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homer mercadoon 20 February 2013
Transcript of philippine literature
LITERATURE A Story of the Orphan Girl (Subanon)
There was once an orphan girl. One day, she was surprised at noontime with a great drowsiness. She wondered at this sleepiness, but not being able to resist it, she folded up her sewing and, stretching herself out on a mat, feel asleep. As she slept she dreamed. A beautiful woman came to her and said, “Formerly, the place where you live was full of people, instead of uninhabited save by you, as at present. But one day, the Manamat came and devoured them all, save you, and they are coming again to get you. So on the third day front now, leave this place lest you be devoured also. On awakening, the orphan girl wondered at the dream, but did no act upon it. “After all,” she said, “it was only a dream,” So she remained where she was. At dawn of the third day a huge spider approached her and said: “I understand that you were warned in a dream to leave this place. Why you have not done so?” The orphan girl replied, “There are two reasons why I have not left this place; first, because her warning was merely a dream, and second, because where my father and mother have died it is fitting that I should die also.” But the spider reproved her and told her to leave at once, “for,” he said, “the manamat are at this moment on the way hither to devour you.” So the orphan girl went into her room and put on her best clothes, and weeping at the remembrances of her father and mother she went down the notched log to join the great spider. The spider and she went on till they came to a well. They had no sooner reached the well than they heard a great noise of people in the house they had just left. “I shall remain here,” said the spider, “while you had better flee this way pointing out a direction to the orphan girl. So she fled up the path he had pointed out, for she was now filled with terror. She had scarcely disappeared when three persons came running up the well. They wore black breeches that reached only to the knees, and black jackets, while on their heads they wore black kerchiefs. Their chins were bearded and their eyes were red. “What are you seeking?” asked the spider, “You are in haste.” We are seeking the orphan girl,” replied one of the three, “but why do you ask? You must have seen her.” “We smell her recent present here; “but where she went or we kill you. “Then the spider pointing one of his crooked legs, said, “She went this way.” Now the spider wished to give the orphan girl a start over the manamat, so he did not straighten out his leg when he pointed, thus the manamat were led astray. Soon they came running back, saying, “We can not see the tracks; we have also lot her scent. Tell us the truth.” So the spider held out a second crooked as before. The manamat dashed off again, but soon came back with the same complaint. After the fourth false start one of the manamat lifted up his stick to kill the spider. So the spider straightened out his last remaining legs and showed the right direction. Then the manamat rushed off again, and this time they could follow the scent and the footprints. Finally they caught sight of the orphan girl who had reached the ridge of a mountain; but she looking back also caught a glimpse of the manamat and when they reached the top of the ridge, she was in the valley on the other side. Finally, in the middle of the afternoon of the second day, she saw a little hut. In front of the hut was a young man, a servant who was cooking rice. She was so exhausted that she staggered and fell on the floor and fell asleep without saying a word. Meantime, the youth saw a multitude approaching, three persons being in front of the rest. He also noted one person of gigantic size. This was Gunluh, chief of all the manamata. Now it happened that the hut was a hunting lodge of the widow’s son. His serving man told him what he had seen and seized a spear. The widow’s son took no weapon, but came out with bare hands. On one of the manamat arriving at the hut, the widow’s son asked what was wanted.
“We are pursuing the orphan girl in order to eat her,” he replied “but since we have to encounter you two men, so much the better we shall now have three persons to devour instead of one. “One of the manta tired to seized the widow’s son by the waist, but receiving a great blow from his arm went a head over heels into the air, ‘stuck a stone on falling to the ground and so was killed. Another tried to seize him by the leg but receiving a powerful kick was likewise killed. So the fight went on between the serving man and the widow’s son on one side and the manamat on the other, until all the latter were killed, save the chief, the Gunluh, whose name was Makayaga. This giant raised his club, the thick head of which was as large as calabash, to bring it down on the head of the widow’s son; the latter dodging the blow, seized the giant, and pulling down a rattan together with some of the several leaves and branches of the tree around which it clung, tied him hand and foot with thorns and all. Then Makayaga gave himself up as conquered and begged for his life. He offered to give independence and acknowledge the widow’s son as his lord; to give up the custom of devouring human being and to assist the widow’s son at any time he should be called upon. In addition, he offered his conqueror a great pearl.
He offered to take the widow’s son to the cave where he and his manta dwelt and to turn over everything to him. The widow’s son released him and gave his permission to return to his own place. Then the widow’s son turned to the girl and asked whence she came and who her people were. The girl told all she knew, and he asked her to follow him to the home of his mother, seeing that the girl was orphan and her people had been devoured by the manamat. So the girl lived for a time with his mother. The widow’s son was not of chieftainly descent, but his head and heart were so good that the chief of the settlement had taken him into the government and the older men never held a bitchar without the widow’s son sitting at their side. Now the sultan of a neighboring region heard of the orphan girl, for she was very beautiful, with straight eyebrows, and very skillful in all womanly arts, such as weaving. So he sent a representative to the chief to ask her hand for his son. The chief receive the sultan’s representative to the chief to ask her hand for his son. The chief receive the sultan’s representative well, but said that although he was chief he had to consult the widow’s son. So he sent a message to the latter on the subject. But the widow’s son refused to let the girl go, saying that she might have relatives somewhere, and in that case it wouldn’t be right to marry her off without consulting them.
When the messenger brought back this word to the sultan he was very angry, and sent a man to bring the widow’s son by force, but on looking on him the man was afraid and came back without him. “Coward!” exclaimed the sultan, and sent another man. But he back too returned without the widow’s son. Meanwhile, the booming of a great gong came from the river’s mouth. The sultan himself had arrived and a shareef from Mecca with him to witness the marriage. The sharer remained in his boat while the sultan went to the chief’s house. He had invited the shareef to the wedding, for being a sultan he did not think of even the possibility to the girl being refused. When he heard of the state of things, he was angry, and sent men to bring the widow’s son into his presence The man wished to tie the widow’s son’s hands and feet and bring him by force, but the latter said, “Leave me free and I will follow you of my own accord,” The sultan’s messenger said, “I am afraid you will run away into the forest.” Then the widow’s son was angry. “Never from my childhood up have I ever run away form anyone,” he said. So the sultan’s messenger, fearing further trouble, left him free, and the widow’s son followed of his own accord. When he had come into the presence of the sultan the latter like his fine, manly looks. He wished to treat him kindly, but when the sultan began to talk of the marriage and asked the widow’s son what he had to say, the latter said, “My mouth does not say a different thing each time. What I had to say before, I say again. The girl may have some relatives somewhere and I can not give her in marriage without consulting them, although I recognize you as sultan. “Then the sultan was very angry and ordered him seized by one of his men. But on trying to seize the widow’s son his hand would not go around the latter’s wrists, nor his arms around his waist. Then the sultan was furious. He ordered the widow’s son killed. A man tired to bring down his kris, but it refused to descent. The widow’s son did nothing. The sultan finally crying out that all his men were cowards, dew his own kris, saying “So you are greater than I, are you?” But on bringing down his own kris flew over the widow’s son’s head. A second attempt resulted the same way.
Finally, the sultan in despair sent for the shareef. The sharer came, bringing with him his book. Looking into the book he said it was not right to kill the widow’s son and that in case the sultan insisted on killing him, he the shareef, would return to THE WHITE HORSE OF ALIH
(Egnidio Alvarez Enriquez) ALIH MOVED ALONG with the crowd which flowed like a river to the edge of the town where the big parade was to wind up. The town was made up of a hodge-podge of races—brown, yellow, and white, brown-yellow and brown-white; and its culture was a mixture of Malay, Spanish, Chinese, and American. Alih was brown but he did not feel he belonged in the town. He walked its concrete sidewalks strolled on its wooden-planked wharf, rode its pony-drawn rigs, drank the fermented coconut juice, the tuba and ate pork in its restaurant like a Christian still, he felt he did not belong. Alih lived in the village across the river on the edge of the sea where the nipa thatched houses were perched on posts above the water; where the women sat in rows on the bamboo cat-walks combing their long, glossy hair, chewing betel nuts, or gossiping; where the children played naked on the beach all day; where the men came home for the night smelling of fish from the open sea or the market place; for Alih was a Moto, a non-Christian, and today, he felt all the more alien to the town because he was there to kill! The day was the Fourth of July, the nig American holiday that the town celebrated with a huge parade followed by cock-fighting, pony-racing, hog catching, pole climbing, and dancing in the streets. Nobody within reach of the town would miss the great spectacle. Nobody who could walk, ride, or crawl, would be left out of the fun. Nobody cared about Alih. Nobody knew he was in town, sworn to kill-not the men who had wronged him and his brother Omar-but anyone and everyone he could until he was killed! As he moved with the crowd he felt pushed and pulled one away and another. It filled him with resentment but he locked his jaw and damned hid feeling. His time had not yet come. The heat down on him and drew the sweat from the pores of his lean and hard body, soaking the light, white cotton shirt he wore. When he came to an acacia tree spreading its branches across the ditch on the roadside, he broke out of the crowd and took refuge in its shade. But soon after, hunger began pitching his stomach. All week long he played and fasted. From new moon to full moon he had not eaten a grain of rice, nor drunk a drop of water under the watchful eye of the sun. What little he ate and drank he did under the cover of night. Gathering saliva from his mouth he swallowed a gob of it to relieve his insides. Before the sun was up this morning, he had risen with his Omar and together they had slipped naked into the sea and washed their bodies clean all impurities-even the heady smell of the girl in Balere who had shared a mat and sheet. He had gloried in her smell, but the memory of it was all that was necessary to urge his blood to thicken and his flesh to grip his bones with passion and give him courage to die-and live forever in the arms of a woman! Would she have blue-black eyes and a little black mole on a corner of her mouth like Fermina, the Christian girl who served drinks at the night market by the dock? Or would she have brown eyes and corn-silk hair like the wives of the Americans who lived in the big houses across the river? Ah, she must be lovelier by far. His body had to be clean, very clean for her. He rubbed his skin with a small round stone until he almost bleeds, and then poured fragrant water where he had scraped the hair off. Not stubble of hair was on his arms, nor on his chest, nor on his loins. When he sallied into the town he was as clean as an infant just out of the womb, but now the sweat was running grimily down his armpits. He could feel it gathering around his waist and tricking down his crotch. Now his flesh was stinking like rotting fish fouler than the carrion of pork eaters! Suddenly little knots of cold began to climb behind his knees. Would he falter and fail? Would fear overcome him? No! His scrotum was firmly bound at the roots and his genitals held fast with a white loin cloth against his groin. A man could not be afraid. Omar said, of his testicles could not withdraw inside the body. He was just a little tired. He could have drunk the strong tuba bajal to keep his body hit, but the drink would make his breath foul to his houri, and Omar would smell it too and think he had been afraid. Perhaps, he should have bound his legs and arms tightly with copper wires as Omar said the sworn killers, or juramentados, as the Christian called them, had done in ancient times to keep their flesh turgid and their blood thick. The man Sampang, a mountain warrior, had defied a whole squad of soldiers and had continued to kill with forty bullets in his body! Alih’s hand moved stealthily to the slit under the double folds of his wide silk pants which he wore wrapped around the waist under a heavy leather belt. His fingers closed around the hardwood handle of the sheathed long blade that was strapped to the inside of his left leg. The feel of the weapon’s handle in his grasp sent the blood rushing back into his limps. No, he was not afraid! He needed neither drink nor leg bands! He wished he could kill the men who had dispossessed him and his brother of their but he did not know who they were. Only killing men of their kind, men of their faith, would atone for the crime that had put them to shame. Their blood would wash off the resentment he felt and cleanse his spirit for his reward in heaven! The Imam, the village priest, had tried to dissuade him and his brother. “ it is wrong to kill,” the old man had said as he sat facing them on his prayer tug in the large boar which was his house, his voice rand in Alih’s ears like shell horn sending signals to the sail boats on the sea-faint, unsteady, pleading, not compelling. “The prophet did not teach it.” But Omar had whispered in his ears,” He is getting old in the head. We cannot listen to him.” The shrill blast of a whistle somewhere down the road jarred his thoughts and awoke his senses. Two men wearing sun helmets started pushing the people to the sides of the road. Alih’s hand released his weapon. His blade was true. He had tested its edge on the nail of a thumb. He had worked on it all week long while keeping the fast. His blade would not fail him. But it made him hungrier. He had nothing to eat or drink since daybreak. During the week he had kept himself from thinking about food by working on his blade, by watching it grow keener, whiter and whiter. Now that he did not have to work on the blade, he was hungry, very hungry. His mind was accepting death, but his body was rebelling. By Allah, he wanted to eat. His hunger was like an octopus in his middle extending tentacles to his throat, to his limbs, to his brains. Struggling with his hunger he learned against the tree to stay on his feet. The band going by made uproarious sounds like the rattling of empty cans. The clangor perked him up momentarily. A group of girls dressed in white and wearing veils with red crosses on their foreheads walked nu talking loudly, beating paper flags in the air. When the band stopped playing, the clatter of the girl’s wooden shoes rose maddeningly over the rattle of their flags and the sound of their voices. Now pushed back the black round fez on his head and unbuttoned his shirt to the waist uncovering his hard-fleshed chest to the breeze. He must not look dangerous; he must not arouse suspicion in any way. Omar had cautioned him emphatically. Wiping his low forehead and high cheek bones on the sleeves of his shirt, he leaned back against the acacia tree looking like one whose only concern was his physical comfort in the stifling weather. Nobody watching him would have known underneath his calm exterior, his body was alive to the hair roots, and his mind was counting the seconds like a stop watch. His disguise was perfect. The outcropped hair of his head that showed in wisps under the fez curled about his ears like a schoolboy’s. there was nothing uncommon about his face. He had not plucked his eyebrows as the traditional sworn killers of old had done. Omar had said that they did not have to wear the mask of death on their faces. They had not taken the oath to kill before a datu. The datu, Omar said, was bound by law to notify the authorities and the authorities would post men with guns and clubs all over the town wherever people gathered- in schools, in marketplace , in churches, in plazas. The town would be awake at all hours, and the men would carry weapons strapped to their waists when they went out in the streets. They would jeep the women and the children in their houses and would be ready to jump upon any suspicious looking Moro at banking of a dog, or the slamming of a door. Once when a dog fought with another over a bone, an innocent Moro was clubbed to death. A sworn killer today would not stand a chance to kill if he followed the ritual of the past. No, either he or his brother Omar would be caught and thrown into jail before they could use their blades. By the sun, the all seeing eye, they would not be outwitted this time! A clatter of hook shook the crisp noon air. A horse came galloping down the road. The horseman wore polished boots that reached to his knees. His shirt was right on his body, and across his chest was a band of glittering ornaments like the metal caps of beer bottles. The man sat on his horse like the Son of Zoro, whom he had seen many times in the movies. Shouting orders to a group of boy scouts to help the policeman push the crowd back, the man spurred his horse ahead of the parade in the direction of the plaza. Alih’s eyes followed the horse with feverish intensity. Soon he would be on a horse himself. And his horse would have wings like the horse on the billboard at the gas station near the ice plant just outside the town. It would have a silver mane and a silky flowing tail, its body and legs as white as milk fresh from the udder. Omar had said that was what the prophet had promised the faithful- a white horse ride to heaven, and as many chaste damsels or houris as the number of infidel heads he could lay before Allah. The harsh voices of women shouting the invectives at the boy scouts who were pushing them back, and the angry shriek of children who had fallen into the muddy ditch along the road failed to claim his attention. A barefoot boy peddling ice cream in a box ringing a bell close to his face did not succeed either. For Alih’s fancy had captured his white horse and already he was covering with it with a caparison of gold making ready to set off on his journey. Would he look good on his stallion as the man on his? . You are like a beautiful colt yourself!.” Omar knew all about horses. He had worked at the stables of the datu of the village and had even driven a calesa. He, Alih had never even gone close to a horse. “Stay away,” Omar had shouted at him every time he came close to a horse. “It will kick you, It will kick you!” If he had only learn to mount! All he had ever ridden was a wooden horse in a merry-go-round. An expression of joy admired with pain swept across his face. He had ridden beside Lucy! Lucy was the little girl in the reservation across the river where the Americans lived. She was all white and pink and gold. Like the dolls in the cardboard boxes on the shelves in the Japanese toy stores in town. He had come upon her one morning in the guava bush where she was playing with some shells. He was in the first grade in school then, learning to read and write. He remembered he had trouble with little black tugs called words. He could not make with his mouth the strange sounds that matched the words in the little red book. He had not wanted to go to school, but a policeman had come to the village and had spoken to the datu and the datu of the village had told Omar that his little brother would have to go to school. The school was across the river the other side of the town. There was no bridge spanning the river. The Moros were not allowed to set foot on the reservation. To go into the town, they had to use their vintas and anchor behind the stone breakwater at the foot of the government dock. Padding was very tiresome for a little boy like. Alih, so he would swim across the river to the stone steps behind the big grey house with the wire nets on the windows. One day, he came upon the little girl. He was so frightened that he dropped his clothes which he had held in a bundle above his head and leapt back into the river. The little girl picked up his clothes and ran to the stone steps holding them out to him. She called to him like a datu’s daughter , and he found himself doing her bidding. Cupping himself with one hand, he swam close and stretched out the other hand for his bundle. When he came back that day, he wandered along the beach and picked the prettiest shells he could find. He strung them together and left them on the stone steps of the horse. When he returned in the afternoon , the shells were gone. But the little girl was never here again. One afternoon, though, many days later, he saw her with her maid, a Christian girl, at the fair. He had been blacking boots earlier in the day and his pocket was heavy with coins. He emptied his pocked to the man seated on the crate at the gate and then climbed on the horse next to the girl. He looked at the girl only from the corners of his eyes. He was afraid the maid would move her to another horse if he showed any interest in her. But the little girl had recognized him and began to talk to him. He did not understand a word she said, but he pretended he did by laughing together. They went round to the rhythm of cymbals and he measured beats of drum. When he was up, she was down, when he was down, she was up. He felt very light-like a piece of cotton in the air. The servant girl who stood behind the little girl holding her to the horse had called her Lucy! In the evening, he had no money to show Omar for his work during the day. Omar made him drop his pants and lie on his stomach on the floor. “ This will teach you not to spend your money foolishly,” he said as he gave him three lashes with his leather belt. He could only squat to eat his supper that night, his flesh felt raw, but he was strangely happy. A company of khaki-clad men were walking down the road, their heavy leather shoes pounding the macadam pavement in unison. The rifles on their shoulders held naked steel blades that glinted the handle of the weapon between his legs again. He raised himself on his toes and looked over the heads of the crowd. He could not see Omar anywhere. Suddenly, he felt the little knots of cold behind his knees again. He knew that Omar was reckless and without fear. Omar was quick with his fists when the little scar on his right eyebrow turned livid. But where was he? Had he betrayed himself and been taken? Omar would not be taken without a fight. He had warrior blood in him although he had lived like a sea rover and fished for a living. Omar had been with their father and uncles in the big fight at the cottas in the mountains of Jolo a long time ago. Their father had been accused of killing a man he had not killed and the men who were working for the American governor had wanted to put him in prison. Their father had sent word that he had not killed the man but the soldiers would not honor his word. They had no respect for him although he had been to Mecca and was a hadji of his village. They had wanted him to submit to the judgment of the Americans. Their father had taken his family to the old stone fort that their grandfather had taken from the Spanish and there had made his stand. Omar had helped to dig pits at the foot of the hill around the fort. They drove sharp stakes in the ground and covered them with vines in the same way they trapped the wild board that came to eat he root crops in the clearing at the outskirts of the village. The black of Omar’s eye had close to points like heads of pins when he told him the story, “ Every one perished except our mother and me,” he had told Alih, his words sounded like pebbles dropping from his mouth. “ But you should have seen how the government soldiers were killed,” Omar had exalted.” They look like pigs on the spit that the Christians roast to eat in their fiestas! You were there, too, Alih but you did not see what happened because you were asleep in the body of our mother.” Alih had often wished he had not been asleep in the of their mother when it happened. He had never been in a real fight, and he did not have the courage that his brother had. Often he was afraid- but afraid to sow that he was afraid- like now with the little knots of cold growing behind his knees. Sometimes, he felt Omar’s eyes praying into him. They picked the very pores of his body. Omar’s eyes had made him do things. His eyes had made him do what he did one night at a beer garden at the dock. Alih had just come in for a smoke, and to watch Fermina, the bar maid. She was pretty and good to watch. Besides the mole on the corner of her mouth, her eyes were big and alive. And when she smiled, her teeth shoed white like a coconut meat. He had not meant to bother her, but Omar was at a table in a corner looking at him through rings of smoke, across a pile of bottles and glasses. He did not join Omar but he felt his eyes following him. He took another table and called for beer, and more beer! He drank quickly so that the ugly taste would not stay long in his mouth. He clenched his fist under the table to keep his face straight while he drank. And soon he began to feel all man. Omar had said the brave Moro was the Moro who could make masses all Christian girls. When Fermina came back to pour him another drink, he grabbed her by the wrist and drew to her to him. “ Just one kiss,” he begged bravely, “just one kiss.” “Let me go, let me go,” the girl cried pulling away. Alih flung an arm around her waist and pulled her down to his lap. The girl swung the pitcher of beer at him. He tried to reach her mouth with his, but a stream of saliva shot at his face. The girl wrenched herself free and ran behind the counter. Mocking laughter broke Omar and Alih felt the roof of the house falling on his head. The light went out of his mind, and he began tearing the place apart-upsetting tables, smashing chairs, breaking glasses…. He was thrown in jail for six months. Later he was put to work on the road, digging ditches and carrying loads. But worse than the hot eye of the sun upon his bare back during his punishment were the eyes of Omar on his nape, and the ring of his laughter in his ears on that fearful night. The parade was passing rapidly by a group of barefoot laborers bearing placards in bamboo frames; two rows of women in pina cloth blouses and long skirts, shading their faces with Japanese paper fans; young girls four abreast balancing themselves on high-heeled shoes carryi8ng flowers in their arms… Soon there would be only the long rows of ears and jeeps and calesas trailing the parade. Soon Alih would be on the outer fringe of the crowd, not in the middle of it. There would not be many within teach so kill. Where was Omar? This was his plan! He had said- “ Like the way we drop sticks of dynamite in a school of fish. Alih, right in the middle - “ . He could not kill alone. He must not be killed alone. He must not be killed alone. He did not know about horses! Suddenly a terrible thought like a big wave when the sea was furious struck him on the face. What if there were no horses? What if the village priest were right and there were no horses? “ The white horse as a reward for killing, my sons, is an allusion conjured by fanatics in their attempt to give reason to their behavior. The prophet never taught it, he was a man of peace. You will not find favor with him if you do this!” the man told them. Alih remembered the old man’s face in the wavering light of the oil lamp. His sunken cheeks were spectral, but the tears in his eyes and the sadness of his voice had made him feel sorrier for him than for themselves over what had happened to them. Several months ago Omar had decided they should venture out as merchants. They sold their house, their boats and fishing nets, even their rare cloths and their mother’s pearls. A neighbor, who was now prosperous enough to keep a radio in his house, had told them that foreign goods were cheap in Sandakan in British North Borneo and could be sold for twice as much in town. Omar and Alih had set to sea in a small kumpit with a motor and outriggers. They had bought French perfumes, English soaps and pomades, American cigarettes, Persian rugs, and native cloths. Lim Ching, the rich Chinese merchant had given them seventeen barrels of crude oil for their motor, three bales of dried fish, and a sack of rice on their promise to sell the goods to no one but him. “You will sell to me.” Lim Ching had said to them greedily, beating his palms on his fat stomach. “You will not regret.” The trip had been without danger. The rough sea did not turn their stomachs and the winds, the sun, and the rain were not unkind to their bodies. They laughed at the day, and as they drifted by them with a dead motor without a light during the night. But when they arrived at Curuan, a village so far out of town that the roads did not reach it, a group of men with straw hats pulled over their ears, hiding their faces behind masks, had come from the coconut grove with guns and clubs, and had taken all they had except their boat and food. The bitterness in their hearts was like a drink that was too strong for the stomach to hold down. They went back to the sea and stayed there for a long time. And when they had eaten all their food and had drunk all the rain water in their earthen jar, Omar spoke about killing and dying.
“Only by killing, Alih, can we wash away our shame…” he said, starring into space from the prow of their boat. Alih’s heart had almost stopped beating. He leaned back and stretched himself full length on the long narrow deck, and watched the vaulted sky lower itself about him. A cloud floating above spread a white mourning sheet across it-and he listened to his heart beating over the graveyard silence of the sea. But the little winds were astir and tingled the bare flesh of his sensitive body. Gripping the edge of his straw mat to still a trembling within him, he said. “Omar, I am not afraid to kill, but I am too young to die. I have not yet slept with a woman!” “That is true,” Omar said. “It is time you knew a woman. I shall take you to a girl in Balete who can sleep with you. Then you will have your hour in paradise. A burst of hand clapping and boisterous cheering turned Alih’s attention towards a slow, lumbering truck coming down the road. The truck was hung with colored ribbons, paper flowers, and the yellow fronds of coconut palms. The American and Philippine flags were spread over its chassis side by side. Mounted on the vehicle was a glove covered with Manila paper. Crudely painted in water colors on the globe were maps of the two Americas and the Philippines. Holding on to a pole on the globe stood a beautiful girl. In her right hand, she held, uplifted a gilt torch hung with long cellophane streamers, that caught the sunlight in splinters. Alih gazed at the girl like a man just come out of his blindness. Her graceful uplifted was long and full and the skin of her underarm which the parted sleeves of her gown exposed was of pink and white hue-like the inside of a shell. How soft and supple her body must be under that gauzy dress that caught the wind like the sail of a little vinta, he thought. A boy seated with the driver was picking from huge cardboard box handfuls of candies and cigarettes and throwing them to the crowd. As the float came closer, Alih thought he saw a little black mole on a corner of the girl’s mouth; she smiled-and it was him she smiled-and it was sweet. If he could only reach her mouth with his! Her hair tumbled down her shoulders to waves and little wisps, touching her cheeks-and it was like the silk of corn when the ear was young. Its pungent fragrance seemed to reach him and fill his nostrils. Suddenly it climbed to his head-and it was like the smell of the girl in Balete who had shared his mat and sheet. The blood thickened in his veins and the muscles of his body gripped his bones with passion. The head of the parade had now reached the big monument to Rizal-the hero of the country-where the important men of the town were going to make speeches. The people pushed at one another as they rushed to the sand, breaking up the group formations. With a loud spurting of the motor, the big float shook to a stop not far from Alih. The boy who had been throwing candies and cigarettes alighted and called to the girl on the float. Throwing the girl torch to the boy below, the girl began to climb down the paper globes. When she reached the floor of the vehicle, the boy came to the side of the float and held out his arms to her. As the girl bent down, Alih held his breath. The girl was holding out her arms to the boy but somehow it seemed the boy was he-Alih! It was then that a strong hand reached out from behind and clapped him on the shoulder. He turned around and a trembling-as the earth when many guns were fixing-seized him. It was his brother Omar! His face was dark and shining with sweat, his feet were unsteady-and on his breath was the unmistakable smell of the native drink, the tuba. He had been drinking! His soul instinctively recoiled. Drunk! Omar was drunk! He who had spoken of white horses and houris was drunk! He who had defied the holy man of the village saying-“Shame, shame, Man of Mohammed, your blood has turned to water or you would not put in the prophet the heart of a chicken”-was drunk and afraid! “Now! cried Omar as he leapt into the street drawing from
the folds of his pants the fatal blade. The crowd screamed. Fear and panic seized everyone. Shrieks of terror tore out of many throats. The people dispersed from Omar’s path like children at a fair on the approach of an escaped elephant or tiger. The boy making ready to help the girl down turned around and took to his heels. The girl jumped to the ground, fell, picked herself up and started to run. But her along flowing robe caught on the edge of the bamboo frame of the float and held her. Frantically she struggled to set herself free, pulling and tearing at their skirt with her fingers. Terror, cold, and stark was on her face as she was Omar coming toward her swinging aloft his naked blade.
Scream after scream broke from her throat. The scrams struck Alih like blows on the head. They jolted his memory. The girl was his, his-Alih’s!And she was not to die. She was Fermina, the Christian maid he had wanted to kiss, the little American girl who had smiled at him and laughed with him, the woman of Balete who had shared her mat and sheet… she was not to die! Drawing his blade from its sheath between his legs, he leaped after his brother like a horse gone wild. A savage cry sprang from his lips as he caught the sun in his razorsharp blade and swung it down on his brother’s back again and again, until a volley hot lead ripped through his flesh, blowing up the fire of his veins that geysered up to the sky in spouts of deep, dark red. The town spoke about the strange tragedy for many days after. But nobody could figure out why he turned against his brother. Some said that the rigid fasting must have made him lose his head, others that, perhaps, he had always hated his brother, but I who was not even there, declare that-like many other men-Alih, simply, did not love his white horse as he did his hour. Prepared By: GROUP VII
SARAH JANE GESTO
KATHLEEN MAE LACHICA Region 9: Zamboanga Peninsula
Zamboanga del Norte Dipolog
Zamboanga del Sur Pagadian
Zamboanga Sibugay Ipil The Origin of the birds
There once lived a very rich old woman, who cared for nobody except herself. One day while this woman was baking bread, an aged beggar came asking alms. She did not think of giving the bread she had baked, but instead tried to bake a smaller loaf for the beggar. The loaf which was newly baked proved bigger than the woman had expected. She then decided not to give the bread to the beggar. Again she made an effort to bake another loaf as tiny as possible, and gave it to the beggar. She did not see the poor beggar anymore. At last she stopped baking and went around looking for the beggar, but she found nobody. After an hour she became small and assumed a crooked stature. Feathers grew at her sides, her arms disappeared, and wings appeared. She flew all the time looking for the lost beggar. REGION 11: DAVAO
Compostela Valley Nabunturan
Davao Tagum City
Davao Oriental Mati
Davao del Sur Digos City Riddles (Bagobo) Filipino Translation Atuka ru sa: Hulaan mo:
Anak ta mahindanaw Batang Magindanaw
Na ahad iddat saysay Abot hanggang Saysay
Naddinog tadsinaggaw. Ang kanyang palahaw.
Ad’ipanaw inis anak Pag ang taong ito ay umalis
Aruwa’ rak ka: mmas ta suddu’ Nag-iiwan lamang siya ng
Nad’ uli’ na idda reen. Dalawang bakas
Sa kanyang pag babalik.
Dalawang paa ng mga Bagobo
Atukaru Hulaan kung sino
Sekkaw warad tavod du. Ang hindi magging ganoon
kung walang sinturun.
-magulang -bavot kavi -buyyag KAULO FOLKSONG
Adon ubay basih Sanghai kanmi’y magdamay
Kay wala kono paka-angay tingtingan mani
beg mangisi imanmo beg aw baka naboto yan
dagaw pagtabayan mami a legabligeb name
adi pangkay walay imo-imoan wolaw
sa buhay iman mo way betuon kon
ayaw gaw bet di-galo magsinan (2x)
Wolaw sa kaubayan ya pakawod
Ya biton aw yabulan alimnam
Yan sablag kanan manag di ko kapoton
Kay matas man miling kaw
Dalom gada meg kalobom.
Ini labeg kami, ini labeg kamion ta kamo kantan
Manang madeg miglong mansing madeg miglong
Matat bet manag madyaw dayan manga
Madyaw dayan di kame mangita sa tanan
Kon kami ya tanomon andan na tubing
Pangkay wan ya samputon. ENGLISH TRANSLATION (KAULO FOLKSONG)
There’s a woman who lives here in Shanghai
Who humiliates us, because according to her
She doesn’t like us
She always wears a smile
Just like the mouth of the tadpole
She is our only talk every time we stroll
We are making stories about her
Even though not true What kind of woman is that as if
Retarded, is she is not retarded,
She should not say things against us,
Do it for the woman
She asks you to get the stars and the moon
Because that’s what she likes
Give them to her
Because I cannot reach them
They are too far. Here we are, here we are to sing a song for you
Many said that we’re good
We don’t seek for a war,
But if we’re attacked, we will fight
No matter what happens. The Origin of the birds
There once lived a very rich old woman, who cared for nobody except herself. One day while this woman was baking bread, an aged beggar came asking alms. She did not think of giving the bread she had baked, but instead tried to bake a smaller loaf for the beggar. The loaf which was newly baked proved bigger than the woman had expected. She then decided not to give the bread to the beggar. Again she made an effort to bake another loaf as tiny as possible, and gave it to the beggar. She did not see the poor beggar anymore. At last she stopped baking and went around looking for the beggar, but she found nobody. After an hour she became small and assumed a crooked stature. Feathers grew at her sides, her arms disappeared, and wings appeared. She flew all the time looking for the lost beggar.