Friday, June 23, 2017

Parched Fields


“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
This question of Uncle Gadong rang in my ears as I sat at the base of the Ambuklao tower in the western field of Lanat, San Manuel, Tarlac, my birthplace.
He asked me this question sometime in November 1961 when he visited us. He is the younger brother of my mother Francisca Lacierna Mercado.
My mother and Uncle Gadong Lacierna were both born in San Clemente, Tarlac, and both grew up there. They had other siblings – Uncle Kardo, Uncle Quirino, and Aunt Ninay. All of them were born in San Clemente to Francisco Lacierna and Victoria Lucero.
“What is your dream? What do you want to be?” Uncle Gadong asked me again. He was holding my report card in his hands, and he saw that I was given very high grades in the first and second grading periods by my first grade teacher, Mrs. Conchita Lorenzo-Fernando.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Sunflowers


Edmund de los Reyes and Carla Quinzon were both sophomore students of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. They were also members
of a Christian campus organization called Campus Crusade for Christ.
In September 1973, a year after the declaration of martial law all over the Philippines by President Ferdinand E. Marcos, a very strong typhoon struck Central Luzon, killing many people and submerging many towns of Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Tarlac with the floodwaters it caused. The typhoon’s local name was Welming.
U.P. Campus Crusade for Christ launched a project called Aid for Welming Victims. The project aimed to gather donations of food, clothing, money, and other items that could be of use to the victims of the typhoon.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Coming Home


Kara sang well. It was amazing how she memorized the lyrics of the song at such a young age.
As she sang, my thoughts wondered to the time when my mother Francisca Lacierna Mercado, and her younger sister Ninay, fetched their sick brother Gadong who escaped from his Japanese captors during the infamous Death March in April 1942…
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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Back To The Parthian Empire


The Magi, their families, and their servants slept in the tents they put up in a field near the house where the Child was. It was already past midnight when they slept, and the big star which they saw in the east shone over the village.
That night, Melchor had a dream.
In his dream, he saw the same angel who spoke to him, the one who told him to see the Child in Bethlehem and bring Him gold as a gift. In his previous dream, the angel’s face was glad when he told Melchor to visit the Child in Bethlehem, together with his friends Gaspar and Balthazzar.
This time, in his current dream, the angel’s face was stern. He warned Melchor not to go back to Herod after their visit to the Child.
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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Peace Time


Aurelio Mercado was one of the individuals who attended the Conference of Industrial Arts Teachers in Baguio City in the last week of April, 1930.
It was summer. He and Francisca just got married on the second Sunday of that month, after the end of classes of the 1929-1930 schoolyear. They were married by the Aglipayan parish priest of San Clemente in the Philippine Independent Church building located in that town. Those who attended were the parents of Aurelio, Policarpio Mercado and Esperanza Marquez-Mercado, his two sisters Dominga and Itang, and his two brothers Angquing and Minoy. They all went to San Clemente riding a calesa, a horse-drawn carriage generally used for public transport in the Philippines during the American colonial rule. All the family members of Francisca in San Clemente attended the wedding.
The American colonial rule of the Philippine Islands which was from the end of all hostilities in 1907 of the Philippine-American War up to the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in December 1941 was generally called Peace Time by most Filipinos.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I Grieve For You My Brother Jonathan


“Why have Jews suffered so much? The Romans destroyed our homeland and dragged our forefathers to the territories of the Roman Empire as their slaves. We have suffered inquisitions, holocausts, famine, discrimination, and wars like no other people in history. Are the Jews under the curse of Yahweh?” Asher Levinson asked his commanding officer, Captain Yosef Aksen.
Asher Levinson was one of the soldiers in the 15-member artillery unit of Haganah, one of the four Jewish militias fighting for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. He was one of the five wounded in the first of the two raids undertaken by well-armed Palestinian Arabs against their unit. Three of the five wounded militiamen were confined in the clinics in Tel Aviv because they had to be operated on. Asher, and another militiaman named Nathan Hur, had to stay in the Kibbutz called Galuyot to defend it from further Arab attacks...

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Friday, May 12, 2017

All Nations Against Jerusalem


After the symposium, the two friends talked to Doctor Ben Gurion and requested for an interview. They wanted to ask her more questions about the Middle East issue. She granted their request. They interviewed her over a cup of coffee at the University of the Philippines’ Bahay ng Alumni (House of the Alumni). They asked her questions such as whether Israel possesses nuclear weapons, whether she agrees to the two-state solution (an Israeli state and a Palestinian state existing together), whether she as an Israeli medical doctor would treat a wounded enemy, and other personal matters.
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