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  • Writer's pictureFrancheskka Manansala

Six Questions with Krie Lopez

Krie R. Lopez is a businesswoman by trade. In 2007, she founded Messy Bessy Cleaners, advocating for safe products and empowering at-risk young adults, and in 2016 she established ‘Helping Ourselves Through Sustainable Enterprises Foundation’ (HOUSE), an educational program geared towards disadvantaged youths. Oha: A Story Told in One Eternal Second is her debut novel. 

Oha: A Story Told in One Eternal Second is a young adult (YA) novel that follows a 15-year-old ghost named Mia. Over 50 years of life is encompassed in a story told to the reader in a single second. But, what exactly is ‘oha’? 

‘Oha’ is the cardinal number one in Tuwali, a native language indigenous to several upland towns in Ifugao province. The chapter numbers follow suit, counting up to ‘duwampulut oha’ for its 21st and final chapter. Alongside the various characters who sojourn or reside in Baguio, the book has beautiful photographs of the original city structures through the years. 

Just as Baguio is known for its cold climate and summer capital status, it’s also notorious for its ghost stories. Readers can expect an emotional immersion into Baguio, its highs and lows in history, and the lives that have passed on and passed by its cliffs. As a YA novel, Oha can teach young readers to appreciate the beauty and transcend the turmoil that life brings.

Get to know more about Oha through these six questions with Krie R. Lopez.

What inspired you to write Oha?

I wrote Oha shortly after I was, for lack of a better term, spooked! In February of 2021, in an old large house in Baguio, I suffered from sleep paralysis and a recurring nightmare at exactly 3:00 am for 6 nights in a row. While I couldn't get over my experience, I also began to think -- if there are otherworldly beings in these mostly uninhabited homes, then doesn't that make us visitors the nuisance? Two months after the haunting, I wrote the first draft of Oha in three days.

What part of Baguio culture are you most interested in?

Baguio fascinates me. It's a city that was built by the Americans in a region that defied the Spanish the longest. It is also known to be where World War II began and ended in our country. Baguio is unique in so many ways--the American urban plan, the brief Japanese occupation, the Northern Philippine culture, the summer resorts, the weather, the flora, the fauna.

OHA portrays the afterlife with a mix of native beliefs, Catholic faith, and even Japanese folklore. What's your take on the concept of the afterlife?

Nobody can say anything for certain about the afterlife. I believe the mystery of it all makes us, at the very least, wonder about our own significance as living beings. For me, what matters is not figuring out what happens when we die, but instead understanding how best to live this one life we've been given.

Which character did you enjoy writing the most?

I couldn't write the book without deeply understanding Mia. I'm not sure if I enjoyed writing about her the most, but I understood her the most.

What's one thing you want your readers to take away from the story?

I hope readers finish this book with a better understanding that we all belong to each other, that we are all interconnected, and that we are all Oha.

A Baguio Book Launch

Tracing back to where the story began, Oha is traveling to Baguio this May 18th, 4:00pm, for 'O, ha? OHA! Baguio's newest historical-paranormal book launch' at Mt. Cloud Bookshop. Join us for an afternoon of immersion and discussion of Baguio culture and history that inspired Oha. Follow our social media channels for more details.

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