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Anna Villerverde, Lois Carlos’s daughter, the sensation as well as

memories created by the song are adopted as weapons to

counteract the horror of her memories of the torture afflicted by

Colonel Amor, and to reclaim her reconnection with a historical

past that is no more:

Anna found herself listening to a song about boats sailing

the heavens, one of which was carrying away the woman

who said no, thanks but no thanks. . . . For she

remembers . . . the memory that had been her birthright

rising to reclaim her. . . . Chains of female voices,

emerging from the secret niches of her brain, linked her to

the years, back, back, back, even to a time when the tinkle

of gold anklets was a message, herald of a passing, one

morning of beginnings in a still-young world of uncharted

seas.” (Rosca, 1988: 346)

Anna’s intuitive response to the song heralds her role as the

heir to the memories of her ancestors as well as the recorder of

family history. The grown-up Anna is a history teacher, but as a

subject of history, Anna is marked not just by her profession, but

more importantly, by the historical condition of modernization in

the Philippines which gives Anna the access to an alternative

technology of memory. After WWII, Luis Carlos joined a band on

a Pacific ocean-liner, playing saxophone and flute, putting himself

in exile. He came back two years later with a Chinese wife, who

died soon after giving birth to Anna. Anna was left behind to be

raised by Luis Carlos’s sister, Clarissa, while Luis Carlo was away

in Hong Kong. Anna’s naming breaks the enforced refrains of

names among the generations and signifies the family’s relief from

repeating the same mistakes. Anna was cared for by a nanny paid

by Luis Carlos in a nursery refurbished from the family garage. She

grows up among the remnants of the family’s old Binondo




Binondo is a district in Manila primarily inhabited by ethnic Chinese in the