Still On P. 27 of THE DOOR

  • All the time, my stepfather was shaking and swearing, because call-up letters were flying around like birds.

This evening self suddenly thinks about her World War II novel (244 pages) and realizes it has no heart. The only thing it describes is how an 18-year-old is sent into the mountains with the enkargado.

When Bacolod was occupied, self’s Dear Departed Dad was 12. The Japanese High Command chose the biggest house in Bacolod to commandeer. Which at the time was Dear Departed Dad’s family’s house.

It had a winding staircase made of imported Carrara marble! With a working Otis elevator! Of course the occupiers must have marveled about how that house had come to be, in such a small island in the center of the Philippines.

Must have been pretty tense, right? When self knew her grandfather, he was an old man in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the neck down. He was always that way, always a sublime paralytic in her memory. It wasn’t until six years ago that self learned that her grandfather suffered the stroke during the Occupation.

There’s a war story self’s Dear Departed Dad told her about how, one day, everyone in Bacolod was made to line up around the Plaza. There was a prisoner seated in the middle of the Plaza and he was beaten pretty badly. The guards wanted him to point out his accomplices. Right when two of my father’s uncles passed in front of the prisoner, his guards gave him a particularly vicious beating. And his arm came up and he pointed, without thought. And he was pointing at one of my father’s uncles. Who was immediately taken away and never seen again.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Visayan Islands in the Late Sixteenth Century

The inhabitants of the Visayan Islands in the central Philippines were named “Pintados” by the Spanish because their skin was covered with tattoos. The first to describe them was a missionary named Loarca:

The women are extremely lewd, and they even encourage their own daughters to a life of unchastity; so that there is nothing so vile for the latter that they cannot do it before their mothers, since they incur no punishment.

And then the Catholic church came along, and put an end to the Visayan women’s lewd ways.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Historical Fiction: Novel-in-Progress

from p. 4:

  • Spain had already begun exhibiting the first signs of exhaustion, its sulky mind tossing and turning, preferring already the deep, fathomless sleep of history’s graveyard to the turbulence of exploration.

The Bataan Peninsula, 1942

Looking through her bookshelves, self never runs short of reading material.

Reading Face of Empire: United States-Philippine Relations, 1898 – 1946, by Frank Hindman-Golay:

On January 1942, “a quartermaster inventory revealed that food stocked on the peninsula comprised a thirty-day supply of unbalanced rations for one-hundred thousand men . . . This shortfall was serious enough, but it was compounded by the existence of eighty-thousand USAFFE troops and twenty-six thousand civilians on Bataan . . . The success of Japanese arms in the first month of the war left little prospect that USAFFE could be supplied from the outside. On January 5, MacArthur ordered the troops and civilians on Bataan reduced to half-rations. At this rate, the USAFFE stocks would be exhausted in less than two months . . .

“. . .  most critical was the failure to deal with malaria. One medical officer serving on Bataan later estimated that 95 percent of all those on the peninsula during the first quarter of 1942 contracted the disease.

“To prevent the debilitating consequences of this mosquito-carried disease, the entire defense force should have been taking quinine or some substitute drug. But the supply of such drugs on Bataan was so short that they were reserved for the treatment of active cases of malaria. As a result, the rate of infection increased steadily as the disease was transmitted from those already infected.

In late March, General Wainwright “reported to Washington that food on Bataan would last only until April “at one-third ration, poorly balanced and very deficient in vitamins . . . The troops will be starved into submission.”

The Bataan peninsula fell in April 1942. Corregidor was able to hold on one month longer. There were 12,000 people on Corregidor, as opposed to 100,000-plus on the Bataan Peninsula. And when Bataan fell, this is how the people on Corregidor knew it: there was a deathly silence from across the water, instead of the constant sound of artillery barrages. And then smoke began to rise.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Blair & Robertson’s THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, 1493 – 1803

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1000 sets were printed of this massive series.

Self has Copy No. 179 on her MacBook Air.

60 volumes.

She does all her writing in son’s room, where daily she looks at the map of the Philippines that’s been hanging there for over two decades. She doubts if son even knows the names of the two main islands, Luzon and Mindanao. This is self’s failing.

No woman is mentioned in the first nine volumes.

Later, there is a decree about educating the sons of Spanish civil officials. And in volume 10, a mention of nuns.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Priest in Murcia (1730)

Self struggles to give her main character, Matias, a backstory. So that he does not just show up in the Philippines ready with his demon-fighting abilities.

The parts set in Murcia (Why Murcia? Because on self’s island in the Philippines, her family’s land is near the town of Murcia. Someone from Murcia, Spain, obviously, came to the island, felt homesick, started a mission, and gave the adjoining community the name of his hometown in Spain)

So, back to Murcia, Spain. Self begins with the marriage (arranged) between Matias’s parents.

Doña Francisca’s family crest depicts the Cross of Calvary on a checkerboard pattern of yellow, white, and black. Don Rodrigo’s — well, there is no family crest. No matter. He possesses wealth.

Francisca’s dowry includes land on the south bank of the Segura. It is this land, coming into the possession of Matias’s father, that starts him on the path towards social standing and great material wealth. Eventually, he devises his own crest: a golden salamander on a deep red background.

He was in the light, now. Everyone looked at him with something resembling awe.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Alcina Describes Philippine Boats (from Historia de las Islas Filipinas, 1668)

The vessels are called balutu and are made from a single hollowed-out log or trunk. Although they have little cargo capacity because the sides are low in the water, they are very light. This is because there are some artisans (referred to as pandays, a generic term for all crafters) who make them so graceful and of such elegant lines that they say of them that they are like arrows.

#amwritinghistoricalfiction about the Philippines

Letter of Father Pedro Sanz to the Bishop of Manila

Octubre, 1752

Your Reverence,

I am already old, weary, and in poor health. When you first granted this position to me, and ordered me to serve you in this Island, I complied with your wishes, with not a word of complaint. I had already been many years in Nueva España, and exerted myself in every way. I arrived in Isla del Fuego and built a church, just as you commanded, and put in order the lives of the indios. By the grace of God, all turned out well. God has willed that Your Reverence’s wishes be fulfilled.

Now, I am exhausted. The need to recover my health and the declining health of my widowed mother force me to beg Your Reverence to allow me to return home.

May the Lord keep you.

Fr. Pedro Sanz

Isla del Fuego, Filipinas

NOTE: There is no island named Isla del Fuego in the Philippines. Self just made up the name.

DSCN4181

A Side Door of the Church of St. John Lasi on Siquijor, in the central Philippines: Such Stillness Outside! Also: Great Heat

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

#amreading about 16 March 1521: Magellan in the Visayan Sea

On the Feast of St. Lazarus, Ferdinand Magellan spotted the coast of Samar in an archipelago which had not been named by Europeans.

Because it was the feast of the saint who Jesus brought back to life, Lazarus the brother of Martha and Mary, Magellan named the island in honor of the saint. He had “discovered” the Philippines (The name was given to the archipelago 50 years later, during the reign of Philip II, Hapsburg monarch of Spain)

When Magellan made landfall, it was barely 30 years after the fall of Granada, the last outpost of the Nasrid Empire. In 1492, Boabdil, last Muslim King of Granada, surrendered to the Catholic forces of Ferdinand and Isabella. When Granada capitulated, it had become a swollen knot of refugees from all over the Iberian peninsula.

The island in the Visayan Sea where self’s father was born is called Negros (That name was given to the island by the Spanish because islanders were dark-skinned). She doesn’t think Magellan or any of the explorers who followed actually set foot on the island. But there is a Barangay Granada, which is part of a cluster of land self inherited from her Dear Departed Dad.

DSCN0076

She gleans all this fascinating information from a book which Dearest Mum gave to her a few years ago: La Casa de Dios (The House of God) by Father René B. Javellana, SJ.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Novel-in-Progress: from a Priest’s Journal

Diary of Father Castellanos, Isla del Fuego, Philippines, 16 July 1731:

They are a most physical people, who cannot utter a word unless they have some part of their person touching yours. If you startle or shy away, they are quick to take offense.

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