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.”

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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.

 

Am Here: ROSEBUD Issue 67 (Spring 2020)

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Felipe II is one hell of a sexy guy, just sayin’. From The Vanishing:

Spanish ambitions took root and flowered in a dream born as a whisper in the ear of a friend of a friend of a friend: Francisco Serrao, Portuguese, who wrote to the Crown from the Moluccas, his words both ardent and teasing.

Part of self’s “Voyager” series of short stories.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

The Sea, Our Mother

Self has many thoughts about the sea because … well, she comes from one of the 7,100 islands of the Philippines.

When she visited Venice, some years back, she encountered the Maritime Museum (off San Marco Plaza), and first encountered the Venetian expression “married to the sea.”

In the writings about the sea, the sea is referred to as feminine. Also, mercurial.

Perhaps this is why she chose to write her novel. It’s about the sea, of course. And she’s been reading about seafarers ever since.

Two years ago, she was teaching in Mendocino. One of her favorite hangouts was Gallery Bookshop, corner of Albion and Kasten in Mendocino Village (the most fabulous bookstore, with its own resident cat). She found a book written by a retired US Admiral.

She just started reading it (thank you, Corona Virus). Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans

The Introductory Chapter is called The Sea Is One:

It is worth remembering that each of us is, essentially, largely made of water. When a human baby is born, it is composed of roughly 70 percent water. It has always fascinated me that roughly the same proportion of the globe is covered by water — just over 70 percent. Both our planet and our bodies are dominated by the liquid world, and anyone who has sailed extensively at sea will understand instinctively the primordial tug of the oceans upon each of us when we look upon the sea.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

A Lexicon of Filipino Fruits and Vegetables (Just Because)

  • Bamboo shoots – labong
  • Banana – saging
  • Bottle gourd – upo
  • Cabbage – repolyo
  • Calamansi – calamansi
  • Cashew nuts – Kasuy
  • Cauliflower – koliflor
  • Chickpeas – garbansos
  • Chico – chico
  • Chinese cabbage – pechay Baguio
  • “Chinese” peas – chicharo (one of self’s faaaavorite vegetables, growing up in Manila)
  • Coconut – niyog
  • Corn – mais
  • Cucumber – pipino
  • Custard apple – atis
  • Eggplant – talong
  • Fern leaves – pako
  • Ginger – luya
  • Green snap beans – habichuelas
  • Guava – bayabas
  • Lanzones – lansones
  • Lima bean – patani
  • Long cow pea – sitaw
  • Mango – mango
  • Mangosteen – mangostan
  • Melon – melon
  • Mung bean – mongo
  • Mustard – mustasa
  • Papaya – papaya
  • Peanut – mani
  • Pineapple – piña
  • Pomelo – suha
  • Potato – patatas
  • Santol – santol
  • Squash – kalabasa
  • Strawberry – stroberi (lol)
  • Swamp cabbage – kangkong
  • Sweet peppers – sili
  • Sweet potato – kamote
  • Taro – gabi
  • Tomato – kamatis
  • Turmeric – luyang dilaw
  • Watermelon – pakwan (Dear Departed Sister loved chewing pakwan seeds)
  • Yam – ubi (Ubi ice cream is the best!)

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Sense of Smell

Let’s nose around in our archives or sniff out new photos that are related to the sense of Smelling. Be creative and have fun.

Cee Neuner

Self found this Foto Challenge more than usually, er, challenging. She’s trying to keep her mind off food — for the first six weeks of the shelter-in-place, that was all she thought about, with disastrous consequences. And her roses don’t give off scent — mebbe it’s the type of soil? Even her Sheila’s Perfume rose has no perfume!

Anyhoo, after some determined hunting, she managed to come up with three photos:

  • Fried chorizo for breakfast in the island of Negros, central Philippines:

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  • A fresh-cut Christmas tree makes all the difference. Self got hers from Wegman’s, a local nursery:

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  • Just before shelter-in-place, self had her front door and front porch painted. The smell of fresh paint is the memory of singular happiness:

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Stay safe, dear blog readers.

From A History of Negros, by Fr. Angel Martinez Cuesta, Recollect

Chapter II: Discovery and Early Colonization (1565 – 1600)

Captain Martin de Goiti and one-hundred Spanish soldiers arrived in Negros because they had been told by other natives that “rice abounded” on the island:

However, they found the towns deserted and with hardly any provisions since the natives had fled to the hills … They stayed in Tanjay, meaning to make friends …

They found another abandoned town … the Spanish went there and found the natives ready to fight. A skirmish occurred and a native was killed and another captured while three Spaniards were wounded. The inhabitants took advantage of the fight to cross a river and escape. In the meantime, the Spaniards would not cross the river.

 

Her MC’s Backstory

Stayed up till the wee hours again, CUTTING. Self isn’t sure when her eyes finally closed, but she must have been writing up till the last, for all the lights in her room were on when she opened her eyes this morning. Also, she’s wandering around like a ghost.

Below, a passage she worked on last night, which she decided to keep.

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Early Map of the Philippines

Other memories he would have been happier to relinquish: Fiesta. Mantilla. Rioja. His mother’s admonishments. He would surrender to these memories helplessly, sometimes angrily. It would have been better for him if he had not, upon seeing the rivers on Isla del Fuego, immediately thought of the Segura and its esteros. If he had not been reminded, upon seeing a cluster of white rocks, of the Piedras Blanca in the foothills of Murcia. If he had not, on seeing the native women, always thought of Dorotea and her thick, black hair, the weight of it in his hands.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Camarote de Marinero, p. 167

In Pampanga, mekekeni.

In Tagalog, parita ka.

And in Castilian:

 

Señores, vengan aca.

Vengan pangasi,

Venga kudkuran,

Venga bibingka, guinataan

Suman sa Imus

Tinapay sa bombing matabang!

 

Matias could not help laughing.

“It is about eating bread, and rice cakes, and all good things. Sleep well, Matias,” Father Salazar said.

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