Root crop, sugarcane, corn, and between these, giant weeds. It didn’t matter. They all speak, their susurrations a language the Maylupa do not understand. The Maylupa and their kin have been living in these hectares for as long as they can remember. And for as long as they can remember, they have been suspicious of the crop and their private speech. Because they are suspicious of their speech, the Maylupa likewise were suspicious of everything that triggers it: the cycles of humid heat and punishing rain, the ground, the wind. Distrusting the vegetation, they must content themselves with the other living creatures that reside in the fields: eels, toads, rats, locusts, birds. The pestilences ravage the crops, the species depending on the season. 

They boil stagnant water to drink, and are constantly sick. They only know what had been held true by their sires: that these lands was theirs by rights, but that it had turned traitor to them because of the hands that whispered, tilled, conversed with them. The land was not theirs in the eyes of the Maylupa, who had all the titles and deeds to disprove the claims of the nameless ones. The Maylupa had passed down the knowledge from their ancestors that the nameless ones had cultivated this secret, private language between them and the land. 


Echoes of Pasig

Pasig River?s decline was said to be infamous. This was something else.

Eunice had promised that the ferry would undercut traffic by hours. Orife believed her, unfamiliar as he was to the congested spaces of the metropolis. He found, however, that her alternative was less reassuring. The ferry docks appeared abandoned. They sat next to a shantytown where trains zipped noisily nearby and giant billboards overlooked the landscape. In the middle of this squalor was the river?a tortured feature that seemed to bisect the city like an open wound. Small wooden outriggers and motorized catamarans cut through these thoroughfares, their wakes liberating debris and clouding up the river?s surface.



Hermoso wakes up wishing he had a different life.

He flirts with getting hair replacement therapy as he combs over his bald spot in the mirror. He is 45, has two teenage daughters who won?t listen to anything he says and a wife who refuses to have sex with him anymore. 

?By the time our next child enters puberty, I?d be too old and wouldn?t care for all the teenage angst in the world,? she said last night when Hermoso popped the question to her in bed. She turned away from him and promptly started snoring.


Amongst the Bissayans of Zvbv

Sanctified, Caesarean, Catholic Majesty, the Emperor Don Phelippe, Our Lord King:

May the grace, peace, and loving kindness of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with Your Majesty Don Phelippe, by the grace of God King of Castilla, Le?n, Arag?n, the two Sicilies, Jherusalem, Navarra, Granada, Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, Mallorca, Sevilla, Cerde?a, C?rdoba, C?r?ega, Muria, Ja?m, the Algarves, Algezira, Gibraltar, the Caribbees, the islands of the Canaries, the Eastern and Western Yndias, and of the islands and continents of the Ocean Sea; Archduke of Austria, Duke of Borgo?a, Brabante, Milan, Atenas, and Neopatria; Count of Hapsburg, Flandes, Tirol, and Bar?elona; Count of Ruysellon and Cerdania; Marquis of Oristan and Guanno; Seignior of Vizcaya and Molina, &c.

Most serene, most excellent, most puissant Prince: from this city of Zvbv, the City of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, capital of your dominion of Las Islas Phelippinas, this seventh day after the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, in the Year of Our Lord one thousand five hundred sixty and nine, greeting.



I was seventy-seven come August,
  I shall shortly be losing my bloom;
I?ve experienced zephyr and raw gust
  And (symbolical) flood and simoom.

When you come to this time of abatement,
  To this passing from Summer to Fall,
It is manners to issue a statement
 As to what you got out of it all.

So I?ll say, though reflection unnerves me
  And pronouncements I dodge as I can
That I think (if my memory serves me)
  There was nothing more fun than a man! 

?In my country?, he said in a soft, steady voice, ?they used to burn widows to death on their husbands? funeral pyres.?

??Used to? is the operative word, I hope?, she answered lightly, masking the chill his comment sent through her.