping that made them better prepared.

    In another attempt September of last year The plan was to attack on the 11th to comm orate events in NYC. 7 Abu Sayyaf members plotted to bomb hotels and tourist inns there. They were caught are now facing charges in court. vigilance replaced the innocence of this small island you knew.

    My review was nothing personal – it is your right to write what you do and make whatever profit from it as an author. I respect that. I do feel however some effort in future works might be a better story to look at how this place fought back – moved on – and is also a central showpiece of environmental awareness in Asia-Pacific.

    It I reserve the right to have my own limited opinion of books, films, and novels and to critic them. I do hope you understand that too.

    Walang personalan ito’ng opyon ko… maliabn sa tangkan isip na maari kulang po ang kwento ninyo… sana sa susunood – tell the whole story pls.

  • 2. coastychuck  |  April 1, 2008 at 7:22 am

    What part of fiction do you not understand?

    You can believe this or not, as you wish, but I did not even know of the Burnham incident until my book was nearly finished and I certainly was not inspired by it. During my time at Tarumpitao Point we frequently worked with the local missionaries and often flew in their supplies in on our planes.

    My book was inspired by:

    1. My knowledge that kidnapping in the Philipines has, for many years, been almost a cottage industry.

    2. My First hand knowledege of Philippine geography, in particualr Southern Palawan. I have visited the Palawano people in the mountains and have personally hiked to near the top of Mt. Mantalingian, I have traveled up and down the coast of Palawan by native Pump boats to attend Moro weddings.

    3. After 9/11 when the world war or terrorism was declared and the Abu Sayyaf Group came to the attention of the world, I noted that down in my memory as something that I may use someday. And by the way, if you read the Authors Note: in my book you will see that I was aware that Abduragak Abubakar Janjalani was killed in 1998 and I know that his brother Khadafy has since been killed. Research is something that you have to do, even for a “FICTION” book.

    4. The thing that brought it all together was meeting a young lady at my local Starbucks Coffee Shop. She was working her way through college and during semester breaks she would go on youth missions to small villages in Thailand and the Philippines. She, then was the inspiration for my story.

    For instance. What if my young friend, after graduating from college desided to become a missionary at a remote mission on Palawan and got kidnapped?

    My book only has three things in common with the Burnham incident and they were purely coincidental. First, they were kidnapped, second the Abu Sayyaf were involved and lastly they were taken from Palawan (Northern Palawan).

    You said some very un-kind things about me in your first post, as you say freedom of speech, but you did not even know me or what my motivations or insperations were.

    Not liking my book is one thing, I can live with that. But, you just assumed I was some rich old Puti taking advantage of Palawan and someone else’s misery to line my pockets with gold. I have to tell you, if you think writing that book has earned me a bunch of money, you don’t know much about the publishing business.

    Actually, I am a retired Coast Guard Officer with over twenty-seven years service. Much of that time was spent risking my life to save others who were in peril. For not very much money. I also retired from a second and third career. Now I write to keep my mind active.

    By the way the second half of my book took place in Las Vegas. I sent the Mayor a copy and he did not contact me and say “Hey Chuck you’re going to mess up out tourism.”

    If it makes you feel any better I’m working on a three part memoir that will chronicle my real experiences during my time on Palawan. It looks to me like you folks have come a long way since I was there, at least around Puerto Princessa and North. When I lived on Palawan there was almost nothing in Puerto Princessa and during the rainy season you could not even get from there to Quezon and the Tabon Caves.

    To bad the Tarumpitao Point facility was alowed to run down. That would have made a great resort for adventure tourists and the infrastructure was all there when we turned it over to the P.I. on April 19, 1971.

    You may not like me very much, for your own reasons, but at least I hope you’ve come to realize that I’m not an un-traveled, shut-in, couch potato as you described me in your first post. I’m almost seventy and last year the wife and I made road trips to thirteen states here is the U.S and and visited two other countries.

    Thank you for giving an old man something to do this afternoon.

    C.D. Williams 🙂

  • 3. rnt1217  |  November 10, 2008 at 7:09 am

    I can assure you that Doc is a wonderful man. The book was great. I was stationed at Tarumpitao and I loved it there. Great memories. Thanks Doc for keeping it real. Even though the book is fiction, it would be great if you would write a book about the time you were there.


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