Self is never going to lose the Bacolod issue of Rogue Magazine (Philippines) Never, not in a million years.
She will never forget that Charles Tan Fed-exed a copy to her, either.
It gives her story after story — and even though she knows her Bacolod cousins didn’t take to the articles too well, all of the pieces are interesting.
The big landowning families aren’t as rich as they used to be because of CARP (the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program), and everyone’s hanging on, just hanging on, to the vestiges of the past (either that or leave for Dubai), but she still remembers the time a cousin invited her to lunch at “21.” Self happened to glance at the narrow street adjacent, and what she saw was this : two lines of parked SUVs, most of them a gleaming black, and all of them with drivers patiently waiting.
Here’s an excerpt from an article by Rogue editor Jose Maria Ugarte, “At Play in the Fields of the Lords.”
From these closet liberals grew a dense forest of family trees in Negros, their branches wrangling and tangling together and their fruits bumping. Some trees stood tall and with a quiet elegance, while others lurched with savage wildness, but they were all interconnected by sex and sugar and they were all disturbingly rich.
And self also remembers her cousin L saying: “Heaven only knows where you came from.” Because self is such an oddball and contrarian that she actually wants to retire in Bacolod, a poky small city, not very beautiful, with one great church (San Sebastian), a plaza, shopping malls, and family homes turned into museums.
She remembers Dearest Mum telling her this anecdote, a long time ago:
A Bacolod girl was complaining about the amount of homework assigned by her teacher. Her father told her, “Hija” (My Dear) “if something will not enter your head, then why force it?”
With stories like the one above, self doesn’t know why the island of Negros isn’t just teeming with writers! As she told a cousin way back December 2010: “The Villanuevas may be crazy, but they’re my kind of crazy.”
Bacolod is the closest thing the Philippines has to New Orleans: ” . . . because if you play with the same test tubes for too long without washing them,” Ugarte writes, “you’re going to end up with something weird.”
Ugarte himself has family in Bacolod. That’s why he can write about it like that.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.