We Are No Longer Babaylan


Literary Nonfiction. California Interest. Asian & Asian American Studies. Women’s Studies. We Are No Longer Babaylan is comprised of creative nonfiction lyrical prose, about family, origins, identity, and femininity. The collection explores the impact of colonialist patriarchal societies on the live and beliefs of those from a spiritual, matriarchal society; the impacts of these mystical and spiritual beliefs on today’s feminist movement, on healing from trauma, and on remembering ancestors in an increasingly memory-less society.

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“Every word of We Are No Longer Babaylan brilliantly hooks with and hinges on magic, and the magic of possibility. Valmidiano frames the ancient, persistent pain that hammers and chisels Filipina American knowledge with ritual and unrest. She articulates screams and silences, exalting that in order to engage with the Filipina, female, and storied being is to see her in all of her palimpsests. Her prose about the mysteries of waiting, family in manifold forms, and Pinay friendship, features a heartfelt, phenomenal voice declaring, time and time again, women’s bodies–of writing, of work, of ceremony–theirs to narrate and protect.”

—Janice Lobo Sapigao, author of like a solid to a shadow and microchips for millions


“When a powerful witch promises revenge before being fed to crocodiles and then, hundreds of years into the future, over decades of colonization and occupation, whispers into the ear of a rebellious girl, the ear of her descendant, a book like We Are No Longer Babaylan is born. Elsa Valmidiano uses language like a bolo cutting through hectares of land overgrown with amnesia and myopia. With this collection of critical and graceful stories, we readers are able to see again with such clarity and light. So much light that the shadows lengthen and then retreat again, a continuous ebb and flow of politicized, personal revelation and cultural examination. Many who read this book—from those of generations who remember demons intimately to the younger generations only now recalling their names—will see a kind of summoning of the babaylan we ‘used to be’, an invitation for her to once again stand by our side.”

—Trinidad Escobar, author of Crushed