About the author: Maria Helena T. Yap, marine biologist. Likhaan: U.P. Institute of Creative Writing, presents her biography as follows:
Obtained her BSc in Marine Biology from the University of the Philippines, Diliman (magna cum laude) and a Doctor rerum naturalium degree from the University of Rostock, German Democratic Republic. She is currently a professor at the Marine Science Institute, UP Diliman. She has mentored students and conducted research for almost forty (40) years, and currently has a publication h-index of 25. She has also served on various international committees with an advisory capacity regarding marine environmental problems. She loves literature, and is the author of “From Inside the Berlin Wall” which was published by the University of the Philippines Press.
About the diary: Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, in her paper, Helen Yap: Translation and Self-Exploration in Travel Writing (Unitas, 93-2), observed,
Helen Yap’s book consists mainly of letters. But inserted among the letters are short diary entries. These are in italics. That she intended these to be part of a diary is clear in one of her letters where she writes that she had resumed the “bad habit of keeping a diary. Not so much recording daily events, since my letters sort of detail these already, as writing down thoughts, impressions and other ideas that might come to me.” She adds, with her tongue in her cheek that this is “just to refresh my English,” since already she is sometimes dreaming in German, trying “to reconstruct grammatically correct sentences in my sleep”…
It is these entries in the book that have been included in The Philippine Diary Project as the Diary of Helen Yap: August 29-31, September 1, October 14, November 4 & 25, 1984, and January 6, 1985.