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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

entry arrow3:55 PM | Two Families in Our Own Voices

My essay, "Two Families, One House, 1986" is in this month's issue (on Martial Law) of Our Own Voices Literary Ezine, edited by Remé-Antonia Grefalda, who introduces the issue here. Other contributors include Ed Maranan, Alfredo P. Hernandez, Karl M. Gaspar, Doris Nuval Baffrey, Lily Ann B. Villaraza, Allen Gaborro, Denis Murphy, Eileen R. Tabios, Patria Rivera, Doris N. Bafrey, Isagani R. Serrano, Luis Cabalquinto, Loreta M. Medina, Benjamin Pimentel, and E. San Juan Jr. Here's an excerpt from the essay.

The landlord's family, however, was pro-Marcos—by virtue, I think, of the father having been once a barangay captain. I remember Mr. Mongcopa as a stern but very respectable old man with gray hair. He was slightly-built, at least in my memories, and wore plain buttoned shirts and slacks every single day. And every single day, he was out in his porch, drinking coffee and reading the newspapers. When the snap elections of February 1986 came, he brought out the red and blue posters with Marcos' and Arturo Tolentino's faces on them, and tacked them to his porch walls.

One afternoon, I decided to skip classes in West City Elementary School, and walked all the way to the Boulevard, to an old wooden building—painted yellow—in what is now Sol y Mar, where Globelines is. It used to be known by various names then, including both Rainbow Lodge and The Office—unassuming names for establishments that were rumored to be hang-outs of the city's prostitutes and drunkards. The Boulevard in the old days was not the gentrified version you have now; it was an ugly strip of asphalt and concrete that everybody nicknamed "the boulevard of broken dreams" and perhaps for very good reasons. I still remember the fluorescent lights that lined the Boulevard, their eerie whiteness as scabs of light that sucked at your soul, all of them curiously dim in the swallowing darkness of sea and night sky. The street was littered by countless tocino and beer stands, making the whole stretch of the Boulevard a haven for the drunks and the prostitutes. Nobody decent went to the Boulevard those days; it was the very underbelly of the city's lowlife.

It was in that very place, however, where Cory Aquino's Laban Headquarters were located, in a small dark office that jutted out from one side of the old Rainbow Lodge. I was only ten years old, and I wanted Cory to win because I had seen my mother's and my brother's faces flushed with excitement knowing that they were living through a special moment in history. At my young age, I had no idea what they were excited about; I knew Marcos only as a distant figure who did not affect my day-to-day play-making, and the specter of Martial Law was completely lost to me. What I knew for sure was the concrete conviction in my family's passion for change. It was an embracing conviction, and I succumbed to it.

Read the rest here.

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