The Burning of the Seaweeds Barn
Written manuscripts, Drama

33

 

THE BURNING OF THE SEAWEEDS BARN

ELIZABETH S. PADILLO

 

 

  (first drama in English  written by Elizabeth at the age of 23, needs to be editedI)

 

 


 


NARRATOR:          Hear, O Asians, from the Southeast, Northeast, Middle East and the Pacific Islands  Our Lord, the Christ is one Lord and you shall love the Christ your God, with all your heart, and with all your mind and with all your strength.

And you shall teach this to your children: the Christ's story of peace and salvation in the struggles of the peasants, the fishermen, the industrial workers, the outcastes and the cultural minorities. Then let us together keep our brotherhood in support and common witness.

O Hear, Asians, the struggles of the fishermen, the fishermen in the. island of Hingotanan side by side with the Christ event in Easter!

 

ACT I

 

      SCENE I          

(Night. The setting is a barrio, the fishing village of Hingotanan . No running vehicles No machineries. All is asleep except the vigil group that play mah-jonq in the nipa hut. Light comes from a petromax. On the wall of the nipa hut, painted is a black cross and posted at the door is a piece of black cloth to signify death and mourning.) 

 

LUNENG:    (The door bangs. Runs clearing her eyes.) PEDRING!!! PEDRING!!! (Goes out to the road running)

DANIEL:      (Among the vigil group alarmed.) Ma, what happen? You're dreaming? Now you sleep-walk again? Come.....

 

____________

Rev .Ms .Padillo is pastor of local church in the Philippines . The play she wrote for PRAXIS is the Social biography of her own Filipino peoples' experiences.

 

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LUNENG :                  (Hesitates. Points to the dark road.)

DANIEL :                    Where are you going?

LUNENG :                  I saw him. I saw him.

DANIEL :                    Who?

LUNENG :                  My son, your brother, I saw him. I saw him.

DANIEL :                    Manoy Pedring? You're kidding, Ma. Come, you are only tired.

LUNENG :                  No. No. No!!! I saw him... I was about to open the door and there I saw him standing -- bloody from his face down to his chest and feet. When I would have wanted to approach him, he turned back and left. My son! my son! huh, huh, huh....

DANIEL :                    Ma, he's already dead. The dead won't come back. We just buried him yesterday.

LUNENG :                  But I saw him, believe me. (The noise easily makes a crowd: the vigilants and the neighbors.)

NEIGHBOR I :            How did he look like, Luneng?

LUNENG :                  He was still all in blood like yesterday. So sad. There must be something that he'd like to tell me but he left.

NEIGHBOR II :            (Tikoy): He did not speak at all? LUNENG : No, he didn't say anything. My son! my son! (sobs)

NEIGHBOR III:            Where did you see him?

LUNENG :                  There. [Runs to the door and demonstrates.) Here. I saw him here. Still bleeding. (Neighbors move to the door).

NEIGHBOR I :            Like when he died of dynamite explosion?

LUNENG :                  Yes, like two days ago.

NEIGHBOR I :             (Tikoy): (Picks up something from the floor). Here, fresh blood! My poor friend was here.

NEIGHBOR III:            (Examines the blood spot on the floor and spanks the head of Tikoy.) What fresh blood? Fool!

TIKOY :                      Ahh, you will be brought to the court of Sanhedrin if you call me fool. Look! this is fresh blood! (Holds a red paper, a candy wrapper.)

                                 (Tikoy and wife of Loreto chase each other.)

LUNENG :                  I saw him here, still bleeding.

DANIEL :                     (Gives a glass of water to her mother) Please stop that. The dead won't come back. You're only dreaming, Ma.

JONATHAN :               You must be dreaming only, Manang.

TIKOY :                      A dream? But Jesus in the Bible came back and the people present there were not dreaming.

WIFE OF LORETO:    But did .they see fresh blood on his chest and hands?

TIKOY :                      I don't know. But Jesus spoke and Pedring did not. Jesus died on the cross and Pedring, on the sea by dynamite explosion. Jesus died whole and Pedring died with some scattered parts of his body on the sea. O I won't go into dynamite fishing anymore.

JONATHAN :              It's sad to be a fisherman and die like a dynamited fish.

DANIEL :                    It was Manoy Pediring's fate to die of dynamite which could have been given for the fish.

LUNENG :                  And should a person dead of dynamite come back? I saw him!

 

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TIKOY:              Of course, he comes back because of the things he has missed telling you.

DANIEL :           Please stop that. I don't believe that the dead comes back.

TIKOY:              Even Jesus! Coming back to life?

DANIEL :           Yes, even Jesus' coming back to life if it  is  only meant to be seen by a crowd. An empty miracle! (Holds the mother) Come, Ma, there is still time for you to sleep.

TIKOY:              Of course the dead comes back. Hmm. do you smell? The smell of candles? (Tries to   frighten the rest.)

DANIEL AND LUNENG:  (Exit)

TIKOY :             Now, do you smell: O, do you hear? O there! The dog barks again.

NEIGHBOR II :   Tikoy! Pedring at your back!

TIKOY :             (Shrinks in fear. Everybody laughs.)

 

SCENE II

NARRATOR:          Hear, 0 Asians, the fishermen of Hingotanan! From the traditional hook and line, they moved into a little sophistication of using dynamite for fishing like the super-powers that invent the nuclear weapons.

The use of dynamite was a matter of survival amidst the modem trawlers that round up the seas night and day, eating up the resources in the deep and shallow seas even including their fishing nets.

O the story of the fishermen's dynamite: with dynamite powders pulverised, mixed with the finest remains of sawed wood, moistened it with alcohol, dried and placed in the empty bottles of Anejo or Tanduay Rhum or Vino Kulafu or them empty little can of the Caltex oil, planted with fuse or call it "tiklong" as the local term and tied into it are three or five sticks of Rizal match.

Hear of the fishermen engaged in dynamite fishing in an attempt to cope with the giants and the wanting to live now because tomorrow will take care of itself.

 

DANIEL:         (Seen -processing dynamite for fishing on a plywood board).

LUNENG:       (Enters.) Son, I don't want you to go into dynamite fishing anymore.

DANIEL:         No, Ma, this is much much better than the hook and line.

LUNENG:       But we've already got a painful lesson. It's enough dear son, to be able to eat.

DANIEL:         And how can we eat by hook and line or even by a fishing net when what we used to get a catch of two or more baskets of fish is no longer possible because of those fishing boats.

LUNENG:       They won't stay with us very long. Please learn to suffer.

DANIEL:         That I cannot wait anymore, Ma. When will they leave us? God knows. For the meantime, I must live. We must live.

LUNENG:       It is enough that we can eat. And that can be done by hook and line or fishing net.  

DANIEL:         (Continues to process the dynamite on bottles)

LUNENG:       Look son, what good can dynamite fishing offer us except the deaths of your brother and father?

DANIEL:         No, Ma, father's case was different.

LUNENG:       What difference? It was dynamite, the killer! Of course, he was not like you or your brother Pedring. Never did he use dynamite for fishing. He was great, I think so, a man of integrity who felt it was alright to be poor as long as things could be done in the legal way. But why not dynamite that killed him?

 

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DANIEL :           What I mean, Ma....

LUNENG :         Why not dynamite that killed him? Like ants feasting over a crumb of bread, fishermen gathered in an exploded area to collect the dead fish. And your father came after the enthusiastic feasting as a latecomer, alone, wanting to save other dead fish. And at a distance, there! Another dynamite explosion happened and he was there below feeling the shock of the explosion. And why not dynamite that killed him?

DANIEL :           Please, Ma, don't speak to me about that anymore.

LUNENG :         Son, I can't afford another loss.

DANIEL :           (Holds a bottle of dynamite) Ma, this way of catching fish only needs extra care and a prayer for God to protect.

LUNENG :         How can God protect in a thing which the government prohibits? This way of catching fish is illegal.

DANIEL :           I know. But we are a forgotten island. And who knows (smiles) by doing so we can be remembered.

LUNENG :         What nonsense are you talking about?

DANIEL :           Anyway, Ma, our place is very remote. And when the PC men come, we can be alerted and so we can hide.(Places the dynamite bottles in a basket.)

LUNENG :         Son, I am always afraid. I am afraid that what happened to your brother might happen to you.

DANIEL :           No, Ma, seldom that two people can have the same fate.

LUNENG :         (Leans near the window and focuses her attention to the scene on the road) SSh, Son the PC men!

DANIEL :           (Looks out the window). Picks up the basket and hides it on an empty kerosene can; places it under the bamboo bed and covers it with sacks) They come in time just when we have talked about them.

LUNENG :         They must have come to spot the dynamiters in the island. Son, I've got fast heartbeats. I am afraid.

DANIEL :           No, Ma. (Points to the hidden basket under the bed.) Look, it's well-hidden.

LUNENG :         No, no, I've heard there's an instrument that can detect...

JONATHAN :     (Enters, gasping for breadth.) Bay , Daniel . Watch!

DANIEL :           The PC?

JONATHAN :     (In whispers) You see the PC men? They are making raids of all the houses in the island to find out the dynamiters, we already have three neighbors found out because of the evidences gotten from their homes. They will be taken to town, and for sure, will be imprisoned. Your dynamite bottles? Hurry, get rid of them!

DANIEL:            Look! I've hidden mine under that bed.

JONATHAN:      For heaven's sake, let's not delay, that will be found out.

DANIEL:            But how? There is no secret place in this hut.

JONATHAN:      (Motions) The roof! On top of the roof!

DANIEL:            Ours is nipa and that basket is heavy.

JONATHAN:      Now listen, just don't mind how much you will waste. What is important is that you will be saved. We'll drop that to the sea like what I have done to some of my dynamite bottles. A little stone can help us identify that place and when the PC men will be gone, it will be easy to recover the thing back although it's going to be a long job of drying if not a complete waste.

 

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DANIEL AND JONATHAN:    (Remove the kerosene can containing the dynamite bottles from under the bamboo bed. ) (At a distance can be heard loud blasts of bullets on the air as if a wasted rehearsal.)

LUNENG:                            My God, o my God, help!(Makes an automatic sign of the arose: forehead, chest and the two shoulders.)

DANIEL AND JONATHAN:    (Carry the can as if throwing a dirty garbage to the sea.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SCENE III

 

LUNENG:          Sits. Intently waiting. Frightened to hear knockings)

ABEL:               (Enters from school. Kisses the hand of the mother) ma, the PC!

LUNENG:          Where?

ABEL:               There.

LUNENG:          Where?

ABEL:               At Nong Loreto's house.

LUNENG:          O thank God, they bypass us.

ABEL:               Because our house is very small, Ma. That's why.

LUNENG:          (Nods and smiles)

DANIEL AND JONATHAN:          (Back with the empty herosene can).

ABEL:               (Kisses the hand of the two).

LUNENG:          You've been a good friend to us, Jonathan. Thank you.

JONATHAN:      That's all right, Manang. They did not drop by here. .You could have saved those dynamites from getting wet or from being wasted.

LUNENG:          O, that's all right. At least, that has saved us from fear.

JONATHAN:      It's a waste indeed.

LUNENG:          What is important is that Daniel is saved.

JONATHAN:      Manang, you know what happen? Loreto, Rudy and Lito are now in the custody of the PC men. Their wives have been trying to please the PC by giving an amount. Poor wives but I think the PC men won't be carried by their pleadings.

 

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DANIEL :           Of course, not with their pleas, John. The amount to please will have only to be increased three times or more, then I am sure their husbands will be released.

LUNENG :         But where shall they get the money? We've just been from a two-week bad weather.

DANIEL :           O, the money? The money can be produced in any painful way if only for the exchange of freedom from jail.

JONATHAN :     I don't think, Dan, that their release can be as easy as that. I have heard that with the present state of Martial Law the President is passing a decree against dynamite fishing, say twenty years imprisonment for the offenders, or is it life-imprisonment?

LUNENG :         O, my God, life-imprisonment?

DANIEL :           I can't believe in that.

JONATHAN :     Or say, twenty years imprisonment. But it's a decree.

DANIEL :           Well, I believe that there's a decree like that but I just don't believe that it should be for the dynamiters, for the fishermen like us.

JONATHAN :     You're funny, my friend. But for whom should it be?

DANIEL :           For the operators of the fishing boats and for the rich buyers of our fish!

JONATHAN :     That is being practical, my friend. I am with you. But our world is different.

LUNENG :         My dear son, that of the fishing boats is legal. The government can earn from them because of their big taxes, or license? (frowns, not sure). And ours like dynamite fishing is illegal.

JONATHAN :     And besides. Dad, they are afraid that soon with dynamite fishing, there won't be fish anymore in our island.

DANIEL :           The fish will always be there even when we use dynamites. The fish will be lost only if the travelers will go on because fishermen tike us will die. And whose is legal or illegal?

LUNENG :         What do you mean? DANIEL : That which kills many people is illegal.

LUNENG :         Of course, dynamite fishing kills people like what happened to your father and your brother and many others.

DANIEL :           No, you cannot understand me, Ma. Their deaths are sudden. And our own deaths can be more prolonged.

LUNENG:          I cannot understand you, son.

DANIEL:            (Shakes his head. Looks at Jonathan.)

JONATHAN:      Let's go and hear the investigation. LUNENG Investigation? JONATHAN For Rudy and others.

ABEL:               I'll go with you, Ma. (Holds the mother's skirt.)

DANIEL, JONATHAN, LUNENG, ABEL:   (Exit).

 

SCENE IV

(A month after the raid. Evening. After supper. Light comes from the gas lamp.)

 

LUNENG :      (Washes the dishes. Sings lullaby.)

ABEL :           Ma, let me have that basin, please.

 

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LUNENG :      What are you going to do with it?

ABEL :           I'd like to ask fish from Manoy Rudy.

LUNENG :      And what a big container, a basin! You should be ashamed!

ABEL :           He's got a big catch today, Ma. Two pumpboats. Plenty! Plenty! (Swears his hand).

LUNENG :      Is that so? Here. (Gives the basin).

ABEL :           (Exits running).

DANIEL :        (Seen preparing the basket to contain the equipments for fishing.).

LUNENG :      Why do you have bottles of dynamite, Daniel?

DANIEL :        I borrowed these from Jonathan.

LUNENG :      You'll go fishing with dynamite?

DANIEL :        Yes, Ma, tomorrow at ebbing tide.

LUNENG :      Son, I hope you will go fishing without dynamite.

DANIEL :        Rudy got a big catch of two pumpboats and more. And how much will that be if say, 60 cans of salted fish at P50 a can? Today is the best season for the schools of fishes.

LUNENG :      Son, I am afraid.

DANIEL :        You can pray to God, Ma. And I can pray also.

ABEL :           (Carries the basin, half-filled with small fish) Manoy, Look! (Swears his hands) Mortal sin! Plenty! plenty of fish in the boats of Manoy Rudy! Let's go fishing tomorrow. I'll go with you.

LUNENG:       Huh, stay. You have your class.

ABEL:            We won't have class tomorrow, Ma.

LUNENG:       Why?

ABEL:            My teacher will be absent.

LUNENG:       Again?

ABEL:            She has not arrived yet. And she will not arrive tomorrow because tomorrow is not market day and there won't be pumpboat from town to our island.

LUNENG :      O, she will be present tomorrow.

ABEL :           I will just go with Manoy, Ma, If my teacher comes, she will have also headache because she vomits while riding on a pumpboat.

LUNENG :      It's always like that, ha?(Salts the small fish.)

ABEL :           Because our island is very far from town, she said. I'll just go with Manoy, Ma.

LUNENG :      Talk to your brother.

ABEL :           Manoy, I'll go.

DANIEL :        Okey, you can go but promise that you will be an honor pupil on graduation.

ABEL :           I am dull, Manoy. I'd like only to be a fisherman.

DANIEL :        No! You will remain poor like us. You should be a professional then you will not be smal1.

ABEL :           But I'll grow big.

 

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DANIEL:         Yes, you may grow very big. You may grow to be a fat and tall man I1,ke your brother, Pedring, but if without a course, you will still be small.

ABEL:            Because they won't call me. Sir?

DANIEL:         Yes.

ABEL:            But we don't have money, Manoy, like Manang Petra.

DANIEL:         O we shall have plenty of catch by dynamite fishing. And that will be much money.

ABEL:            Like manong Rudy's?

DANIEL:         Yes.

ABEL:            But what if you will get married? The little brothers of Manoy Rudy are not with him because he has his own children.

DANIEL:         It's just unfortunate that we don't have money to make him a lawyer.

ABEL:            {giggles). Manoy, when will you marry?

DANIEL:         I won't. I'll have to see you get a degree, a diploma.

ABEL:            What is that?

DANIEL:         O stop now. If you want to go with me, then prepare. We will leave at the first crowing of the cock.

ABEL:            (Approaches the mother who is salting fish) Ye pe!!! I will go fishing!!

 

SCENE IV

(The two, Daniel and Abel, riding on a pumpboat reach a shallow sea. Abel paddles, Daniel stands at the front end of the pumpboat with the dynamite bottle on his right hand. )

 

DANIEL:         Paddle fast. Some more... some more...

ABEL:            There! There! Beautiful! the fish! so plenty! So thick! So dark below.

DANIEL:         If you will do good today, we shall have bigger catch than Rudy's.

ABEL:            Two pumpboats? Can they be two pumpboats if we get them?

DANIEL:         O more than two pumpboats. Other schools of fishes will join. Watch. Me follow.

ABEL:            Why are the fish together, Manoy? Look! Like in the PC Parade.

DANIEL:         Don't talk too much, the fish may run away.

ABEL:            Will they hear me? No. They run only because of the noise of my paddle. I must paddle slow.

DANIEL:         Now, Abel, do good. Faster. Don't joke ha? I'll be angry now. Paddle, paddle. To the right... there..............to the left. .some more. some more Faster!

ABEL:            (Silent, amused at the large formation of the fish) Now they look very dark below, Plenty! Plenty! —

DANIEL:         Paddle, a little, a little. There.... There.... (Motions his hand to Abel mho is behind him at the other end of the pumpboat.)

                     (Continues to survey the place and begins to calculate where to land the dynamite bottle. He should make the right hit and the right kill. Now he lights the stick. Now, slowly, slowly it burns near to the mouth of the bottle.)

DANIEL:         See, Abel, when I win throw this, cover your ears.

                     O paddle, paddle. Just a little... A little... Some more...... To the right.... a little .....a little...... to the left.....

                     (Calculates. Forgets that the end of the stick is already reached.)

 

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SOUND OF THE DYNAMITE EXPLOSION:         BONG! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

DANIEL :        (Shudders in pain; half of the awn drops and floats on the sea. )

ABEL :           (The blast seems to have shattered his eardrums) Manoy, manoy, huh, huh, huh.

DANIEL :        (Groans... unconscious)

SOUND OF ANOTHER PUMPBOAT VEHICLE

ABEL :           (Sees another pumpboat. Waves his paddles a signal for asking help.)

NARRATOR :    Hear, O Asians, who celebrated the International Year for the Disabled in 1981! There are lot more in Hingotanan who are disabled in the struggle to live a descent life.

O the disabled fishermen, the disabled fishermen who can still maintain their dignity by working some more in order to survive. We have here like Daniel.

 

ACT II

 

SCENE I

(Daniel is seen mending an old fishing net with his left arm uith the half of his half right arm and his mouth. Beside him is a radio that sings the song of the fishermen. While the music is played, a group may do an interpretative dancing uhile Daniel is seen in his mending act. )

RADIO:(The song)

Krootsay, and sakayanon nagtawag sa hangin Krootsay, daw ang kalantap sa dagat malaay gayod Kabug-at sa gaod, ug and kainit nga nagapamahit. Krootsay.................. Mindag-um, mingdag-um na Dapit sa atong habagatan Pagbantay, bantay mga kauban A ng timbangan, dili pagbiyaan A yaw baya'g kalimot nga Gikalisangan kining hangina Mogisi sa layag, moguba sa atong sakayan.

Bantay kamo, Hinubig kamo Dangan ngadto, dagan ngari.

Maoy labing pait ang kinabuni

n among sakayanon

Init ug ulan wala intawon

kami'y pulupasilong.

Nia pay kagutom ug

Katugnaw pa goyod intawon

Gi-antus ang tanan

Kay gimbut-an sa kapalaran.

Krootsay.... Krootsay......

 

(The rough translation in English)

Oh, oh, oh (sounds of the wind) The fisherman is now calling for the wind.

Krootsay, (another call)

The calmness of the sea

is not inspiring.

The triggers for sails are heavy and the heat of the sun is searing.

Krootsay, (another call for the wind).

Now, the South shows dark clouds. Be watchful, the whole company. Do not leave the outriggers Do not forget that this wind is frightening It will shatter our sails And will destroy our boat.

Keep a balance. Help remove the waters from our vessel.

From heat and rain

Run here. Run there!

What is most painful is the life of the fisherman

From heat and rain he has no shelter; from hunger and cold he also has no suffer

Here we do suffer because this is the will of our fate.

Krootsay.... (Another call for the wind)

 

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DANIEL :           (Stands up and stretches the body. Turns the radio into another station.)

RADIO :            This is a seven o'clock news brought to you by the COCOFED or Coconut Producers Federation in the country. Here are the headlines: KBL Caucus Set on Copra Controversy; Supreme Court Fires Samar Judge; Policy on Hiring More Cops Clarified; Inagurate City Hospital Tomorrow; Alleged Illegal Fishermen Demonstration Against Trawlers Staged.....

DANIEL :           (Turns the radio into the right volume)

RADIO :            These are the headlines. We shall be back to you in few minutes.

DANIEL :           (Lowers the volume a» he sees his friend approaching).

JONATHAN :     So back to work again? Let me see (gets the right arm of Daniel.) It's not completely healed yet. Be sure you won't overwork this.

DANIEL :           I feel sick without doing anything. Now, I think this old net will serve its purpose.

JONATHAN :     So you won't go into dynamite fishing anymore?

DANIEL :           I will see. I will first make use of this net.

JONATHAN :     Have you heard of the demonstration in Gaus?

DANIEL :           What demonstration? Ahh, I heard something about that in the radio. (Turns on the volume)

JONATHAN :     (Snaps the hand of Daniel from the radio) No, it's high English.

DANIEL :           Tell me, what demonstration?

JONATHAN :     Our brothers in the island of Gaus staged a dynamite demonstration against the big fishing boat yesterday.

DANIEL :           What dynamite demonstration?

JONATHAN :     It's so funny and yet it's true, the first kind I ever saw. Riding on an individual pumpboats they made along procession on the sea and encircled a fishing boat while on their hand, each one held a dynamite bottle standing on each pumpboat while facing the fishing the fishing boat.

DANIEL :           O sounds like a violent demonstration that our people are not capable of.

JONATHAN :     No, I don't think that they will ever do the violent thing of dynamiting the fishing boat. It must be a threat only to drive away the giants. But if given the chance, well, I really don't know.

DANIEL :           It's Martial Law and they will surely be endangered for doing such a thing. Didn't they ask help from us?

JONATHAN :     They tried but they know that our people are no longer interested in the trawlers because we are moving away from the life of the fishermen to that of the seaweeds farmers. So they recruited only the true fishermen.

DANIEL :           I am a true fisherman. Don't call me a seaweed-farmer. I would like to help the cause but not in that kind of demonstration. Tell me more. What happen? How about the PC?

JONATHAN :     I am not sure. It was just a very good scene. There was no fear of the PC. My speculation is that those fishermen dropped their dynamite bottles on the sea to get rid of evidence.

DANIEL :           So funny, our people can be so funny in wanting to live.

 

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JONATHAN :  I can only imagine one thing, if those fishermen will be imprisoned, there won't be enough space for them a11 in jail. They said that they will all go to jail. And if the' evidence is not very strong, there is reason for the fishing boats to be afraid, and leave our place to do fishing somewhere else. I don't want to be a fisherman, anymore, Daniel.

DANIEL :        You're funny. So what are you going to do? Leave our place and go to the city? Abroad? Or to Saudi Arabia which is the present fever now of our people?

JONATHAN :  Of course, not, I don't have VIP's to back me up. We have so much wealth in our island. my friend. And I will not leave this place.

DANIEL :        Come, tell me your hidden treasure. (Stands) we"11 go back to my hut first. There's medicine which I'd like to take in now. (Leaves the net on the seashore. Takes with him the radio)

 

ACT II

 

SCENE II

NARRATOR :    Hear, 0 Asians, fishing carries an old stigma of being poor, of endless uant, and bad physical look like black shin and blisters and brow, hair.

O the standard of beauty: the Hell-fed whites: the standard of success: the world's money and materialism!

Where should fishing lie? An occupation of the undignified! Leave, leave the old old occupation that has not changed the physical and. social status of their lives!! The fishermen leave their life, fishing, and turned to one demi-god-- the seaweeds farming!

(People from the seashore are seen carrying big basket, and sacks and sacks of seaweeds, fresh seaweeds to be dried on bermuda grasses, along the road, and all the good places for drying. )

 

LUNENG:       (Seen with other women and men drying seaweeds. A. cloth covers the head from the heat of the sun. ) Here, Abel, quick take this basket back to your brother. We should be through spreading these fresh seaweeds soon.

ABEL:            Ma, I am already late for school.

LUNENG:       And who will help us? Just be absent today, please. Your breakfast?

ABEL:            I will just come back during recess to eat, Ma.

LUNENG:       No, I will still ask you to buy canned sardines for our viand. My stomach is now complaining.

ABEL:            But Ma, we shall have a regional test. My teacher said that we should not be absent.

LUNENG:       Don't go to school if you don't have breakfast especially if you have your test.

ABEL:            I won't be hungry, Ma. I will just come back at recess time.

TIKOY:           (Seen also drying seaweeds) Ahh, dear test, school, you'd like to be a teacher? An engineer? That's nothing in comparison with the seaweeds. Look! some of the teachers have resigned from teaching and are involved in seaweeds-farming. What is the salary of the teacher to that if P6.00 or P6.00 per kilo of our product? Last week. I earned three thousand pesos. How many months will that be for a teacher?

LUNENG:       Tikoy, even if we shall have money, we still need education.

TIKOY:           O, no, Manang. The reason why people go to school is to have much money. And now that we have a new promise to assure us of good money, where is the place of the school then?

LUNENG:       We can never be sure of things, Tikoy. Abel, okey just give back this basket to your brother, and if you'd like to go back to school, then go. Here. (Throws fifty centavos coin to Abel) For your snacks.

 

44

 

TIKOY :           (In joking manner, holds Abel, as if refraining him from leaving.) No, you cannot pass. You don't have to go to school. It's no longer necessary.

ABEL :           I will be a great fisherman!

TIKOY :          No, not a fisherman but a seaweeds-farmer. Look what happen to your brother Pedring and Daniel: It's no good to be a fisherman.

ABEL :           (Shouts) I will be a great fisherman!(Runs).

TIKOY :          Fisherman? (to Luneng) I don't want to be a fisherman anymore. I've been a fisherman for thirty years. My parents were fishermen and should my children be fishermen also? And so I don't want my children to be fishermen also.

                     Manang, this seaweeds-farming is a manna from heaven. I am so thankful for the Genu Corporation that introduced us to this new industry.

LUNENG :      Yes, such a marine corporation is a savior. They have been operating since 1971 and it took us seven years to believe that indeed there's so much wealth in our island.

TIKOY :          We have been seeing the wild seaweeds in our shallow seas and it's only now that there's a new way of culturing seaweeds and getting a big produce. And imagine at -P5.00 per dried kilo at every 45-day harvest? We are much more advantageous than the coconut producers. Soon this island will be an island of the rich people.

LUNENG :      I don't dream to get rich, Tikoy. To have enough is just enough.

TIKOY :          hat is enough, Manang? There is no such thing as enough. At the next harvest, I will buy refrigerator, at another harvest, another.

DANIEL :        (Arrives. Dressed like a fisherman, met all over and carried a big basket of fresh seaweeds on his head).

LUNENG :      Here, Tikoy, help us. (As they receive the basket down). Are there more in the pumpboat?

DANIEL :        I have dried the rest in the seashore.

LUNENG :      But how about the sands? (that uill stick to the seaweeds) ?

DANIEL :        Anyway, we shall wash the seaweeds again the next day to assure us of good weight.

LUNENG :      Is that so?

DANIEL :        That's the experience of Jonathan and other seaweeds-farmers.

TIKOY :          Excuse me. I will leave now. (Exits).

DANIEL :        Ma, it's already noon and we don't have breakfast yet.

LUNENG :      We can always forget if we have much work. I just feel empty pangs in my stomach.

DANIEL :        I am so hungry and my head starts to ache now.

LUNENG :      We don't have viand. There's no fish sold out today. It seems everybody is a seaweeds farmer. None is a fisherman.

DANIEL :        What shall we have for today's meal?

LUNENG :      (Still spreading the seaweeds) Okey, go ahead. Heat the rice which I cooked very early this morning. Then I shall drop by Petra 's house to buy canned sardines.

NARRATOR :O hear, Asains, the ballad of the fate of the fishermen in Hingotanan. From the hook and line and the claws of the middlemen, the local capitalists, to the dynamite and the trawlers, they become the seaweeds-farmers hooked by the marine corporations and more neglecting their food as the source of energy for their work.

O the new power of control but the old fishermen look at it as the demi-god sent in by Christ to offer them the new salvation from hunger and want and to equip them of the things that the man of the twentieth century can dream of.

 

45

 

SCENE III

(A meeting of the seaweeds farmer with the manager and representatives of Genu and Simberg Corporations. The barrio captain is the Master of Ceremony.)

 

MC (Barrio Captain) :   Before we let our visitors speak, let us first entertain them by our local talents, the first number is dance. Timkling!

PEOPLE :                  Fishermen (Clap their hands... others whistle.)

DANCERS :               (Bamboo sticks and tinikling costumes) PEOPLE : (Claps)

MC :                          Now let's hear a solo from one of our youths. Eva Meka?

EVA MEKA :              (approaches)

MC :                          What would you like to sing. Day?

EVA MEKA :              "Dahil sa lyo."

MC :                          Everybody, clap! Dahil sa lyo, because of You..huh, huh...

EVA MEKA :              "Dahil sa lyo"

Dahil sa iyo nais kong mabuhay

Dahil sa iyo hanggang mamatay

Nais kong tanduin, wala nang ibang filiw

Puso koy tanungin, ikaw at ikaw rin

Dahil sa lyo, ako'y lumigaya.

Pagmamahal ay alayan ka

Kung tunay man ako ay alipinin mo

Ang lahat ng ito'y danil sa iyo.**

DANIEL :                    (Approaches the barrio captain.) Cap, it's getting late in the afternoon. If this is a meeting, let's have this a meeting. No more of this entertainment.

MC :                          But they are our visitors. Okey, okey, just one more. (Runs to the microphone after the singing). Let's have the last number. Who of you can recite a batak, a poem.

PEOPLE :                  We want Tikoy! We want Tikoy!

MC :                          Okey, Tikoy Cainglet, you are wanted for a poem.

TIKOY :                      (Recites) ULTIMO DE ADIOS!

Adios patria adorada

Hija diel sol querida... (stammers)

Peri a del mar de Oriente

Nuestra perdida Eden .....

ONE FROM THE CROWD:         Spanish ha? Dr. Jose Rizal, Tikoy!

TIKOY :                      (Scratches his head... Does it like a clown) A darte voy de alegre... (Shakes his head forgets.)

                                 (Smiles) Depensa mi, aim'gos, ami gas, no hay palabras.

MC:                           Muchas gracias, Jose Rizal bonito. Now I will give you our visitors for today. Atty. Mercado and his party!

ATTY. MERCADO :     Ahh, before I'll say our purpose in coming, I'd like to hear one more song, then I'll give a gift to whoever will sing again. Those who have danced, sung and recited, please come forward because I'd like to give you gifts also.

PEOPLE :                  (Loud clapping)

ATTY. MERCADO :     Who will sing?

 

ABEL :                       (Hands up) I will. Sir. 

                                 Kutis ko'y maitim Di makita sa dilim.  (My skin complexion is dark cannot be seen in the night.)

 

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Ngipin ko'y maputi kung ito'y nakangiti. Tulad din ng mata di gaanong makita. Kung ito'y nasa dilim di gaanong mapansin.  Dilim, dilim bughay ko ay kay dilim.  Walay ilaw, walang tanglaw. (My teeth are white when they are used for smile. Like the eyes which cannot be seen when they are in the dark, it cannot be recognized. Dark, dark my life is so dark without light, without direction.)

ATTY. MERCADO:         Come, very good. Very good. (Shakes Abel's hands) I never knew that these people in Hingotanan have great singers, dancers and orators. Here, receive your fifty pesos.

PEOPLE:                      (Loud clappings..)

ATTY. MERCADO :        Where are the others who performed here? Here, receive your prizes.

TINIKLING DANCERS, TIKOY AND EVA:            (Forward... and receive their prizes and shake the hand of the good benefactor.)

ATTY. MERCADO :        Now I've got an important thing to tell you which is for your interest and for our company as well. You see, Hingotanan has become a very popular place because of its seaweeds farming. By the present promise of the good price, soon your people will get rich and soon you will have doctors, engineers, architects and many more professionals in your midst because more money means that you can send your children to school and you can buy all the comfortable facilities in your house which you need. You will have good houses and what more? You see, people from other places have been pouring in the islands because of the good news of your wealth. And you owe this to the marine corporations that have taught you the skill of culturing seaweeds and also of buying your product.

                                    We come only to make an appeal that you should come out with a clean product. Remove the little stones, the plastic ties and all the weeds in your dried product. That means, you need to clean your seaweeds very well, very well, so that we can also have a name in the buyers of the product outside the country. It is found out that the present product that we export is of less amount of juice and more of moisture and dirt. So let us help each other. If this appeal can be given consideration, then we shall be buying your produce at the same price. And we shall live comfortably together.

JONATHAN :                 Sir, how should we clean? We have done ours twice, during and after a day of drying we bring the seaweeds again to the sea for washing.

ATTY. MERCADO:         That's the best! And if you can continue to do that, then you will have the price per kilo of seaweeds at P6.00. Isn't that fair an incentive?

PEOPLE :                     (Clap.)

JONATHAN :                 I have been doing that and others too, and so don't say that we producing dirty product.

ATTY. MERCADO:         Well, we can always generalize.

MESSENGER :             (Calls the barrio captain) Cap, cap! Come quick! Rudy and Loreto are fighting each other with bolos.

BARRIO CAPTAIN/MC:  What? Atty. Ahh, excuse me. There's an emergency there.

ATTY. MERCADO:         (Nods. And to the audience) Okey, you can ask questions.

PEOPLE :                     (Alarmed, follow the barrio captain and one by one disappears.)

 

SCENE IV

     (A crowd is seen at the house of the barrio captain. Loreto's right arm is banded with white cloth and it shows a stain of blood. Rudy has his forehead bandaged. Their wives stand beside them. Barrio captain stands near a long table, near the barrio secretary who records all the statements of each party. )

 

BARRIO CAPTAIN:  Rudy, how are you related to Loreto?

RUDY :                   (Silent)

 

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BARRIO CAPTAIN:     Loreto, how are you related to Rudy?

LORETO :                  (Silent)

WIFE OF LORETO:    Imagine, cousins, and trying to kill each other?

BARRIO CAPTAIN:     Yes, cousins. First degree cousins! Now what happened?

RUDY :                      He was very angry that I removed the marker of his sea lot. I had my lot surveyed by a geodetic engineer and I placed the marker as the boundary because that was the result of the survey.

LORETO :                  And why did you remove the marker when in fact you know that I have already cultivated that area? You see my seaweeds grown. And if you recognize me as your cousin, you would have settled it first with me and we could talk about it as brothers. But you removed my marker!

BARRIO CAPTAIN:     Did you do it, Rudy?

LORETO :                  For three times he removed my marker. And what did he mean? I could kill a person if I would be done a foolish thing.

BARRIO CAPTAIN:     Did you remove the markers, Rudy?

RUDY:                       Yes, because in the survey it's mine, the area is mine.

BARRIO CAPTAIN:     And what did you do to Rudy, Loreto?

LORETO :                  I challenged him to a fight.

WIFE OF LORETO:    My God, don't say it. You will be endangered in the affidavit, (in whispers)

BARRIO CAPTAIN: You challenged him to a fight with a bolo? is that right?

LORETO :                  Ahh.

WIFE OF LORETO:    No, no. no, ah, yes, cap, because Rudy had his bolo on his hand also.

WIFE OF RUDY :       Of course, the bolo that he carried was not meant for Loreto.

RUDY :                      I could have killed him also with that bolo.

WIFE OF LORETO:    You see?

BARRIO CAPTAIN:     What do you wish to happen, Loreto, Rudy? You two have wounds, it's a great shame to find two first degree cousins fighting each other in court.

WIFE OF RUDY :       Please, cap, help them reconcile each other. I don't want them to be enemies. O, how shameful for our children! Just because of the sea area!

BARRIO CAPTAIN:     Yes, a great shame in the island. Or do you have already the license for your area from the BFAR or the Bureaus of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources? O, Rudy?

RUDY :                      Not yet.

BARRIO CAPTAIN:     How about yours, Loreto?

LORETO :                  Not yet,

BARRIO CAPTAIN:     Imagine you are fighting over something that each of you does not have an authority yet. You've got to get a license form the BFAR. And even if how many times you have surveyed and cultivated the area, if you don't have the license to operate, then you are never in the position to claim the area as yours.

LORETO:                   Papers, license. I don't care so much. If I have utilized the area so that I live, nobody is in the position to snatch it from me simply because he has the papers or the 1icense.

BARRIO CAPTAIN:     That is if being practical, Loreto. But our world is different. What do you say?

JONATHAN :              (Nods.)

 

48

 

RUDY :                      Nothing, cap.

BARRIO CAPTAIN:     Okey, shake your hands as a sign of peace. By the way, I got the memorandum from the BFAR Office in Cebu for a meeting of all the seaweeds farmers. Maybe it is about the licensing of our area operation in the sea. That will be next week. (Looks at the calendar.} Oh, we’ve got only few weeks then it will be Lenten Season again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SCENE V

(Back to the hut of Luneng and her family. Daniel reads a small piece of paper).

LUNENG:          Let me see what is that you are reading, Daniel?

DANIEL:            This is receipt of the geodetic engineer's survey of Loreto's lot.

LUNENG:          O, let's me see. What P250.00?

DANIEL:            Yes, P250.00 for a survey of one per hectare.

LUNENG:          I thought it's a government sent surveyor and why should we pay that much?

DANIEL:      Loreto said that during the meeting with the BFAR in Cebu they had agreed to just hire a private geodetic engineer as hired by the region office to make the work fast and that's the amount they agreed on.

LUNENG:          We don't have that money yet.

DANIEL:      Even if we have that amount, what area can we apply for? We are late finding our lot. It's been six months that people have been placing markers on the area they are cultivating. But we're late because of my wound.

LUNENG:          But there must be more areas. Tikoy requires many more.

DANIEL:      There must be more but they are to the deeper seas and the current may not be so good for growing seaweeds. But I will find. Our problem will be the amount for the survey.

LUNENG:          O, I  will see Petra for that amount.

DANIEL:            And pay another high interest?

LUNENG:          It's her business, son. And without interest, she won't let us owe. It's natural!

DANIEL:            How much interest is she charging?

LUNENG:          Twenty per cent a month.

DANIEL:      We should pay her within this month. And never owe from her again and then what is natural will ease to be natural.

 

49

 

LUNENG :         Anyway, we are benefited. It's what people have been doing. Negosyo! business, my dear.

DANIEL :           Yes, business here and business there. Business even among the fishermen like us. (Shakes his head)

LUNENG :         How much percentage is Loreto asking you from the income from his area?

DANIEL :           How much? Ten per cent of the produce.

LUNENG :         O, my God, our folks are like God demanding 10 percent tithe.

DANIEL :           Rudy is asking 50% share of the seaweeds farmers' produce in his area.

LUNENG :         There! 50% share? That's too much. Why is that happening?

DANIEL :           Well, they say that they much ask for a share because of the expenses involved for the survey, for pleasing the BFAR personnel and all the other expenses involved in processing the papers for license like the P1,000 deposit in the bank and what more to please?                   

LUNENG :         Son, I miss the good old days when we lived like one family, of sharing and giving and without counting the cost how much have we shared to those who are in need. Where have we learned this new thing now?

DANIEL :           Seems like the landlord-tenant system on land. My friend used to tell me that sharing of the produce of the land between the landlord and the tenant, say 4:4 or 1:2 or 1:3 or with the agrarian reform, 1:4. We must have learned this from the people, in the mainland who have learned the system from our Spanish colonial ancestors.

LUNENG :         A big change, like on land, our seas will cease to be owned by us all.

DANIEL :           But by those only who can acquire the papers and license to operate.

LUNENG :         So that means that when we sell our produce, we are going to give Loreto the 10% share of our income and to Rudy, a 50% share.

DANIEL :           Yes, from our clean income. That is the trend of our world. And we must be ashamed not to do it. And hence, we make things natural. And we have them in our midst.

JONATHAN :     (Enters. Carries a gallon of tuba).

DANIEL :           What thanksgiving?

JONATHAN :     Go with me. The surveyor and the personnel from the BFAR are in the house. I've been wandering the island to find fish but I find only crabs. So I just lichen my smaller pig. Let's go.

JONATHAN :     Manang, go with us.

LUNENG :         Don't mind, Jonathan. I am nobody to face your visitors. Besides, I am going to Petra .

DANIEL :           I am glad that the personnel are in your house. Ma, the money that we need?

LUNENG :         Yes, I am going now.

JONATHAN :     Money? for what?

DANIEL :           For the survey of the sea-area.

JONATHAN :     I thought it's Loreto's lot that you are working on.

DANIEL :           Yes, I am cultivating in his lot and in fact, a portion of Rudy's. But I would like to have an area I can call mine.

JONATHAN :     Where have you sighted? It's moving deeper about five kilometers away from Rudy's lot.

 

50

 

JONATHAN :     I doubt if you could have a good harvest in that lot. Go with us this afternoon, then I shall point to you a better place.

DANIEL :           Which no one has sighted?

JONATHAN :     I think so.

LUNENG :         Okey, Dong*** Jonathan, please help us. Now I will secure the P250.00 for the survey.

JONATHAN :     Take it to the house this afternoon, Manang. Because the surveying will be done this afternoon, Okey, Bay, Daniel, let's go.

DANIEL :           (Looks at himself) I must change first.

JONATHAN :     O, no need. You already look handsome by that T-shirt.

DANIEL :           Okey, let's go.

 

ACT III

 

NARRATOR :    Hear, 0 Asians, and they followed the trend on land, acquiring papers and license of the lots operated on; imitating the relationships between landlords and tenants; justifying the present trend as the world's arrangements as they please people and spend it only to acquire the legal possessions.

            Lost is the oneness in ownership and the sea becomes the property of the individual few- the stronger and the more influential as in the pattern on the mainland.

            But it was a short-lived obsession at acquiring license if not an absolute ownership. It was a short-lived time for abundance.

 

SCENE I            (At the barn of Marine Corporation. The Big Placard: STOP BUYING is seen. People carry sacks and sacks of dried seaweeds, then stop upon seeing the placard. Drop their load and stop and rest on the ground. )

 

ATTY. MERCADO :     We are very sorry. We are not buying your product yet because there is no demand yet. We have much over-supply. It's not only Hingotanan that produces tons and tons of seaweeds every month but also Zulu and the country like Indonesia .

TIKOY :                      But Sir, when are you going to order, to buy our seaweeds again? :

ATTY. MERCADO :     Just wait. We will announce.

TIKOY :                      O my God, I have already spent my last centavo on building my farmhouse on the sea. I still have debts.

ATTY. MERCADO :     We will announce our next buying. It won't be too long.

TIKOY :                      But I have hired people to help in the farm. They are pressuring me to give their wages. What can I give now?

ATTY. MERCADO :     They will understand.

TIKOY :                      Can an empty stomach understand?

ATTY. MERCADO :     You are not going to die. Just go on with seaweeds-farming and you will be fine at the coming back of the high price.

TIKOY:                       Why too short, sir? You made us rich for only 3 months.

ATTY. MERCADO:      Your fortune will come back to you. Just be patient.

TIKOY:                       How long, sir?

ATTY. MERCADO :     Just be patient. Only those who can suffer will become saints, mind you.

 

51

 

RUDY :                   (Enters)

TIKOY :                   O perhaps Rudy would like to be a saint. What are you talking about? Nonsense fool. (in akimbo} I can be patient with you.

ATTY. MERCADO :  That's the saint.

RUDY :                   Sir, I am badly in need of an amount. Can you just buy my seaweeds even at a low price? When the high price comes back, you will certainly profit.

ATTY. MERCADO :  Just wait. We will let you know.

TIKOY :                   (Laughs.) You can't help but be a saint like me.

PEOPLE                 (including Tikoy and Rudy): (Carry the loads back home. Stop.)

 

SCENE II           (People carry the same sacks and sacks of dried seaweeds. The placard in the seaweeds-barn is changed into P3.00. More and more people crowd, so alive and enthusiastic. Seen their product weighed. The cashier, a lady, gives the money.)

 

TIKOY :                      O, this is good! Now I can pay my men. This manna from heaven is great. I am like a master with plenty of employees to be fed.

WIFE OF LORETO :   Now I can pay the installment fee for my television.

TIKOY :                      At the next harvest, you will know what will I buy.

WIFE OF LORETO :   What?

TIKOY :                      A modern washing machine. I don't want to seethe hand of my darling bruised by washing.

WIFE OF LORETO :   There you are, Tikoy, dreaming again. I hope there isn't blood on your hand.

JONATHAN :              Now I can have money to buy food from town. It's so difficult to be always running out of food, of viand. Better in town, the fish is cheap.

DANIEL ;                    How many kilos did you sell? JONATHAN : About one thousand kilos.

DANIEL :                    That's plenty.

JONATHAN :              Yours.

DANIEL ;                    About that much but this will be subtracted from the 10% share to Loreto and 50% to Rudy.

JONATHAN :              I thought you are now cultivating the area which you have applied for? The one we just let surveyed.

DANIEL :                    That's it. Much of this income, I mean, the remaining amount will go for the purchase of line, mangrove sticks and cement for the markers. It indeed requires money to start operating an area.

JONATHAN :              If you only cultivated in my area, I wouldn't have required you to share with me your income.

DANIEL :                    Rudy and Loreto's wives were too quick at recruiting for seeming tenants in their applied lot. Anyway with this amount I can start working on my own lot. It's so funny, our people can be so funny. We do feel ungrateful not to share from our clean income because everybody does it.

JONATHAN :              Let's go, Dan. Let's buy some drinks. (Withdraws from his wallet the one hundred peso bill).

 

52

 

DANIEL :        That will be too much.

JONATHAN :  I shall spend more if this is not enough. Let's celebrate! It last I have learned after the long stop buying and soon you will have also your own area! (Invites others on the way.) Let's celebrate!....

JONATHAN, DANIEL, TIKOY AND OTHER PEERS :         (Around a table of bottles and bottles of beer and gallons of tuba.)

 

SCENE IV          (Stop Buying, a placard posted at the Seaweeds Barn again. People carry sacks and sacks of dried seaweeds. )

 

LORETO :         Sir, when are you going to buy our product again?

MANAGER :      At indefinite time. We are also waiting for a signal from our boss.

LORETO :         Why is this stop buying again?

MANAGER :      We've got plenty, plenty of stacks and the demand is low. Imagine the whole people of Hingotanan engaged in seaweeds farming and plus the other people from other islands.

JONATHAN :     Ahh, isn't this only a drama? So we will feel comfortable with the low price? (In bad shape because of much drinking) What is that? Watch out ha?

MANAGER :      It all depends on how you interpret this happening.

DANIEL :           (Giggles) Now, how can I got to the farm area today? The cost of one gallon of gasoline is P20.00. If this stop buying will go on, we are forced to go back to sails and paddles.

JONATHAN :     Imagine we are made to wait. When is that, Sir? Indefinite and everyday we spend?

DANIEL :           Hold your peace, John.

JONATHAN :     What is this now? I earned another three thousand pesos and like wind the money is gone. (And addressing to Daniel) Your problem is gasoline? (Gets fifty pesos from his wallet.) Here, Tikoy, buy a gallon of gasoline for my friend, Daniel.

TIKOY :             Can I borrow some amount also?

JONATHAN :     I know that you have your money. This is only for my friend, Daniel. Do you have to share with people the income of your produce like what happen to my poor Daniel?

TIKOY :             Of course not, because I have my own area.

JONATHAN :     But my poor friend, Daniel. You know that man, Loreto? (Gets the serious attention of Tikoy) That guy? Like a hypocrite monster on the mainland, a landlord, pew!

LORETO :          (Overhears) What are you talking about? (Blows his fist against the right cheek of Jonathan).

JONATHAN :     You have made my friend, a tenant, and you a landlord! There! (Retaliates) You hungry leech! (Then the rumble. Daniel and Tikoy separate the two.)

 

SCENCE IV        (People are seen enthusiastically carrying loads of dried seaweeds. The placard is changed into P2.00).

NARRATOR :    Hear, O Asians, the kind of conditioning applied to the fisherman of Hingotan and like Pavlov's experimental conditioning to a dog. After creating the fear; of the non-market of their produce, they kept their constant hopes and prayer: that their product maybe bought even at a much lower cost (price). A bargain

 

53

 

they had chosen at every order of Stop Buying. Until they learned to settle for the least that the buyer could offer: from P5.00 or P6.00 per kilo; to P3.00 then to P2.00, to P2.00, to P1.00 and then to sixty centavos.

                                                And they wore faces like the people in Lent.

LUNENG :   How is that, now, Abel?

ABEL :        (Shows the empty buyot, a bag made of bwz_ plant) No credit. Manang Petrasaid.

LUNENG :   Did you tell her that we've got plenty of stocked seaweeds?

ABEL :        I told her but she said that she must not allow credit for now because her capital is losing.

LUNENG :   This Petra is indifferent to us.

ABEL :        She said, Ma, we still owe from her cash for the survey.

LUNENG :   But she should have understood the situation, who will sell our product at forty centavos? It seems like throwing away to the wind our labors.

ABEL :        I will now go to school, Ma.

LUNENG :   Not yet. Don't leave without your breakfast. Or maybe you can go to a neighbor. Here, go to your Manang Lydia and borrow three chupas of corn. Tell her that we are going to cook it for our breakfast. We can repay her back this afternoon because I am going to open that bamboo bank.

ABEL :        Ye pe! That bamboo post downstairs Ma?

LUNENG :   Yes.

DANIEL :     (Enters. Carries a net bag of dried seaweeds.) Here, Abel, take this same to Manang Petra. Tell her that she can buy our seaweeds at five centavos to add to her profit.

ABEL :        But Manoy, Mama wants me to borrow only three chupas from Manang Lydia .

DANIEL :     To the wife of Loreto? Don't put me into shame. Go back to Manang Petra. And take this. Tell her, Okey, at five centavos, to let her swell in profit from the poor like us. (Turns to the window).

ABEL :        (Receives the net bag of dried seaweeds. Silent)

LUNENG :   (Taps the shoulder of Daniel) Son, don't be much dismayed. Petra is like that only and it must be because her creditors like us have not paid her because of the price-condition of our seaweeds.

DANIEL :     I only know, Ma, that for what she is now, she owes it from the poor fishermen like us.

LUNENG :   That is how our world operates, son.

DANIEL :     We don't count. We have not counted long how much has she earned from us and all through out these years we choose to be the passive silent fishermen.

LUNENG :   That's our world, son. Business is business. It is operated for profit. And without profit, it has no business to go on.

DANIEL :     (Boxes the wall)

ABEL :        Will I go back to Nang Petra, Ma?

LUNENG :   (Looks at Daniel) I told your brother to borrow three chupas from Lydia .

DANIEL :     Why Lydia ?

LUNENG :   Well, we are the tenant of Loreto, aren't we?

DANIEL :     (Shrugs) Three chupas? And how about our lunch?

 

54

 

LUNENG :   We will buy.

DANIEL :     We are not sure when will the good price return. And we don't have money to buy.

LUNENG :   Remember my few coins deposited in that bamboo bank? It helps to save at the time of abundance.

DANIEL :     (Sits down)

ABEL :        (Exits)

 

SCENE V                       (On the seashore. Daniel is seen mending his net again.)

JONATHAN :  So you will go back fishing?

DANIEL :        While waiting for the price-hike of the seaweeds. How about you? What is that on your hand?

JONATHAN :  Half a kilo of dynamite?

DANIEL :        O, dynamiting fish again?

JONATHAN :  Yes, I am losing hope about the seaweeds.

DANIEL :        We really thought it's our salvation.

JONATHAN :  There must be plenty of fish now. It has been quite sometime that I have seen the fishing boats plying at very distant seas. So the past demonstration has an effect.

DANIEL :        Well, I think that way, too. The reason, I have planned to go fishing by net. Do you know, good news! I have heard that the government is waging campaign against trawlers.

JONATHAN :  (Giggles). So many laws have been made but they're implemented on papers.

DANIEL :        Well, Our world is so funny, so funny indeed.

JONATHAN :  Do you think, Dan, that the price of seaweeds will come back?

DANIEL :        I think, it's possible because just imagine the by-products of that raw material from plastic plates, slippers to capsule covers and many more. And we buy these materials in return. Funny. Very funny indeed.

JONATHAN :  How ironical. We are the laborers and we are the good buyers.

DANIEL :        Well, in spite of that, I still think that sometime the price will be restored. But nobody knows really. We live on much uncertainties. Good for you that you have your license.

JONATHAN :  What license? For that stupid thing, I had spent a lot but until now, no license.

DANIEL :        In spite of your lechon and other pleasant servings?

JONATHAN :  Nobody is given a license except that one family corporation that applies for thirty hectares.

DANIEL :        How funny. Yours and mine and that of the others for one hectare is not given attention and the local rich applying for thirty hectares has made it.

JONATHAN :  So you see, the trend of our world now?

DANIEL :        It's really funny. Now that the price of the seaweeds is low, it seems the buzz of acquiring license to operate is lost. We thought we could own the sea areas like owning land in the mainland but there is no absolute ownership but only the license to operate.

 

55

 

JONATHAN :  For the meantime, I have lost my interest in that. I'd like to go into fishing. Back to fishing.

DANIEL :        So take care of yourself. Look who's coming?

JONATHAN :  Where have you been, Tikoy? You look like a different person today.

TIKOY :          I've been from church.

JONATHAN :  Oh, a churchman? For what petition?

DANIEL :        Maybe for the good price of the seaweeds. Well, we can pray. Prayer, the mightiest silent instrument of the powerless. Well, tell us did you really pray for it?

TIKOY :          Don't tease me. I think what happen to us is God's punishment. Lent is coming soon and we must repent.

JONATHAN :  Now you sound like a priest preaching, I mean a pastor, in mellow voice convincing us to be really that sinful.

TIKOY :          We've got only few days before Easter. Now is the time for repentance and on resurrection, the time for newness.

DANIEL :        Now you have resolved to be new. From what old?

TIKOY :          From my drunkness and from my being such a noisy fellow.

DANIEL :        So you mean newness to be timid and silent?

JONATHAN :  Don't let me miss your being vocal, Tikoy. Not too many of us are like you.

TIKOY :          Really, we need to repent and renew ourselves. But that I think the mercy of God will come upon us. Hey, I am participating in a drama for Easter. We need more participants. You can join, you two.

DANIEL :        I am no good actor.

JONATHAN :  Neither am I.

TIKOY :          It's fine drama about Jesus' raising from the dead. We've just made the tomb and the wings of the angels. We need more people who will walk on the road to Emmaus.

DANIEL :        Oh, that old stuff again?

TIKOY :          Why Daniel? It's the finest story in Christianity. Christ has vanquished death. And we can be like him wearing our newness from our old self.

DANIEL :        Is that so. And we are staging a play which is a mere repetition of the old story?

TIKOY :          And what more? (In serious condemnation) I think the bad fate that has happened to you and to your family is because of your being a subversive Christian. Too many things you don't believe in.

JONATHAN :  Don't speak to Daniel like that, Tikoy. What he probably meant only is that it's lousy to see the play that has been repeated through all the years.

TIKOY :          But what other play should we stage on? If the celebration is Easter, so why not dramatize the Resurrection story?

DANIEL :        But why not our story?

TIKOY :          My goodness, we know our story, our own story and why should it be staged?

JONATHAN :  And how about Jesus' coming back to life from death? Are we ignorant about it?

TIKOY :          Ahh, I have resolved not to argue anymore. I'd like to renew my old self. If you don't participate, well that's alright. (Leaves)

 

56

 

JONATHAN :  Ohh, where are you going?

TIKOY :          Home and will repent. You should also repent taking that dynamite package.

JONATHAN :  I must go back to fishing, to dynamite fishing.

TIKOY :          It's Lenten Season. More bad fates happen at this time of the year.

JONATHAN :  Just leave me your blessing, churchman. I must live because the seaweeds cannot make us live. I'll just go with Tikoy, Dan.

DANIEL :        Take care of yourself, John. There must be plenty of the schools of fishes now. But don't be too enthusiastic. In case you decide to go back into dynamite fishing, I shall leave you a bottle or two processed bottles. We can never stop wanting to live.

DANIEL :        Our life is so funny, so funny.

 

SCENE V     (At the Seaweeds Bean again. People overcrowd after tujo months of Stop Buying. The placard says, PS. 00 for a limited quantity of fow hundred kilos only from each seaweed-farmer. )

 

MANAGER :   Now, move, my goodness, don't ever crowd there!

LUNENG :      Sir, I have been here since yesterday. And this early morning I was the first to arrive. Please let me be the first to have my seaweeds weighed.

MANAGER :   Fall in line. Fall in line or wait until your number will be called.

LUNENG :      I was the first to arrive but my number is 20 and now the number called is already 80.

MANAGER :   So you did not listen. (Points to the table) and get another new number.

LUNENG :      But sir.....

MANAGER :   Please move, there behind,

THE GIRL :     Number 83. Come quick.

MANAGER :   Number 83. (While somebody is seen who does the weighing of the secaoeeds.)

TIKOY :          At last, my turn has come. (Gets his load to be weighed.) Why four hundred kilos only? I've brought fourfold. And I have plenty in the house.

MANAGER :   We cannot absorb all.

TIKOY :          When will you buy again?

MANAGER :   Nobody knows.

TIKOY :          Waste. Waste. We cannot stock them for too long.

THE GIRL :     Number 84!

MANAGER :   Okey, Tikoy, here.(Hands in the receipt)

TIKOY :          Where's the money, sir?

MANAGER :   You can claim it only next week. You see, we're not given the money yet for whatever reason. Perhaps, the company is afraid that we would be robbed in this place.

TIKOY :          Heaven! Robbers in Hingotanan?

MANAGER :   No, I didn't say that there are robbers in your island. But of course, you have heard of the thieves or robberies. For security.

TIKOY :          So you first protect your security? And ours is after a week? He, he, Ehh, I'll have to shut up my mouth.

 

57

 

MANAGER :   Now move! So other people can come in.

MANAGER :   Okey, we stop for a while. It's lunchtime.

LUNENG :      Please, sir, let me have my seaweeds weighed. I've been here since very early in the morning and I was also here yesterday. (Invites Daniel to carry the tuo sacks near the weighing scale. )

DANIEL :        (Assists the mother).

ASSISTANT TO THE MANAGER :          (Holds the sleeves of Daniel). You hard-headed. You were told by boss to wait. We are stopping yet for lunch. Wait! what if we won't buy your seaweeds anymore.

DANIEL :        But ours is just very small quantity. We've got to have money.

ASSISTANT TO THE MANAGER :          It's all the same. You can have the money only next week.

LUNENG :      (Perspires and loses the balance because of hunger). (Collapses to the ground.)

MANAGER :   I told you not to overcrowd. You really don't understand. Now somebody is knocked unconscious. Move, move, it's hot!(Fans himself. People stirred.)

DANIEL :        (Holds the mother.) It's not because of heat. It's because of hunger. You have made us wait for too long.

MANAGER :   Now, it's not my business to feed the sellers of the seaweeds here. You must be thankful that we are buying your product so you can have your food. You should be grateful enough.

DANIEL :        Mark my word. I won't come back anymore to sell my produce. We are the owners of our product but you treat us as our masters.

MANAGER :   It's alright if you won't. So many people are waiting. (Eats with the assistant manager and with the girl. )

DANIEL :        (Carries the unconscious mother out of the barn. Walks to the road. People follow. Meets Jonathan handcuffed and followed after by the PC men.)

JONATHAN :  Dan, what happen?

DANIEL :        What is that, Jonathan?

JONATHAN :  They are going to take me to town.

DANIEL :        For dynamiting fish?

JONATHAN :  Yes. What happen to Manang?

DANIEL :        She collapsed maybe because of hunger and heat inside the seaweeds barn.

PC :               Now move.

JONATHAN :  Dan, I've already sent to your house what I have promised. Ask Abel about it.

DANIEL :        You're leaving us? Well ask the barrio captain to help intercede like what happened to Rudy and Loreto.

JONATHAN :  I don't have money, Dan.

PC I & II :       You cannot buy us, move.

JONATHAN :  (shouts while moving away.) You've lost your right arm, Dan. But you're free. You're more fortunate.

 

SCENE IV          (Night. Light comes from one gaslamp. Seen Daniel sleeping on a bamboo bed. On. the sala are Abel and Luneng sleeping. Can be heard the singing of Hendel's Alleluiah by the choir as part of Daniel's dream.)

DANIEL :           (Kicks the air. Fights. The chorus in volume) Empty! Empty miracle! (The cross lights on top of the stage. The chorus goes on.

 

58

 

DANIEL :     Empty. Empty miracle! Empty miracle!

ABEL :        Manoy, manoy, what happen?

CHORUS :  (Slows down).

ABEL :        Manoy?

DANIEL :     Huh? (Rises) There!!! (Points to the cross)

ABEL :        What?

DANIEL :     The cross! An empty cross.

ABEL :        That's the morning star we used to see on the sea while we fish, Manoy.

DANIEL :     There. I saw it as Jesus' cross in my dream. Come Abel, Come.

ABEL :        (Listens. )

DANIEL :     Where did you hide the thing which your Manong Jonathan left?

ABEL :        (Goes and gets it from the basket). Here. (Holds the dynamite bottle).

DANIEL :     Now, my dear friend is gone. Our mother is weak. And my dream for you is gone.

ABEL :        I don't want to get a degree, Manoy. I'd like only to be a fisherman.

DANIEL :     Come, child, take this gasoline and I shall take this bottle of dynamite..

ABEL :        Manoy, I shall be a fisherman with sails and hook and line.

DANIEL ;     There is no dream for you, dear child. Take this gasoline. Burn, burn. Let us burn the seaweeds barn.

ABEL :        No Manoy, I only want to be a fisherman and not a seaweeds farmer.

DANIEL :     There is no dream for you, dear child. Here, take this gasoline. Let us burn, burn the seaweeds barn.

ABEL :        No Manoy, I shall not kill people. People will be in church today because Of the Sunrise Service. It's Easter, they say.

DANIEL :     Take this gasoline and I shall take this bottle of dynamite. Let us burn, burn the seaweeds barn.

ABEL :        It's Easter. Manoy, and they say that Christ comes back today.

DANIEL :     We are only to burn that which play us. Never allow yourself to be played with. That's the story of Easter. Do you hear? (The choir sounds on....) They are singing the song of Easter. Christ is alive and is back to life. No amount of human game succeeded in playing with Him.

                  One dawn your brother Pedring came back as Mama saw him. But again she was lost to her eyes because the human games were indeed victorious to entomb him.

ABEL :        I can't understnad, Manoy. I won't go with you.

DANIEL :     Come, come, take this gasoline and I shall take this dynamite. Let us burn the seaweeds barn.

ABEL :        No Manoy, we are small without degrees, you said.

DANIEL :     I now believe in the resurrected Christ, the Emmanuel. Now let us go and burn the seaweeds barn. Let us burn all that which play with us.

                  Come quick, there's no time to delay.

 

59

Painting of Beth of the Hingotanan Island, 30x40 cm, acryl on canvass. This fishing island can be toured around for one hour.

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20.09 | 13:16

I think I should also spend time writing poems in Danish. For quite a period of time, I have only concentrated on writing poems in English.

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08.03 | 09:55

Kære Elizabeth - du rørte mig med din tekst om at overleve gennem kunsten. Jeg kender det selv som en delvis fremmed med udenlandsk opvækst. Vi ses i Simonpete

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07.01 | 14:51

Fantastisk smuk hjemmeside.

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14.02 | 23:41

Super flort hjemmeside
jeg er hel vil ned dine hjemmeside :)

jeg har også selv en men det kun med tegninger :)
kig forbi og huske og skriv i GB lige som jeg gør nu :)

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