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RAJAH SULAYMAN Ceres Alabado

           After the defeat of the Spaniards in Mactan, Spain sent many more boats and soldiers to invade Cebu. The Spanish soldier who finally won the battle for Cebu was named Legazpi.

            After settling in Cebu, Legazpi looked for other islands around it to conquer. He wanted these lands because they were rich in food and supplies. He took Panay. He moved his headquarters to Panay.

            Then he heard of a rich village in Manila. He prepared to take it. He gave orders to his man, Goiti, to sail to Manila.

            Manila was a Moro or Moslem village on the banks of the Pasig River. Around the village the Moslems built a wall of wood and earth to protect themselves. On top of these walls, they placed their bronze cannons. These were called lantakas.

            The Moslem chieftain was the rajah or king of Manila. His name was Rajah Sulayman.

            Rajah Sulayman was willing to be a friend of Spain but not its servant. Legazpi heard of this and that was why he sent his man Goiti to talk with the rajah.

            “Tell Legazpi, I promise friendship with you and with him, but as an equal”, Rajah Sulayman told Goiti.

            Goiti did not like this. He wanted loyalty to Spain and the payment of taxes. He prepared to attack the village. Sulayman formed an army.

            Goiti ordered the firing of cannons in the direction of Manila. Fighting began.

            Rajah Sulayman had very little arms. But the powerful lantakas helped Sulayman escape. He was not killed or captured when the Spaniards closed in and conquered Manila. Goiti knew that Sulayman was undefeated. He knew he would return. So, Goiti left Manila to report to Legazpi, and with him, plan the next action.

            Immediately after Goiti left Manila, Sulayman and his men returned to their village. They tried to rebuild their once prosperous village.

            But soon Legazpi himself came to Manila. He decided to move his headquarters to Manila.

            Sulayman and his men stood on the hills around the village. They saw huge ships moving in at Manila Bay.

            Sulayman saw very little chance for his small army. Rather than surrender, he burned his village. From their boats, the Spaniards saw the rising flames. They knew that Sulayman would rather see his village ashes than give it up to the Spaniards.

            With hundreds of captured Visayans fighting with the Spaniards, the enemy seemed much too many. Rajah Sulayman saw that they were again outnumbered. Once more he fled. This time he fled to Tondo.

            On June 24, 1571, Legazpi conquered all of Manila.

             He rebuilt the village that was burned. He built a palace for himself and 150 houses for his soldiers. He built a convent and church for the Augustinian priests. What was once a Moslem or Mohammedan Manila became a Christian village. Then he made Manila the capital of the Philippines.

            Still, Rajah Sulayman, truly the lion-hearted Moslem, was fearless. A few years later, he fought the Spaniards again. He asked the other chieftains of Hagonoy, Macabebe and other neighboring barangays of Bulacan and Pampanga to fight for their freedom with him.

            But his uncle, Rajah Lakandula of Tondo, did not help him. In a fierce battle at Bangkusay, Tondo, Sulayman was killed. The year was 1574.

            He died fighting for the honor and freedom of his land. He is one of the most courageous Filipino Heroes.

Reference: Avenues in English I, Romantico Barrientos et.al, pp.211-212 

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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

FOR THOSE WHO LOVE MUSIC Concepcion E. Valdez

1 It might have been his sword, the one that Brother brought down from the hills. It still glitters, in spite of the many months it knew no polish. It still bears the courage of him who had it hanging at his side.

 

2 He was tall and straight and good-looking, but he was Japanese, and we were afraid. His garrison was just opposite our home, and we were supposed to be a “conquered” people, so we had to let him in that morning.

 

3 “Good morning, daraga,” he said.  I looked back. A Japanese officer stood at the door. I was afraid, but I kept my poise. I returned his greeting, “Good morning.”

Then he came in and seated himself on the sofa.

 

4 “Please play.” He motioned to the piano. I had moved away, ready to call for help. My two sisters came down presently. He stood to greet them.

 

5 “Please play. I like to listen to music,” he said again. It seemed he felt that we wanted to get rid of him.

I played all right. Even enemies have a right to a little music.

 

6 He was a courteous listener. I knew he didn’t understand the selection but he clapped his hands after I was through, and said several times: “Very goodto, very goodto.”

 

7 I said arigatu. It was one of the three words I knew of the Japanese language.

“Please play ‘Longing for Home,” he said. I looked at him for a while. Where could he have picked up that title?.. Then I played. It might have been his sword, the one that Brother brought down from the hills. It still flitters, in spite of many months it knew no polish. It still bears the courage of him who had it hanging at his side. .

 

8 “In Japan, the cherry blossoms, all flowers now,” he said. “When I come back Japan, my mother very happy. I have not seen my mother for a long time.”

 

9 We looked at one another, the girls and I. We did not say anything. He stayed a little while sitting by himself, while we looked over a magazine which belonged to him. Then he stood up, saluted and was off with a sayonara.

 

10 He came again after that to listen to a little music. His name was Hatokiyama. He was a captain. He came from Tokyo and was educated at the Tokyo University. He was very courteous and he walked with a dignity that made you look back to be sure he was a Japanese.

 

11 “No, I am not in favor of war. I am a Christian. I like peace. But I fight for my Emperor,” he said. “In Japan, the Emperor comes first, mother, father, children.” He looked sad but giving each word an emphasis that made you feel his deep feeling for his Emperor.

 

12 And he sang songs. Sad, beautiful Japanese songs that made you think of a garden, of yama and cherry blossoms sadly bowing over ruined walls. And we wondered how a country that could produce music as beautiful as this song, where delicate flower bloomed, where courageous-looking men like this soldier lived could be so merciless.

 

13 We were no longer afraid of him. He asked no questions. It was only for the music that he came once in a while. Now and then, we would ask him “silly” questions that could have brought us to the garrison, but he would only smile or answer us with dignity.

 

14 He went to church every afternoon before the Angelus. “I pray to God everyday. He will help my Emperor,” he said. He never thought of himself.

 

15 There were moment when he would just stare into space. Maybe he was thinking of home. Maybe he were thinking of the cherry blossoms in their garden, of Suzuki, his sister, plucking them and putting them before the shrine.

 

16 “My sister Suzuki sent me sakura,” he said. There was a pressed flower, a delicate pink, which might have looked pretty in its freshness.

 

He liked to talk of Japan. He liked liked to talk of home, of his mother who did not cry when he said sayonara, of cherry blossoms, and he liked to draw his sword in the moonlight that we might watch its dazzling shadow in the water of the lagoon nearby.

 

17 “For my Emperor, I shall die,” he said. That was nearly December. He came less often after that and each time he came, there was a looked of eternal sadness in his eyes.

 

18 “American soldier very strong. Many airplanes, many tanks, many machine guns,” he said. It was the first time he really was telling us anything.

 

 19 “Why do you go on fighting them? Don’t you like to live anymore?” I asked. In my heart I knew what was coming. I had heard the roar of cannons and I just come from the secret headquarters of the guerilla unit which I was attached. I felt sorry for him, but he was still the enemy.

 

20 He was tall and straight and good-looking, but he was Japanese, and we were afraid. His garrison was just opposite our home, and we were supposed to be “conquered” people, so we had to let him in that morning.

                                                                                                                                       

21 In answer to my question, he drew his sword and in a salute said: “I die for my Emperor.” The sadness was on his face, and we knew he was in earnest, even though he smiled after the demonstration.

 

A few days after that, he came again, he came to say good-bye. He stood tall and straight and brave at the gate and saluted. “Sayonara.”

 

22 We never saw him again. Maybe he went to the hills of Baguio, maybe to Cagayan. I don’t know. We never knew much about him anyway. We only knew he loved music; that he was a Christian who had learned the message of the Prince of Peace by heart, who hungered for home for his mother to soothe his fevered brow, for the smell of flowers in the breeze, and one who must forget them all because of a man he called hi Emperor.

                                    Reference: Avenues in English I, Romantico Barrientos et.al, pp.197-199 

 
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I am a Filipino By Carlos P. Romulo

           I am a Filipino – inheritor of a glorious past, hostage to the uncertain future. As such I must prove equal to a two-fold task- the task of meeting my responsibility to the past, and the task of performing my obligation to the future. I sprung from a hardy race – child of many generations removed of ancient Malayan pioneers. Across the centuries, the memory comes rushing back to me: of brown-skinned men putting out to sea in ships that were as frail as their hearts were stout. Over the sea I see them come, borne upon the billowing wave and the whistling wind, carried upon the mighty swell of hope- hope in the free abundance of new land that was to be their home and their children’s forever.

          This is the land they sought and found. Every inch of shore that their eyes first set upon, every hill and mountain that beckoned to them with a green and purple invitation, every mile of rolling plain that their view encompassed, every river and lake that promise a plentiful living and the fruitfulness of commerce, is a hollowed spot to me.

           By the strength of their hearts and hands, by every right of law, human and divine, this land and all the appurtenances thereof – the black and fertile soil, the seas and lakes and rivers teeming with fish, the forests with their inexhaustible wealth in wild life and timber, the mountains with their bowels swollen with minerals – the whole of this rich and happy land has been, for centuries without number, the land of my fathers. This land I received in trust from them and in trust will pass it to my children, and so on until the world no more.

            I am a Filipino. In my blood runs the immortal seed of heroes – seed that flowered down the centuries in deeds of courage and defiance. In my veins yet pulses the same hot blood that sent Lapulapu to battle against the alien foe that drove Diego Silang and Dagohoy into rebellion against the foreign oppressor.

            That seed is immortal. It is the self-same seed that flowered in the heart of Jose Rizal that morning in Bagumbayan when a volley of shots put an end to all that was mortal of him and made his spirit deathless forever; the same that flowered in the hearts of Bonifacio in Balintawak, of Gergorio del Pilar at Tirad Pass, of Antonio Luna at Calumpit; that bloomed in flowers of frustration in the sad heart of Emilio Aguinaldo at Palanan, and yet burst fourth royally again in the proud heart of Manuel L. Quezon when he stood at last on the threshold of ancient Malacañang Palace, in the symbolic act of possession and racial vindication.

            The seed I bear within me is an immortal seed. It is the mark of my manhood, the symbol of dignity as a human being. Like the seeds that were once buried in the tomb of Tutankhamen many thousand years ago, it shall grow and flower and bear fruit again. It is the insigne of my race, and my generation is but a stage in the unending search of my people for freedom and happiness.

             I am a Filipino, child of the marriage of the East and the West. The East, with its languor and mysticism, its passivity and endurance, was my mother, and my sire was the West that came thundering across the seas with the Cross and Sword and the Machine. I am of the East, an eager participant in its struggles for liberation from the imperialist yoke. But I also know that the East must awake from its centuries sleep, shape of the lethargy that has bound his limbs, and start moving where destiny awaits.

              For, I, too, am of the West, and the vigorous peoples of the West have destroyed forever the peace and quiet that once were ours. I can no longer live, being apart from those worlds now trembles to the roar of bomb and cannon shot. For no man and no nation is an island, but a part of the main, there is no longer any East and West – only individuals and nations making those momentous choices that are hinges upon which history resolves.

              At the vanguard of progress in this part of the world I stand – a forlorn figure in the eyes of some, but not one defeated and lost. For through the thick, interlacing branches of habit and custom above me I have seen the light of the sun, and I know that it is good. I have seen the light of justice and equality and freedom and my heart has been lifted by the vision of democracy, and I shall not rest until my land and my people shall have been blessed by these, beyond the power of any man or nation to subvert or destroy.

  I am a Filipino, and this is my inheritance. What pledge shall I give that I may prove worthy of my inheritance? I shall give the pledge that has come ringing down the corridors of the centuries, and it shall be compounded of the joyous cries of my Malayan forebears when they first saw the contours of this land loom before their eyes, of the battle cries that have resounded in every field of combat from Mactan to Tirad pass, of the voices of my people when they sing:

Land of the Morning,Child of the sun returning…Ne’er shall invaders Trample thy sacred shore.         Out of the lush green of these seven thousand isles, out of the heartstrings of sixteen million people all vibrating to one song, I shall weave the mighty fabric of my pledge. Out of the songs of the farmers at sunrise when they go to labor in the fields; out of the sweat of the hard-bitten pioneers in Mal-ig and Koronadal; out of the silent endurance of stevedores at the piers and the ominous grumbling of peasants Pampanga; out of the first cries of babies newly born and the lullabies that mothers sing; out of the crashing of gears and the whine of turbines in the factories; out of the crunch of ploughs upturning the earth; out of the limitless patience of teachers in the classrooms and doctors in the clinics; out of the tramp of soldiers marching, I shall make the pattern of my pledge:

“I am a Filipino born of freedom and I shall not rest until freedom shall have been added unto my inheritance – for myself and my children’s children – forever

                                                                                                Source:

English Arts Textbook I  pp. 54-62

 By: Edna Alcober Carlos A. Cortez                                                                                                                                                        Linda  D. Reyes,  Lourdes M. Ribo ( Author-Editor)

 
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Bonsai by Edith Tiempo

All that I love I fold over once And once again And keep in a box Or a slit in a hollow post Or in my shoe. All that I love? Why, yes, but for the moment — And for all time, both. Something that folds and keeps easy, Son‘s note or Dad‘s one gaudy tie, A roto picture of a young queen, A blue Indian shawl, even A money bill. It‘s utter sublimation A feat, this heart‘s control Moment to moment To scale all love down To a cupped hand‘s size, Till seashells are broken pieces From God‘s own bright teeth. And life and love are real Things you can run and Breathless hand over To the merest child.

 
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Moonlight on Manila Bay by Fernando M. Maramag (1912)

1 A light, serene, ethereal glory rests
2 Its beams effulgent on each crestling wave;
3 The silver touches of the moonlight wave
4 The deep bare bosom that the breeze molests;
5 While lingering whispers deepen as the wavy crests
6 Roll with weird rhythm, now gay, now gently grave;
7 And floods of lambent light appear the sea to pave-
8 All cast a spell that heeds not time‘s behests.
9 Not always such the scene; the din of fight
10 Has swelled the murmur of the peaceful air;
11 Here East and West have oft displayed their might;
12 Dark battle clouds have dimmed this scene so fair;
13 Here bold Olympia, one historic night,
14 Presaging freedom, claimed a people‘s care.

 
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Baby in the Bottle ~ Benjamin Bautista

The truth was, Mr. Libre felt sorry for his wife. He was very careful to hide it from her, of course, but day by day, through the years, as he saw her watching the shriveled half-black baby in the bottle, he felt more and more sorry for her. She would touch the bottle gently, once in a while, and run her hands fondly over the cold glass; inside, the stiff, skinless body of a four-inch boy now dead for five years, would bob up and down in the green alcohol. And then sometimes, slowly, to herself, she would smile.
Mr. Libre‘s wife was a plain woman with high cheekbones and a sad mouth, who was only twenty-nine years old but whose eyes were no longer young. Mr. Libre himself was thirty-three but graying hair and some thick corded veins on his hands made him look older. He was a small man and thin, and long hours of bending over receipts had given him a stooped posture and made him appear even smaller and thinner.
Very often, whenever he could, Mr. Libre would try to walk to his wife to get her to start talking too, but it became harder and harder for them to find things to talk about. The talk always turned to the past and how different it might have been if they‘d had children. Mr. Libre didn‘t want to talk about those things but his wife did, and gradually, the pauses stretched longer and made them both uneasy. But he was always patient with her; even if he was tired or irritable he never showed it in any way. By now he had learned to put up with many good things.
He was married when he was twenty-two and just out of high school. He had been alone in the city for four months when he met her. She understood his dialect and they got along well together. At first he wanted to go on to college but when he thought it over again, he felt that it wasn‘t fair. That would be asking too much from his wife.
They moved into a rented room which the owner said was the ground floor of a two-story building, but it was just a room actually, with thick cardboard walls to divide it into smaller rooms. They planned to move out after a few years because they thought the room would be too small for the children to come, and they hoped to have many children. But five years passed before they had their first child, and when it was only four months in the womb, it was prematurely born.
It was a boy but it didn‘t even look like a baby. It had eyes and ears and arms and its skinless body had been formed, but it was only four inches long and looked cold and raw as though it was just a piece of peeled flesh that never had life at all. Mr. Libre felt it to the nurses but his wife asked to keep it and take it home with her; he didn‘t know why, until the doctor told him that his wife knew that she could never have any more children. After that neither of them talked about it much and they slipped back to the routine of everyday living. Still he took it on himself to try to make it easier for her through the days.

One afternoon in the last busy week of January, Mr. Libre was looking over some old files in the Recorder‘s cubicle when all of a sudden he remembered that on that day the baby in the bottle was five years and seven months old. He thought no more about it but kept it in the back of his mind to tell his wife that night; she wanted to hear him talk about the baby. He went on checking the old files but when he was almost finished, his eyes hurt again and he had to go back to his desk.
Mr. Libre was a clerk in the freight department of an import-export corporation and all day he had to sit behind a high desk and sort out receipts and record them. At was not a hard job but it kept him constantly busy because there were so many receipts and he was so very careful about his work, he seldom found time to leave his desk from eight-thirty to five o‘clock every day.
He had been with the firm for nine years now and he knew his work well but still did not find it easy. It demanded so much concentration from him and there were days when it all seemed to be painfully hard but it only made him try even harder. May times he would have to focus his eyes on the pink, yellow and blue receipts and make an explicit act of the will to follow the items on them. Usually he would have to strain his eyes excessively so that often the muscles behind his eye sockets tightened and he would feel a smarting throb in his eyes. He would stop work at once and close his eyes as tightly as he could. The he would force a smile until his jaw hurt because, although that didn‘t ease the pain any, it always held back the tears. Tears always embarrasses him. They made him feel helpless.
He did not rest his eyes long because there were many late receipts that he had to go through and he went back to work on them. But after a few minutes he grew restless with the papers and he wanted to go over to the window and get a breath of air. But the window was across the room and the assistant manager was talking to a typist only two or three feet away. He tried to sit still on his high chair. He shut his eyes and took a deep breath and continued to line up the figures on the record sheet but his fingers shook and the pencil point broke under his hand. He grew annoyed with himself for being upset over a little thing like that. He was sure his wife was not having an easy day either.
Concentration always came hard to Mr. Libre because sometimes in the middle of the day he would find it impossible to keep his thoughts off the many unrelated little things that came into his mind. He would catch himself thinking of his wife eating lunch alone every day or the cardboard walls of their room that seemed to close in on them or perhaps the dead baby submerged in its bottle of green alcohol. He thought of his wife a lot but many times he thought of the baby, too.
II
During the first few months and on to the end of that first year, the bottle had seemed too small for the baby. It looked as though it needed a glass jar with a lid instead of that bottle with a wide mouth; it floated limply on the surface and slumped against the glass sides. But after a while the alcohol seeped through it and hardened it, and it sank stiffly to the bottom. Then little by little it blackened and shriveled up and it would neither float nor sink but bobbed up and down in its green world of alcohol and 

glass. And then the bottle didn‘t seem too small for the baby any more because now the baby‘s shrunken body was completely confined. The bottle fully contained it.
Mr. Libre fully noticed too that his wife had changed. In the beginning she was no different at all, although at times she did not fall into brooding. Then slowly for no apparent reason she grew quiet and kept to herself, and that was when the baby in the bottle took a strange hold on her. He tried to understand her and be patient with her. She did not want to be the way she was, he told himself, to live in a small cramped world of her own, to look at the baby, make up daydreams about it all day, to want to touch it, hold it in her hands. She could not help any of it, he knew, and he did not stop her, and day by day he got used to her being that way. But still he felt sorry for her.
III
The blinds on the west window had been lowered and he knew it was getting late. He shook himself from his thoughts and worked faster because he wanted to finish the last batch of receipts for the day. It would hardly make any difference because he would be back the next day anyhow and there would always be more receipts, but there were things one should do and finishing the day‘s work was one of them. He took everything as it came and he found it possible to lose himself in his work. He wished he could do even more and he felt he owed that much to his wife.
It was almost five-twenty when Mr. Libre got up, locked his papers under his desk and shuffled out of the office. Almost everyone had gone by then except some of the typists and a secretary doing overtime. He did not look at them as he went out. He left quietly and alone.
Out in the street he hoped the crowd would not hold him up for long. Heavy traffic snarled the afternoon rush and cars and buses and people on the sidewalks hardly moved at all. On the pedestrian lanes as he waited for the go signal, it became stickily hot; no wind stirred the inert air, thick with gasoline exhaust fumes. But Mr. Libre did not mind the heat. As he crossed the street he clenched and unclenched his fists and he tried to walk as fast as the crowd would let him. He was getting impatient. He wished he were home that very minute.
He pushed the old narrow door of their room open and sat down on the first chair he saw. He felt very tired btu the chair was hard and rigid and it did not help him any; it arched his back. His shoulders felt heavy and he was breathing hard but did not rest long. His wife was in the other room. He stood up and stretched behind the cardboard wall.
His wife sat on a cat staring at the baby in the bottle. She sat in half darkness a few feet away from the table where the bottle was. From where he stood he could see sharply the hollows of her eyes and thin bloodless lips. Her face was totally without expression. Hew hands were on her lap and she sat unmoving but when he came in and she saw him, she turned slowly to him and her face broke out in a clumsy uncertain smile. It was a slow half-silly smile that twisted the corners of her mouth upwards and nothing else; her eyes remained sad and empty. He has never seen her that way before. He was afraid she did not recognize him.

He could not look at her directly. For a moment he felt it was cruel to watch her. Instead he turned to the baby in the bottle. The tiny half-black thing was drifting and circling as always in the green alcohol. But now he saw that the bottle and the alcohol and the long years had gnawed it and little by little the baby was shredding and peeling off its flesh. The bottle and the alcohol and the long years had choked and shrunk it and now were eating it up. All the time, through the years, as the baby bobbed up and down in its own cramped world, it was slowly being destroyed. And no one could do anything about it.
Mr. Libre felt helplessly hollow inside; he turned his head and shut his eyes tightly. He forced a smile until his jaw hurt because although he felt no pain in his eyes now, he wanted to make sure he could hold back the tears.

 
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May Day Eve- Nick Joaquin (excerpt)

May Day Eve

(Excerpt)

Nick Joaquin

 

(Summary: Doña Agueda’a little daughter nestled at her mother’s breast and listened intently to her mother’s story about an incident One evening many, many years ago. As Doña Agueda recounted, it was the first evening of May and a party had been held at the Montiya home for some young Filipino men who had just returned home from Europe. The party had ended, the visitors had gone home in their carriages, the girls who were staying for the night had been herded upstairs to the bedroom, and the men, a Montiya son among them, in whose honor the party had been held, had gone out of for more merriment.

It was the first evening of May and, according to Anastacia, the servant in charge of the girls who had elected to stay the evening with the Montiya daughter. Witches were abroad for it was a night of divination, a night of love, and if one cared to peer into a mirror, one would behold the face of the person that he or she would marry. One had to take a candle, go alone into a dark room which ahd a mirror in it, go to the mirror, close one’s eyes and say:

“Mirror, mirror

Show to me

Him whose woman

I will be.”

And if everything went all right the face of the man one would marry would appear above the left shoulder. But if something went wrong, one would see the Devil.

Against the protests of her friends and old Anastacia, Doña Agueda had fled down the stairs to the sala where, earlier, she had noticed a mirror. Holding a lighted candle, she had approached fearfully the big antique mirror with the gold frame carved into leaves and flowers and mysterious curlicues.

Closing her eyes, she had whispered the incantation but such a terror took hold of her that she felt unable to move until she heard a step behind her. Instantly, she opened her eyes.)

“And what did you see, Mama? Oh what was it?”

But Doña Agueda had forgotten the little girl on her lap: she was staring past the curly head nestling at her breast and seeing herself in the big mirror hanging in the room. It was the same room and the same mirror but the face she now saw in it was an old face-a hard, bitter, vengeful face, framed in graying hair, and so sadly altered, so sadly different from that other face like a white mask, that fresh young face like a pure mask that she had brought before this mirror one wild May Day midnight years and years ago…

“But what was it, Mama? Oh, please go on! What did you see?”

Doña Agueda looked down at her daughter but her face did not soften though her eyes were filled with tears. “I saw the devil!” she said bitterly.

The child blanched. “The devil, Mama? Oh…Oh!”

“Yes, my love. I opened my eyes and there in the mirror, smiling at me over my left shoulder, was the face of the devil.”

“Oh, my poor little Mama! And were you very frightened?”

“You can imagine. And that is why good little girls do not look into mirrors except when their mothers tell them. You must stop this naughty habit, darling, of admiring yourself in every mirror you pass-or you may see something frightful some day.”

“But the devil, Mama-what did he look like?”

“Well, let me see…He had curly hair and a scar on his cheek…”

“Like the scar of Papa?’

“Well, yes. But this of the devil was a scar of sin, while that of your Papa is a scar of honor. Or so he says.”

“Go on about the devil.”

“Well, he had mustaches.”

“Like those of Papa?”

“Oh no. Those of your Papa are dirty and graying and smell horribly of tobacco, while those of the devil were very black and elegant – oh, how elegant!”

“And did he have horns and tails?”

The mother’s lip curled. “Yes, he did! But, alas, I could not see them at that time. All I could see were his fine clothes, his flashing eyes, his curly hair and mustaches.”

“And did he speak to you, Mama?”

“Yes…yes, he spoke to me,” said Doña Agueda. And bowing her graying head, she wept.

“Charms like yours have no need for a candle, fair one,” he had said, smiling at her in the mirror and stepping back to give her a low mocking bow. She had whirled around and glared at him and he had burst into laughter.” But I remember you!” he cried. “You are Agueda, whom I left a mere infant and came home to find a tremendous beauty, and I danced a waltz with you but you would not give me the polka.”

“Let me pass,” she muttered fiercely, for he was barring her way.

“But I want to dance the polka with you, fair one,” he said,

So they stood before the mirror; their panting breath the only sound in the dark room; the candle shining between them and flashing their shadows to the wall. And young BadoyMontiya (who had crept home very drunk to pass out quietly in bed) suddenly found awake and ready for anything. His eyes sparkled and the scar on his face gleamed scarlet.

“Let me pass!” she cried again, in a voice of fury, but he grasped her by the wrist.

“No” he smiled. “Not until we have danced.”

“Go to the devil!”

“What a temper has my serrana!”

“I am not your serrana!”

“Whose, then? Someone I know? Someone I have offended grievously? Because you treat men, you treat all my friends like your mortal enemies.”

“And why not?” she demanded, jerking her wrist away and flashing her teeth in his face. “Oh, how I detest you, you pompous young men! You go to Europe and you come back elegant lords and we poor girls are too tame to please you. We have no grace like the Parisiennes, we have no fire like the Sevillian, and we have no salt. No salt, no salt! Aie, how you weary me, how you bore me, you fastidious young men!”

“Come, come-how do you know about us?”

“I have heard you talking, I have heard you talking among yourselves, and I despise the pack of you!”

“But clearly you do not despise yourself, Señorita. You come to admire your charms in the mirror even in the middle of the night!”

She turned livid and he had a moment of malicious satisfaction.

“I was not admiring myself, Sir!”

“You were admiring the moon perhaps?”

“Oh!” she gasped, and burst into tears. The candle dropped from her and she covered her face and sobbed piteously. The candle had gone out and they stood in darkness, and young Badoy was conscience-stricken.

“Oh, do not cry, little one! Oh, please forgive me! Please do not cry! But what a brute I am! I was drunk, little one, I was drunk and knew not what I said.”

He groped and found her hand and touched it to his lips. She shuddered in her white gown.

“Let me go,” she moaned, and tugged feebly.

“No. Say you forgive me first. Say you forgive me, Agueda.”

But instead she pulled his hand to her mouth and bit-bit so sharply into the knuckles that he cried with pain and lashed out with his other hand – lashed out and hit the air, for she was gone, she had fled, and he heard the rustling of her skirts up the stairs as he furiously sucked his bleeding fingers.

Cruel thoughts raced through his head: he would go and tell his mother and make her turn the savage girl out of the house-or he would go himself to the girl’s room and drag her out of bed and slap, slap her silly face! But at the same time he was thinking that they were all going up to Antipolo in the morning and was already planning how he would maneuver himself into the same boat with her.

Oh, he would have his revenge, he would make her pay, that little harlot! She would suffer for this, he thought greedily, licking his bleeding knuckles. But-Judas! –what eyes she had! And what a pretty color she turned when angry! He remembered her bare shoulders: gold in the candlelight and delicately furred. He saw the mobile insolence of her neck, and her taut breasts steady in the fluid gown. Son of a Turk, she was quite enchanting! How could she think she had not fire or grace? Andno salt? An arroba she had of it!

“…No lack of salt in the chrism

At the moment of thy baptism!”

He sang aloud in the dark room and suddenly realized that he had fallen madly in love with her. He ached intensely to see her again – at one! – to touch her hand, her hair; to hear her harsh voice. He ran to the window and flung open the casements and the beauty of the night struck him back like a blow. It was May, it was summer, and he was young – young! –and deliriously in love. Such a happiness welled up within him the tears spurted from his eyes.

But he did not forgive her – no! He would still maker her pay, he would still have his revenge, he thought viciously, and kissed his wounded fingers. But what a night it had been! “I will never forget this night!” he thought aloud in an awed voice, standing by the window in the dark room, the tears in his eyes and the wind in his hair and his bleeding knuckles pressed to his mouth.

But, alas, the heart forgets; the heart is distracted; and Maytime passes, summer ends; the storms break over the rot-ripe orchards and the heart grows old; while the hours, the days, the months, and the years pile up and pile up, till the mind becomes too crowded, too confused; dust gathers in it; cobwebs multiple; the walls darken and fall into ruin and decay; the memory perishes…and there came a time when Don BadoyMontiya walked home through a May Day midnight without remembering, without even caring to remember, being merely concerned in feeling his way across the street with his cane; his eyes having grown quite dim; and his legs uncertain for he was old; he was over sixty; he was very stooped and shriveled old man with white hair and mustaches, coming home from a secret meeting of conspirators; his mind still resounding with the speeches and his patriot heart still exultant as he picked his way up the steps to the front door and inside into the slumbering darkness of the house; wholly unconscious of the May night; till on his way down the hall, chancing to glance into the sala, he shuddered, he stopped, his blood ran cold – for he had seen a face in the mirror there – a ghostly candlelit face with the eyes closed and the lips moving, a face that he suddenly felt he had seen before though it was a full minute before the lost memory came flowing, came tiding back, so over flooding the actual moment and so swiftly washing months and years that he was left suddenly young again: he was a gay young buck again, lately come from Europe: He had been dancing all night; he was very drunk, he stopped in the doorway; he saw a face in the dark; he cried out…And the lad standing before the mirror (for it was a lad in a night gown) jumped with fright and almost dropped his candle, but looking around seeing the old man, laughed out with relief and came running.

“Oh, Grandpa, how you frightened me!”

Don Badoy had turned very pale. “So it was you, you, young bandit! And what is all this, hey? What are you doing here at this hour?”

“Nothing, Grandpa. I was only…I am only.”

“Yes, you are the great Señor Only and how delighted I am to make your acquaintance, Señor Only! But if I break this cane on your head you may wish you were someone else, Sir!”

“It was just foolishness, Grandpa. They told me I would see my wife.”

“wife? What wife?”

“Mine. The boys at school said I would see her if I looked in a mirror tonight and said:

“Mirror, mirror,

            Show to me

            Her whose lover

            I will be.”

Don Badoy cackled ruefully. He took the boy by the hair, pulled him along into the room, sat down on a chair, and drew the boy between his knees. “Now, put your candle down on the floor, so, and let us talk this over. So you want your wife already, hey? You want to see her in advance, hey? But of you know that these are wicked games and that wicked boys who play them are in danger of seeing horrors?”

“Well, the boys did warn me I might see a witch instead.”

“Exactly! A witch so horrible you may die of fright. And she will bewitch you, she will torture you, she will eat your heart and drink your blood.”

“Oh, come now, Grandpa. This is 1890. There are no witches anymore.”

“Oh no, my young Voltaire! And what if I tell you that I myself have seen a witch?”

“You? Where?”

(Don Badoy, then tells of the incident, long ago, when he saw the young Agueda, the boy’s grandmother, in the mirror. He doesn’t mention names, though, referring to Agueda as a beautiful witch who tortured him, ate his heart, and drank his blood. It is only then that the boy repeats what his grandmother had told his mother: that Doña Agueda, herself, had seen the devil in the very same mirror.

Don Badoy is taken aback. His mind goes back to the past when he had fallen in love with the beautiful girl he saw in the mirror and how this beauty had become a “withered consumptive, lashing out with her cruel tongue, her eye like live coals; her face like ashes.” And now “nothing but a name on a stone in a graveyard” – and his heart is torn with grief.)

 

-Reyes, Linda D. and Ribo, Lourdes M. “Language in Literature Philippine Setting, High School Series I”. Vibal Publishing House, Inc., Quezon City,1998.

 

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Uncategorized