After reading this delicate masterpiece, I regained a soft hum of pride for Philippine Literature, an electrifying surge of valiance, a respite from all the mediocre books I've numbly read and a gob of sympathy for the history of my country.
It is the story of the simple life of the people close to the soil in a certain barrio in the Panay Island where one can see the sweats of the farmers and their sons, diligently tilling the land with their carabaos, a place where one can hear the laughters of the children, the songs of serenades by the young men, and a place where one can feel the love and contentment of the wives to their families. That was Philippines before in the 1930s and when I asked my grandparents about the provinces they came from; their stories were so much like in the book. There is a part in the story where Lucing and Carding have to work in Ilo-Ilo City because they lost the land that Carding supposed to farm. The barrio is in the state of darkness after the Japanese soldiers burned the whole village, killed the babies with their bayonets, raped many women and imprisoned the men to torture. It is a story of the Filipinos dark experiences from the brutal hands of the Japanese. He comes home only to know that his second baby and his father were killed by the Japanese soldiers. Because of that, Carding enters the guerilla and kills as many Japanese soldiers as a revenge to his loved ones. Tatay Juan, father of Carding, has done the traditional way of asking the hand of the lady known as pamamanhikan before Lucing and Carding get married. He visits the house of Lucings parents and asked their permission to allow his son to marry their daughter, Lucing. The parents agree about the marriage in a condition that Carding should built a house and prepare an amount of money for the celebration. Its the time when Lucing and Carding need to transfer their house in another place. At the age of 18, Carding has decided that she will marry Lucing who is still 16 that time. Though his father wanted to send him to school, Carding declined and said, Look at Joaquin, who lives in Barasan. At a young age, Carding is already exposed to hardwork in the farm and Lucing is also well-trained to do the household chores. One morning, Luis enters Lucings room knowing that Carding sets off to the farm early. They make love thinking that Carding will be in the farm for a long time. Moreover, the novel also tells us the story of our Filipino people during the Japanese time. The Japanese soldiers require all Filipino men to join them in order to hunt down the guerillas who are resisting their occupation. And I just like the fact that the author has divided the book into two parts because I can really picture out what happened before and during the Japanese occupation. In the story, it makes you proud how the Filipinos fight the Japanese despite their less chance of winning.
And they feel empowered by giving away power or better word freedom to think.well lets just hope i am wrong and this is clearly just about the japanese occupation and not a precursor book of who filipinos really are.poor nephew and nieces if it were true.
Javellana was the author of a best-selling war novel in the United States (U.S.) and Manila, Without Seeing the Dawn, published by Little, Brown and Company in Boston in 1947.