". . . During the
campaign, what struck us was the response of the people. Wherever we went, people lined up
in the streets chanting, 'Cory, Cory.' It was almost like a hero worship. The campaign
tours lasted beyond our schedule. Cory and Doy sometimes arrived hours late, but people
stayed to wait for them. That's the beautiful part of it. The people did not leave . .
Cecilia Munoz Palma
Member of Parliament
home > the beginning > dekada
'70: a book review
the 70's, the Republic of the Philippines was suffering under the midst of then- President
Ferdinand Marcos' reign as ruler. It was in September 21st, 1972, that he chained close
whatever inkling of democracy the Filipinos had by declaring Martial Law. Unfortunately,
it was a rule of a a twisted sort: the nation would be under the rule of the Armed Forces,
but contrary to its definition, Marcos' Martial Law kept himself in power.
Dekada '70 (Translated into
English, the 70's decade) is a bittersweet tale of love in the face of hate, hope in the
face oppression, and new life in the midst of death. It is a novel of a mother, her
examination of her oft-unappreciated role in modern society, and how she struggles to find
for herself a sense of purpose and identity while suffering through the very pit of the
nation's disintegration. It is a novel of a mother and her family, how society around her
affects her family. It is a tale of she becomes torn between the letter of the law or her
responsibility as a mother.
Dekada '70 tells
of how under hate, greed and corruption, one normal person transcends beyond right and
wrong: instead learns that it is freedom that entails survival.
Set in the 70's,
urban Metro Manila, Amanda Bartolome is a middle-class mother of five young men. Amanda
acts as a supposed symbolism of detachment. First of all, she was a mother, a housewife;
such were not considered integral parts of society during those times. She was not the
breadwinner; she did not experience the foremost effects of the decline of the Philippines
economy back then. She was a member of the middle class; her family did not take money,
like the rich, nor did her family suffer the worst of the financial crises, like the poor.
The lives of
Amanda's children each went in different directions in the story, and each varied. Her
eldest son was Jules. Jules grew up normally, similar to every other ideal family. His
upbringing was that of what ideally conformed to normal standards and circumstances. Being
the eldest, however, Jules lived, and more importantly, matured through the shock caused
by the declaration of President Marcos' martial law. Thus, Jules lived his adolescence
exposed to rebellious reading material, and inevitably molded his mind into that of
guerilla. Jules grew up to become a member of the communist New People's Army, and his
evolution came full circle.
Amanda and the
father, Julian, had suspicions of their son's inclination to become an anti-Government
winger when they found copies of rebellious pamphlets lying around the house. It was when
they confronted their son with it that he told them of his decision. At first, the
conflict that had arisen was unbearable. But eventually, as
grew to accept their son, and became proud of him. In fact, heir home became a constant
place of recreation for Jules, and more often than not he would come by with a friend.
The friend of
Jules whom Amanda had become the fondest of was Doming. Doming stayed with their family
for quite a while, because he was recuperating from an injury. The family became close to
the young man because, among other things, he reminded them of their son Jules. But, it
was all too late when they realized that Doming was an operative of the government all
this time. He exposed Jules. His friendship was all a front. Jules was subsequently sent
most successful of the children was Isagani, their second child. With Jules becoming a
rebel, they became more careful with how they handled Isagani, or Gani, as they fondly
called him. Gani then grew up to become a sailor, and became the family's cream of the
crop.Gani, however, quickly became the goat of the family because he had made the simplest
mistake of getting a girl, his girlfriend Evelyn, pregnant. Naturally, being a Catholic
country, the parents insisted on marriage. Alas, their lives were nothing but hollow
imitations of couples in love, without enough of the very essence that keeps two people
together. Their separation was inevitable; Gani never lived the shame down.
was the third Bartolome offspring that provided himself with the most secure future.
Emmanuel lived the same life as his elder brothers, but knew that the extreme left and the
extreme right had no place in society. He called for peaceful evolution, change in the
form of expression. He wanted to become a writer, a noble profession, one exceptionally
crafted for someone of Emmanuel's ability. His problem was, his father violently objected
to his son's decision, due to practical reasons. There is no good pay for a writer.
Julian's favorite among his children. He was also the opposite of Emmanuel. While Emmanuel
was studious and hardworking, Jason was a typical teenager. He joined rallies to make
noise, not express a message. He was a constant failure in school, albeit his problems
were self-inflicted. He stole from his parents. He lied to them. However, in the midst of
the first three brothers' hardships, it was Jason's happy-go-lucky demeanor that provided
Amanda and Julian with a well-needed dose of happiness. Unfortunately, in the end, it was
Jason's felonious tendencies that caused hm his life; it wasn't his fault, but he was out
with his usual round of pecadillos that the police accidentally killed Jason.
he was sent to prison, Jules himself met a girl he wanted to marry. And unlike Gani, he
truly loved this woman, Marah, and also got her pregnant. While in prison, he married
Marah, and so there was the first addition to their family.
The youngest son
was Benjamin. After all had come to pass, he was in the middle of his teens.