Regarding Juan Sebastian Elcano, Basque

Rick Barot’s collection The Galleons is on the National Book Award’s longlist for poetry! Kudos, sir!

Self finds it interesting: she is writing about the galleons, too! Her book invents a character and puts him in the Philippines at the close of the 16th century.

Today, in her leisurely read of The Economist of 12 September 2020 (She’s fairly sure they skipped an issue; the 19 September issue should have arrived last week. What gives, USPS?), there is a letter about Magellan. Truly, self has entered a zone! A zone where everyone else is also thinking about Magellan! Galleons! The 16th century!

Letter to The Economist from Marques de Tamaron, Madrid:

Ferdinand Magellan was not “the first known circumnavigator (Obituary for Marvin Creamer, August 29th). He commanded the flotilla of five ships and 239 sailors that sailed in 1519 from Spain but he died in combat in the Philippines in 1521 before completing the round-the-world voyage. Juan Sebastian Elcano was then elected leader for the rest of it, reaching Spain in the only remaining ship, Victoria, in 1522. He and the emaciated survivors who dragged themselves ashore were indeed the first true circumnavigators.

Prompted by curiosity (mebbe she should have written about Elcano instead of making up a fictional character for her novel! Oh well, too late now!), self does some google research. Elcano died only four years after his return from that epic voyage. And there is a Spanish thinktank named after him that addresses such topics as climate change, cybersecurity, and international migration. Here is a link to their very interesting blog.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Pugad Lawin, August 1896

No one knows the exact date when the Philippine Revolution began (Because it was a secret rebellion!). But the place has never been in doubt.

At some point in the last week of August 1896, Andres Bonifacio (a self-educated warehouse clerk, she posted some of his poetry a week or so ago) gathered his followers and led them in tearing up their cedulas. A cedula is a form of identification, issued by the Spanish colonial government. It was a document that formed the basis of tax collection.

Pugad Lawin was deep woods when Andres Bonifacio and a thousand followers (which is quite a large number, for a secret society, but was no match against the Spanish, who in the city of Manila alone numbered at least 10,000) gathered there. The rough translation of pugad lawin is ‘hawk’s nest.’ Today, it has been swallowed up by Metro-Manila, and lies in one of the most densely populated cities in Asia.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Thinking of Andres Bonifacio

Is there any love that is nobler

Purer and more sublime

Than the love of the native country?

What love is? Certainly none.

— Andres Bonifacio, Pag-Ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa (Love for the Native Land)

Bonifacio was a self-educated warehouse clerk who became famous for starting the Philippine Revolution. He was murdered May 1897.

Just For Fun, 10 Latest Bookmarks

Sentence of the Day: Doreen G. Fernandez

  • The drive from Dumaguete through Bais and Mabinay to Kabankalan, Negros Occidental is an excellent road, past hills and valleys, even a zig-zag portion, through fields and towns, and hardly a billboard.

Self has driven this route. Ten years ago.

Doreen G. Fernandez (self’s second mother) had made an appointment to visit Vicente Lobaton, kinilaw artist. Kinilaw is the Filipino version of sushi. And it’s rather a specialty in the Visayan Islands, in the central Philippines. The number one requirement is that the seafood be freshly caught. And in a country with over 7000 islands, there’s no excuse not to have seafood that is freshly caught. Kinilaw is served with a “dressing” called sawsawan. Want to know more? It’s all in Doreen’s book, Kinilaw (1991) She goes on to describe the meal, which involved kinilaw crab, fish, and shrimp. (SO hungry right now)

Doreen was from the self-same island that Dear Departed Dad was from. It has a very non-PC name: Negros. That’s right, the island is named Negros because its people were dark. It has been named that since the 16th century. It is divided into two provinces: Negros Occidental (where self’s Dear Departed Dad, and Doreen, were from) and Negros Oriental. Negros Oriental has this really cool city called Dumaguete, which became the title for one of self’s short stories (It’s in MsAligned 3, published earlier this year)

Vicente, who goes by Enting, has two restaurants on Negros. One is Enting’s Manukan in Sagay; the other is Enting’s Lechonan on 17th St. near Lacson in downtown Bacolod, the capitol of Negros Occidental.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Monday Read: THE FILIPINOS: PORTRAIT OF A PEOPLE, by Manuel D. Duldulao

p. 13: “the past comes rushing back . . . ”

  • On election day, in full view of more than 700 foreign and local journalists, and millions of concerned citizens, Marcos’s men ripped up ballots, bought others and muzzled voters. As many as three million names were stricken off the voters’ list.

p. 16 features a description of self’s favorite Filipino dessert, halo-halo (Literal Translation: mix-mix):

  • This delicacy, served in a tall sundae glass, contains diced bananas, sweet mango, chickpeas, kidney beans, strands of macapuno (the succulent meat of a variety of coconut) — all of these in syrup — plus pinipig (kernels of crisp and delectable rice), mongo beans, corn, langka (jackfruit), sweet potato, jello, ube (purple yam preserves), and leche flan.

HUNGRY.

Doreen G. Fernandez, Food Writer, Queen

From Hometown Foods: Essays on Filipino Food:

Quiet, bucolic Silay used to have a lot of gambling for high stakes going on behind the walls of those gracious houses. Some, I was told (I never saw them) had sophisticated warning, hiding and escape systems built into them in case of an unlikely raid — unlikely because of pakikisama, because important officials were among the gamblers, because it was an important part of the community lifestyle. Tales were told and zarzuelas were written about jewelry, land titles and car registrations flung on the gambling table; of haciendas lost in a night of gaming; of marriages sacrificed at the mahjong, panguingue or monte tables, or at the cockpit.

For these gamblers, I was told, were developed for kalan-unon (kakanin) for which Silay is famous, and the accompanying institution, the manug-libud (accent on ug and ud). The kalan-unon are portable — they can be eaten without getting up from the gambling table, and they used to be made by the best cooks in Silay — maiden aunts, young wives, mothers, girls, many from the best families. The food was taken around by the manug-libud (“libud” means to take from place to place, usually to sell) to homes with or without gambling, to restaurants and schools, in large round baskets covered with cloth and carried on their heads.

Are there any chefs from Silay in the Bay Area? Are there any Filipino restaurants in Redwood City? How about Half Moon Bay? Just wondering.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

More Writing in a Pandemic

Further in self’s novel about the World War II occupation of the city of Bacolod in the central Philippines (72k words so far):

Don Geronimo entered Honorato’s room just as his eldest son was about to get dressed. It was eight o’clock.

“The Japanese are here,” he said.

Honorato said nothing.

There was a group of them, some in uniform, some in civilian clothing. They had told Don Geronimo they were there to put the Daku Balay under the protection of the Imperial Japanese Army. “We are forbidden to leave the premises without permission. Go through the kitchen. Moses is waiting for you by the side gate.”

20190908_170235

The Daku Balay, Burgos Street, Bacolod City: It was used by the Japanese High Command during World War II. Self’s grandfather sent her uncle to the mountains. Her father, only 12 at the time, stayed home.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Writing In a Pandemic: Self’s Other Novel

So far, 299 pages, set on the island of Negros in the central Philippines, in the opening months of World War II. Self has not looked at it in almost two years. She’s been devoting most of her time to her 16th century novel, Camarote de Marinero:

In mid-April, Honorato was sent to the mountains.  He had just turned 18.  Don Geronimo worried because he was tall, because he was good-looking, because he was the eldest and bore the hopes of his parents on his slender shoulders.  Hide, his father told him.  Get as far away from here as you can.

The boy, Honorato, spends the war wandering in the mountains with his Dad’s enkargado, Moses. Moses has a bolo and a 32 Colt. Honorato can’t even shoot. But he learns a lot. (Meanwhile, self, who hasn’t shot a gun in her entire life, has to do internet research on the mechanics of a 32 Colt. So she’s learning just as much as Honorato)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

#amwriting of First Contact

Cortez had just conquered the Aztecs, and their ancient cities were filled with gold.

The Spanish thought there was gold in the Philippines, too.

First sight of the Philippines by the Spanish:

  • Limasawa has the shape of a finger thrust into the ocean; its topography is generally flat. Butuan is much larger, a ring of beach surrounding a mountain wreathed in clouds, whose topmost peaks flash in fading evening light, flash like prince’s metal.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

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