”Missing Mangoes—For Filipinos and Those Who Love Us” is composed of selections from Marcelline Santos-Taylor’s weekly column, “Manila Girl,” published in the Filipino Express. A compilation of coming-to-America insights peppered with Filipino pop and folk culture tidbits and quotes, the book’s enticing flavor is as Manila as the fruit celebrated in the title—a touchstone for all Filipinos transplanted to foreign lands, where the succulent taste and texture of the authentic Philippine mango is so elusive it holds almost the same kind of mythical quality as an Elvis sighting.
In this engaging collection of 27 essays, the author examines issues of identity and adjustment, while conveying the strengths of character as well as the unique quirks that define what it means to be Filipino. Of course, one of the best ways to convey Filipino culture is through food, which the book tackles fondly, often humorously and in great detail—from the mouthwatering description of a lovingly prepared and much missed childhood dish to a not-for-the-faint-hearted listing of Fear Factor-worthy native delicacies to the Filipino fixation on the humble Spam. The author’s voyage of discovery is not only defined by moving away from the land of her birth but also the journey-within-a-journey of becoming a wife and mother in America, while infusing her culture and heritage into her family’s everyday life, in ways both big and small, every step of the way.
“Missing Mangoes” is, indeed, for Filipinos and those who know and love them; but its heartwarming honesty and perspective will also resonate with anyone who has undertaken the uniquely eye-opening journey that is the immigrant experience, or wants to come along for the ride. Most of all, the compelling chronicles of “Missing Mangoes” make readers realize that the home we sometimes feel is so far away is the same place that never really leaves us at all.
Marcelline Santos-Taylor has been a published writer since her teens, and has worked as a teacher, fashion stylist, marketing and promotions director, concert producer, radio and TV host, and graphic designer in Manila, Philippines until marriage brought her to the United States in 2000. In addition to writing the “Manila Girl” column upon which this book is based, she also contributes to regional food and parenting magazines, and trade publications. The author lives with her husband and son in a 250-year-old house in the historic town of Burlington, New Jersey. “Missing Mangoes—For Filipinos and those who love us” is her first book.