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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Book Feature: Mula sa Kilometer Zero (“From the Kilometer Zero”) + Exclusive Author Interview with Josue Mapagdalita

Have you wondered what makes a book a great read?  

Does it have something to do with the number of pages, or the complexity of the author's choice of words? 

Is it about the storyline, the plot, the twists and all the surprises in between? 

or is it about being relatable, one that brings back memories, something that makes us understand ourselves more? 

If answered the last one, then we just have the book for you! 

“Mula sa Kilometer Zero” (from the Kilometer Zero) is a collection of 38 Filipino flash fiction written by Josue Mapagdalita. All the fictional stories included in the collection are set in Metro Manila and are guaranteed to stir your emotions. It speaks the realities of an ordinary person - the same challenges, heartbreaks and truths that we also have where we can find both comfort, inspiration and a fresh prespective of life. 

These stories are written in Filipino/ Taglish which makes it very relatable. One thing we like about the book is that the author deliberately included the locality of the places mentioned so, by reading, you also get learn something about these stops (places) from Kilometer Zero. 

It was written by Josue Mapagdalita, a young author who holds a degree in political science and a cum laude from the University of the Philippines. He currently works as a product manager at one of the top fintech companies in the Philippines. Author Josue also once served as an innovation manager of a California-based treatment facility for substance use disorders (SUDs) and co-occurring mental disorders.

Today, we are grateful to have this opportunity to have this exclusive interview with him.

1. Can you share with us something about the book that isn't in the blurb?

The stories of “Mula sa Kilometer Zero” are stories of the ordinary people and are expected to hit close to home. All characters have no names and genders. All stories are set in Metro Manila and have the titles of streets within Metro Manila.

“Mula sa Kilometer Zero” relies on romance to allow readers to explore the human condition. It also tackles poverty, burnout, complicated grief, generational trauma, the complexity of relationships, memory, and nostalgia.

2. What inspired the idea for your latest book?

I am a very clumsy person. One day, I was taking photos of the surrounding areas of Luneta Park when I accidentally bumped the Kilometer Zero marker. (I even got a lump on my forehead!) That’s where the first story, “Roxas”, was conceptualized. I realized also that all streets are connected to the Kilometer Zero one way or another (like intestines), so I walked on the other streets, remarkable or not, to write the other 37 stories, with the last one written in 2023.

3. How long did it take you to write this book?

My life as a corporate slave led to creative slumps, so it took me 6 years to finish the book.

4. What part of the book was most challenging to write and why?

The most challenging part is the book’s overarching theme, ambiguity. In “Mula sa Kilometer Zero”, the characters have no names and even gender. At the start, I had difficulty writing the stories because of the difficulty to identify the characters. But just like in any experiment, I still found ways to make it work.

The experiment is a success as my readers so far can enter not only the scenes but the characters as well regardless of their gender and upbringing.

5. What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

The book emphasizes that we have our own battles and stories but all of us are connected by an invisible thread. So, I hope that through the book, my readers will realize that whatever they are going through, they are not alone.

6. If you’re planning a sequel or write the next book, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

The book is intended to become a series. Currently, I am writing its two sequels, namely "Mula sa Kilometer Zero, Hanggang sa Dulo ng Mundo: Thailand" and "Mula sa Kilometer Zero, Hanggang sa Dulo ng Mundo: Japan". (I know the titles are too long but I'm still working on them!)

As the titles suggest, the settings of books two and three are Thailand and Japan respectively. I went to these countries to write the stories and to finish the entire books, I need to return to them.

7. Where can we buy your books?

Signed copies can be bought on TikTokShop, Shopee, and Lazada:

It is also available via 8letters Bookstore, Mt. Cloud Bookshop and now in Fully Booked (Boni High Street branch) too. 

8. Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

You can also follow me through in FB, through my personal account and the book's page, 


Thank you, Author Josue for agreeing to this interview. We are happy to know more about your book and we are excited for the upcoming sequel. 


  1. What a fun story of how the idea for this book was formed. It is always fascinating to hear about how the concepts for stories are formed and what inspires authors.

  2. This was super interesting to read and I had never heard of this author before but I'll definitely be checking out his books now! :)

  3. This is so cool.. love how the book came about.. and very interesting to note that the characters have no names and genders. i will try to find this book and read it

  4. 6 years is a long time. Well worth it though, to get a book done though. Congrats on finishing.

  5. I really appreciate learning about Josue Mapagdalita's creative process for "Mula sa Kilometer Zero." His method of literally walking the streets of Manila looking for inspiration is so fascinating as a writer.

    As bloggers, we all face downtimes or creative ruts. Finding inspiration in everyday people and places, like Josue did, can be a great way to spark new ideas during those lulls.