The launch of Isa Garcia’s book ‘Found’ was an evening of stories, love, and finding yourself

The book launch for Isa Garcia’s Found last Feb. 22 in Commune Cafe, Makati culminated in the entirety of the book itself — a life made up of letters and overlapping narratives. The launch was a mixtape of people that have made a mark on Garcia’s life: friends, colleagues, students and the like. Danah and Stacey Gutierrez of Plump PH; Marika Callangan of Women, Create; spoken word artist and Garcia’s student Bob E, and many more offered their own stories to tell through their own voice. It varied from letters, songs and poetry. It was a night for art and hearing each other’s truths.

Found: Letters on Love, Life, and God is essentially Garcia’s compilation of truths. This book is a collection of letters she wrote when she was 21 years old to her friends, family, and even to complete strangers. There are even postcards within the book illustrating certain quotes done by Garcia’s friend and collaborator, Crae Achacoso. While talking with Garcia before the launch, she mentioned how she found it weird to have something you’ve written at a young age out there. But what you find in her book might be yourself. Her way of writing with her heart on her sleeve is comforting. It makes you feel the opposite of alienated. Think of it as a hug for your soul.

Letters from the past: For her first book, Isa Garcia compiled the letters she wrote when she was 21 years old.

The launch tailored so many narratives into one night that it left us with a surge of emotions. The Gutierrez sisters talked about reclaiming confidence and finding self-love. Callangan shared her battle in overcoming a life-threatening disease. Elle Sebastian, Garcia’s student whom she noted was a silent girl in her class with a powerful voice, performed musical covers for the crowd. She did a powerful performance of Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae. Her pastor Bebo Bharwani from Church Simplified recalled the time of his struggle and calling for God’s “big swoops.” Lastly, Bob E. did a spoken word piece that opposed the title of Garcia’s book, which was about being lost.

“To come there was to be inspired, to laugh, and to cry about how absurd life could be.”

“Chuck Palahniuk has this quote I really love: ‘Nothing of me is original, I am the sum of everybody I know.’ Today, what’s really cool is I got to curate this mixtape of people, of sorts, to talk about things that are important and necessary and beautiful,” Garcia said during her first spiel at the launch. Those words became a bow to wrap the launch and her book nicely. It’s no wonder that Found touched the lives of hundreds of readers since its release mid-December last year. It has been spotted in different parts of the world: London, New York, San Diego, even Bulgaria, to name a few.

Her words speak to different walks of life, and to everyone who shared their truth in that launch. The event wasn’t a mere celebration, but rather an occasion to ponder our own truths. To come there was to be inspired, to laugh, and to cry about how absurd life could be. What makes it more absurd is that, no matter how different we are, we all somehow relate and see each other in the middle of the storm we call life. Reading Found is exactly like seeing another person greeting you with a smile and a soul hug in the middle of it all.

Found: Letters on Life, Love and God by Isa Garcia is available for P555 in all OMF Literature and Passages bookshops nationwide, PCBS, National Bookstore branches, and online at www.passagesbooks.com.

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