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A Tooth in My Popsicle: What it is like for an American to move to an island in the Philippines

DAVID HALDANE holding his new book, A Tooth in My Popsicle.

MINDANAO Gold Star Daily columnist David Haldane recalls what it was like leaving his life in Los Angeles, California, to move to the Philippines in his new book, A Tooth in My Popsicle.

Mr. Haldane is a former Los Angeles Times staff writer with over 20 years of experience at the publication. He walked into the newsroom of his long-term employer one day to just get unceremoniously escorted right back out in a massive layoff in 2008. He and his Filipina wife, Ivy, then decided to settle in Siargao in Surigao del Norte — his wife’s hometown.

The book is a compilation of 73 essays about personal experiences with his family, his assimilation into Filipino culture, and his life in the province during the coronavirus pandemic. The essays were originally published in his Mindanao Gold Star Daily column, “Expat Eye.”

“I wrote the book to tell the story of a transformative adventure, sometimes frightening and frustrating. Occasionally hilarious, but always, I hope, entertaining,” Mr. Haldane said at the book launch on March 7 at the Ortigas Heritage Library in San Juan City.

The book’s title is from the time he found his own tooth embedded in a popsicle, an incident that introduced him to dentistry in the Philippines.

“I just thought nobody would know what that means than when you read the chapter, Mr. Haldane said of the title.

A Tooth in My Popsicle will be launched in Cebu on April 12 at the UP Cebu Jose Joya Gallery; in Iligan City on April 15 at the MSU Iligan; and in Surigao City on April 21 at the Surigao Cultural Center.

Mr. Haldane’s other books are the award-winning memoir, Nazis & Nudists, and a short-story collection called Jenny on the Street.

A Tooth in My Popsicle is available on online shopping sites Lazada and Shopee for P799; and on Amazon for $19.95.  — Michelle Anne P. Soliman

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