List of Stories by Author
this section of the ZambalesForum (ZF) sari-sari store, you will find
articles, short stories, and anecdotes about the cultural traditions of
the Filipinos irrespective of region. While the distinctiveness of the
cultures that make up the larger Christian and the minority non-Christian
Philippine society is apparent, many similarities do exist as to group
them together as belonging to one single tradition. Many of today's
Filipino cultural practices are a product of a blending of Malay and
European traits- a reflection of its roots and the people's subsequent
experiences, both the good and the bad, through hundreds of years of
foreign colonization. However, despite the prominence of European
institutional precepts in popular social life- the celebration of the
"barrio fiesta" that honors local patron saints or observing
"Angelus" at the strike of six o'clock in the evening, for
instance- local interpretations, beliefs and rituals have allowed
pre-Christian practices to flourish. In barrio Salaza (Palauig, Zambales),
a housewife is well-advised to utter the phrase, "bari-bari",
before throwing the evening's dish wash out of the kitchen window in
deference to the roaming creatures that go bump in the night.
"Then I saw my mother's familiar back. She was following the
plow, her skirt tucked between her legs. Suddenly I knew what Leon had felt that
day he came home, running suddenly to take the plow from my father. I started
running across the fields and leaping over ditches, shouting and calling
frantically: "Mother! Mother! Mother!"
My mother stopped the carabao and looked toward me. The sun was falling directly upon her face, and she raised her hand to protect her eyes from the strong morning light. When she recognized me, she tied the rope to the handle of the plow, as my father used to do, and waited for me.
"Have you come home, son?" she said. And that was all she could say. Her mouth began to tremble with joy and sorrow were always one and the same. Suddenly, she grabbed me affectionately and wept, murmuring: "We are poor people, son. We are poor people, son."
I brushed back the tears from my eyes. I tried to laugh in order not to cry. Gently I pushed my mother out of the way and took the rope from her.
"Go home, Mother," I said. "I will finish this piece for you." "Don't work the animal too hard," she said.
"I won't," I said. I watched her go away, a little peasant woman who carried the world on her shoulders. Then I flipped the rope gently across the carabao's back and the animal moved obediently and expertly along the deep furrows." - Carlos Bulosan, "America is in the Heart", ©1943.
Salaza, Palauig, Zambales
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