Move over, Charice Pempengco.
Kerima Polotan is here — she’s been here for more than the past half-century actually — and it’s about time an intelligent, sophisticated, accomplished, and articulate Filipina gets some credit, airtime, and probably even some online publicity via this website (however few the page views and visitors).
Sure, Ms. Polotan is already a senior citizen and may not have a botoxed jaw or the promise of worldwide fame.
Except that I don’t care about Charice and I haven’t seen Glee and that may be a major major oversight for someone who carries a Philippine passport.
So pardon me kids, but I’m placing all my bets on Ms. Polotan.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that she’s currently in hermit mode, refusing friends to visit her.
But that’s a choice — and a fundamental right — no one can deprive her of.
In the same way that no right-thinking, literate Filipino should ever deprive himself/herself by choosing to ignore her work.
So if you have the chance to read any two books this year, you better grab Ms. Polotan’s Author’s Choice and the True and the Plain from the University of the Philippines Press.
Sure, she wrote a hagiography of Imelda Marcos and may have been part of the delegation when the Marcos family left in 1986.
Does that mean her essays are worthless?
Reading Kerima Polotan will make you proud of being a Filipino more than Venus Raj or Charice Pempengco ever will.
But I talk too much.
And so now, here are my three good reasons why you should read Polotan’s The True and The Plain: A Collection of Personal Essays, which were previously published in Focus Philippines Magazine from the early 1970s to the early 1980s. (Also: thanks to Red Constantino for introducing me to one of my favorite writers of all time.)
1) It will transport you to a Manila that we have never known about — and perhaps never will.
Taken in February 1986 at the Luneta (express000/Flickr.com)
Do you know what a Matorco is?
But that’s because I read the book and came across the term in her essay entitled “My Misbegotten Christmas.”
Thanks to Google and Flickr, I discovered that a Matorco is a double-decker bus that used to ply Roxas Boulevard.
Polotan wrote that she rode it one December night with her children and husband, Johnny Tuvera, who was an aide of Ferdinand Marcos.
And that bus — and the ride that could have provided special thrills to cynical urban dwellers such as myself — is long gone.
Same goes for the many panciterias and restaurants that have disappeared from the city, eating the dust left over by monolithic fastfood chains, local and otherwise.
Who recalls having lunch at Wa Nam, Moderna, and New England?
How about Texas Cafe in Malate, which catered to colegialas? Or the Waldorf Astoria also in the same area?
No one remembers anymore. (I was just an infant during that time. Yes, seriously.)
It’s about time someone did.
And reading about these establishments through Polotan’s pieces is just one of the many ways by which we can celebrate — and perhaps even express regret over — the little lost treasures of our country’s capital.
Below is her take on Luneta, from The Happy Hoi Polloi:
“In the Luneta, all colors blend ‚ the brown and the white and yellow of people; the green and blue and red of shrubs. Towards the sea, the great sward stretches, and the globes of light hang like huge pearls, are caught in the waters of the lake. People flow by, stop and eddy, break and whirl again. Across the pond, a band plays; a balloon breaks loose from some child’s grasp and floats towards an early star. Here, the land lies flat and green, broken only by stone; there, it rises in a series of small hills that hide the curving tips of a pagoda. The doves come, cooing and beating their wings around a man, dressed in a tiger’s suit, and giving away candy. The lovers try not to be conspicuous. A family spreads the contents of a bag — kropeck, juice, biscuits. One mother lies on a mat, unashamedly nursing her baby. On other mats, men and their wives, kicking their heels at the sky. The park guards watch when they can but soon grow weary and give up. The sky is like a canvas washed clean, gray along the edges, and you think, looking over the heads around you, how distant the heat of living is — tonight’s dishes, tomorrow’s bundy clock. Joy is a fitful moment, but better that than nothing.”
2) It will make you appreciate literature — especially Philippine literature — better.
Abraham “Abe” Cerojano, my former editor-in-chief at GMANews.TV, happened to work under Polotan as a proofreader of the Evening Post, a newspaper she edited and which I remember reading as a kid whenever I visited my mother’s office in one of Escolta’s side streets.
Polotan was a very good writer, said my boss, who is himself famous for writing the news story about the failed assassination attempt against the late vice-president Emmanuel Pelaez, whom he quoted. [See: What is happening to our country, General?]
I don’t doubt my boss one bit.
Reading Polotan allows you to encounter certain gracious turns of phrase that current writers — Filipino and foreign — can only envy.
These phrases include “a carpet of dead leaves,” which she encountered after the vehicle she was on had a flat tire while en route to General Santos City from Davao.
She also writes about “the airy language of fashion [crowding] out the spare idiom of human tragedy,” referring to how the New York Times juxtaposed a story about a fashion show and a rape inside a subway car.
Polotan also mentions “the courage and the strength that can love the imperfect and the maimed,” recounting a visit to the doctor.
And, last but not least, talking about her son’s circumcision, she writes:
“[H]e would be in an elder sister’s skirt, lifting his dark and laughing eyes to me, torn between chagrin and pride, hesitating ever so briefly when I asked to look at the object of his ordeal. He would pull that…skirt open and I would see his possession cradled tenderly in a sling.”
3) Polotan is anachronistic but nice.
The phrase is from the Steely Dan song, Green Book, which is from the group’s Everything Must Go album. [See: Everything Must Go]
It describes her perfectly because her prose is way ahead of her time.
She may have used epithets — Mongoloid, Negro — which were deemed acceptable during her time.
However, her ideas and observations and the way she expresses them are just about the very best examples of modern Philippine writing in English.
“Apartments invariably mold a kind of person quite hard of hearing and more than a trifle uncaring of the rights of others. His dwelling forces him to be that way. Stifling, airless, shockingly public, the architecture of the pupular three-by-six apartment, though stylized with the latest in doorknobs and light switches…is still oppressive to all that is human in one. The soul must have room to move in, where it is quiet and dark and private, where neighbors don’t intrude with their sneezes and their grunts, where walls protect and not reveal. It isn’t a stray theory that children who grow up in apartments must suffer some twisting, eventually acquiring much of their elders’ malicious curiosity. Thrown too closely together, separated only by a thin plaster of cement, apartment dwellers pry, listen, peep, keep track of, speculate with more than subliminal interest.”
The Trap - Kerima Polotan Tuvera
...The Trap Kerima Polotan Tuvera I was fourteen when we moved to Cabuyao. We reached the town at night and though it was notquite seven, the streets were empty. I had hoped we would get to it before dark, while there waslight enough for people to see us come. We knew no one, of course ² ´We·ll make friends,µ myfather had said ² and expected no welcome, but having left Tayug with reluctance, I had urgedmy father during the trip to drive faster so that we might arrive in Cabuyao early enough forsomeone to see us drive in.That was important to me.´Why, Elisa?µ my mother asked, and I could not tell her why, except that I had left behind inTayug one friend very dear to me. When the day came for us to go, we could not leave soonenough. I wanted the pain of missing Salud to start quickly. She said goodbye to me that morningby the plaza, asking, ´Are you taking everything, Elisa? You·re sure?µ When Mother frowned, Ihated Salud for betraying me.Several times that past year I had told Salud I felt that something was happening to me. I felt Iwas growing to be another person entirely. ´Something·s wrong, Salud,µ I said one day ² ´I·mgoing crazy.µ She had laughed and looked pointedly at my breasts and said. ´They·re growinglike mine, Elisa.µ She had a way of saying things like that, that angered and also disarmed me;she was 18 and the four years between us yawned like an abyss. During all that time I hadwatched her turn into a lovely, graceful girl, unfazed by adolescence, leaving me far......
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...Analysis on the Short Story “The Virgin” by Kerima Polotan Tuvera * Based on the short story, the various personalities that the main character named Miss Mijares showcased were her stiff and aloof behavior wherein her superiority to herself makes her unfriendly and detached to other people. Also her attitude when it comes to dealing with people wherein she often humiliates them by asking them questions with regards to their standing in the society. Moreover, her life was effusively based on caring for her ailing mother and putting to school her niece thus, her realization to herself when it comes to her own personal life such as love and marriage was eluded. Miss Mijares is a thirty-four-year-old woman who works at a job placement agency wherein her perspective in life has put her into a situation of helping first her family before herself. The major problems that Miss Mijares encountered in the story was the death of her mother wherein she mourned on that very day kneeding her mother’s flesh and struggling to keep herself strong which also changed her ideals in life which made her superiority as a women more resilient. Another problem that she encountered was confronting her emotions especially with her feelings to the new man at the carpentry shop wherein during the interview and application for the job, Miss Mijares shows a bossy or arrogant kind of personality towards the guy, furthermore she was unwittingly drawn to the man especially during the time that both......
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Kerima Polotan Tuvera
...Reading Tuvera’s The Virgin and The Sounds of Sunday is a satisfying experience. The reader sees the characters not just as names in the text, but as human beings breathing with life---laughing, crying, thinking, talking, shouting, lying in bed, walking in the streets and doing their daily chores---as if the scenes of their lives are revealed across the pages. What makes Tuvera distinct as a writer, as what the analysis of this study proves, is her simple, naturally flowing descriptive style of writing. It has also been seen in this study how Tuvera manipulates different linguistic elements as strategic devices in emphasizing a certain quality, idea, or issue. As a social realist, Tuvera parades through her masterful craft as a writer what one may fail to closely see in the lives of other people in the society. Reading them in her stories is like seeing them and listening to their experiences. Tuvera’s style as a writer is undeniably superb. The style of other writers are unquestionably masterful but perhaps what will International Peer Reviewed Journal 67 make readers stick with Tuvera is the simplicity and the beauty of her language which can make the reader relate to her immediately. The naturalness of her language is pure beauty. Her descriptions are exquisite. Other stories may carry you away but at times will get you distracted by the writer’s untimely use of high-falluting expressions which instead of adding more......
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A Character Analysis on Kerima Polotan-Tuvera’s the Virgin
...A Character Analysis on Kerima Polotan-Tuvera’s The Virgin Analyzing the Characters in the Psychoanalytic Approach Miss Mijares was a 34-year-old woman who works in the placement section of an agency. In the story, she was described as impolite and bossy when it comes to dealing with job applicants. I can also infer that she routinely lives her life in discipline making her life dull. Later on in the story, she finally let go of her control with herself and gave in to the new carpenter in the agency. Miss Mijares was a stern, responsible woman with hidden desires. The carpenter in the story was unnamed. However, he plays a very important role in the story to make us discover all that characteristics of Miss Mijares, the protagonist. He was described as “a tall, big man, walking with an economy of movement”. From this we can say that, though he was only a high school graduate and only working as a carpenter, his character can be viewed as the stereotype who, despite of his unlikely appearance, he apparently will turn out to be the one you should fear for because he is capable of more than you know. It may be possible that the reason why he was unnamed is that we could underestimate him first. Virginity in the story Virginity is a prized possession of a woman. In the old Filipino culture, the chances of a woman who lost her virginity before marriage to get married to a good man most likely are scarce. By tradition, it is seen as a disgrace for a woman to be lost her......
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Virgin Mobile Case Analysis
...Case Analysis “Virgin Mobile USA: Pricing for the Very First Time” Marketing II – BUSI2202U Group 40, Tuesday Session Word Count: Paper 2,912, Appendix 345 Problem Definition The unimpressive performance numbers in the market belonging to Virgin Mobile are mainly due to the lack of an attractive pricing strategy that would appeal to the target market group. The target market group (consumers aged 19 to 25) have different characteristics than other market groups and Virgin Mobile’s current pricing strategy is clearly not complementing those characteristics. As a result, a re-evaluation of the target market group is required in order to choose a better and more correct pricing strategy to appeal to the majority. The re-evaluation should result in a more successful pricing strategy as well as a solid entrance strategy to get the largest amount of exposure. Situation Analysis External Variables The American cellular market was not an easy market to penetrate as it was already overcrowded. Adding another service provider would not be an easy feat for Virgin Mobile. By 2001, there were already six national carriers and many regional players as well. Based on market share there were only four main industry players; Verizon, Cingular, AT&T, and Sprint. These companies controlled over 60% of the market along with VoiceStream, Alltel, US Cellular, Leap and number of smaller carriers. On top of there being many competitors, it was also believed that the cellular......
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The Virgin by Kerima Polotan Tuvera
...The Virgin by Kerima Polotan The title of Kerima Polotan's "The Virgin" gives us the subject-virginity, female virginity, a cherished value of Filipino Male culture. By presenting its protagonist as "victim" rather than heroine of this value system, the text subverts it. Reflecting on her virginal state, Miss Mijares does so "with a mixture of shame and bitterness and guilt" The story's eroticism is heightened by the lyrical, almost cadenced language. (The eroticism is quite explicit for it's time, and the foregrounding of a woman's sexulity is also rather in advance of its time.) But the use of symbolism is a bit too obvious--the paperweight, the dream of being lost, the jeepney's detour, the storm. Miss Mijares is a dutiful daughter, sacrificing herself, in this case, for a sick mother, and becoming a spinster, a pathetic figure, her sternness of manner and abruptness of speech, disguise for an aching loneliness. Referring to her as "Miss Mijares" underlines her primmness, as well as her distance from the carpenter. She is slim and frail-looking, which contrasts with the carpenter's physical streghth and size. The carpenter has a certain grace, poise, confidence "walking with an economy of movement, graveful and light, a man who knew his body and used it well", which comes from being easy in his skin, which Miss Mijares, decidedly, is not. Miss Mijares' over reaction to the discovery that the carpenter has fathered a child by a woman he is not married to......
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...that was given to him. The decision to build schools is also an example of his spontaneous nature to make a decision without considering all the details involved in completing the momentous task in the Middle East. It is this life changing experience along with his empathy and compassion that pave the way for Mortenson to accomplish his educational mission in life. Mortenson’s new focus in life didn’t come with ease throughout the book as he encountered many trials and tribulations associated with his mission. He encountered many obstacles along the way such as the accumulation of funds to build schools as well as being captured by Taliban forces. His enduring compassion to overcome many obstacles throughout the book reinforces his character which makes his educational mission believable. While building his first school he learns a valuable lesson from the chief elder, Haji Ali. In the book Haji Ali states, “The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family, and for our family, we are prepared to do anything, even die” (Mortenson, Relin 150). Mortenson realized that his own spontaneous behavior was actually a hindrance in accomplishing his education mission, and he was responsible for some of the obstacles he was faced with. While Mortenson was his own worst obstacle at times, his political views on education were very clear. Mortenson and......
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...Sheila Mae T. Geroche PHILLIT AC122 Atty. Paul Gomez Hildawa Literary Text: THE VIRGIN Writer: Kerima Polotan-Tuvera Literary worksheet No. 5 “Details of Character” Analysis (Text, Context and Experience) 1. In two sentences, describe the physical characteristics of the protagonist. Miss Mijares, who is the protagonist in the story, is a 34 year-old woman, slender, almost bony and likes to wear a thick row of ruffles that made her look as though she had a bosom. She had smooth, clear brow, thin cheeks, small, receding chin, lippy and sensual pout and curly hair. 2. Directly quote the lines from the story which gave you those characteristics. “She was slight, almost bony, but she had learned early how to dress herself to achieve an illusion of hips and bosom... On her bodice, astride or lengthwise, there sat an inevitable row of thick camouflaging ruffles that made her look almost as though she had a bosom...”, “Her brow was smooth and clear and she was always pushing off it the hair she kept in tight curls at night. She had thin cheeks, small and angular, falling down to what would have been a nondescript, receding chin, but Nature's hand had erred and given her a jaw instead. When displeased, she had a lippy, almost sensual pout, surprising on such a small face.” 3. Describe the protagonist's goal, conflicts and background. Miss Mijares worked at a job placement office for ten years that made her very unapproachable, impolite, and superior. All her life, she was just...
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...Ansley Brackett English 1102 Frank Inscoe October 6th, 2013 Character Analysis Essay A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen twists through three acts to peel back the layers of each character to show who and what they really are at the core. Each of the characters makes drastic changes over the course of the story. Nils Krogstad makes changes from a mysterious untrusted antagonist to a jilted lover and devoted father. The author sets the audience up for role reversals by all of the characters but I find that Krogstad’s change to be the most interesting and the most essential to the story. The play is set during a time where honor and respect are held in high regard, even more so than the duty to family or love. Although the audience doesn’t know it, Krogstad has done some vile things in the past. He receives no respect from any of the main characters and Nora is even warned by Dr. Rank that he is not to be trusted saying Krogstad “suffers from diseased moral character”. (Pg. 19 line 16) This is a very strong description coming from the trusted doctor. As the character is developed further we see that is just as vulnerable and human as Nora. In the opening act Krogstad is revealed as a villain. After waiting for Torvald to leave he returns to the home to speak to Nora. On page 23 he enters the home without notice and stands in the hallway. To the audience, his intentions are unknown, and as he silently watches Nora play with the children. Nora has already been warned that he is......
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The Virgin by Polotan
...easy, one does not dare--" "What do you mean?" she continued "Whatever my shortcomings, and no doubt they are many in your eyes, I have never gone out of my way, of my place, to find a man." 16. "Esperanza--" a desperate plea lay in his stumbling words. "If you--suppose I--" Yet how could a mere man word such a plea? "If you mean you want to take back your word, if you are tired of--why don't you tell me you are tired of me?" she burst out in a storm of weeping that left him completely shamed and unnerved. 17. The last words has been said But still, Alfredo and Esperanza got married He was not unhappy in his marriage. He felt no rebellion: only the calm of capitulation to what he recognized as irresistible forces of circumstance and of character. 18. After eight years, Alfredo was sent to a distant village due to a legal assignment. The place is names Sta. Cruz, Julia’s hometown He went to Julia’s house and found her there. Still unmarried. They talked. 19. Then he realized that his love for Julia was gone. He felt emotionless. So that was all over 20. Theme Forbidden love is apparent and it haunts the person until he/she realizes his/her faults 21. Estanislao, Yowela Paule, Josaiah Paul. Chapter 4- SCHOLASTIC TRIUMPHS AT ATENEO DE MANILA (1872-1877)-Summary By: Ianne Merh F. Tuazon, BSN II-1, Group 4 Jose was sent to Manila four months after the martyrdom of Gom-Bur-Za and with Dona Teodora still in prison. He studiedin the Ateneo Municipal,, a college under the......
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The Virgin by Kerima Polotan Tuvera Character Analysis
... a Character Analysis On Kerima Polotan-Tuvera's The Virgin www.termpaperwarehouse.com › English and Literature Feb 15, 2014 - Read this essay on A Character Analysis on Kerima Polotan-Tuvera's the Virgin . Come browse our large digital warehouse of free sample ... Kerima Polotan Tuvera's The Virgin: The Feminist Approach ... ezinearticles.com › Book Reviews › Short Stories Mar 31, 2014 - Kerima Polotan Tuvera was a renowned Filipino author. ... and discovery of the story or any kind of literary piece using character analysis. lit102: philippine literature: The Virgin by Kerima Polotan lit102.blogspot.com/2007/08/virgin-by-kerima-polotan.html The title of Kerima Polotan's "The Virgin" gives us the subject-virginity, female virginity, a cherished value of Filipino Male culture. By presenting its protagonist as ... The Virgin By Kerima Polotan Tuvera Story Analysis Free ... www.studymode.com/.../the-virgin-by-kerima-polotan-tuvera-story-anal... The Virgin by Kerima Polotan-Tuvera Kerima Polotan-Tuvera's “The Virgin” is a short story that is centered on two characters namely Miss Mijares and The ... Analysis Of The Short Story Th Virgin By Kerima Polotan ... www.studymode.com/.../analysis-of-the-short-story-th-virgin-by-kerima-... The Virgin by Kerima Polotan-Tuvera Kerima Polotan-Tuvera's “The Virgin” is a short story that is centered on two characters namely Miss Mijares and The ... The Virgin by......
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...Professor Susan W. Keith: Honors ECII Character Analysis: Paper #1- Character Analysis This paper is an analysis of the theme of alienation in Dagberto Gilb's short story, "Love in L.A." From its ironic title to its sense of continual longing for something "that would even make it better, “Jake,” the protagonist’s definition of “love” is expressed in different fashions, none results in anything positive; He portrays being lazy, somewhat poor, irresponsible, and perhaps a scam artist, lusting for materialistic things. Several essences reveal the main character true identity throughout the story: a love for image, self-conceit, and daydreaming. At the beginning, Jake, the central character, is "slouched" in his car, stuck "in the peculiar gray of concrete, smog, and early morning." The air and time around him are an amorphous mass that put him the mood to muse about the amorphous mass that is his life. Disdainful of those with regular jobs and regular routines, he waits for the traffic light to change while fantasizing about all the improvements his car ought to have and all the benefits those improvements would make. His way of cognition is similar to that of a younger person who's greatest preoccupations in life, like the stereotype of most guys, are cars and freedom. When the author states that "[Jake] needed an FM radio in something better than this '58 Buick..”(line 7), Gilb gives an estimate Jake's age bracket. The description the author gives of Jake thinking about...
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The Virgin - Kerima Polotan
...Activity 1. Factors influencing prenatal development? Drugs (street or over the counter) ‐ Alcohol ‐ Cigarettes ‐ Disease ‐ Poor nutrition ‐ Stressors ‐ Chemicals ‐ Almost anything can impact a developing fetus. Physical: Birth defects or congenital defects are present at birth. They result from heredity, environmental influences, or maternal illness. Such defects range from the very minor, such as a dark spot or birthmark that may appear anywhere on the body, to more serious conditions that may result in marked disfigurement, impaired functioning, or decreased lifespan. Chemical: Birth defects have a variety of causes. What causes birth defects and how to prevent them has been researched for years by the world's top scientists, particularly those involved in genetic testing and engineering. Birth defects, however, and their origins and cures, still seem to elude us. Mechanical : Thalidomide is perhaps the most notorious example of a drug that caused defects. It was brought on to the market without being tested on animal models, and it was specifically marketed for pregnant women. Congenital disorder, also known as congenital disease, birth defect or anomaly, is a condition existing at or before birth regardless of cause. Of these diseases, those characterized by structural deformities are termed "congenital anomalies" and involve defects in a developing fetus. Birth defects vary widely in cause and symptoms. Any substance that causes birth defects is known......
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...Reyes 1 Melissa C. Reyes Professor Marilyn S. Turner English M102 13 February 2016 Character Analysis “Saving Sourdi” by Nay-Lee Chai is a story of sisterhood from childhood to adulthood. The two main characters in the story are Nea, the younger sister and Sourdi, the older sister. The story is narrated by Nea and what she discusses is her difficulty growing up. Chai’s character is very relatable as we all have may have had some moments in our life when our parent’s have said something along the lines of what the girls’ mother says to Nea, “You not thinking. That your problem. You always not think!” (82). She also indirectly discusses the contrast between herself and Sourdi and how her aggressive thoughts and actions influence her decisions but also define who Nea is as a character. Nea is very much a static character from beginning to end. She does not develop at all at any point during the story. Nea from the get go is the protagonist in her sister’s life. The story starts off very dark as she describes that she was only eleven years old when she stabbed one of the drunk men in their families restaurant. She describes Sourdi as looking distressed when one of the men grabbed her and kept holding her tighter as her sister begged to be let go. Nea goes to the kitchen and sees a knife and that is what she saw as the solution to their problem. She leaves the kitchen with the knife and begins to wave the knife at the men. They start laughing and Nea Reyes...
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The Trap by Kerima Polotan Summary
...now known as the Ford Academy of the Arts. * In 1982, the city of Davao recognize her contributions to the culture and the arts through Datu Bago Award. In 1984, she was an awardee in the Philippine Government Parangal for Writers of the post-war years. In 1991, she was a Gawad CCP awardee for the essay in English. In 1993, she was the recipient of Outstanding Silimanian Award for her contributions to literary arts and culture. In 1993, the UP ICW named her National Fellow for fiction. She became the director of two NCCA Mindanao wide creative Writing Workshops and two UP National Writers Workshops. As of 1997, She was the President of the Mindanao Foundation for cultureand the Arts. SETTING: The Story happened in a Barrio. CHARACTERS: Constantina “Tinang” Tirol Senora (the former employer of Tinang Tito (son of Senora) Senorito(Father Of Tito and the Boss of Amado Amado Galuran (Tinang’s boyfriend) A Bagobo ( Tinang’s husband)Bagobito ( Tinang’s baby boy) CONFLICT/ PROBLEM: Tinang discovered after reading the love letter from her first love, Amado, that she still loved by him. However, by then, she is already married to a Bagobo and has son with hm. RESOLUTION: The conflict is resolved when Tinang prayed and beg to the Almighty no to punish her for thingking of other things outside from her married life. “Ave Maria Santisima. Do not punish me, she prayed, searching the baby’s skin for marks. This phrase indicates Tinang’s realization; that er......
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