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The sweltering heat and a cool history book

(Development worker, business woman, farmer and friend, Susan Palad, wrote a review of the book “The Davao We Know” edited and compiled by Lolita R. Lacuesta, in Davao City’s nostalgic past. We are taking the liberty of printing her musings.)

 The searing summer heat can be  merciless and I dare not venture outside  the house from 9 am to 3pm.

I take it as an opportunity to write some articles -Tales from the Boondocks and catch up with my readings.Thank you Sharon Gay Caneda  for lending me this compilation written by prominent Davaoenos.

It seemed improbable that the rich  Marfori children used to bathe at Bankerohan river or that the politically entrenched Garcia boys tried to earn extra pennies during the war as shoe shine boys.

Barrio Obrero was known as San Roque where the Carriedos,Inigos and Tionkos owned vast landholdings stretching to  Agdao  and  planted mostly  with coconuts.

And then who would ever think that the Bankerohan Bridge of a bygone era was a favorite  for “genteel late afternoon walks and pensive river gazing” which many would look forward to after  classes at the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Davao.

I was fascinated by the story of a Bagobo woman who was always seen  sitting at the stairs of the Lizada house or the Bagoba who was rescued when she was about to be beheaded and offered as a human sacrifice.She became a devoted nanny to the Carriedo and Inigo children.

It was sadly  fascinating to read about the great fire that changed the face of San Pedro St forever.I remember staying at my uncle’s house behind the Brokenshire Memorial Hospital .Most of the patients as well as neighbors   found refuge across Bankerohan.My cousins and I were evacuated to the bottling plant of 7UP in Bajada  where an aunt had a house.Later in the evening we gorged on the chocolates taken from the freezer of Jaltan.The owner told everyone to take whatever they can when they saw the fire going towards the direction of Brokenshire.

I read with painful sadness, stories of families massacred during the war, the  tortures and salvaging (killings) during Martial law and the ultimate sacrifice of liberation  heroes.But I was also inspired by the 12,000 men who built Farm 7 so the American can send the much needed supplies to win the war against the Japanese.

The heat outside might be unbearable  but a good book can always transport you to an exalted corner of your mind.


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