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About the Book

A country’s history is like a jigsaw puzzle. The bigger picture of how a country and its people came to be can be pieced together through multiple narratives, perspectives, and stories. In Silk, Silver, Spices, Slaves, Lio Mangubat reaches back into the depths of colonial archives and brings to life long-lost stories that would otherwise have been footnotes in Philippine history.

Featuring 13 essays inspired by his podcast series The Colonial Dept., Mangubat spins tales of galleons, triads, fickle spirits, long-lost maps, and the secret history of otters. In these pages, learn about how the entire country became mad for baseball; how Mexican fighter pilots flew dangerous missions over the Philippines during World War II; or how American occupiers fell victim to a mysterious illness called “Philippinitis".

Beyond revisiting days gone by, Mangubat also connects the threads of each story to the wider tapestry of world history — and how these can unspool even up to our current time. A masterful storyteller and podcaster, he proves that the past can loom larger than the present.

About the Author

Lio Mangubat is the creator of Philippine history podcast The Colonial Dept., which features long-lost stories from the country's past under Spanish, British, American, and Japanese rule. He is currently editor in chief of publishing house Summit Books, and is based in Manila. Find him on Instagram at @liomangubat and @thecolonialdept


"Mangubat links past and present, knows a good character when he sees one, and writes engagingly .... Short-story collections are often a prelude for something longer: perhaps Mangubat can be the one to write a Filipino history that resonates with a wider English-speaking public. Silk, Silver, Spices, Slaves is proof that there’s more than enough material." — Asian Review of Books

Silk, Silver, Spices, Slaves: Lost Tales from the Philippine Colonial Period

  • Paperback, 200pp
    Product size: 112mm x 181mm
    ISBN: 978-981-18-9636-1
    Weight: 200g
    Pub date: 31 May 2024

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