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August 17 2010 3 17 /08 /August /2010 11:04



Calandracas #1

 Selected Stories & Other Writings



Philippine Copyright©2006 by A. R. Enriquez

 Cover Design by Anton Vladimir V. Enriquez

Drawing by Nonoy Estarte





Short Stories

Asocena 6, Iguana 25, Pablo-Pedro 54, The Ant Hill 79

The Icon 97, Dance a White Horse to Sleep 167


First Chapter


English 193

Chabacano 210



To Forge a Voice 228, Writing in English 245


Zamboanga:the “Garden of Flowers”

never was! 255, Jesuits Return to Fort Pilar: 1666—

No Way! 259





Short Stories







Like most of the boys in Labuan, a

coastal barrio in Zamboanga, Chu had a farm

dog. He called him Leal, which in the native

tongue Chabacano means loyal. It was always

fun to watch Leal chase the big monkeys in the

cornfield, for as the dog passed under the low

branches of the trees on the slope of a small hill

above the slash-and-burn farm, the monkeys

hanging by their tails from the low branches

would reach out and pull Leal’s tail. This

always enraged the dog and he would bark at

the foot of the hill until the monkeys, bored,

left for higher branches. Chu could not think of

anything funnier happening to a farm dog.

Early one morning Leal was missing,

and Chu went up to their farm to look for him.

“Have you seen Leal, Pa?” he said.

“No,” his father said. “I thought he was

with you when I left the house.”

“I hope nothing has happened to him,”

the boy said.

The father noted real worry in his son’s

voice. His boy was taking it badly. He was too

“Maybe he’s in the house,” he said.

“I already looked for him everywhere

in the house,” the boy said, “and on the yard,


“Don’t worry, Chu,” the father said. “He

is just around somewhere.”

“Do you think, Pa,” Chu said, “anything

has happened to him?”

There was that worry in his voice again,

the father noticed. Chu looked bad trying to

hide his worry, not knowing how to handle it.

“You are a big worrier,” he said. “Why don’t

you look for him at the river? He loves to flush

those wild palomas pigeons along the river


The sun was still very young in the

morning. Chu walked barefoot along the

footpath, coming down the slope of the hill

through the meadow in front of the house. The

path was smooth and the dew was cool under

his bare feet. He passed the house and went

around the back and on to the long bank of the

river, his feet wet in the mud clay, and then

went up the river to a clearing below the woods

where the wild pigeons came down every

morning. But the palomas were quietly feeding

in the black sand, pecking at the small pebbles,

lumping low and short-legged on the river bed.

If Leal were here, he would come between them

and the clearing, and once they flushed they

would come whirring at him, some rising

steep,others skimming by his head, before they

angled back down into the brush. And so Chu

went on, around the clearing, taking the longer

route back to the house.

At lunch Chu would not eat anything.

He sat at the table staring at the food on his

plate. He had that worried look again, the same

one as at the farm, staring at his food without

touching it.

His father said, “Don’t you want to


Chu said,” I’m not hungry.”

“The tapa sundried meat is

wonderful.” The father picked up Chu’s plate,

put a piece of fried venison on it, and, setting

the plate down in front of the boy, he said, “You

try it, hijo.”

Chu’s mother reached for a knife on the

table and cut the venison into slices. Then she

set the knife down beside the meat. She said,

“Try a tiny piece, Chu.”

“I don’t want to eat anything,” the boy








We heard the mother hen croak.

“Get up, Macario,” Ma said.

“The mother hen…”

“What?” said Pa, awakening.

We heard the hen croak again

and then, all of a sudden, become quiet…

“The mother hen,” Ma said.

“Maybe the iguana has entered the chicken

house. Quick.”

“Leche!” Pa said.

I am sitting on the top rung of the kitchen steps

with a .22-caliber rifle in my hands. I sit there

waiting for the iguana to come out of the

bamboo thickets across the river. It is morning,

soft and light.

Just then I hear mama call me from the

flower garden. I lean the rifle against the wall

of the kitchen and go down the wooden steps.

Then I go around the back of the house and on

to the footpath, worn smooth and scoured by

countless interminable feet, and then across

before the now useless, broken-down chicken

house. I go on. Suddenly the path levels off as

straight as a plumb-line toward the garden. I

walk a small way on the footpath before

stopping in front of the garden.

Ma is squatting on the ground before her flower

bed of daisies. Her hands are busy turning the

soft black loam over and patting it gently

around the stems. “Where is the water I asked

you for?” she says without yet looking up at

me. “Did I not tell you to bring me some


I have forgotten all about the water.

“You did not tell me, Ma,” I say. She stands up,

her hands caked with black loam and hanging

rigid at her sides. She turns toward me. Her

eyes become locked with mine, quiet and

searching. But I still don’t move.

“You must help me in the garden, hijo,”

she says. “For your father won’t lift a finger to

help me.” As I look back at her, I notice the

reddish blotches on the balls of her eyes and the

swelling around them, and I think, She cried

some more after Pa left. She cried there in her

room. Alone there in her room she cried as papa

tramped angrily out of the house.

Earlier Pa had shouted at her and was

very red behind the ears with anger. I was then

under the house, the bamboo-split floor not

three feet above my bare head, and I was about

to take the fodder to our pigs when I heard him,

in the sala, say: “I’m not giving you even a

centavo. Not one centavo, do you hear? Nothing

for that foolishness of a chicken house.”

“The iguana will kill all my chicks,”

said Ma. I suddenly stood stock-still under the

house, not making any noise that would warn

them. Then she said, “Last night I lost my last

chicken, the mother hen of those chicks. If you

don’t give me money to repair the coop, the

iguana will eat all those chicks tonight. See if I

am wrong.”

I could hear them talking loudly in the

sala through the bamboo-split floor. I heard Pa

say, almost hissing with anger, “That wouldn’t

have happened if you had listened to me. But

you would not listen. What you listen to are

those foolish ideas which go around in your


“You do not care about the chicks,” I heard

mama say. “You would rather see them all eaten

up by the iguana than give a centavo to repair

the chicken house.” Standing under the bamboo

floor directly where they both stood or sat I

heard papa’s chair scrape as though he were

about to rise, and then just as suddenly he

changed his mind and remained seated, still and


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  • : Antonio Enriquez's name
  • : Work of folktales, historical pieces, fiction and nonfiction: stories and novels set mostly in Zamboanga Peninsula and Maguindanao. Chabacano pieces.
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