It’s been a while since I picked up Philippine prose because my last one was a chapter of Trese, a graphic novel. Admittedly, this became a choice because I judged a book by its cover! It appealed to me because 1) it is purple 2) the cover has texture 3) I like the illustration. Now let me be quick to say too that it is a book of well-known Philippine author Gilda Cordero-Fernando which convinced me that it is a good buy, aside from it being aesthetically pleasing to my taste. So what is it about?
It starts off with a lavish sketch of a tree and a description of special, no, magical atmospheric conditions that is a peculiar phenomenon for Filipinos. The first character introduced is a poor boy named Jepoy, but the story isn’t about him at all. In the magic circle of Philippine mythological creatures and folklore, he was merely an observer to an important gathering. It was a wedding that turned into a meeting and then a funeral, where humans happened to be just accessories, topics, and the reasons for suffering. It is a short story about one’s life purpose, the role that we all play in contributing to the destruction of the environment, and how things die because we have forgotten. Worse, we now refuse to believe.
It is short, but definitely not sweet. It is a jab at Filipino culture, where the forgotten are the main characters and where its strongest message would still be to take care of Mother Earth.