Jose Rizal

The General’s Story

(As the Rayadillo General continues his story, it would be fair to warn the readers that while history suggests that this story is factual, it still remains as a product of my imagination. In other words, this narrative is not to be taken as the gospel truth in history. There is no need to break in the National Archives to verify that what I write is true. There is no existing proof to be found in writing, anyway. And since this story has been handed down several times over, something has to be amiss as regards the truth in this. Should you be bothered by what you read, just consider the events portrayed in this as mere possibilities.

A second warning though, since this is a product of my mental faculties, anybody or any group using these events and possibilities for commercial purposes may be found guilty of copyright infringement. This story was published so many years earlier than today. This idea is mine.

And again I say, consider the possibilities.)

 

The Rayadillo General approached the garetta and lit from the horse with a bound, leaving my grandfather to lead the horse away. He went straight to where his aquiline nose was pointed, which he knew beforehand that it was his appointed place for the afternoon. Without losing a stride, he unbuckled his shoulder strap and threw on a bamboo-slatted ledge his sword, scabbard, holster, and hat in one swoop. He then took out one of the last American cigarettes he had, struck a match to it and sang, “Ho-ose can you see, by the Don’s early light, what so proudly we hey….”, only to be stopped by the loud eherms, and coughs and ehems of the 43-odd people stocking the garetta. Pleasantly surprised, the General was amazed to discover that this symphony of coughs could actually come together in one note and in one beat if given the chance, like this instance.

The General’s Story

by Cool_Ambo

“Rizal was a Chinese mestizo,” he blurted out, “and that was his undoing”. That stopped everybody in their tracks, and pretty soon, their disbelief turned to arguments and discussions among themselves. After all, these were inopportune times for anybody to be Chinese or to have a Chinese lineage, much less be adored as a hero like Rizal. The General took these moments to muse about his becoming a general by Aguinaldo’s choice for the reason that he had known the good Doctor Pepe Rizal, and that he was able to translate Rizal’s two books impromptu to groups of listeners at any given instant.

“Another thing that was his undoing was his manner of nodding to people, European style.” This last statement did not sink in to the people, but it made them stop to listen.

“The good doctor was an eye doctor, but he practised general medicine to the poor, most specially to the poor. That was my cue to go to him for medical consultation, not because destitution applied to me, but because he was starting to be famous as a doctor of all sorts. He conducted me to his room, a makeshift treatment room, and called me Panyero, so I called him Panyero, too. This started us to converse in Spanish and lo, he speaks the language like a Spanish Don. He looked at my complaint, the wart-like lump over my left wrist, for which, without a moment’s hesitation, he reached for soap and proceeded to wash it with warm water. After drying it, he took out a bottle wherein some very fine needles on wooden handles and soaked in brownish liquid. He proceeded to stick these needles around the lump. Everytime he does, that portion of my wrist became numb. After a while, he took out a razor and cauterized the lump. There was excessive bleeding but he had bandages ready.

All the time he was talking incessantly about his two books. I had to listen because I was still too woozy to go. And then he talked about a change in the government. He was not in favor of it. He stressed that we are not ready for a change in government. There are not enough learned people to take over the government, especially with this kind of corruption all over. The religious orders are much too influential with the throne of Spain and the Pope. It will be very bloody for our people who has not handled nor even seen weapons of war. We do not have the right leaders. Most of all, our people are still unawares of what they will be fighting for. They are still ignorant of what is happening. Our people must first understand what they will fight for, and then get the funds to sustain a fight. Till that time, let us hope the Spanish Cortes will realize that reforms are very much needed. Or else the country would just be jumping from the frying pan into the fire if there be an armed uprising.

He gave me two books wrapped in red paper. He said that the second book tells of the futility of an insurrection when undertaken before that time when the message from the first book is understood. But the people must learn fast. And I must explain to them thru these books, he cautioned as he slipped a small phial of the brown liquid in my coat pocket to kill the pain. He said that by his training as an eye doctor he is able to make people see things clearer. But he prayed that he could make people see more than these things.

On my way out I met a heavy-set woman with sensuous, tear-bound eyes. Unmistakably European, and her wide hat flicked as we nodded a greeting to each other. She was with an old man, presumably her father and patient of Doctor Pepe.

When I returned to him the next week, he dressed my wound and we talked at length about the books. It seemed that the first book caused much stir in Europe. The second book is now considered a call to arms. This will get him into trouble. He said he came back so that he will intentionally get into trouble so as to put more drama to wake the people. The nostalgia is killing him, anyway.

The first book, he admitted, was easier to write because he merely recounts what transpired in his life and some other people’s lives. This gave rise to the topic of Elias. He told me he found such a man around town, but he regretted killing Elias in the first book because now it would have been a better story if Elias saw the dawn break even for a little bit before he died. He said he tried to create another Elias in his second book but he was engrossed in the student population so he dropped the idea. All the while he insisted that his purpose was to stir up the people to ask for reforms, but he would not mind if the people broke some Frayle’s legs or so. Besides, an insurrection would have given him positive proof that the people have understood his message. Maybe a little protest will do. Still, he dreaded most the uprising of the people with some guillotine in mind. He did not want to be remembered for starting a reign of terror in the country.

The exact character, which he stereotyped as Elias, was found sitting on a pew in church one Sunday. It was at this point of his story that the Doctor got up to warm a pot for the two of us to partake. It appeared that he knew I was coming in the morning so he personally roasted and ground some cacao beans and peanuts to make tsokolate espanol. And when he started telling me about this man whom I later came to know as the firebrand of the revolution named Andres, the prospect of listening to the tale of Andres and sipping tsokolate espanol was very hard to resist. So I did not resist, and stayed for another while.

next : Andres At Bagumbayan…

The Garreta

 

(And so we continue the General’s Story as I promised. This is, however, a flashback and not a sequel. We go to that time when the General was still alive. What’s more, he is the one to tell the story, not me nor my grandfather.  His stage for today will be the Garreta. This is a makeshift town hall constructed from what was once a Spanish militia outpost which was enlarged, thatched, and made sturdier with bamboo posts and thatched roof. It had no walls because when it rains in this town, it pours, so much so that nobody could hear each other with the din. No need for walls. But there is still the need for seats all installed in a U-shaped configuration which opens at the entrance of the Garetta, which actually was situated smack dab at the point when one road crosses the T with another road. But let us get off from this intro and proceed to when the General is supposed to come and speak about the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.)

The Garetta

By Cool_Ambo

The garetta is full today, standing room, in fact. Now this SRO classification has not reached the comprehension of the townspeople that filled up the garetta. The American occupation has not been felt in this part of the country. Only the rayadillo soldiers have brought news of the Americans, none of them bad, though. The Americans came to learn from the people, not to steal gold such as what conquistadores did. They are even sending teachers and educators. But, although the American occupation extended the military service of this rayadillo general, this very same man is the connection between the Philippine Government and the Americans. It was all summed up like what prevailed was not like that of an American occupation but something like what Aguinaldo described as American Intervention.

The garetta is situated on a crossroad and is built to be a waiting station for travellers. It also doubles as a meeting spot and a lecture hall for something like this occasion, or simply a lounging place for people to squander away the remaining light of day. But for this occasion, the limelight is on the Rayadillo General, who is scheduled to talk about the much adored hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. A much anticipated event is this that the people were visibly bustling around doing meaningless things and everything else to keep their chosen listening spot secure.

It was a tense situation, this waiting for the general to arrive. Not for Isko, though—he has been the calesa driver for the general in as many times as my grandfather was with the general. As a matter of fact, the rayadillo general rode his calesa drawn by his horse, Peta, as many times as the general rode my grandfather’s horse, Pira.

Peta is hitched at the side of the garetta, or that side where the inclined road goes down to the bangkerohan where travellers take bancas to cross the river. Isko had the habit of uttering the swear words “anakng—-” (SOB) everytime he straps his horse to make it go faster. Time came when Isko actually did not have to hit the horse to make him go faster, but only had to utter the last of the swear words, hence the name of his horse is Peta, (but not futa ) to allow for some modesty in case there are lady passengers aboard. When this word is uttered, though, load or no load, the horse just ups and goes at a gallop for nothing at all.

The rayadillo general said that he admired, nay craved, the American cigarettes for a lot of reasons. The people here smoked a kind of self-rolled, saliva-glued cigarettes called “balulang”, and the effect of regularly smoking this type is audibly apparent in the garetta. After one puff of this cigarette, the smoker coughs once. After two puffs, the smoker coughs twice. After the third puff, the smoker coughs three or four times. And then the smoker repeats this cycle all over. So it was easy to determine what progress the smoker had with his puffs just by counting the number of coughs he made. And all this while of waiting for the general, there was to be heard a series of coughs from within the garetta, a sort of symphony of coughs and puffs, all off-key and syncopated. To top it all, the thatched dome roof of the garetta was now firmly hugged by pale-blue balulang smoke.

As if on cue by a conductor, everybody stopped coughing and puffing to crane their ears towards the much expected sound coming from around the bend. The much-awaited heavy gallop of Pira slowly came to be distinct and lo, everybody shot to their seats and positions of standing room as if the symphony-of-coughs conductor is about to raise his baton.. The rayadillo general came into full view with a fist resting on his thigh, an upturned elbow, and an outstretched arm. One could almost say that he resembled a teapot ready to be poured. He started Pira to do some horse maneuvers and pirouettes and prances and gallops and sidesteps that everybody cheered the general. Everybody but my grandfather, of course, because he was instead cheering for the antics of his horse, Coolas_Pira.

 

Tobecontinued, if the smoke clears!

Dr. Jose Rizal

 

Dr. Jose Rizal

Prologue by Cool_ambo

 

 When I last talked to Jose Rizal…….

No that is not true. He lived circa 1890 to I dunno.

But my grandfather did talk to him….or was it my great-grandfather? I don’t know. It’s got to be one of them, I suppose. This is what was told me by the father of my mother…or was it the mother of my father?

 Heck, my grandfather was the official bodyguard of one of the Rayadillo* Generals. Now I am downright sure that he was not, and did not really want to be a bodyguard of a Rayadillo General, nor of anybody for that matter, even though the General was his good friend. I know this for a fact. He is blood of my blood, and my blood tells me not to entertain heroic ideas such as taking a bullet for a Rayadillo general even though he is a good friend. Moreover, my grandfather was scared of guns. In this trait, he is no doubt blood of my blood, and after my own heart.

 At any rate and with not much fuss, he was pronounced official bodyguard by this Rayadillo General, most probably against his natural wishes, and he was pronounced so merely because the General happened to like my grandfather’s horse. You see, my grandfather had to go with the horse at wherever and whenever the General borrows the horse for special occasions. With this arrangement, he might as well be the bodyguard of the general, so there.

 My grandfather, whichever he was, pampered this horse of his, a “kabayong mola”.  She was a mare nicknamed Pira. She was the fastest horse in town and maybe a couple more towns over. I can imagine her being the fastest because most of the horses there were made to pull calesas or caretelas. Pira had to be the fastest horse in town by virtue of being the only horse around that is not made to pull a cart.

 Grandfather brushed her coat with mustard oil to accentuate the sheen after which he tied her tail in a knot before she comes out of the stable. This knot, according to my grandfather, displayed her most seductive anatomical property to the other horses, and as a result made herself strut more seductively. This was wistful thinking on his part but the General just about wished that he could die riding Grandfather’s horse, Pira, after seeing all of her gloss and prance.

 One fateful day, or that day which Pira was supposed to be borrowed by the General, Grandfather failed to find Isko, the Calesa driver, who was supposed to bring the special grass feed for Pira called “sakate”. This grass feed, for some reason, gave her strength in her gallop and stateliness in her strut. So Grandfather led Pira down to the “tumana” to feed on the family turnip patch instead.

 After a while, they went back to find Isko with his calesa but without a horse. The General borrowed the horse of Isko instead and went without a bodyguard. In that instant, Grandfather got on the horse and sped towards the General’s appointed place. He was too late. The General was shot dead in front of the church. My grandfather, whichever of my grandfathers he was, was completely filled with remorse. He blamed himself and Pira for the death of the General. So biting were the pangs of guilt that he changed the name of the horse. She was not to be called Coolaspira no more. Thereafter, she was to be called Coolasisi, a symbol of regret.

*rayadillo is the uniform of the Philippine Revolutionary Army which is white with thin gray lines

next….the General tells a portion of Dr. Jose Rizal’s life, that is, when the general was still alive.

Carlos Celdran

 

celdran433a

Carlos Celdran

With a name that sounds like a pain-killer, Carlos Celdran, tour guide, erehe na filibustero pa,  commanded public attention after he raised a huge placard during a sermon in church. On the huge placard was emblazoned the name “Damaso”.

Padre Damaso appears in the novels of  Dr. Jose Rizal and is set up as the epitome of the abusing religious orders in the Philippines. Presently, the Church is against the Reproductive Health Bill in Congress which seeks to control the exploding population of the country.

Carlos Celdran came to Church that day in the attire of the Rizalian times. The Church has filed a case against him.

I believe that the most they can tag him for would be malicious mischief, or disturbing a religious ceremony.

A sentence graver than this might impress upon the people that it is another church abuse. (Hoboy!)

(or he might face the guardia civiles squad in Bagumbayan. Kasi Erehe na Filibustero pa)!