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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Chapter 14 - Baguio


Chapter 14
Baguio
           
        Few Few years back parting his ways from Driarco, Taklin surviving those grueling religious training from seminary must be add-on positive factor for his new found vocation. And what those beautiful memories he and Driarco experienced together in the Seminary. As fleeting as the wind, it was all what Taklin now remembers as he’s fast approaching Baguio, the Summer Capital of the Philippines  after those wobbling  travel from Manila all the way up passing dreaded Kennon road. It’s good that his parents empathized with him what  with his sudden turn-around of seeking far challenging military career leaving his good friend Driarco in the seminary.
            It’s weird but it seems his day is getting smaller as time passes by nearing his official destination.
             “Four years to fix things up while in PMA not bad idea. I think I could manage it or the dream of becoming a military officer would remain as an elusive dream ever,” he said as he alighted from the bus walking around the City.
            For the first time, Taklin feels lonely thinking of the void after  leaving  his family back home. He was sure though that this emptiness is  just but  natural feeling as he is giving up those solidarity with your loved ones in favor of far higher ambitious dream of becoming military officer. Sublimation this is it to focus more his energy for a far higher noble purpose in life. He has been there anyway  helping his father in their farm and now left on his own charting his path.
            “Father will always be special in his heart, no matter what. What good it takes if as a son you did not return back the compliment to your family who nurtured you reaching this far,” he reasoned out.                   
            Taklin‘s coming to Baguio was his first.  Like all other Filipino mortals, he’s been looking forward of visiting this Summer Capital of the Philippines.  Seeing the place is definitely exciting.  Boracay island with its finest white sand and crystal clear sea water; lanzones, hot and cold spring, sunken cemetery of Camiguin in Northern Mindanao; export quality pomeloes, durian and other tropical fruits,, Mt. Apo of Davao and famous blue marlin for juicy ‘kinilaw’ included; enchanting caves and exciting wild-life animals of Palawan; Puerto Azul of Mindoro; scenic  Taal lakes of Batangas; city in the sky at Tagaytay; religious festivities I Cebu like Sinaulog, Dinagyang in Iloilo, Moriones in Catanduanes and Atiatihan for Aklan – all these  great source of Filipino heritage and culture transformed to tourist attractions in the country are all familiar to Taklin’s ear but not on his eyes. For while it is considered pleasure to gawking tourist and wealthy Filipino , it is economic to Juan del a Cruz unless blown by wind of destiny to any of these places. 
            Taklin is indeed elated.  At least he scores one. He knows that he’s barely starting appreciation of his homeland that sends many Europeans and Americans exploring these places.  A foreigner of his own land, he remembers Mr. Ludimer telling him back home in his province.  Not anymore; you’re no longer a stranger to your own land buddy, thought himself while the air-conbus runs like bullet train thought he national road pavement.  Its zigzag routes,  Taklin observes the driver not giving damn manipulating difficult and dangerous curves sending fear and trembling down his spine.  Chasing several buses while descending Kennon road along deep ravine was disturbing. Occasionally, he would stare outside the window feasting his own eyes on the imposing canyon whose grandeur and magnificence is seen clearly through the glass.  It was a combination of pleasure and torture as the driver manifesting his recklessness. Now at last, he understands why drivers are better than priests.  Priests would only lull them to sleep with their dull homilies.  But a reckless driver always reminds them of God every time they manipulate the handle negotiating through mazes of difficult curves. It reminds him of similar sight-seeing in Bukidnon, Northern Mindanao where pineapples plantation of the Philippine Packing Corporation abounds all over the place as far as your eyes can see providing excellent balance to the towering canyons seen earlier.
            Momentarily, his ear registers some noise as the bus gradually scales the tortuous zigzag routes, the bus driver didn’t worry about anyway. It’s an air pressure disturbing his hearing.  Recalling the first aid learned from the past, he perfunctorily squeezed his nose closed.  With one deep bated breath blown against the base of his nostrils. To no avail.  It didn’t feel him good either. Swallow your saliva once you’re up there in the sky, he recalls the trainer  advising prospective passengers in air bus.  Applying  by instinct, it gives him relief somehow.
            The  huge lion’s head landmark along the road with “Welcome to Baguio City” was seen visibly painted in dirty white indicating that he’s nearing destination. Soon beautiful houses in navy blue, green chocolate, red colors sprouted up like mushrooms  giving indescribably delight Taklin’s eyes,  a living testimony to the  genius of Filipino painters and architects. 
“So this is Baguio,” he said with an aura of confidence and sense of achievement as if he has just successfully scaled a Mt. Apo or Mt. Hibok-hibok arriving the city.
             The cold weather was biting. Coming down from the vehicle, clouds of smoke gathered steam gradually covering the rain forest and vegetable gardens towards the south soon engulfed him.
            “Looking like I’m in cloud nine,” he thought.                       
            Acclimatizing is what he badly needs at least for one week.  Mr. Ludimer was right in advising him to come earlier. This would at least provide him the necessary advantage over other classmates and indispensable in getting rid of extra baggage. 
            “The training right there is rather very rigid, I just want to be sure that you have the necessary preparation,” he remembers the words of his mentor who happens to be an alumnus of PMA.  Riding a taxi cab for Teacher’s Camp where he would billeted, hundreds of makeshift shanties displaying flowers, fruit jams, fresh fruits and all that were seen along the city’s thoroughfares as if welcoming him to the cool city of the mountain. 
            “These must be the same people, hardworking ones he saw earlier by the slopes of the mountain cultivating vegetable gardens, engaging cut flowers production and planting fruit trees,” he thought.
             People walking briskly wearing thick coats with their hands solidly buried in their pockets caught the fancy of the young visitor as the friendly lady cab driver dropped him by the corner.              
            “Naembag nga aldaw kengkayo apo,” he said politely to elders passing him by as his gesture of respect.  It was tentative as he was negotiating the final stretch of the Teacher’s Camp.
            “Naembag nga aldaw mot,” one of the eldest answered; the rest nodded their heads collectively.
            “Welcome,” the other joined after surveying the apparent provincial personality of the visitor.
Taklin fidgeted that he would be proceeding Teachers’ Camp for a night or two before proceeding to Philippine Military Academy.  It was a good excuse though for his scant knowledge of the vernacular spoken by the group.  Tooth blackened by constant chewing of betel nuts glittered as they grinned to Taklin.
            “So you’d like to become a soldier,” one said.
            “Yes,” Taklin readily answered surprised how articulate his new found friends were.
           “Good to have you around.  We have so much bloodshed in the country today.  Unprecedented one. People seem to me are crazy these days bleeding the country dry at will. Chaos, disorder, armed strife, rebellion – they’re almost becoming the fad of the time thriving everywhere.”
            Taklin who was held captive  and dumbfounded listening the unsolicited talk.
            “The country just needs a break for peace.  We’re elated you’d like to become one of its crusaders.  When you do, please be a good soldier your children would like to emulate and any Filipino could be very proud of,” the elder advised the young visitor.  Wrinkles forming his forehead were pronounced as he smiled.
            “Like the Israelis’ soldiers who are treated first class citizens by the Jews providing them priority seats in all public utility transportation, “ the other intoned.
            Taklin was taken aback caught off-guard by the untimely message of inspiration from the old folks. He rarely heard unfamiliar comments yet couched in simplicity said in such courteous manner yet. He runs out of words but elated hearing the encouragement given.
            “Not like the military hired by the Fiufil, a big multinational corporation operating in Mountain Province driving us out from our ancestral lands to drain gold from our mountains,” the other member griped close to saying that hired military have no business operating in their area out of their official function.
            Hearing this revelation practically sends shiver down his spine gradually losing and breaking his grip of what once respected military institution.  Like globules swiftly freeing away from his fingers, his thought brought back the sad memories of many farmers in the country forcibly driven away from their farms by big corporation through hired military officials.
             Central Palm oil Plantation, Northern Industrial Development and similar industries operating in Mindanao are good examples.  Clearing of the area was done by the splintered military belonging to the Ragtag Command so called because all members are no longer  in active service conscripted by the government.  For survival, they offer their services for fee to any power-broker and big businessmen requesting for order and clearance in any area in favor of  the entry of business venture.  Palm oil industry is one.  It’s end product is reportedly used as fuel consumption for airplane and in operating satellites or so, Taklin was told.
            “The Commanding officer only asks us just one question after tendering the summon.  Nothing else,” recalling the testimony of Nong Duroy many months passed.
            “And what is it?” the question  playing back in his memory.
            “Just answer me either ‘Yes or No!’ . . . . Do you want still to live?”
            “Who dares to answer ‘No’ when the cold muzzle of 38 caliber is right poking your forehead.  No way unless you’d like to postpone your birthday forever.”
            “In simple terms, the CO summoning us under the direction of  owner  is forcibly coercing us to vacate our area for the project or they’re going to have our heads blown to pieces,” Nong Duroy reminisced sadly the incident.
            “We’re given payment alright.  But not current fair market value either. How would we ever survive.”  And the irony of it all, the deal was done right inside the palm oil industry office,” the poor farmer continued griping.
            Looking around Taklin realized that his friends were already far away.  It’s as if he has just woke up from deep sleep.  He proceeded walking toward the Teachers’ Camp dangling ruckpack in his back.  The accommodation was warm. His room spacious and cozy.  He had plenty of sleep that night gaining more energy restoring lost calories.
            Wanting to survey its thoroughfares, he woke up early and hurriedly don his Nike running outfit.  They were brand new his mother purposely provided him to help him sustain his vitality while away from home. 
            “Early bird catches worm,” he thought while jogging  He would take maybe his coffee in downtown.  First he went around the city and catches there several sport enthusiasts jogging. Too many of them were seen later running in the  oval joining the Gintong Alay trainees honing their skills for international competition.  Following their circular routes, he noticed that he is actually heading back to the camp.  Running by intuition, he digressed from the route and group passed. Turning left he passed Hyatt hotel and descending further he reached recreation center of the Americans. This is Camp John Hay, he saw printed on the billboard by the road.
            Baguio City was established by the Americans last 1900 to escape the tropical heat from Manila and other places. There they established Camp John Hay as recreation center honeymooners would like to spend their night away.  Possibly, as storage too of  Americans armaments.  With heart throbbing exhausted from running, he paused for a moment and summoned enough air and rest for this next leg.
            A scenic cemetery nearby for animal pets invited his curiosity.  Dog, cats, birds – all these were represented by their dummies atop their burial ground, holy Taklin supposed.  He was amused  what he saw and started thinking  whatever happened to Juan de la Cruz why dogs, cats and even rice fields rats end their natural death as sumptuous meal either in Filipino home or taken as appetizers during drinking spree.  He himself had tasted dog’s meat once and good heavens, who could  afford forgetting its delicious taste any foreigner might shout ‘fuck you men.’
            He has been a certified dog lover himself and could not stomach being negligent  the barbarity of Juan de la Cruz towards dogs much less eat their meat.  But unlike those duped into eating  without their knowledge, he too fell into the trap.
             He recalled donating 250 cc of type “B” blood for the first time to this good friend Emily who went by-pass operation at  Philippine Heart Center of Asia in Manila. She was his closest friend and he her confidante.  Three years his junior and an intelligent lady who graduated Magna Cum Laude later in one exclusive College in Manila.  He was hesitant at first but learning that his good friends’ life was at stake, he took the risk.  Exhausted after donating blood, Emily’s father prepared special menu sending the four others salivating waiting for the call. He did but only to treat their empty stomach with Ginebra San Miguel marca demono first. 
            Running out of patience aggravated by is hungry stomach, he took his glass filled to the brim with Marca Demoño one after the other shots. As if Emily’s father inadvertently set in the flavor  for supper, hot menu was just served on time. With his  eyes almost cross-eyed from the effect of Marca Demoño, he whetted his appetite at will. He kept coming back to the table scooping from the casserole what looks like dark meat stewed in potatoes and pechay.  And lo with eyes wide open regaining his sanity he almost choked to death discovering that the last piece of meat he ate was that of dogs’ feet  the remaining nails protruding yet!  No wonder that he finds the color, charcoal black, charred by fire too suspecting.  From then on, he promised not to fall into similar trap. 
Meanwhile, he continues sharing his blood to the needy.  Thus far, he has donated gallons of blood having done it several  times in a row.  Had he not contacted malaria from one of his vacation in Mindoro, he would have added several gallons more.
            “It’s good for the body. Impurities are sucked out from veins,” he told his friends later for his generosity.  Besides, it’s good for the soul you know saving lives,” he would add giving premium that blood is life.. 
            “It’s better to give than receiving  it yourself,” he challenged people.
            Indeed, Filipinos penchant of eating dog’s meat still intrigued Taklin. Is it for arts, culture, poverty, medicine whatever why Juan de  la Cruz has to go this far?  Unfortunately, Taklin believes that final answer is still blowing in  the wind.  How would you account for instance why other regions are so crazy for dogs meat.  He has seen for instance that people for Surigao del Sur, Mountain Province, Pampanga would rather prefer dog’s meat than that of pigs’ and goats’. Any social gatherings like birthdays or ordinary drinking spree would not be complete without asocena, he remembers Ka Ernie, a kabalen from Pampanga informing him how dear dog’s meat are to their appetite.
            “But no, we don’t take them as part of our meal. Very rarely,” he qualified. When a dog is butchered for you, that means you are very special visitor to us, he was told by Fred, another friend from Surigao. Grinded mixed with chili cooked till the water is drained make the Mountaineers from Ifugao special.  Roasted dog are what Filipino working in Middle East prepare during special occasion.  Taklin saw once a picture showing dog roasted with the celebrants at the back grinning wild.  No wonder they look like bulldogs too, remembering the shot.  He hears several other equally exotic yet strange menu like those double killed, balut na aso and nilabyog unfortunately has not seen them served before his naked yes.  Save for the double-killed he very well knew of rare and weird how  the balut na aso and nilabyog performed or cooked.
How are they cooked?
            “Oh simple,” Darwin from Cebu would say. 
            “All you have to do is to look for a female dog on  her way to delivery say three to six months depending your taste.  Then have her throat slit, body cleaned including the internal parts, intestines and all that leaving unborn puppies intact.  Treat the stomach with clove buds, pineapple juice, rum, brown sugar and all that.  Garnish with pineapple slices and cherries if you wish when you’re through cooking. Cooked for one  and a half hour basting it once in awhile.
            “Looks like you’re performing an abortion,” Taklin protested once. But Darwin laughed it away. 
            “If you find that menu funny, the more with nilabyog. It’s crazy, one that’s maybe  only existing from the rabid dog-eaters.”
 Save for the vernacular implying rope rotating in the air, he was practically innocent of what Darwin calls as super menu.
            “All you have to do starved the dog two to  five days till drained of impurities and energy sapped. Second, bought one kilo of lechon and cut them into pieces giving them to the dog.  Meanwhile, prepare a container with vinegar, onions, salt and all that. And as the dog consumes the last piece of lechon have a close grip of his tail and throw him rotating him around the air.  Don’t drop him until he could not stand reeling  As he vomits, catch the lechon back to the container and serve while still hot,” Taklin almost died laughing.
            “You see the folly of man.  He makes himself more than dog instead out of his silly menus prepared,” Taklin rationalized.
             No wonder that Americans lately berated such practice in their national daily.  Welcome to Filipino arts and culture celebration says the caption with two Filipinos roasting a dog  in the background.  The streamer looks inviting but not when one focuses on the caricature of Juan de la Cruz as executioner and cook of loyal pets, a member of a family to Uncle Sam.
            Taklin would also recall Sionel Jose’s Mass, a migrant from the province living in Manila.  Samson, the protagonist of the story owns a treasure pet – a dog no less - . Its color might have been black whose blood any Pangasinese loves drinking to cure reputedly an asthma. It was so lovable that the Mayor’s wife became so crazy about it.  Bribing Samson’s mother with sizable amount, the prized pet was surreptitiously taken to the Mayor’s house.  Samson hearing the incident engaged in hot pursuit at the Mayor’s house for possible retrieval. Unfortunately, what greets his eyes through the back door in the kitchen was the coup d’grace of his beloved pet.   Blood spurting out from the slit throat kept flowing right through funnel towards the Mayor’s wife’s mouth. The scene was rather gruesome, Samson just felt sick he went away running.
            “But do animals have karma?” Taklin would ask later after reading the novel. Maybe not farfetched idea. They too are God’s creation. They are in fact held sacred by some  ethnic groups believing in incarnation. Indians don’t butchers cows.  They believed them to be the reincarnation of their relatives.  The earth quakes, rocks fell, trees regain vitality, birds and the bees singing merrily when Christ resurrected from the grave  observes Paul Tillich, famous German theologian.  Sionil Jose of course vindicates the danger of killing dog.  The Mayor’s wife died instead from the fresh dog’s blood poured into her throat without seeing herself recovering from asthma and weak lungs.  Good grief Charlie Brown, Samson, the protagonist might have uttered relieved. Wish thunders would strike dog-eaters sometimes., Taklin de la Cruz would probably willing to die not eating dog’s meat and not the other way around, the though he finds amusing.
            Incidentally, Taklin had  similar experience. His own pet Mascara, so called because eyes seems to be sporting black and white spectacle sold by his mother without his knowledge. The pet  went back to him limping and blood draining down his head begging for dear life from the buyer rushing after him.
            “Sorry kid but your mother already sold him to us,” he said.
            “Ah okay,” kid’s response fidgeting buyer to come closer to get Mascara.
            Hesitant and staring right to the eyes, he extended Mascara whining from the damage done by the butcher with his left hand.  But as the butcher was reaching out for his pet, he unleashed a solid fifty kilos punch to the chin.  The swift right cross follow-up to the bread basket sent the poor man falling on his knees to the ground like marshmallow.
            “Good for you,” he told leaving the butcher gnashing his teeth  in pain.
            He also quiet vividly recall similar cemetery at San Elmo town, an island facing the famous Boracay island to the north and Sta. Elena, an enchanting municipality whose best contribution to the country are two lovely fine actresses in Philippine movies. It’s unfortunate however that some barangays are endemic of malaria.  Huge life-size artworks of sand-gravel and cement mixture are all what you would see at their cemetery.  In fact, some of  its dummies atop the burial ground like a miniature of small boat, painted fighting cock, a guitar and similar hallmarks could be very excellent substitute for any watchtower to fisherman.
            The mere sight alone of these objects from the distance would indicate how many nautical miles you are from the destination.  The area happens to fall under the typhoon belt zone. Transforming these into water breakers, typhoon sometimes could not wreck damage to Sta. Elena.  With varied huge concrete sea waterbreakers, onrushing giant waves would find their way back to the sea as they crash their way during typhoons.  An earthquake burying  these masterpieces to the ground might be it.  But so far none of such calamity has destroyed these important monuments. Maybe because of many  dead bodies long buried under whose sanctity preserved all the beauty over its niches. So be it.
            Back to reality, Taklin noted that none of his jogging outfit was drenched by perspiration despite of considerable kilometers covered.  Leaving Camp John Hay, he started increasing his speed keeping abreast with the blistering pace set by other Baguio runners ahead of him but he was far from secreting desired perspiration.  His calories seem to be lazy manufacturing one. He has been into running joining track and field contest like marathon.  Despite many failures of not winning, he religiously still attend said sport fest.  The thought alone of being one of the finisher and the joy of running against several veterans and professional runners is already great consolation and a feat for itself.  This what he also thought of life. It needs continuous running to get the most coveted prize. Million of miles is yet to be covered. Others have been into it while he is barely starting yet his dream.  PMA is such a nice base to start with, the thought running too in his mind  gradually slowing down catching up his breath.
            “The many the risk,  the better and colorful the challenge.”
. . . . . . . . . . . .

            Teachers camp occupants have already their breakfast at the refectory upon his arrival. He settled himself to the table by the fireplace to keep himself warm while waiting for his food.  A medium size, sinewy broad soldiers, clean shaven around forty years old man approached him. Taklin gesture his right hand for his seat at the same time surveying  unexpectedly the personality of the visitor that early.
            “Taklin de la Rosa,” the man  said sending tremble down his back.
            “You’re right. I am.”
            “Nice meeting you.  I am Capt. Estrada. Col. Joselito Ludimer’s bosom friend. Mr. Mirang is also with us in the  Reform the Society Movement, RAM for short” the intruder said showing his ID indicating that indeed he is an officer of  the military.  Only then that the prospective pleb recovered his normal composure intrigued mentioning the name of his previous military mentor back then at Sta. Rita.
            “I’m pleased meeting you too Capt. Estrada,” Taklin answered courteously standing dropping his head a bit as a gesture  of  respect.
            “I’m sorry kid for my blitzkrieg appearance but you see I just received a wire from Mr. Mirang  that you would be coming over to Baguio. How he’s been?”
            “Just fine, I suppose.  Do take your breakfast with me.”
            “Don’t worry. I’ll just manage. A cup of coffee and a piece of bread will do. I was told that you’re new comer to Baguio.”
            “You’re right,” Taklin responded without batting an eyelash.  His breakfast was put on the table by the waiter. It includes salted eggs with sliced tomatoes spread through it and fried pork chop. Capt. Estrada settled for coffee only and slice bread telling Taklin that he takes only rice soup and bread for breakfast. He is rabid sport enthusiast himself playing ballgames like basketball, softball and volleyball with intensity. He jogs but mainly to sustain his stamina in those ballgames specially basketball where excels in.  It is where his friendship with Col. Ludimer developed.
            “Excuse me. Col. Ludimer might have not divulged it. But it has been the tradition of RSM to offer services in whatever way we could contribute to those who are taking up military science as good cheer hopefully to perk your ambition up too to be one with us serving the country as military men  for good.“
            “Even if one does not intend to join your organization?”
            “You’re right. We respect each free will of an individual. We just feel it’s one of the basic need by us who have been through the rigors of training you know. So kid hope you would have four fruitful years ahead of you in the Academy. Keep it  up we’re around to help you stand on your feet.”
            “We’re almost like  brothers with Joe- that’s what we call him when we were at the academy then.  Joselit is just too formal. His eruditeness, scholarship, prudence and bravery remind us of our great hero Dr. Jose Rizal. He‘s almost his namesake precisely we alter his nickname “Lito” we found too boyish to that of Jose, Dr. Rizal’s nickname maybe to his friends.  And like the great hero, his academic grades at PMA is yet to be surpassed.  Hope you could be another candidate to carry the torch for excellence.”
            Taklin grinds hearing the anecdote of his good friend Col. Ludimer.
            “What’s up?”
            “Well its’ just like this as requested by my good friend Joe, I’d like that you’re safe in this city.  It’s one of  the most peaceful city in the country, you know. My residence is actually right in the heart of the City.”
            “Like Bukidnon, it’s good place to live at.  Cold, fresh fruits, place conducive to study and training.  Yes, that’s why the government has the Philippine  Military Academy established near this city,” he paused for a moment summoning enough air to sustain his talk.
            “Those are commercials. Let’s go to business.  Joe and me belong you know to Reform the Society Movement as earlier stated.  It is a unique organization among  PMERs recognized by Stock Exchange Commission meant to build military ideals right from military service. In one word ‘Democracy’.’ Other organization might have theirs.  It doesn’t make any difference. The approaches maybe different but the essence is similar I suppose.  The only glaring difference we have from the rest is that we treat commies as our arch enemies. To include their misguided accomplices – leftists, labor leaders, students and their misguided mentors, laymen, religious or who knows – even from among our ranks. We’ve been there and have offered our lives for democracy and freedom. No punning here . These people, take note,  do not deserve any of our trust.  If we could only wipe them out from the face of the earth, we will do it only to protect our freedom and democracy for the flag and country. God forbid, there should be no emergence of this godless society. Again we might pay our lives as price for this cause. No problem. Yes, by all means and we will be happy offering it.”
“Tell us if you know one and we’ll show you how it works. We will have his  head axed and rolled to the ground - anytime and anywhere you want”
            “Without due process of law!”
“No need. The more you negotiate with them, the easier they explain the issues away. For as long as you deliver the goods clean, no need for those extra legal help.”
            Taklin just opted  listening but more shocked and disoriented on the message just heard.
            “I know you’re probably frightened hearing this revelation. But this is precisely what we’ve been doing all those who would be joining our ranks – no holds-barred discussion on the mission we have and meting out of desirable penalty!”
            Taklin remained glued in the receiving end waiting further stunning issues.
            “These are faceless people – scum of the earth we would be happy dumping around making them effective fertilizers for democracy to thrive.”
            “On the first place, these people don’t deserve life. Not only that they do not respect our Constitution but also are raising up arms against duly constituted authority elected by millions of people to guide us through towards peace and development.”
            “To think that they have the answer to our country’s problem and that it only communism who could save it, is only true to people suffering neurosis.  Neurotic claim as psychologist would say.  God holds the only key to our salvation.  If I may sound religious.  Isn’t it? And they don’t have any business messing it here. It may come later but do they  have moral persuasion to force the issue?”
            “None.”
            “But carrying out this mission needs everybody’s help. That’s why the government has to levy taxes on its people.
            “I agree though to the atheists commies that we are living here and now that spiritual need may come later.”
            “Exactly that’s why we have to abide the laws of the land, respect and practice our basic rights not messing up with these laws fomenting hatred, rebellion and sedition among the people.”
Taklin didn’t get exactly the point here but just allowed the lesson of Capt. Estrada sunk into his subconscious.
            “Sorry to have shared our cause this you this early as it might pre-empt your study in the academy. But I hope it would make sense to you and would be of little help putting you in proper perspective. It’s one of the valid choice left to us excluding  none.  It’s hard but once we are used to it, things fall into their proper place all the way swiftly.  So by the time you would graduate, you would already know what to do.”
            Confusion was seen in Taklin’s face but he just kept his cool  to solicit his mentor’s ideas how foreign these might be to him.
            “Seems you’re one of my sponsor,” he digressed from the topic.
            “I am precisely inviting you for dinner maybe tonight or tomorrow for more hearty and meaty talk.”
            “Very nice of you.”
             “Not really.  It’s just part of our brotherhood Joe and me and the rest shared  nurturing what is  to be developed among incoming members of the organization.”
            “No man is an  island.  He could not stand alone you know.  So when we could have the  supper at home I’d like sharing some more with you the organization and what we intend to do.  Oh if I could only tell you how much I owe Mr. Mirang, you would probably learn that what I’m extending to you is just practically peanuts.  So how about that.  If you’re amenable, I’ll just drop you a line later.”
            “It’s a deal then. Okay,” Taklin readily acknowledge.
            “But of course, I’ll fetch you here.  Don’t worry I have my wheels.  I’ll take care also your first report to the academy.  Okay kid good luck.”
            Taklin was astounded by the deal of the Captain.  But it was real. He read himself his mentor’s wire.  No doubt about it. It was real.  The captain was already nowhere in his sight.  Taklin remained glued to his breakfast table wondering whatever happen to him – mind feed more than what his stomach could manage.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .




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