Biographer-writer Nelson A. Navarro’s “There Not There: The Filipino in Exile,” a fictional account of his American exile years in defiance of the Marcos dictatorship, goes back to the city where it was written in 1980-81.

After being “lost” in unclassified boxes for 24 years as the author moved back to Manila and changed addresses a number of times, the book has been printed and will finally be launched at the Philippine Center in New York City at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3, 2015.

The event is sponsored by New York civic leader Loida Nicolas Lewis, the Alpha Phi Beta Fraternity East Coast chapter headed by Lord Chancellor Alex Rima, and the Bukidnon Association of America led by Victor Boy Barroso.

A short musical program will precede the launch under the baton of guitarist-composer Michael Dadap, violinist Yeau-cheng Ma, and sopranos Roberta Topacio-Bernales and Laura Dadap.

Filipino kundimans, as well as love songs composed by Dadap with lyrics by Navarro during the exile years will be featured.

Prominent New York personalities led by Ambassador-Consul-General Ernesto de Leon have been invited aside from community leaders and artists like Lily O’Boyle, Reuban Seguritan, Caloy Esguerra, DR Teodoro, Amador and Gloria Muriel, Luis Francia, Angie Cruz, Jerry Sibal, Edwin Josue, Emma Ruth Yulo, Emil de Guzman, Salvador Tuy, Jimbo Akimbo and others.

Published by Alphan Publishing and distributed by ABS-CBN Publishing, “There Not There” is loosely based on personalities and events pertaining to the Filipino exile movement in New York and California in the 1970s.

It was written at the height of the Nixon-Reagan support for martial law, rampant militarization and human rights abuses, surging Communist and Muslim insurgencies, unfettered corruption and crony capitalism, mass exodus of the middle class to the U.S. and Canada, and the specter of an Iranian or Nicaraguan-style dictatorship that threatened to last indefinitely into the future.

The 70s was also a time when exiles, always vocal but never numbering a few dozens, grappled with contentious issues like taking on U.S. citizenship and new identities, returning home to join the democratic or underground movements, or simply persisting with the self-indulgent romance of activism from afar.

Born in Manila and raised in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Navarro is a proud alumnus of the University of the Philippines (BSBA Business Administration, 1968) and served as editor-in-chief of the Philippine Collegian.

He was the national spokesman of the militant Movement for a Democratic Philippines during the First Quarter Storm (FQS), which was banned under martial law and while he was on a church-sponsored travel grant to the United States.

A New York resident for 17 years (1971-88), Navarro was among those who stood in open opposition to the Marcos regime, which charged him with subversion and cancelled his passport.

He was granted political asylum after a 10-year deportation battle with U.S. immigration authorities.

He was co-founder and editor-in-chief of New York’s anti-martial Ningas-Cogon magazine published by Loida Nicolas Lewis and supported by businessman-philanthropist Reginald Lewis for eight years until it closed down because of harassment by the Marcos regime.

He took graduate studies at Columbia University, receiving an M.A. in International Affairs in 1976.

Pursuing a full-time journalism career, he started as a reporter for the Trenton Times, New Jersey’s leading newspaper, and served for many years as senior writer of New York’s New World Outlook Magazine, organ of the United Methodist Church Global Board of Ministries, which covered social development projects around the world.

He returned to Manila after the fall of Marcos to become a newspaper columnist (Malaya, Manila Standard, Philippine Star) and television talk show host (ABS-CBN’s Options, GMA-7’s Firing Line).

“There Not There” is Navarro’s 15th published book, after his 2014 memoir “The Half-Remembered Past” and the best-selling 2013 Juan Ponce Enrile autobiography which he edited.

Last February, his biography of celebrated actress-singer Armida Siguion-Reyna was released in Manila.

Also planned are book-signing events in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The Manila launch has been set for Aug. 13, 2015 at the Raffles-Fairmont Hotel in Makati.

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