SAN PEDRO, CA — It was a normal weekend before Christmas at the Philippine Expressions Bookshop in San Pedro — but it wasn’t business as usual.
The community came in full force with songs, and honors for Linda Nietes, who got into the book business nearly 40 years ago as a way to preserve and promote Filipino writings during martial law in the Philippines under the Marcos dictatorship.
She opened up shop 6 years ago, and was not expecting this recognition from the community.
“It’s a surprise number 1, but it makes me very happy, because it makes my whole life, worth, appreciated. It’s a wonderful feeling.”
Nietes, already in her 80s, has been a gatekeeper of knowledge in the community, hosting and organizing events that feature books on the Philippines, as well as works of Filipino and Filipino American authors.
And community members wanted to give Nietes credit for her work.
“We were just having dinner, talking and said we haven’t done anything for Linda let’s do it.”
Nietes’ San Pedro bookstore has become a destination for many authors through the years — keeping people’s passion for books alive, despite the digital age.
“She started in 1985 launching books, and then she really upgraded our literacy but then she was just doing all the little book panels, book launches and she joined the LA times book festivals and guess what, now harper collins contacts her to do the book launch for the different authors,” said Prosy Dela Cruz.
Nietes’ small store has actually grown to include a pair of art galleries, which hosts Filipino artists. And she plans on expanding more.
“We’re working on a collaborative effort to enhance the art activities of our community.”
Helping in this collaboration, the group – FilAm Arts – which plans on using the space for more workshops and exhibits, while Philippines Expressions Bookshop continues to showcase the literary works of Filipino and Filipino American authors.
Wow, great that Linda was honored. Really about time.
Thanks Gemma for covering this.