Ghosts of History from the Ruins of Disaster: Narrative Strategies in Post-Haiyan Filipino Novels

Dr Marie Rose Arong1

1University Of The Philippines Cebu, , Philippines

In recent years, there has been a growing critical interest with disasters in literary studies. In Dancing with Disaster, Rigby (2015, p.2) poses that ‘research in the humanities might provide an enhanced understanding of the complex interplay between cultural factors and geophysical processes in the genesis, unfolding, and aftermath of calamities’. This paper hopes to contribute to this important field of research especially because Filipino authors have started publishing novels which grapple with the Haiyan disaster, nearly six years after the Super Typhoon hit the Philippines. This paper examines what narrative strategies Filipino authors employ in order to negotiate the ethical and epistemological problems raised by the Haiyan disaster and how they might invite a reconceptualization of memory.

This paper examines how post-Haiyan Filipino novels in English such as Criselda Yabes’ Broken Islands (2019) and Daryll Delgado’s Remains (2019), recover and reimagine Haiyan. This paper argues that both novels’ attempts to reclaim Haiyan also results in an excavation of Philippine history. Narratives such as Broken Islands and Remains not only provoke a critical understanding of disasters, but they are also necessary in the contemporary moment in order to challenge historical-revisionist narratives proliferating in the Philippines and beyond.


Marie Rose Arong, PhD is a faculty member of the College of Communication, Art, and Design in UP Cebu. She received her PhD from UNSW, Australia. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Kritika Kultura, ARIEL, and Text Matters.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.

Photo Credits: Visit Victoria

© 2019 Conference Design Pty Ltd