book: ang mga kaibigan ni mama susan

"ang mga kaibigan ni mama susan" by bob ongwho would’ve thought that bob ong, whose first four books were oddball compilations of anecdotes that ranged from hilarious to snarky, would turn out to be such a serious writer of prose?

i guess ALAMAT NG GUBAT (literal translation: myth of the forest), his socio-political novella masked as a fable, was a sign. we should expect more amazing books from the guy who started his writing career with A B N K K B S N P L KO (literal translation: wow, i can read now).

with ANG MGA KAIBIGAN NI MAMA SUSAN (literal translation: mama susan’s friends), we get a new format from bob ong: the journal.

most high school and college students here in metro manila are familiar with the journal: a semester/school year-long project from english/filipino teachers who are either punishing us, or want us to become prolific writers.

and that’s where the story of ANG MGA KAIBIGAN NI MAMA SUSAN begins–with a journal our main character (galo) has to fill for his college professor who lost his first journal. and just out of habit, and because he didn’t want to waste the thick notebook he had used for the journal, he decided to continue writing.

my personal experience with the journal project is that it’s hard to fill. we’re supposed to write about our days, but when you’re in school most of the time, what else can you write but how every day was the same as the day before? and it’s not like you can write about your teachers without the fear of having said teacher find out; and then there’s the fear of getting sent to the school councilor if you try to write something out of the box.

galo doesn’t have these fears, obviously. then again, he was able to prove his theory early on that his professor didn’t even read the journals they were submitting. so galo writes about his heartbreak, his financial and domestic problems, etcetera.

it’s only when he decides to return to his province that his journal writing takes a darker turn.

something has happened in his grandmother’s house during the time he had stayed in manila. the house, while still in good condition, seems to have gone back to the past, instead of riding the present wave of technology. after living in the world of cable television and network gaming, galo is trying to enjoy the simple provincial life–and failing.

without anything to do, galo is witness to all the weird things happening inside his grandmother’s house. the unexplained noise, the scary sculptures–and his grandmother’s friends who are freaky in their own right.

ANG MGA KAIBIGAN NI MAMA SUSAN starts out as a fun recollection of the late 90’s, and then takes on the tones of fanaticism and horror as the story goes along. this book is definitely not for the easily-scared.

find out what other people are saying about the book:
good reads
simply human
and in tagalog, at alvin galvan’s blog

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61 thoughts on “book: ang mga kaibigan ni mama susan

      • I just started it, not in reading but on collecting his book. My classmate sold me her copy of the said book for half of the original price.

      • She like it. She actually always sit beside me to discuss about it, like how scary it is. But she is the type where she buy books, read it, then sell it, then buy another one. She’s the first person I knew to have that kind of routine.

  1. The trailer for this book scared the bejeebies out of me. Then again, I’m a chicken so I scare easily. :P That’s the main reason why my copy of this book still sits in my office drawer. Haha.

    My favorite Bob Ong book is Stainless Longganisa, closely followed by Ang Paboritong Libro ni Hudas. :)

    • Once you start reading it, you wouldn’t want to put it down–just so you find out what happens in the end; and just so you can have closure.

      I like the pacing of the book, and how it ended. Of all the recent Filipino Horror books I’ve read, I think this one was the most successful in giving me a scare. :)

      [my favorite is also Stainless Longganisa; but my second favorite is Kapitan Sino. :)]

      • I think I’ll read this one on a weekend, with enough daylight. Haha. See chicken. It’s like Naermyth — there was a time when I stopped reading it at night because I was creeped out by the aswang. I am not made for horror. LOL.

        Oh yes, Kapitan Sino is also good. :)

      • The book won’t take more than four hours, I think. :) It’s very short. Though, I did stop reading last night too, because it was getting a bit creepy.

        aside: I’m actually reading Naermyth now :)

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  3. i can relate on the settings since my grandma has that same kind of settings. bob ong made me laugh and cry already and now he send shivers down my spine. wait im turning the lights on its already 4pm…

    • wow! freaked out at 4 p.m.!

      haha, i’m happy that more people are now saying positive things about the book. most of the reviews/posts i’ve read were off the negative sort.

  4. kakatuwa ksi khit horror ung book di ko mabitawan khit nagbrown out pa dto sa min at ilaw lang ng cellphone ang gmit ko pra lang mtapos.. di ko tlga pnagpabukas kasi ung excitement parang ayaw mawla eh.. di ko na nga lang tinapos nung nsa latin part na bka magkaron ako bigla ng ktabi sa pagtulog.. ^^

  5. para kay sir bob kailangan mging matapang… ^^
    carry pa nmn ang mga gnung book wala pang illustration kya mejo mpaglaro ang imahinasyon kung ung bang nsa back cover ang muka ni mama susan…
    mganda pa din nmn ung book ni sir.. npapaisip ka na lang anung klase nmn kya un nxt after buhay ng mga pinoy to politics naun nmn fiction… can’t wait..^^

    • haha, baliktad tayo. sa akin pag may illustrations, hindi ako natatakot. but when it’s left to my imagination–patay na. hence why i like zombie books, alam ko na kasi agad ang itsura–hindi na ako natatakot. :)

      and i agree with you; exciting kung ano na naman ang susunod na ilalathala ni bob ong.

  6. jeezz, it was my request gift for our christmas party, but the one who got my name, didnt know who is bob ong, so ang ending… he insists me na baguhin ko na lang , so i ended up this lalagyan ng N5233 ko na parang wallet.. ako na nga lang bibili bukas. hmpf!

  7. kapag daw kasi nagbabasa ka ng libro kahit walang illustraton kung talagang sadyang mapaglaro ang isip mo e mapipicture sa utak mo ang mga nanyayari sa kwento. yung kapitan sino pwedeng gawing indie movie. kahit short film lang. naimagine ku kasi nung binabasa ko yun yung mga artistang pwedeng gumanap. hehe.

  8. thanks for the review and the heads up about not reading this at night.

    i heard that the new book was out and getting a copy became my one true goal for that day. then when i got home and started “feeling” my new book (by feel, i mean, smell the pages and see the art behind the book covers…yeah, weird, but hey, i love books), i noticed that the image at the back is particularly different, different that it took me a few seconds to realize it’s a child, then a split-second to realize that he/she/it freaked me out.

    then i knew that this book was very much different from the nakasanayang bob ong.

    like some people here, i still haven’t finished the book. duwag na duwag! haha.

    • regarding the back of the cover–is it a child? I thought it was an idol, a Sto. Niño, if you will. :) but you could be right and I could be wrong. :)

      thank you for reading my post about the book, and good luck on finishing it. you still have some hours of daylight before it gets dark again. :)

  9. natapos ko to basahin sa bus going back here in manila… una natatakot ako then habang tumatagal nagugustuhan ko… i love horror books gaya nitong mga kaibigan ni mama susan….

    • awesome! swak ang mga novellas na gaya ng “…Mama Susan” para sa mga bus rides. lalo na pag mahaba ang biyahe at ma-traffic. :D

      if you loved this, you might also want to try other filipino horror books like david hontiveros’ craving, takod and … i forgot the title of the other one. though, just so you know, i’m not endorsing. i’m just suggesting. hehe. may disclaimer agad?

  10. I must say was actually surprised when I read it.My expeirience in bob ong’s books are always comedy.My professor is like a BIG fan of bob ong and has all of his books.Then after he reads them he lends it to me.Then I was surprised to see a new book of bob ong while I was book shopping at national bookstore hehe..I bought it kaagad then read it for two days then became sad because it was already done hehe..

    • It’s always great to be surprised by familiar authors, don’t you agree?

      What I like most about Bob Ong is the fact that no two books are the same. Though “A B N K K B S N P L Ako” and “Stainless Longganisa” did share some similarities, for the most part, his books are widely different from each other.

      So did you like “Ang Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan?”

  11. I really think I have to buy this. Looks like it’s gonna be really great to read this book and this will be my first time to read one of Bob Ong’s books

    • A Bob Ong virgin? Wow! … Well, not really wow. I’m sure there are loads of people who have yet to read Bob Ong. But you are one of the few I’ve met (online or offline) who haven’t read a single Bob Ong book!

      Do share your thoughts when you do get to read the book! :)

  12. Can’t wait to get this book! Thanks for the review. I didn’t know that Bob Ong has a new piece in 2010. Good thing GMA’s Top 10 sa 2010 mentioned about this Mama Susan.

    • GMA’s Top 10 sa 2010? When did they show that?

      I didn’t know Bob Ong had a new piece either–until I heard a girl ask about it while I was in National Bookstore. Having owned and liked all of his previous books, I immediately grabbed a copy for myself. =)

  13. I enjoyed reading the comments..and also the review of course. :) I read the book in the middle of my exams and it freaked me out. natakot ako dun sa bata/idol/thing sa cover. scaaary >< haha. I really don't read horror stuffs but since it's Bob Ong, I gave it a shot. (also a Bob Ong die-hard fan here. :P) yun. thanks sa insight sa book. :)

    • And thank you for leaving a comment here! :)

      The first time I saw the back cover illustrations, I made a decision not to look again. I’m not a fan of creepy baby-faced drawings.

      After reading “Mga Kaibigan…” do you think you’ll be picking up another horror book soon?

  14. i already read it.. and i was surprised about the story..i never expected that bob ong will come up to this kind of book..dnt get me wrong..i love it…you guys should not miss reading it…i really felt the thrill on this…

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  16. grabe.. hindi ko alam ang mararamdaman ko.nakakatakot na ewa.. binasa nyo ba yung pinka huling paragraph? paulit ulit kasi..hindi ko na binasa.. hehehehe…pero napaka galing..walan kupas…..4 thumbs up…

  17. I’m his #1 fan, and yet, wala pa akong copy ng latest book niya (it’s been light years since na-release yung book! aarggghhh!!!!)

    Hopefully, mabasa ko na siya by May, pagdating ng Tita ko from Pinas.

    Ang hirap ng nasa ibang bansa!

    (fave book: BLACK BOOK AND RED BOOK)

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  19. di kaya may sumpa yung latin words n nkasulat…kse binasa namen khit hindi naiintindihan.. ako biglang bumigat ang pakiramdam ko at isa ko nmng brkada nahirapang huminga. bob ong ano b tlga yung sinulat mo! may nkita kming jan 11 dun sa libro. jan 11 din nmen nbasa…shit..help us.. comtact mo kme!

  20. dapat n ba kming umalis dito sa dorm.. kse lahat ng naunang kadorm mate nmen ngkawalaan n…. pti yung katulong nwla nrin.at yung 2 n ktulong n pumalit ilang araw lang ang pgitan wala n..nagyon wala ng katulong dito… natatakot nko… tulong!!!

  21. Ironically, I have no idea it was horror. And I always read at evening to midnight so, Alas, the book really creeped me out. Actually, I just noticed that there is an entity peeking at the thorn pages at the back of the book AFTER I finished it and it creeped the living daylights out of me. Damn. Haha

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