Categories
Fiction

Festival of Lights

To grow up in Iponan, is to learn stubborn resistance. Remember the flood? When Iponan river overflowed and buried the barangay in muddied water? After the state of emergency, when families were permitted to leave the musty covered-courts turned evacuation centers, we saw the water lines that stained the walls of our houses. Families swept mud from their homes and onto the street. People scavenged for their belongings. A corpse was found dangling on the boughs of a tree. I found faded and torn family pictures floating on the canals in front of my house. 

Yet, we rebuild. After the flood, I praised my barangay for its resilience. Their assiduous efforts for life to continue as it were. It took months, but any trace of the flood was scrubbed away. I thought it was a blessing. I was eleven years old at the time, and at sixteen, the world went back to normal. Iponan never changed. 

Categories
Critical Essay

Excavating the Trauma: Notes on the Teng Mangansakan?s Forbidden Memory

If the emotional is too on-top of the speaking voice, surrendering to a guiding thought ? an idea, a proposition, a question ? can pass as urgent.

In watching the premiere of Gutierrez ?Teng? Mangansakan?s Forbidden Memory last 2017, I had to quell a kind of rage gearing to erupt in the wake of a reopened rupture ? its closure is a delusion ? that has rapped the country?s memory for decades.

When we speak of Martial Law, we speak of the human rights violations; we speak of the infrastructural progress that birthed international debtswe are still paying today; we speak of Imelda?s lavishness, we speak of the Marcoses? theft; we speak against the temptation to just forget or move on.

Categories
Critical Essay

The Settler Settles In: Locating a Space for the Settler in Rogelio Braga?s Colon

What if one flees the enemy?or better, pursues him?only to find that the enemy is one?s self?  Such is the fate of the post-colonial subject, whether identified with the colonizer or the colonized.  Indeed, one could argue that the lines between colonizer and colonized, such as they were drawn, have long bled into each other.  

Rogelio Braga?s novel ?Colon? takes to task the narratives of nationalism in the Philippines.  It attempts to dismantle, or at least interrogate the meanings attached to the scholar and the savage, the capital and the provinces, re-presenting each one in what Braga hopes is a fresh light.  It is possible to discern an effort to present a three-dimensional view of Philippine society, where the picturesque personalities of Manilenyo call center agent, Moro merchant, or university professor, are never quite what the reader thinks they will be.