Jose “Butch” Dalisay in MANILA NOIR

It is hawwwttt!  Hawwwttt as all get out!

Today was self’s day to meet Joanne H downtown.  Joanne H is the mother of Tom H, who has been friends with son since elementary school in St. Raymond’s.  There is a very funny story connected with today’s meet-up, which self will share with dear blog readers when she is a little less pressed for time.  Anyhoo, it is so hot today, unbelievable.  But The Ancient One has somehow survived the entire bristling afternoon on the deck, not moving.  Self thinks to herself:  She’s bought it!  But the minute The Ancient One hears the creak of the wood floors inside the house, self hears the rhythmic thump of her tail against the deck: Thump thump thump thump thump.  Tears spring to self’s eyes.  The Ancient One is the most enduring, most loyal pet — no, GIFT — ever.  To reward her for her unparalleled loyalty and spunk, self unwraps one of the rib-eye bones from last night’s dinner and heaves it onto Bella’s doggie dish.

The Ancient One

The Ancient One

Then, she resumes her reading.  Which, this afternoon, is Manila Noir.

The further self gets, the more riveted she is by the material.  She just finished F. H. Batacan’s marvelous “Comforter of the Afflicted” and has begun Jose “Butch” Dalisay’s “The Professor’s Wife.”  The setting of Dalisay’s story is Diliman, where the University of the Philippines is situated.  Self wanted to attend this university, she would have chosen Anthropology as her major.  It’s hard to get in, but she did make it.  She eventually opted to attend Dear Departed Dad’s alma mater, Ateneo de Manila, instead.

Back to the Butch Dalisay story.  It is excellent.  In addition, it is one of the drollest stories she has ever read.  Considering it’s in a book called Manila Noir, one would hardly expect that level of wit and drollery, but let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth, dear readers!


Here’s the Backstory:  A professor in Diliman is fondly remembered by a witty narrator.  The narrator is very interested in analyzing how the professor ended up with his young and luscious wife, Lalaine.  The couple are fodder for salacious gossip all over the campus.

I can imagine Professor Sanvictores coming to UP as a young instructor, eager to make his mark in history.  Or was it economics that he first signed up for?  This was years before his stint as a teaching assistant and doctoral candidate in Minnesota, where he picked up and cultivated the American accent that many coeds found charming, if not irresistible.  Now, every two-bit club and radio deejay and call center agent has one, but none of them can come up with and use a word like “contumacious” the way the professor did to describe certain tribal chieftains in old New Zealand.

I was dying to ask either the professor or Lalaine herself how the two of them met, and more than that, how they ended up being man and wife.  I mean, what ever did they see in each other?  But of course, silly, I knew what he saw in her, I could see that even with my eyes shut.  But what about Lalaine?  I could understand her developing a schoolgirl crush on him, especially if he put on that Minnesota affect and gave his sophomore-class version of his lecture on Rizal’s women and free love in the nineteenth century.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


  1. August 29, 2013 at 6:19 am

    Lovely ….

  2. January 6, 2014 at 10:21 am

    ha ha. hey, just saw this, thanks a lot for the plug 😉 writing that story was easy… i used my house, my car… but not my wife, certainly not!

    • January 6, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      ALWAYS been a big fan of your writing. Never for one second entertained the notion of this being YOU, YOUR WIFE–! Don’t worry.

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