The Fifteenth Most Gorgeous Day So Far This Year . . .

Ye-hey! Self is happy! Self is content! Self is not going to quote from 365 Dao or from Yahoo horoscopes! All self knows is that today was pretty darn good, for the following reasons:

    It was hot. And self got to work in the garden, dragging buckets around the yard and (hopefully) sculpting her biceps.
    Gracie did not get to eat any of her poop. Self was wicked with the pooper scooper today. As a consequence, doggie breath sweet when hubby came home and he did not recoil with revulsion but patted her little head gently.
    Self tried Coconut sorbet from Trader Joe’s. Not as good as the buko sherbet of Arce, but considering it is American, quite passable.
    Hubby came home 45 minutes earlier than was his wont. Self sweetly informed him, around 7 PM, that had lined up at San Carlos Farmers Market for RoliRoti Chicken. Twenty people ahead of her in line, but that did not matter! Self was undeterred! Anything for hubby! So hubby came home. Ravenously hungry. Thank goodness, this time self was prepared.
    Hubby is quiet, not grousing. Perhaps that is because self informed him that tomorrow she is going out with another former Sacred Heart mom and we are going to watch classic Japanese movie at Cubberley Aud on Stanford campus. So hubby said he too would have dinner out with ex-officemate, “Charles.” (Self has never ever heard him mention this “Charles” before. Hubby assures self they worked together for four years.)
    Self is kinda thinking she might see 28 Weeks Later tomorrow. Even though she is already seeing Japanese classic film at night. Two movies in one day! Self is certainly living !!!
    Self opened Marie Claire and there, in a column by one “Didi”, reads about “best antiager” (Skip out, men! Self is going to get into the girl talk here!): According to Didi, “Victor MD Skincare” is laced with “natural growth factors” that revitalize the cells. Didi also recommends Clarins’s new “Expertise 3P Anti-Electromagnetic Waves & Urban Pollution Screen Mist”, which “blocks the skin-damaging effects of the invisible stuff emitted by cell phones.” (EEEeeek! Never ever knew that cell phones transmitted potentially skin-damaging substance!)

Only downer today was that son called and said he was not coming up after all on June 1. Before that, he said he was coming up Memorial Day Weekend. And before that . . . well, never mind. The boy is young. The boy must enjoy himself. Perhaps he has girlfriend. This must be why he has informed self he will not be returning all summer. Self is sad, but happy for son. For his whatever.

Other not-so-good thing: called Dearest Mum. Dearest Mum oh-so-perky. Self confides dilemma-of-the-moment: Dearest Mum’s second cousin has daughter who is moving to Bay Area, Dearest Mum’s second cousin calls self to ask if daughter can room with us. Dearest Mum, after listening, trills: “Oh, don’t worry! Show him your house and he’ll change his mind!”

OK, OK! That’s enough of the negativity! The doldrums! Self is forgetting that today is “Fifteenth Most Gorgeous Day”.

Stay tuned, dear blog reader, stay tuned.

Hot, Hot, Hot and NYTBR 20 May 2007

Sorry to disappoint you, loyal blog readers, but this is not a post about Lady Chatterley’s Lover or Knocked Up.

This is going to be a post about weather. About this deliciously hot day. How it’s going to be the last hot day for at least a week, according to droning weatherman on KTVU this morning. How I have enjoyed wandering around the backyard, digging and tilling and weeding, it is such a good break from computer-time spent corresponding with UCLA Extension writing students.

Strange, when gardening self never seems to feel any hunger pangs, whereas when grading, after a few papers self’s fingers begin involuntarily searching for the Ritz crackers.

Well, think self has gotten pretty much caught up on New York Times Book Reviews, as the only one in “to-do” pile today is this one, from March. 20.

Without further ado: Books I Am Interested in Reading (After Perusing Mar. 20, 2007 Issue of The New York Times Book Review)

(1) After reading Brent Staples‘ review of Arnold Rampersad‘s Ralph Ellison: A Biography:

Arnold Rampersad’s Ralph Ellison: A Biography

(2) After reading Marilyn Stasio’s column on “Crime Writing”:

a first novel by Tana French, In the Woods
a new novel from Swedish writer Kjell Eriksson, The Cruel Stars of the Night
another of Donna Leon’s “Venetian procedurals”, Suffer The Little Children

PEN Oakland: A History and An Excerpt

Self is holding in her hands an actual copy of Oakland Out Loud, newest anthology from PEN Oakland. Nifty little book, small enough to fit into a woman’s handbag.

Inside are poems — such as Claire Ortalda’s “Gift Wrapped in Grass”; Sharon Doubiago’s “Hip Hop Hopi Hope (for the Hip-Hop Generation)”; Ishmael Reed’s “Hit and Run”; and Opal Palmer Adisa’s “Ocean Memories I” — and story excerpts and short shorts such as Trena Machado’s “Repetition”; Jalmira Marie Skalna’s “Bessie”; and yours truly’s “Rita and Tony.”

Here’s a short history of PEN Oakland by Claire Ortalda, one of the book’s assistant editors:

PEN Oakland, the brainchild of writer and activist Ishmael Reed, was launched in fall, 1989, at the Asmara restaurant on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland at a lunch meeting hosted by Ishmael with soon-to-be-cofounders Floyd Salas, Reginald Lockett and Claire Ortalda. Here Reed outlined the idea of forming a multicultural branch of PEN to, as Jack Foley would later write, “promote works of excellence by writers of all cultural and racial backgrounds and to educate both the public and the media as to the nature of multi-cultural work.

OK, so there’s the purpose of PEN Oakland’s founding. Now to the plans for Oakland Out Loud. Here’s a word from Oakland Public Library Director Carmen L. Martinez:

Oakland Out Loud is an opportunity for Oakland residents to rediscover their public library system which will proudly co-sponsor the Oakland Out Loud Literary Series in 2007.

And, last but not least, a blurb from William Wong, author of Images of America: Oakland’s Chinatown and Yellow Journalist: Dispatches from Asian America:

PEN Oakland writers are an amazing array of voices. Soak up their powerful prose and poems about the internal and external world, near and far.

In closing, a very short poem by Maria Ochoa, “Foreign Policy”:

American foreign policy

Is like a two-timing lover

Still out there, acting like a dog

With no leash long enough

Enjoy.

Brain Cloud, Tuesday, 22 May: Daly City, Ma-Mon Luk, Manila Mail, Gloria

Today, my bad, my bad: self abandoned on-line students and went gallivanting in Daly City. Ostensible purpose of trip (as all trips now require ostensible purpose, given that it now costs self about $50 each time she fills up) was haircut at “Structures.” Was late, as usual, but Michael was finishing his lunch so had to wait anyway. Afterwards, frowned at myself the whole time, practicing to see which angles produced the most horrific double chins. Michael apparently not amused, gave self very cursory haircut, could hardly wait to get on to next customer, a very smile-y young Filipina.

Then, had to drop off stuff for Dearest Mum at Fave Tita’s house. But, first, dropped by Ma Mon Luk for “Special” siopao (the one with a hard-boiled egg in it) for hubby’s “baon” (so he will not feel tempted to eat out all the time with assorted female co-workers). Decided to have myself some lunch, couple ahead of me was loading up with the siopao and the siomai and the mami, so followed their lead and ordered chicken mami. Decided to eat it at restaurant, sat down at table, and began to read free copy of Manila Mail.

Reading produced the following bits of information:

    A priest (last name: Panlilio) won an apparently honest election to become governor of Pampanga, defeating two entrenched opponents.
    A mayor and his aide were shot to death at a town fiesta celebrating their May 14 election victory.
    Kids still play a traditional game of rolling a coconut around on the ground (like soccer?) in a small town in Bulacan.
    Manila Mail wants young women between ages of 16 to 28 to send in pictures to be featured in their “Filipina Portrait Gallery” (so sexist!). Current fetching young woman is 20 years old, daughter of a proud Filipino couple in the East Bay. She wants to go into a career in fashion and her favorite TV shows are Nip/Tuck (Kinda racy choice for model Filipina) and Saved by the Bell (This choice completely incomprehensible; perhaps this is a typo). Nevertheless, young woman does indeed look very good.
    Valerio’s of hot pan de sal fame has new branch opening in San Jose. Bakery is now run by the family’s third generation.
    A Filipina in the East Bay was recently inducted into Realtors’ Hall of Fame (had no idea there was such a thing).
    Some journalist made a quip that he “felt safer in Afghanistan” than in the Philippines during election week. Which set off immediate furor. Which — come on, lighten up, guys! Anything that gets us into newspapers here is not a bad thing!
    Gloria reports at Makati businessmen’s luncheon that some American journalist told her that America was borrowing Philippines’ successful counter-insurgency techniques in Mindanao. (Howl with laughter). Who was this sage who Gloria, the President of our country, chooses to quote as if he had pronounced judgement from on-high? Perhaps he was a stringer, merely attempting to flatter her? Wow, that sure did the trick! Don’t know that Philippines does have counter-insurgency strategy in Mindanao.

Lady in front of me, clad in green color-coordinated top and pants (reminding me of Dearest Mum, right up to the lacquered hair), turns around suddenly and inquires if self would like to purchase some boneless bangus. Look up stupidly and say, “Where? Here?”

Yes, lady says. Whereupon she gets up, goes to a box in the corner, opens said box, and produces two slices of a — suppose that’s bangus — in a freeze-dried package. “Only $10,” she says.

“Ah, I didn’t see that on the menu,” self says doubtfully. “Is — is that from the Philippines?”

Yes, lady asserts her bangus is flown in directly from the Philippines.

“Ah, why — why isn’t it on the menu?” self asks, suspiciously.

“Oh, I am just beginning,” lady says airily. “Next time you come, you buy, ha? Just go to the lady at the counter and say you want some bangus.”

“OK,” I say.

(You know, I must have a strange kind of face — it’s a face that my Vietnamese hair stylist Michael is bored by, but which other people think is communicating a need to converse. I don’t know why, when self’s nose was buried deep — and I mean deep deep — in Manila Mail, page 8 )

But, anyway, this is life! It is so profoundly surprising and interesting, and self will never be bored, not until she keels over from — from — extreme neck pain?

Now, dear blog readers, must commence grading English 1C midterms, which self should have handed back yesterday. Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Two Films: Quoting from VANITY FAIR

Self is, this morning, musing about which upcoming films she can muster up energy to see. Prospect of imminent opening of new Pirates movie leaves self curiously unmoved, as did opening of Spiderman 3, and all the movies reviewed on last Sunday’s Eberts & Roeper. Self did find herself occasionally chuckling at trailer of Knocked Up (male lead has the funniest lines), and last night, saw trailer of very promising Ashley Judd vehicle with the refreshingly blunt title of Bug. This, self feels, should undoubtedly have been the title of Guillermo del Toro’s bug movie, Mimic. Though Mimic, because it starred Jeremy Northam and Mira Sorvino, had aspirations to “class”; and Bug is just, well — Bug. (Get on with it, woman!)

Okey-dokey. Perusing latest issue of Vanity Fair (the one with Bruce Willis in ur-macho pose astride Triumph motorcycle), land on film review page. There read about a new Lady Chatterley adaptation (What fun!) by French director Pascale Ferran. A French Lady Chatterley? What can this possibly be like?

Paired with review of upcoming comedy Knocked Up, reviewer Bruce Handy declares:

Depicting lovers who can enjoy themselves and each other despite their own awkwardness and imperfect bodies, the two films also shatter one taboo that even porn won’t touch.

@@!!**

Self’s response to above quote is to go crazy and read madly further, hoping for some clue as to what this taboo could possibly be (while simultaneously questioning applicability of “imperfect body” appellation to Grey’s Anatomy bombshell Katherine Heigl)

Unfortunately, can find nothing further on said taboo, though encounter this, about French male lead in Lady Chatterley:

Jean-Louis Coulloc’h has one of those splayed, ugly-handsome French faces — think Powers Boothe after being hit in the face with a shovel — that for some reason drive women nuts.

(Ah, excuse me, Mr. Handy, but do not find Powers Boothe at all handsome, and to imagine his looks improving after being hit in the face with a shovel is– is — perhaps akin to describing the effect of looking at, let’s see here, searching for an apt comparison, no go, synapses failing to fire, only “ugly” actor self can come up with is — Jack Black??? Or perhaps Charles Bronson???)

Then, further on, this teaser regarding Knocked Up:

its dirty talk pushes the envelope a centimeter or two past where last we left it with Borat.

So, was that the “taboo” Mr. Handy was referring to at the beginning of his review? Self is profoundly disappointed. Nevertheless, Mr. Handy throws in this one last nugget:

Seth Rogen (one of Steve Carell’s poker buddies in The 40-Year-Old Virgin) has the chops, and the bod, to be the next Will Farrell.

What’s with the bod reference? Why should self be invited to contemplate Seth Rogen’s bod? For that matter, why bring up Will Ferrell’s bod, which as far as self can tell is not a factor in said actor’s celebrity?

Stay tuned, dear blog reader, stay tuned.

Long-Lost Friends : Dawne

If Friday was self’s day for receiving phone calls, today is self’s day for receiving surprises via e-mail.

(Also, the day for walking, as self has to be ready to embark on walking tour of South San Francisco in another two hours — signed up through San Mateo Community College. Why did self select South San Francisco, one may ask? Who knows? Other two choices were a tour of Union Cemetery in Redwood City, which self must confess she has always been very curious about; and a tour of Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park. But self is superstitious about cemeteries, remembered hearing as a child that one must hold one’s breath when passing one, and keep doing that to this day — !)

Last night, should have been at get-together of Gourmet Club in Half Moon Bay, but since on Friday self was flat on her back, incapacitated by gimpy neck (watched TV movies endlessly, including one with Geneviev Bujold, she who portrayed Anne Boleyn in movie Anne of the Thousand Days, now acting part of wise old lady, with grey hair! Also watched The Great Raid, which was set in the Philippines and gave self the opportunity to hear Connie Nielsen speaking Tagalog — “Para sa tatlo!” — and Natalie Mendoza speak “pidgin English”), did not feel self should push it.

So, today, feeling slightly better, am determined to drive to corner of Grand and Linden Avenues in South San Francisco, to join up with other tour-mates.

* * * * * *

First, check of blog stats: ooooh, very terrible, only 42 views yesterday

E-mail from Evelina and Ignatius Y. Ding (who self has yet to meet, and who self is very fascinated by, because of various comments he makes about himself, pan-Asian-ness, Filipinos, etc.), which self promptly up-loads.

Then, this from former colleague at Stanford, from the period (a decade ago!) when self was still trying to hide in no-account job manning xerox machine in CERAS Building on Stanford campus, a job which unfortunately ended up with self going down in flames, when new boss came on board who did not appreciate self’s “all thumbs” approach to photocopying vast tomes. But, I digress.

Dawne was my boss for a number of years. I never could tell how old she was: she had two grown daughters, the loveliest things you had ever seen. They looked, both of them, like Liv Tyler crossed with Isabelle Adjani. They visited their mom frequently in the office and helped out.

Have not seen Dawne for years and years and years. Suddenly, this morning, find this message from her in my e-mail:

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Dear special friends and loved ones,

As I am about to begin another major adventure in my life, I wish to include you in the information loop of my activities. After moving to Utah and establishing my new home on the mountain side I found retired life a bit too tame and relaxed. I had always wanted to return to the US Peace Corps some day so applied last October specifying my choice of going to Asia. The application process was extensive and finally completed in January with additional medical exams and essays when they accepted me.

I received my assignment in early April to be a University instructor of English as a foreign language teaching strategies to Chinese English teachers. Perhaps I will be assigned other subjects such as US Culture or British and American Literature to teach, also maybe even a Spanish class. I was warned that I would be expected to teach as many as 16 hours per week. My high school teacher friends will appreciate the irony of that warning.

I will be leaving for China by way of San Francisco on June 30th and spend the first 10 weeks of my sojourn in Chengdu, China in a home-stay where the objective is to enhance my Mandarin Chinese lessons and other cultural preparation studies with real experience. I’ll be a new language learner again as I am expected by the PC to master a functional level of Mandarin Chinese. Then in September I’ll be assigned to a western Chinese University (to be determined) where I will work for 2 years. I will have Chinese holidays and a month of summer vacation each year and would be thrilled to have visitors from home. Have you traveled to or ever considered traveling to China?

If all of this were not enough, I have also embarked on a new relationship with a special gentleman from Victoria, BC, Canada (originally form England) who I met by Internet also in January. We have spent enumerable hours (about 175) communicating on the phone and by the time I leave we will have visited in each other’s homes and families for about 4 weeks (one week at a time). He will come to visit me in China in the fall and we’ll see what comes next. Life is truly a grand adventure.

I will be writing newsletters from China and would love to include you on my address list and would be thrilled to hear from you from time to time when you feel inclined. Would that be OK with you?

Now back to organization and preparation including preliminary Mandarin lessons and readings about China.

Love to you, from Dawne

Think loyal blog readers will agree: life depicted above is a perfect example of “How Not To Let Retirement Slow You Down” 🙂

Cause for Celebration: Aimee’s Second

This morning, announcement on “flips” from fab Filipino author Aimee Nezhukumatathil:

I’m very happy to announce the release of my 2nd book of poems, At the Drive-In Volcano (Tupelo Press).

The book description:

From the author of the award-winning book of poems, Miracle Fruit , comes the eagerly anticipated second collection, At the Drive-In Volcano . In this new and imaginative follow–up, Aimee Nezhukumatathil examines the full circle journey of desire, loss, and ultimately, an exuberant love—traveling around a world brimming with wild and delicious offerings such as iced waterfalls, jackfruit, and pistol shrimp. From the tropical landscapes of the Caribbean, India, and the Philippines to the deep winters of western New York and mild autumns of Ohio, the natural world Nezhukumatathil describes is dark but also lovely—so full of enchantment and magic. Here, worms glow in the dark, lizards speak, the most delicious soup in the world turns out to be deadly, and a woman eats soil as if it were candy. Her trademark charm, verve and wit remain elemental and a delight to behold, even in the face of a crumbling relationship. These poems confront delicate subjects of love and loss with an exacting exuberance and elegance not hardly seen in a writer so young.

Here’s what Naomi Shihab Nye had to say:

“Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s poems are as ripe, funny and fresh as a precious friendship. I love the nubby layerings of lines, luscious textures and constructions. Aimee writes with a deep resonance of spirit and sight. She’s scared of nothing. She knows that many worlds may live in one house. Poems like these revive our souls. Read them, then say her glorious name over and over again like a charm of syllables — it’s a poem of its own.”

— Naomi Shihab Nye

Go, Aimee, go 🙂

Brain Cloud, Friday, 18 May: Evelina, Son, Neck, Geraniums, Travolta and Sedgwick

Brrr, brrr, brrr. Stiff wind. Gimpy neck.

First to Draeger’s for lamb chops. Then, Cold Stone Creamery: Oreo Overload. Walking up Santa Cruz Avenue, cell phone rings. It’s Evelina calling from the airport: self can hear the announcement for first class passengers to board. Evelina goes, It’s OK, we can keep talking, I’m not first class!

She says she’s sorry we didn’t get together. Self tells her, it’s OK, I’m sure we’ll bump into each other sometime. She says, YOU can do so much. You can talk. It’s easy!

I tell her, I’m better at writing. It’s true. I’ll try.

Last night at Manilatown Heritage Center, 12 people showed. The night before, at Brava, I don’t even want to ask.

Listen, we have to get signatures by Tuesday, Evelina says. There’s a chance it will pass! We have to call everyone. By Tuesday!

I say again, I’ll try.

Then, find myself standing in front of a store I haven’t seen before: Tibetan handicrafts. Deep-hued scarves in the windows. Lamps, rugs. I suddenly want to call son.

Hey, I tell him. I’m on Santa Cruz Avenue, and I thought of you. Are you having lunch?

He says he passed the smog test, which is fantastic — his little Honda has 200,000 miles. I ask him, well, what do you think? Think you want to watch the Richard III at Cal Shakes? He says he can’t come up until after his job ends, June 17.

Then self babbles on: That’s OK, the play doesn’t end its run until June 24. Course, that will mean you’ll have to give up a whole afternoon, because we’ll have lunch first, and then the play runs two hours . . .

“Mom, can I tell you later?” son says. “I have tons of things on my mind right now, and the play isn’t exactly on top of my list of priorities.”

“Oh!” I say, “Sure!”

Feel guilty for hounding him. Drive home. Not without passing Roger Reynolds. A leaf from my Clematis Henryii is in my hand. A small leaf, brown at the edges. A woman in a Roger Reynolds T-shirt passes by, dragging a cart full of gorgeous white geraniums. “Excuse me,” I say. “Can you tell me what is wrong with my clematis?” I show her the leaf. “Probably over-watering,” she says.

Go home. Crash on the couch. God! My neck is terrible! I want a chiropractor!

On TV, there’s a movie with John Travolta. He has a brain tumor and it turns him smart. Also, gives him telekinesis. I’m crashed on the couch and I am watching John Travolta spin pencils and sunglasses in circles with a point of a finger. How. Fascinating. Seriously.

I watch to the end of the movie, it’s very sad, and I cry when Kyra Sedgwick cries. I remember that Kyra Sedgwick is married to Kevin Bacon, and that they live in New York. In fact, friend Penny says their kids study at the private school where she teaches.

And John Travolta is married to Kelly Lynch and they live somewhere on the East Coast but not in New York, somewhere “country”, since self saw a fab spread on their house in an Architectural Digest some years ago.

(Why, why is self’s brain so full of such trivia?)

Phone rings: ring, ring, ring! Wow! It really is a day for calls! Earlier, while self was in Cold Stone Creamery, deciding on which ice cream delight to order, Strawberry Blonde or Orea Overload, Fave Tita called, which she hasn’t done in almost two years.

See that the caller is son. Perhaps feeling guilty for having to rush off earlier? Now, he says, “You know, next weekend is the Strawberry Festival.” Yes, I remember. Hubby and I were there last year. It was so much fun.

“Well,” son says, “I was thinking, why don’t you and dad come down? It would be fun!”

Ahhh. It would be fun. Thanks, son.

Get off the phone with son, call hubby. He’s busy, as usual. But when self suggests going to SLO next weekend, he pauses. Naturally, at this moment, self suddenly realizes: Who will water damn roses? Who will take care of the dogs? Can we even find a space in the Peninsula Pet Resort??? And, isn’t Mr. King’s funeral that weekend? Mr. King, who was so kind when self was a foreign student at Stanford, who passed away a few weeks ago??? Self cannot think, must lie down, place wet towel on forehead. Brain cloud over for the rest of the day.

Friday Morning Status Report

Isn’t this weekend of the Bay to Breakers? I think it is!

Likewise, Asian Heritage Street Celebration in San Francisco, with that fab Filipino DJ and assorted Asian performing groups? Yeah!

And the Mountain View “A La Carte and Art” Festival? Yeah!

And the Sunset Magazine Open House? More yeah! Yeah all over the place!

Neck status: Very bad. Much. Incapacitating. Pain.

But, self must soldier on! Must grade papers (loads and loads!).

Quit complaining, self! Yesterday, did you not spend a blissful afternoon wandering around San Carlos Farmers Market, where you bought four pieces of cod for $12.50 which you then fried with garlic and butter to make delicious dinner which you then served to hubby when he arrived from the office at 8:45 PM?

Did you not, also, this week, watch Vacancy, thereby determining for yourself that Economist reviewer was wrong, this was not the most brilliant movie to come out so far this year, Director Nimrod Antal is not genius, and you would rather not see a movie where Luke Wilson gets stabbed in the stomach???

Did you not get a fab idea for a story yesterday (lifted from your blog, but who cares?), which hopefully you can add to, a little at a time, until you reach VCCA in August, at which time you can just let it rip?

Are you not, at this very moment, enjoying a snack of smoked trout with dill, even though you are 115 lbs. and have moreover just spent the last 10 minutes sobbing on the couch after having watched a very sad documentary about the World Trade Center? Speak up, self! You know it’s true!

OK, OK, life is not all bad. New avenues await to be explored (such as Draeger’s: lamb chops, yummy! And Roger Reynolds Nursery). Day is chilly, true, but at least self will not be tempted to drop by Cold Stone Creamery or Dairy Queen or Yumi Yogurt.

Will check in later, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

Further Reading From William Henry Scott’s DISCOVERY OF THE IGOROTS

The King of Spain sends a message to his loyal vassals the Archbishop of Manila, the Bishop of Nueva Segovia, the Provincials of the Augustinian and Dominican orders, and the Governor-General in Manila:

With your experience in the Islands, you well know the importance of their preservation not only for the cause of the Christian religion, which is the principal reason, but also for the condition of the Royal Estate which is well known to you, and the great amount I have spent from my Royal Patrimony in them, since it has already reached more than seven million, and that nothing whatsoever has been received from there; all of which has been been the more onerous for being in times when the common enemy, the heretics, and other powers, have sought to diminish my Royal Estate, and although silver and money was wanting or scarce . . . those expenses out there were nonetheless met; but what has been done and expended in the past will not be possible in the future because of urgent needs here.

Finally, a year later, the King’s message wends its way into the hands of the intended recipients in the Philippines (hard to imagine a time when letters had to go by ship — !). Governor General Fajardo, a realistic man, worries about the “moral justification of” initiating a war against the Igorots. He therefore calls a meeting of the most eminent prelates and asks them whether “it is possible to wage a just war against the Igorots.”

Here is how Scott describes the discussion:

The different orders could not agree on the King’s right to ownership of the Igorot gold mines in the first place, nor, indeed, present any rational justification for it, but they were in total and complete agreement on the definition of a just war and its applicability to the present case: “A just war is wont to be described as one that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished, for refusing to make amends for the wrongs inflicted by its subjects, or to restore what it has seized unjustly.”

Because the Igorots “prevented other Filipinos from becoming Christians, kidnapped baptized children to be raised as pagans . . . and, worst of all . . . prevented innocent passage to Spanish vassals from one area under Spanish jurisdiction to another,” all were agreed that the Igorots were “sufficiently culpable for punitive invasion.” (Scott, Discovery of the Igorots, p. 26)

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