All original content of whatever nature created by Joey G. Alarilla and posted on this weblog is made available to the public under a Creative Commons License. Violators will be pummeled repeatedly on the head with a keyboard.
I wrote 1, 961 words today, giving me a total so far of 12, 153 words out of the 50, 000 I promised, in a fit of madness, to complete by midnight of Nov. 30. Sigh.
Thanks to Dean Alfar for all his encouragement. Check out his blog for a list of our fellow NaNoWriMo participants in the Philippines. Truly, these people are an inspiration, and I wish all of us luck as we overcome all odds to reach the finish line. Oh, and read Dean's Salamanca novel.
From Miriel I learned that this town now known as Taal once lent its name to the whole province, when it was the capital of la provincia de Taal, which people now refer to as Batangas. All I had known in my lifetime was Manila -- it was my world and I was happy in it. In my time, my father spoke of the great earthquake that finally brought Taal to its knees, in the Year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and forty-nine. It was not the end, so I learned from Miriel, but the beginning of the end.
Taal is a magical place, where the breath of miracles sustains the broken spirit of the land. I have seen the miracles given earthly form, from the shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay to the 125 steps of the San Lorenzo Ruiz arch, to the grotto and well of Santa Lucia. I have seen the image of the Virgin that the devotees found floating in the well, the well that once was the belfry of the church, before it sunk into the earth.
I wept when Miriel took me to the Basilica of San Martin de Tours. Miriel told me that this magnificent church rose from the rubble of the great tremor, and that nine years it took to build this house of God. She has told me dazzling tales of this mighty town, which ruled over this portion of the great Balangon region that stretched from the lake and volcano that bear the same name, all the way to the Bay of Balayan. In the first two centuries from the time the conquistadores of Iberia laid claim to these islands in the name of Sword and Cross, Taal flourished, until the great eruption of Taal Volcano in the Year of Our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and fifty-four. Who knows how many souls died when the lake of fire destroyed the surrounding villages, how many lives were buried in ash and flame and molten rock?