A learner willing to learn more

My Book Review on Enrique El Negro

“The Spaniards had forgotten about Enrique El Negro, the indio,

dark as the shadow of forgetfulness”

This book is a story about Enrique El Negro, our main character, who was believed to be a Filipino and the first man to circumnavigate the world even before history dates it. It narrates the story of his life, mixed with his experiences to complement the details, since the moment he left his tribe due to some unfortunate events, which led him to an adventure all the way to Europe; to the moment he returned his footsteps back to his homeland. The sequencing of events that pushed through tells the beginning of the multicultural heritage of the Philippines and the start of foreign colonialism in the Philippines in a perspective a native, who grew up to be a man from a distant country, would see it. Enrique is one of the rare natives who was allowed to enrich his culture with that of the western colonizers and the opportunity to be the first to circumnavigate the world, but the real question about this, is why did he not go down in our history books. A story as unique as this, in it is a historical fiction, impresses me. The fact that it is historical means it is based on facts, but it is coated with an extra layer of a little fiction so as not to give a sense of boredom. The story is also narrated according to firsthand experiences of how Enrique was experiencing them. The technique the author used helped me with my reading skills, as it is a good example for the lessons taught in school today, and accompanied by the key to triggering my imagination.

There are many things that boosted this book to catching and maybe even surpassing my expectations. One of the main things that was like a stepping stone towards achieving my expectation was the fact that the book contained pictures or glimpses of what that chapter is talking about. Its own picture to depict what is happening at the climax of that part of the story complements every chapter. I find this really helpful. Though I am a First Year Student, I still appreciate it when a book adds pictures just to see if what the author is trying to describe is aligned with my imagination. Every chapter do I get to check if what I am interpreting is appropriate for the story, but more importantly, the reason that acted as a rocket that catapulted this book pass my expectations is that it is based on facts. By reading this book, I learned more about Philippine History. This book does the connecting of the dots for me, which allowed me to get my facts straight according to what really happened and not only what they hoped to happen. It allowed me to unveil the deception that the first man to circumnavigate was a Spaniard, Magellan or Del Cano, but instead my fellow Filipino, maybe even my own ancestor, Enrique El Negro. This is more important than my first reason. To add pride to my country and to myself, for being a citizen of this country, is more important than just having to understand a book required for school. This book truly went beyond my hopes of having to find a better book than the usual school novels we were required to read in my grade school life.

To end my recommendation to read such an exemplary book, I would like to summarize my review. This book is simply wonderful. Not only does it exercise simple, active but direct words, but it also portrays a good example of the reading and writing traits our school is trying to instill into our minds. But above all, it adds pride to our country, the Philippines. The narration of the main character allows us to watch as the story unfolds firsthand, as if we were really there. What could be better used to understand this book? I ask you now; do you not want to know how a mere Filipino, a slave that time, achieved such glory of being the first man to circumnavigate the world?

Written on December 2, 2009 (freshman year)


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