Women and Knives: from Alcina’s History of the Bisayan People in the Philippine Islands

Thank the gods self was able to carve out a week in Oxford. Since she left the Tyrone Guthrie Centre on Oct. 27, it’s been very hectic. She hasn’t had time to read the Philippine history books, like Alcina’s, which she checked out of Stanford’s Green Library and which she’s lugged from Stanford to Dublin to Annaghmakerrig to Dublin to Manchester to London and finally here, to Oxford.

But walking around the Oxford Botanic Garden, and wandering into stores that sell old maps, and attending services two days in a row at Christ Church — all of that — is certainly reviving her interest in Alcina!

Francisco Ignacio Alcina was a Jesuit missionary who ended his great work in 1665. Self is reading it in a bilingual translation published by the oldest university in the Philippines, the University of Santo Tomas.

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Christ Church, Oxford: Remembrance Day

from Chapter 6: Concerning other mechanical arts which they knew in their antiquity and have preserved till today with improvements

  • The women have different types of knives of various shapes, but all are of iron. Some resemble the bolo, others are like ours which they call sipul in some regions and in others, dipang. They are accustomed to place their little rings of iron on the ends so that they make little sounds. These are valuable to the women and rarely will one be seen without them. In some towns, they always carry them in their hands when they go out of their houses so that they travel prepared for whatever might occur in the way of cutting something and even of wounding each other perhaps when they quarrel. In a town one woman killed another with one of these little knives because of jealousy. A very small wound is required to draw the soul from the body.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The San Francisco Bay Area in The Overstory

p. 378:  SPOILER-FREE

Three months later, a machine shed in a lumber yard up near the Olympic Peninsula explodes. Mimi reads about it in the Chronicle. She’s sitting on the grass by the Conservatory of Flowers, in the corner of Golden Gate Park, a ten-minute walk from the hilltop, University of San Francisco, where she’s finishing her master’s degree in rehabilitation and mental health counseling.

Newspaper Sidebar: Timeline of Ecological Terror, 1980 – 1999

Ha! Richard Powers gets the flavor of the San Francisco Bay Area down in spades. Wonder where he lives?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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