Stories about Love
So inseparable were they, that a pregnant Dina endured the hardship of Tonio’s guerrilla life. Food was scarce, of course, and most days all they had to eat was bitter gourd. The plucky Dina was no liability; Tonio was lucky to have her with him. One time, they were set upon by what was likely a reconnaissance unit of Japanese soldiers. In desperation, Dina pushed Tonio into a man-sized hole (another life-saving ditch, yes), and promptly “sat” on his head, while extending her full skirts to hide his body.
Reading through his letters, I discovered that my grandparents were wary of him because he was a “Manila boy.” One of the notes I found were addressed to them. He told them that he knew that they looked at him with suspicion as he was from Imperial Manila, but he assured them that he had good intentions with their Elma. He introduced himself, talked about his parents, their family background and the work that he did.
When Elias met Charing, he was already old—in his 30s! (I never thought being in your 30s was old.) But clearly, Charing, who lived on books and worldly stories, was enchanted by this man’s real life adventures. She did not want to marry an entitled mestizo cousin. She did not care about consolidating wealth. She wanted to be with the landless merchant. And so they devised their escape.
Lolo was one of two Taaleños who lived to tell about the Death March. He assimilated into the civilian population and made his way on foot back to Taal, half dead from malaria.
As I later heard it from Lola, he returned to her. Lola was always one for romantic gestures.
As World War II came crashing on the Philippines, December 1941 found the young Bobises scrambling for safety away from Manila to escape the invading forces, and to meet up with Vicente’s sister’s family in Lucena, Tayabas. Little did they know they were headed right near where the invading forces landed.
I could only imagine how confused she was. Here was a pleasant young man, a handsome mestizo, her best friend’s brother no less, and he wanted to marry her. But she wanted to devote her life to the Lord. What was a young woman of the 1950s supposed to do?