Sentence of the Day: Alcina Again, from HISTORIA DE LAS ISLAS e INDIOS DE BISAYAS (Published 1668)

from Chapter 7: Concerning a description of the looms (los telares) of these natives and an account of other arts like the working of precious metals which here are of gold alone, etc.

  • I left that region and lived in another until I returned to it after sixteen or eighteen years and saw her for the second time.

Sentence of the Day: Alcina

“The greatest chiefs are the best smiths.”

— from History of the Bisayan People in the Philippine Islands, published 1668

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.

20191111_100616

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.

What the Archbishop Says to Self’s MC (18th C, Bear In Mind)

My son, your disposition cannot be mild. Under the circumstances, we require you to be vicious. May God Give you strength! (p. 9 of 359)

Sentence of the Day: Francisco Ignacio Alcina, S.J.

  • It is an established fact that these natives came here in boats and since all these are islands, they could not come in any other manner.

History of the Bisayan People in the Philippine Islands, 1668

Writing of the Day: The MC’s Sister Writes a Letter

What self is doing, she does not know. She just keeps tossing off letter after letter. Like, not only does she accept the throwdown of writing about 18th century Philippines, she has to make the whole thing epistolary!

Anyhoo, this section’s fresh as fresh, as she made the whole thing up about an hour ago. Thoughts?

You wrote that it is useless to appeal to the Bishop in Manila, for he cares more for “musk, civet, and pearls” than for his priests, which necessitates your appealing to Spain. And the Governor General is no better, you say, for he “struts about in the richest of silks and brocades”. If this individual were to somehow present to me at this very moment, I would demand that he be strung up from the highest gibbet. For are these things you have requested not proper and necessary for any human being, never mind those who are representatives of the Church and our country?

I am inclined to write a letter to the King himself, to inform him of what is truly going on in the islands, for He may well not know. Oh, to what lengths are we driven to serve both Our God and Our Lord!

Your loving sister,

Dorotea

In so many previous drafts (maybe the 1st to the 10th draft), Dorotea was the MC’s (secret) love interest, but self was unable to keep up the tension after the MC left for his mission in the Philippines, so she decided to turn Dorotea into his sister. There was more to the letter (e.g. curses to the English etc for occupying the islands, which they did for two years, in the early 1760s. They ultimately decided that the country didn’t have enough gold or silver to justify them staying.)

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

Andres de Urdaneta, Pilot

Born 1498 in Villafranca, Spain, died 1568 in Mexico City.

From the Encyclopedia Britannica:

As a young man, he spent eight adventurous years in the Spice Islands (the Moluccas). In 1553 (He was 55), he entered the Augustinian order and became a friar.

Philip II (of whom, self must interject, there are MANY MANY FAN FICTIONS WRITTEN, possibly by high school students bored out of their minds with World History class; some of these are quite salacious WTH PHILIP II??!!) asked him to guide an expedition to the Philippines and find a route home. Spain had sent five previous expeditions, all ending in disaster.

In April 1521 (He was 23), Urdaneta guided the Magellan expedition to Cebu. By 1st of June, Magellan was dead (Killed on Mactan by a native chief, who is remembered today in the name of a FISH, Lapu-Lapu).

Self would argue that the 1st of June 1521 was a truly significant date, in fact world-changing. Because that was the date when Urdaneta and the remnants of Magellan’s crew embarked from the Philippines and headed for home. By sailing at high latitudes, about 42 degrees N, Urdaneta was able to find a current. He reached the Isthmus of Panama in 123 days. He guided the survivors, all on one ship (out of the five they’d started out with) back to Spain, arriving in September 1522, thereby completing the first circumnavigation of the world. And why Magellan gets all the credit, self just doesn’t know. The second leg of the journey was clearly more important than the first: it was Spain’s sixth attempt to circumnavigate the globe, and the one that finally succeeded.

The Survivors: Sebastian Elcano, a Basque; 17 other Europeans (including Antonio de Pigafetta, a noble from Vicenza, who published his account of the journey); and four natives. All that remained of a crew of 270.

Writing this post made self exceedingly restless, so she walked down to the lake. She took her MacBook with her, which is what she used to take this picture.

Photo on 10-19-19 at 12.35 PM

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Penelope V. Flores

“Lately, my preoccupation with names has become an obsession.”

— Penelope V. Flores, Professor Emeritus at San Francisco State University

Read the rest of her interesting article, How Filipinos Got Their Surnames, in Filipinas Magazine, here.

Blair & Robertson: History of the Philippine Islands, Vol. IV

On the character of the natives:

  • They are very submissive to authority, and patiently suffer the punishments inflicted. For a very slight offense, an ear will be cut off, or a hundred lashes of the whip given. The land is fertile. The horses are small and the cows are like those of Berberia.

Self’s MC Takes His First Banca Ride

Several weeks ago, I experienced my first banca ride. The banca is a long, narrow boat, made from the hollowed-out trunk of a tree, that has two long bamboo outriggers on either side for balance. I have watched with fascination as these boats darted across the sea, nimble as dragonflies. With great excitement, I accepted the offer of one of these islanders to go exploring.

I and my guide set off at dawn. There is an island off the eastern shore of Isla del Fuego, which he assured me most solemnly was populated by witches.

Blue Water, Distant Shores, p. 29

Seriously shopping for a publisher now. So disheartening that a lot of the independent presses say “Not accepting submissions.”

Stay tuned.

 

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