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before the encounter. It is the


of encountering each other that

brings out what is left of the “nativeness” in them. It is here that

Deleuze’s concept of the body as something that can only be

perceived and understood through its relation with the milieu

really applies.

As a matriarch, Maya serves the community by becoming

the surrogate Virgin Mary for the people. Therefore her role as the

matriarch of the family is complex and conflicting. Maya’s

assuming the guise of the Virgin Mary is a display of the colonial

violence upon her body. When becoming-Virgin Mary, Maya

becomes a spectacle by putting on extravagant embroidered blouse

and velvet skirt over lace petticoats, with her neck “weighted by a

necklace of emeralds as big as hens’ eggs” (Rosca, 1988: 156). The

power she acquires by dressing and performing like Virgin Mary is

therefore a sign of her fall from her ancestors’ indigenous culture.

She is given the chance to become-Filipina only through her

encounter with her daughter-in-law, Mayang.

The illegitimate daughter of Maya’s Chinese-Malay maid,

Mayang is offered by her mother for Maya to take as her

daughter-in-law. On the eve of the wedding, Maya attempts to pass

down her female knowledge and to teach Mayang how to be a

good wife to her son Carlos Lucas. But as she speaks, she realizes it

is not facts or knowledge that can be articulated through language

that she is compelled to pass down. Another force is at work in


an intensity of feelings that is at the heart of the family’s

history must be confronted and responded to in her proximity to

the body of Mayang.

[T]he girl loomed over her, stooped, and pressed her body

against the length of Maya’s body, her hands on Maya’s

hands, palm to palm, pinning them to the pillow. The

weight, the glint in the girl’s eyes only two inches away

from her own threw her into confusion and, before she

could stop herself, she was back within the monastery

deep in the cellar, where among casks of Benedictine wine

she and her monk had celebrated their alliance . . . . Her