(Buddhist flash fiction)


‘Do you believe in soul mates?’ he asked her on the bed after they made love.
‘You said we were both Buddhists,’ she answered, giggling. ‘but meeting you does feel like destiny!’

She snuggled to him, this unfortunate stranger she met a month ago naked on the street, mugged and stripped of his clothes. She tried kissing him, but he had a look of an almost hungry distractedness. She loved this distance of his, but at times like this it made it hard to reach him.

‘But do you believe that we all come from One, and that we are fragments of a broken whole?’

‘Well…’ as she fell silent in thought for a while he caressed her leg, and this reassured her. ‘Well, there is the bija during punabbhava, a single aggregate can break off into many fragments, each starting new aggregates.’

For a moment he fell quiet. And then, after a while, he began talking.
‘Let me tell you the story of an Arhat who fell from grace in the Abode of the Righteous.’

She was fascinated with Buddhism, and part of why she fell in love with him was because he know so much about it.

‘The Arhat had disputed with the others on the existence of the Brahman. The Buddha himself said it did not exist, but the Arhat insisted that it did.
‘The other Arhats ignored him, but when he revealed what he believed was the way of becoming Brahman again, they feared him. They crowded around him, threw him against the floor, and he shattered into a myriad fragments, which scattered out unto the Realm of Desire to be seeds for aggregates.

‘It came to pass that one of these seeds became a cockroach, and another a butterfly. The butterfly was soaked with rain and, dying, fell onto the ground, whereupon the cockroach found it. As the butterfly slowly died, the cockroach began devouring it. And when it had done so it, in its state of irrationality, suddenly learned the feeling of emptiness. It sought to fulfill this emptiness, vainly, by eating.

‘It is in this state of bereft hunger that a frog – another aggregate of a fragment – devoured the cockroach, and the frog too came to know an even more pronounced bereavement. It sought vainly to fulfill too its hunger by eating.
‘But when another aggregate from a fragment, a snake, devoured the frog, the snake found itself sentient, remembering the glorious being it had been in the Abode of the Righteous. And it wept, for he knew his loss in full. But he had come to acquire too the cognizance to determine the lives which were aggregates of his fragments, and he thereafter sought them and devoured them.

‘When he had found and devoured a few fragments that have aggregated into rats, he found himself transformed into a bird. And as a bird, he soared and sought more of his fragments.

‘When thus transformed he had found and devoured a few fragments that have aggregated into fish and a few bits of moss, he found himself transformed again into a cat. And as a cat, he prowled and sought more of his fragments.

‘When thus transformed he had found and devoured a few fragments that have aggregated into rats and bushes of catnip, he found himself transformed again into a dog. And as a dog, he prowled further and sought more of his fragments.

‘When thus transformed he had found and, though unusual for a dog to do so devoured a few more fragments that have aggregated into mice or fish or birds, he found himself transformed again into a human being.

‘Indeed, this is how, as an Arhat, he had proposed to the Righteous how to become Brahman again: all beings are fragments of the One, and if one among them were to consume the others, all would be One again.

‘But do you know what it feels for one to crave the fragments of one’s own past aggregate?’

‘How?’ she asked bemusedly.

‘Overwhelming attraction, that you wish to be united fully, completely. Human beings call it love.’

‘She broke into a cold sweat. ‘They do?’

‘Yes. And I love you. You will complete me.’

She giggled nervously, ‘Isn’t the expression ‘you complete me?’’

‘No, you will. When I had devoured that rat and transformed from the cat into a human, you found me on the street, clothed me, and loved me. But I knew from the moment you saw me that you were part of me.’

‘But I thought you had been robbed!’

‘Of my fragments, yes. But now, after fifty years of searching, I have found you, and I had found them all.’

‘What on earth are you –?’ before she could finish her question his mouth had expanded to the size of the bed, he swallowed her whole, and he once again became an Arhat.


36 Stratagems to win a Philippine Election


1. Tell your dramatic rags-to-riches story again and again to the point of sum-od. Embellish a bit if you need to. Get a Maalaala Mo Kaya episode if you can.

2. If running for National office, get the support of local kingpins. They can help deliver votes.

3. Tell people you will win. Filipinos will not vote for you if they know you will lose (sayang ang boto). Choose the political party with the most number of winnable candidates. If running for local office, get the endorsement of the winnable national candidates. Their ‘magic’ will rub on you (heads up: no point looking for policy bedmates, political parties don’t have ideologies).

4. Attack the administration if you can. Even if you were part of the administration, it can help, people won’t notice.

5. Be pro-poor. Use ‘mahirap’ as many times in speeches as you can.

6. Say you hate corruption. Nobody loves corruption of course, but just say it. A lot.

7. Have dark skin. Too pale and you’d be an elitista. And it means you’ve been campaigning under the sun and are therefore hardworking (share pictures of tan-lines on social media!).

8. Be updated with what’s trendy, from KathNiel to Katniss Everdeen, and all the Gloc-9 in between. Makiuso pa more! #AngInAyPasok

9. Be young, people will vote for you just because you’re young. Unless your name is Juan Ponce Enrile.

10. Jingles and dance steps, while rarely decisive, can help by swaying the whimsically undecided. Broadcast your jingle in neighborhoods on vehicles with loudspeakers like it was the holy gospel.

11. Give away stuff with your name and/or face, from face towels to pasadors.

12. Give away stuff in general. But note the occasion: do not give relief goods during fiestas, and do not donate lechon during a wake.

13. Play around with your name: Jormax Repollo will be ‘Jors truly, to the Max!’ ‘Repollo, Itanim sa Senado!’

14. Make your face and name ubiquitous. Posters and campaign adds everywhere! Nailed on the trunks of Critically Endangered trees, written in paint on the boulders along the Davao-Cotabato road. Pay homeless people to walk around wearing shirts with your name and picture.

15. If you are the main administration bet, scaremonger: stability vs. uncertainty?

16. If inexperienced, say ‘wala akong karanasan sa katiwalian.’

17. If running for National Office, learn the languages in the regions.

18. Love God, publicly and loudly. Bring a Bible around (except when you’re in Muslim territory or campaigning among the LGBT).

19. Suck up to the religions. Don’t mind the Catholics too much, they never follow their religion anyway, but the Protestants almost always block-vote.

20. Get celebrity endorsers. Bring him/her/them around during campaigns as often as possible. Be ninong/ninang to their weddings if you can.

21. Get married during election season, though try to do it a bit later into the campaign.

22. If running for Vice (president, governor, mayor), tandem with a winnable but old and/or sickly standard-bearer. Invest in your future.

23. Before the filing of candidacy, be guest speaker or judge in as many graduations, conferences, conventions, weddings, and Miss Gay pageants as you can.

24. In public speeches, when talking in front of the unwashed masses quote Jose Rizal, Ninoy Aquino, Cory Aquino, or any currently popular teen loveteam. When talking to the bourgeoisie, quote Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, or Steve Jobs.

25. If just running for class officer in school, ‘do not promise anything but promise to do your very best.’

26. If not winnable personally, run for partylist!

27. If running for partylist, start your partylist name with zero or the letter ‘A’ to be at the top of the list. Also consider using X, Y, or Z to be at the prominent bottom.

28. Pay. And pay more. A single peso advantage over your opponents can sway votes.

29. Also possible to barter votes for rice, canned goods, or cell phone load.

30. Accuse your opponent of vote buying. Staple their names and the positions they are running for one bundles of 20 or 50 peso bills (the lower the bill, the angrier you make people).

31. For the baluarte of your opponents, the carrot and the stick: pay them not to turn up, and threaten them subtly (‘you cannot assure their safety’) if they vote.

32. Use all your prenominals, postnominals, and courtesy titles in your campaign materials, The Hon. Prof. Gen. Atty. Jormax Repollo MD, PhD, DPA, MBA,CPA,RN

33. If from a prominent family, display your family name to the point of indecency. Use ‘ipagpatuloy ang nasimulan’ as mantra.

34. Assassinate a relative during the election season. Try to blame it on your opponent.

35. Instigate violence during your own Candidacy Filing, kill a few journalists covering for dramatic effect. Blame it on your opponent. Do not do the same to your opponent’s Filing.

36. If all else fails, complain that you have been cheated. If you die before COMELEC makes a ruling, your widow/children can run ‘para ipagpatuloy ang nasimulan’!

My Strangers’ Repository

Part of my Library and Personal Archives is the body of unbound written materials by other writers I’ve acquired as a student, teacher, and friend to writers. They range from photocopies of literary theory readings discussed in class to the syllabi of subjects I thought in different schools. Of course a large portion of it is also composed of photocopies of literary works I picked up over the years.

A portion of it is what I call my Strangers Repository, composed of manuscripts by writers I know personally. Some of those writers are established auhtors already, though I also have works by (as of yet) non-writers. The latter is composed of my students, classmates, or peers. In the case of students, what I have are usually works they gave in class and which I found worth keeping.

I keep these files in case the writers might one day want to get a copy of their own work. I know all too well the feeling of losing a copy of my own work (I’ve whined about this before), and if I can I’d like to help others avoid that.

I’m making the list of documents available here. Please note that, unless the document has sentimental value, I’m assuming a 50 year storage period, after which the document will be disposed of. Additionally, rights to claim these works belong exclusively to the writers, so I’m afraid I cannot satisfy stalkers.

The documents in my Strangers’ Repository are as follows:

  • ‘Sun and Moon: Two Faces of the Amulet’ by Andrea Abellera (full length musicale)
  • ‘Isla Verde’ by Errol Merquita (short story)
  • various performance poems by Norman ‘Noy’ Narciso
  • first scene of a play adaptation of ‘Mangulayon’ by Macario Tiu
  • ‘Magindala’ by Don Pagusara (full length musicale adaptation)
  • ‘Suwab sa Pulong’ by Don Pagusara (collection of Martial Law protest poems arranged as a play)
  • ‘A hymn of peace’ by Don Pagusara (poem, written as a craft-decorated card)
  • ‘Wayts dyud papa no?’ by Don Pagusara (poem)
  • ‘The Language of Magic, the Magic of Language’ by Don Pagusara (lecture)
  • Lecture given to Ateneo de Davao’s SALEM by Aida Rivera Ford
  • ‘The Writing of “In My Father’s House”‘ by Elsa Martinez Coscolluela (lecture)
  • ‘Taxonomy’ by Michelle Tan (essay about the 2012 Silliman Writers Workshop)
  • Review of the 2013 Silliman staging of Elsa Martinez Coscolluela’s ‘In My Father’ House’ by Michael Aaron Gomez (copy on the 25 July 2013 issue of the Weekly Sillimanian)
  • Illustrated adaptation for children of ‘The Lady and the Tiger’ by Krizia A. Magallanes and Suset Nasareth B. Redillas
  • ‘Unity Through a Boxing Match’ by Glyd Arañes (essay)
  • ‘Jacinto’s Off Switch’ by Ianne Angel Aquino (essay)
  • ‘The Banning of the Use of Literature in Nationalistic Uprisings’ by Ianne Angel Aquino (argumentative research paper)
  • Short essay-type quiz on the poems of Leona Florentino by Khail Nicolo Tuboro (handwritten, half yellow pad paper)
  • ‘The square root of 3’ by Vincent Sacamos (poem, handwritten, intermediate paper)
  • ‘Duma-Gritty’ by Kyle Duazo (essay)
  • Essay on the (then) One Negros Region Proposal by Rio A. Enolpe
  • ‘Romeo and Jul—‘ starring Evan Ezquer, Hazel Bangcat, Czyrah Camille Academia, Andrea Alba, Deither Bargamento, Macquilson Dinglasa, Arlene Gaviola, Al Kadhzer Kabulay, Adrian Tupas, and Monica Louise Ballo-Allo (full length play skit)
  • Essay about Bisexuality by Martizza Eltin Diligencia
  • ‘The Memorable Pain of My Life’ by Adrian Ray Maranga (essay)
  • Essay about having Lupus by Pamela B. Pascual
  • Short essay on his parents breaking up by John Michael Anthony Ferrazzini (handwritten, notebook page)

The Repository also includes the manuscripts from the different workshops I have been to. But I have yet to catalogue those. I will make them available here as soon as I have done so.

Call for Submissions to the 17th Ateneo de Davao Writers Workshop

(This is where I started writing in Davao. I can’t believe it’s been six years since I was a fellow!)


The peculiarity of Filipino Honorifics

One of the first things one notices about the Filipino languages is the proliferation of honorifics used to address family members.As a sign of respect to these relatives one cannot call them by their names, and instead use these terms of address.

In Tagalog, for instance, one has the following common honorifics:

Mama/Inay/Nanay – mother
Papa/Itay/Tatay –  father
Lolo – grandfather
Lola – grandmother
Tito – uncle
Tita – aunt
Kuya – older brother
Ate – older sister
Ninong – godfather
Ninang – godmother

In some families with Chinese roots a more nuanced set of honorifics are also used for first, second, or third sons or daughters. In some families with Spanish roots too, ‘abuelita’ and ‘abuelito’ may still be used to refer to the grandparents. These cases are now rare outside of such families.

It must be noted that ‘tito’ and ‘tita,’ as well as ‘ate’ and ‘kuya’ for younger elders, may also be used for any other person older than one, particularly for family friends or parents or siblings of friends.

These honorifics have generally encroached into the other Filipino languages (a quiet sign of Tagalog imperialism), but distinct honorifics still continue. In Cebuano for instance, ‘kuya’ and ‘ate’ may be used, but the original terms of address may still sometimes be heard:

Mamang – mother
Papang – father
Manong – older brother
Manang – older sister
Dodong – son/any boy
Inday – daughter/any girl
‘Gaw (shortened form of ‘ig-agaw’) – cousin

In Cebuano it is also common to refer to other people who are older with ‘angkol’ or ‘anti,’ corruptions of ‘uncle’ or ‘auntie.’ I speculate this has Chinese roots.

My family is part Ilocano, so I grew up with the word ‘ading’ (younger sibling). In our Kidapawan Tagalog-Cebuano-Ilocano hybrid mother tongue, this is more a referential term than an honorific, although I remember my father sometimes using it for my brother in a cute, patronizing tone (‘ading, saan ka na naman galing ha?’).

Which may lead one to wonder why a father would be calling his son ‘younger sibling.’ But this is not uncommon in Filipino languages – or indeed not surprising in any language, as parents often use the appropriate honorifics their children should be using to give their children examples. Hence a husband may call his wife ‘mama,’ and the wife call him ‘papa’ so the children will learn. In my family too, my mother calls me ‘kuya.’

But this ends up being carried over even to the succeeding generations, and it can be confusing to the unfamiliar. My family demonstrates that best:

(lolo) Papa/ Tatay – my maternal great-grandfathers
(lola) mama/ Nanay – my maternal great-grandmothers
Ninang Ludy – my grandfather’s older sister (my mother’s godmother, other relatives call her ate)
Kuya Chito – my maternal grandfather’s younger brother
Uncle Andres – my paternal grandfather’s younger brother
Mommy Vinia – my maternal grandmother
Mama Mila – my paternal grandfather
Kuya Eric – my uncle
Tita Yayang – his wife
Ate Christie/Ate Yayan – my maternal aunts
Tita Lanie – my paternal aunt

To make it even more confusing language sometimes plays a role in making distinctions: between me and my brother, without specific context ‘ang mama’ would usually refer to our mother, but ‘si mama’ would refer to our paternal grandmother Mama Mila. ‘Ang’ as an identifying article is Tagalog, so it’s not unusual for my mother, but Mama Mila is Bul-anon.

But these honorifics not only so give one a sense of the linguistic diversity in our homes, it also lets us who use it feel closer to otherwise distant ancestors and elders.




‘Bago Aplaya’ by Macario Tiu: A Translation and Analysis

Bago Aplaya
by Macario Tiu

Hinay ang tapya sa balod
Ug nagsugod na ang taob.

Namasbas ang pari sa bangkang de motor,
Ug lakip tang nawiskan sa bendita.
Uban sa mga gagmayng mananagat nga nanag-alirong.

Nalipay ako sa ilang kalipay
Nga nakaangkog himan sa panagat:
mao kana ang atong gisaulog.

Apan hinay ang tapya sa balod
Ug nagsugod na ang taob.

Ug sama sa karaang magbabalak,
Akong nabati ang walay kataposang kasubo
Nga dala sa balod.

Apan dili tungod sa pangagho sa katawhan
kondili sa akong kaugalingong kahimtang.
Ugma, mobiya ka na sa hangtod
Samtang hinay ang tapya sa balod
Ug magsugod na ang taob


Bago Aplaya

Gentle is the dashing of the waves
and the tide is rising.

The priest blesses the motor powered boat;
and we are sprinkled by holy water
along with the humble fishermen gathered.

I am happy for their happiness, gaining
a new tool for their fishing:
This is what we celebrate. But

Gentle is the dashing of the waves,
and the tide is rising.

And, like some old poet
I feel the ceaseless sadness
washed ashore by the waves.

But not because I hear
the endless sighing of mankind,
but because of my own sad predicament.
Tomorrow, you will leave me forever
While gentle is the dashing of the waves
and the tide is rising.

Macario Tiu’s poem ‘Bago Aplaya’ is by now a local classic in Davao literature, often being thought in college literature subjects in local universities. It is usually one of the first poems to be taught to students (and in the Ateneo de Davao’s case the first work of literature discussed in class). This at once serves to ground students’ literary appreciation to the local (as opposed to the more distant National) and gives them an easily relateable but nevertheless substantial piece with which to start their appreciation of literature in general.

The title establishes its narrative setting, the Bago Aplaya area south of Davao city. This is a seaside area, less urbanized than central and northern Davao and home to small time fishermen who make a living out of the Davao gulf.

The poem begins with what may be called the poem’s refrain, ‘hinay ang tapya sa balod, ug nagsugod na ang taob,’ two lines describing the movement of the waves and tide, further establishing the poem’s seaside setting. These two lines are repeated throughout the poem, stylistically mimicking the repetition of waves and the coming and going of tides.

The second stanza establishes the narrative situation: a motor powered boat is being given a Catholic blessing by a priest, and the fishermen are gathered to celebrate the ceremony. This stanza indicates to the reader that this is a narrative poem: it tells a story. Macario Tiu has always been more of a storyteller than a poet.

The first person pronoun is also used in this stanza, showing that the persona is a character in the story Furthermore, the original ”ta’ (shortened ‘kita’), the inclusive plural in the original Cebuano, also establishes the presence of an addressee, who is also a character in the story.

In the next stanza the persona expresses his sympathy for the fishermen’s happiness with their new boat (the boat may be communally owned, or at least the neighbors may borrow the boat from the owners).

But the first repetition of the refrain is introduced as a contrast to the preceding stanza’s emotion, hinting at the sad character of both the image of waves and tides, and of the poem as a whole. This sudden change of mood from celebration to sadness is a simple, if somewhat underwhelming, example of a volta, the sudden change in the poem’s dramatic tone.

The poem then states this sadness explicitly and sustains the change in mood in the fifth stanza, where the persona expresses feeling not just misery, but endless misery. This misery the persona describes as being ‘brought by the waves.’

What could this misery be? This part is best appreciated if one considers the sound of the waves, which resemble sighing. Sighing of course is associated with negative feelings such as regret and sadness. And so like the ceaseless sighing of waves, so too will mankind sigh and suffer ceaselessly.

This is an old image in poetry, going all the way back to the Ancient Greek tragedian Sophocles. In his Antigone, the chorus at one point recites the following line:

Where once the anger of heaven has struck, that house is shaken
For ever: damnation rises behind each child
Like a wave cresting out of the black northeast,
When the long darkness under sea roars up
And bursts drumming death upon windwhipped sand.

(translated by Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald)

The Victorian poet Matthew Arnold would later allude to this in his most famous poem, ‘Dover Beach,’ when he writes:

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery…
…now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind

But not before the Elizabethan playwright Thomas Dekker comes up, in his comedy The Honest Whore, with the line ‘like waves, my misery drives on misery.’ The Romantic French novelist Alexandre Dumas, through his character Athos, also says in Vicomte de Bragelonne, ‘We shine like those fires and stars, we sigh like those waves.’

With the simple phrase ‘old poet,’ the poem thus alludes to a long and established idea, lending to the poem an intellectual and discursive tone: it at once brings the insight of human misery’s endlessness to the poem’s local context and elevates the Davao scene to the level of classical contemplation. What could have led to this realization other than the sighing of the waves? Perhaps, we can speculate, the persona sees the suffering of poverty in the poor, small time fishermen present.

On a side note, the poem’s setting could not reflect this insight any better. Bago Aplaya is named after the Davao historical character Datu Bago, the precolonial leader who struggled against, and who was ultimately defeated by Spanish forces led by Jose Cruz Oyangguren. His defeat, along with the fishermen’s poverty in the place named after him, could only make human suffering palpable. Tiu, an accomplished historian and a noted  sociopolitical critic, would easily be aware of these nuances.

But is the poem simply a reiteration of the metaphor and insight of ‘the turbid ebb and flow of human misery’? The penultimate stanza reveals that this is not the case. In fact the contemplative, abstracting nature of the previous stanza is completely dispelled here: No, the persona is not made sad by ruminations of the abstract concept that is ‘endless human misery,’ he is preoccupied, bothered by his own, more immediate suffering. He has a problem of his own to worry about. If the shift in mood in the fourth stanza is a volta of emotion, this stanza is a volta of insight. Human misery is endless, but one suffers one’s own suffering now first before anything else.

And what is the persona’s problem? The last stanza reveals it: the adrressee (who has hitherto played little part in the story) is leaving, never to return. This hints a close, intimate relationship between him/her and the persona. Far more than about the defeat of Datu Bago, the poverty of small time fishermen, or the whole ocean of mankind’s suffering, this poem is about the persona’s particular personal misery, and so is mankind’ experience with suffering. This last stanza reaffirms this insight by revealing the specific cause of the persona’s troubles. The poem ends with the last reiteration of the refrain.

Written in Cebuano Bisaya, the poem demonstrates its medium’s remarkable terminological precision. It contains many words with no direct equivalent in English: ‘tapya’ is the specific verb of waves dashing gently against a shore (it must be gently, violent dashing is ‘hapak’); ‘taob’ means high tide; ‘wisik’ (root word of ‘nawiskan‘) is untranslatable, but means being sprinkled on by droplets of water thrown out into the air; ‘panagat,’ literally translated, makes ‘dagat’ (‘sea’) into a verb, only hinting at fishing (to which it is not limited, the term may be used for any livelihood having to do with the sea). But the most interesting word in the poem is ‘biya,’ a word that implies both departure and leaving behind.

‘Bago Aplaya’ is a simple poem, but it is appropriately so, as it is one which, while touching on abstract contemplation of general suffering nevertheless portrays this abstraction as secondary to the immediate appreciation of more personal suffering.

Properly taught, it will make a great introduction to Philippine Literature!



Judge Eliseo Dayao Sr: Kidapawan’s Forgotten War Martyr

2016-01-29 15.00.30

A picture of Judge Eliseo Dayao Sr from his family grave in Kidapawan’s old Public Cemetery (only a tombstone is there, as his body was never found). I had no idea the Dayao family grave was just beside my family’s!

In my recent homecoming to Kidapawan, I dug up more information about the late Judge Eliseo Dayao Sr.

I forget where I heard that judge Dayao was a casualty of the Second World War, but I since had a hard time getting more details. Now that I’m working on a book about Kidapawan, I found the chance to probe more.

The Dayao family in Kidapawan are family friends of sorts: my grandfather Boy Galay bought a piece of land just beside the sizable Dayao property in downtown Kidapawan, and he would apparently cross the street to drink with the Dayao-Yaotos. I was also godson to a Dayao grand-daughter, and childhood friends with some great-grandsons.But even then I had little idea about the family and its enigmatic patriarch.

So I got in touch with some of my kababatas to talk with the last surviving child of the late judge, their grandmother Elma Dayao-Yaoto.

When I talked to her a clearer picture of what seemed to be a very dramatic story emerged.


Photo courtesy of Elric Yaoto-Evangelista

A Tagalog, Eliseo Dayao belonged to the generation of American-educated illustrados that also included Manuel Quezon, Sergio Osmeña, and Jose Abad Santos, with a particular background in law (He studied in the University of the Philippines College of Law and became a lawyer in 1924). But unlike these contemporaries who enjoyed legal careers in prosperous and peaceful locales, Dayao was assigned in 1934 to serve as judge in the far-flung territory of Pikit in Mindanao, then the frontier of American colonial rule.

A year into his stay in the area, the local Manobo leader Datu Icdang gave the judge a large amount of land in where Kidapawan now is (Kidapawan at the time was under the administrative jurisdiction of Pikit). Just before he died Dayao donated half of this estate to the embryonic municipality of Kidapawan, a portion of which now consists of a large section of Kidapawan’s downtown area.


Judge Dayao, beside Datu Icdang. Photo courtesy of my kuya Dexter David and Wesley Dayao

When I talked to manang Elma, she showed me a picture of her father and the datu.

Dayao also met Manuela Velarde in his time in Mindanao, and he would end up marrying her and having a family of four children.

When the Second World War came, the Japanese took Pikit and its nearby towns, setting up a constabulary headquarters in Baranggay Lanao in Kidapawan (where the Kidapawan Water District now stands).

As all civil institutions did during the Japanese occupation, Judge Dayao continued to perform his duties as judge. The judge was a generous man, and it seemed that the Japanese had no problems with him at first.

But his generosity proved to be his undoing. He had secretly been giving support to the guerrillas in the form of food and supplies. This fact reached the local Japanese command, presumably through the network of collaborators in Kidapawan. Apparently someone saw him slip a note from a suspected guerrilla into his chest pocket in public.

Though assigned in Pikit, judge Dayao would often go to Kidapawan to cultivate the land Datu Icdang gave him. And so, on November 19, 1942, on one such visit to his Kidapawan property, judge Dayao was gunned down somewhere in Baranggay Lanao. The Japanese then proceeded to bury him somewhere. His body was never found.

His widow Manuela, along with his four children, were quickly hidden by the guerrillas, for the Japanese would almost certainly kill them next.

Today the only thing left of Judge Dayao’s memory is the street named after him in downtown Kidapawan. It is named after him not because of his tragedy but because he owned the property adjacent to it, property that is now at the heart of the city’s commercial area. It seems fitting that the street is parallel to Jose Abad Santos Street, another martyr of the War. But as few Kidapawanons even know who Jose Abad Santos was, Judge Dayao is even more obscure, one of the elusive historical figures of this city that cannot remember.