Last Saturday, before hearing the evening anticipated Mass, my dear friend Mika sent me an SMS that went “Oye, vas a asistir a la Misa? Tengo EL LIBRO.”
Immediately, I replied “MUCHAS GRACIAS”.
The said book was Purita Echevarria de Gonzalez’ “Manila: A Memoir of Love and Loss”, a book I have long wanted to read. When I was in college, I bought a copy for myself but stupidly misplaced it. I still remember the stinging feeling of devastation when I realized I lost a jewel. When she told me she had a copy of the said book, I asked her if I could borrow it and voila!
Yesterday, I finished the book in 2 sittings. I wasn’t prepared for the heart-wrenching story the author laid-out so eloquently in just a few pages. I was imagining a virtual repeat of Carmen “Chitang” Guerrero-Nakpil’s “Myself, Elsewhere”.
But how could stories from that time be anything but a repeat?
They weren’t the same. Each Manileno who had to go through the “Liberation” had his own experience, view, mindset of the horrors of that time.
It is about time we immortalized those long-kept memories of a generation formed by peace, war and liberation. Their insights and memories, their opinions, why their very lives are witnesses to the lowest and highest points of human history.