Thursday, December 1, 2011

Combate del Tirad (1899)

December 2. At dawn we saw the enemy climbing the slope and moments later the firing began in the first entrenchment, which was under Lieutenant Braullo. At around nine in the morning two Igorots climbed to the peak and told the general that the Americans had suffered losses at the first entrenchment and could not advance. Heartened by the news, the general decide that were to descend in his company and take part in the combat.

This we did and an hour later found ourselves where nine soldiers were defending the left flank of the mountain in the second entrenchment. Hardly had we got there when we saw the Americans climbing up, only fifteen meters away, whereupon the soldiers started firing again.

The general could not see the enemy because of the cogon grass and he ordered a halt to the firing. At that moment I was handing him a carbine and warning him that the Americans were directing their fire at him and that he should crouch down because his life was in danger --- and at that moment he was hit by a bullet in the neck that caused instant death.

I myself was also hit by a bullet in the hat that caused me no damage. On seeing that the general was dead, the soldiers jumped up as if to flee but I aimed the carbine at them saying I would blow the brains off the skull of the first to run whereupon they resumed firing while the body of the general was being removed to the next trench.

The Military Journal of Telésforo Carrasco y Pérez
December 2, 1899
Translated by Nick Joaquin

Link to Spanish Version

Sunday, October 2, 2011

El Panangyatang Y El Caiman (1887)

Morga and Fr. Colin said that the Filipinos, at the time of conquest by the Spaniards, worshipped the caiman (crocodile) whom they called nono. To protect themselves from its harm, the Filipinos would always give it something they had in the boat. The fishermen threw their first catch to the crocodile. This practice exists to this day in Ilocos, and according to the Catecismo Ilocano of Fr. López (who was in Ilocos at the beginning of the 17th century) it is called panangyatang. But this was not practiced in other provinces. Probably Fr. Colin was mistaken when he stated that the Filipinos called the crocodile nono because this is a Tagalog word meaning grandfather and ghost. Both Ilocanos and Tagalogs call the crocodile buaya. This seems correct for in some places in the Philippines where there are crocodiles, the people throw rice and other objects like rocks of distinctive shapes so that their trips will be safe.

Isabelo de los Reyes
El Folk-Lore Filipino

English Translation by Salud C. Dizon

Link to Spanish Version

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Comodón y Pamplinosa (1964)

  One warm afternoon, the carabao breathlessly told the cow, “How thirsty I am! I have been dragging this rake for the last three hours. My legs can no longer carry me.”
   “Why don’t we lie down? Perhaps the master will take pity on us,” answered the cow.
   “And what if he beats us?” retorted the carabao.
   “Either is preferable, my friend. I can’t go on any longer. Help me…” At that moment, Pamplinosa the cow fell to the ground exhausted. The carabao could have continued, but out of friendship, he, too, fell to the ground. Their master then began to shout while beating them furiously.
   “”Get up layabouts! You want to rest after only three hours’ work? Take that! That will teach you!”
   Because of this, the cow, in the midst of her suffering, complained, “I can’t take it anymore. We are old and we have worked for you for as long as we could. In old age, one needs to rest. It is only right that you let us rest,”
   The master stopped beating them, taken aback by the insolence of his animals’ words. ”So! What are you saying? That you will eat the grass I feed to my useful animals and not serve me?”
   “It is not our fault that we are old,” the carabao dared to answer.
   The master stopped to think for a minute, but because he was a miser, he answered, “Yes of course, it’s not your fault, but neither is it mine. Why should I be the one to pay and have to feed two animals that are no use to me?”
   The two animals didn’t answer, but thought that with a bit of good will on part of their master, they might be able to continue living on the farm without having to work.
   The master unhitched them from the plow, and once they were free, told them, “Very well, if you cannot do anything for me, neither can you expect me to look after you. Do what you wish, as long as it is not on my land. Leave and don’t ever come back.”

Adelina Gurrea
Comodón y Pamplinosa (Unpublished)
Submitted to the Publisher Doncel in 1964

English Translation by Beatriz Álvarez Tardío

Link to Spanish Version

Saturday, July 2, 2011

El Hijo (1936)

            Galindo became another man. He left his son  to hired help, dragged himself in all corners of the house; flabby, weak, dirty, and ragged. Meanwhile, the great man made his life a misery, giving himself excessively to loose women and alcohol.
            One night sleeping away one of his alcoholic perturbations, he had a desolate dream. It was Susana, bending over the crib of the bay, embracing him, and covering him on her bosom, and quietly taking him through the closed doors….
            He stopped her ---“Where are you going? Where are you taking the child? What are you doing woman?”…
            She looked at him bitterly and her cruel words fell like the blows of a hammer on the temple of the dreamer.
            “You have converted love into hate and you are not worthy of perpetuating yourself among men. I am taking our son, because all mothers, at death, should do the same. Remain in the lies of your pleasures and intoxication. The truth is I am,  and I am taking the angel with me…”
            Galindo woke up aghast. He jumped from the bed and ran toward the next room where the child was sleeping.
            He picked up the boy in his arms; he shook the boy’s head, pulling him strongly against his breast. The child was dead.

Jesús Balmori
Excelsior, Manila

Monday, May 2, 2011

Causes of the Revolution (1912)

221. Causes of the Revolution. The covert exertions and active propaganda of the secret societies, the discontent of some and the ambition of others, had been paving the way, though with the utmost secrecy, for the revolution on 1896.  The Katipunan, founded by Andrés Bonifacio, was the focus of the revolutionary tendencies. There was a “ blood compact,” which consisted in signing one’s name with one’s blood in order to inscribe one’s self as a member of the League or Katipunan.
            Many caught at the presence of the friars as a pretext. But the abuses and faults charged against them, their despotic theocratic rule, and their vast landholding were merely idle reasons for speaking ill of them. For, first of all, the failings of a few should not be visited upon the majority, which was sound and vigorous in fulfilling its duties. Secondly, there were other classes of society undeniably corrupt, yet no fault was found with them. Thirdly, those who threw the stone were far from being guiltless fo the crimes they imputed to the friars. Fourthly, their estates were honestly acquired, as was acknowledged by two governments as different as the American and the Spanish. Fifthly, the people’s hatred of the friars was a fiction not a reality. Certain writers and some other persons were declaiming it daily in strident tones, and in consequence dislike of the friars was engendered in some districts.

José Burniol, S.J.
A History of the Philippines (June 1912)
Ateneo de Manila

English Translation by Thomas Becker, S.J.

Link to Spanish Version

Friday, April 1, 2011

El Dolor Del Viejo Campeón (1928)

This victory disabled Talisain forever. The muscles healed in a short time, but the champion became but a lame cock incapable of confronting even an unexperienced cock. The owner gave him as a gift to Teniente Botoy, his trainer, who thinking that he could still make Talisain useful, set him free in a barnyard to see whether he could father a worthy heir to his warlike deeds.
            But the hens of that chicken coop made fun of the lameness of Talisain. They did not know of his deeds as an ex-champion and made him the butt of jokes. To top all his misfortunes, the hens of the barnyard did not even look at him preferring the fresh handsomeness of the two-year old cocks that courted them.
             Talisain felt very lonely and neglected. Nobody in that barnyard knew that he was a champion although he had lost his status as one. Nobody loved him, nobody understood  him. Even the young roosters who were starting to grow their crest and liven the early mornings with their early warlike crowing sometimes dared to challenge him, sure that even if their daring could be punished, they could get free of his spurs just by running away.
            One day he planned to astonish the tribe. With great fuss he called the hens. They responded thinking that the old champion had found some corn and wanted to give it to them. When he had them around him, he opened his beak and let go a vibrant, lengthy, fiery crowing, as fierce as his crowing during his triumphant days.
            The hens looked at him with astonishment. Then, sure of his supremacy, he began narrating his deeds.
            It was the greatest error of his life. The hens ---who in the feminine art of making fun are certainly consummate teachers --- feigned listening to him. Afterwards, they told the stories twisting them as they saw fit, to the attractive young roosters of the barnyard. The effect was immediate.  The proudest cock went to challenge him, and beat Talisain with so much spur that had not the trainer interfered, his life would have ended there.

Antonio M. Abad
La Defensa, Manila
15 de agosto 1925

Link to Spanish Version

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

El Caballito del Diablo (1933)

            Time destroyed our small home, our nest of loves.
            Orphaned of a mother at ten years of age, I became even more attached to my father, in an infinite anguish of love. In a year my father would also die.
            The perennial memory of that moment has saved me; my father’s last words kept me from evil…
            “My son,” he told me repeatedly ---: ”Do you remember the dragonfly? --- You removed his wings, and said: ‘Fly!... Try to fly now !’ My son, you are another small dragonfly. When your mother died, you lost two of your wings. Now, very soon when I shall have died, you will lose the other two you have left. Fly, my son! …Try to fly now! … Do not forget that you have the right to happiness, but always remember that others too also have that right. My son: Never take away anybody else’s wings! …”
            And his voice broke in a last gasp.

Alejo Valdes Pica
Excelsior, Manila 
February 20, 1933

Link to Spanish Version