The whole world probably knows how much of a big fan I am of Nick Joaquín, National Artist for Literature. His name and works are mentioned in many of my blogposts (including in those blogs that I’ve already shut down). So let’s up the ante a li’l bit more till this world gets so sick of my Joaquinesque fanboying that it would spit me out to another realm in this vast multiverse — hopefully in a realm where “Summer filled the yard with sunflowers / and the hillsides with tiny bitter blackberries”, where everyone happily greets each other “Dahling!”, where Connie Escobar wields a Billiken toward the sky so as to bare her double-naveled midriff, where Maita Gatdula no longer “disdains as shabby and shady / all doings of babyhood”, where Leonardo and Lydia are safe from the bloodcurdling shadows of that fearful house on Zapote Street, where all of us can love the color of green forever, a place where the General did not forsake the Camino Real, where the Walled City and its seven great churches all stand in festive pomp and golden pageantry (still smelling of oranges and roasted almonds), where Paula and Cándida and their father and all their friends carry on with their tertulias, where Doña Jerónima’s laughter can be heard in all caves, where Maytime memories and festive Octobers in Manila are one and the same, where water is San Miguel Beer and all trees bear rosary beads, where kilometric sentences are not an issue…
…and where the La Naval is eternally queen.
If you are not yet familiar with the greatest Filipino writer in the English language (whose first language was Spanish, if I may add), I hope that this highly informative and very laudable documentary produced by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts under its Sagisag Kultura TV project will serve as an introduction of sorts to the quintessential Filipino that was Nick Joaquín. And I pray that on your next visit to a bookstore, you’d bring home a book or two bearing his name. Doing so will make you love your country and its wondrous past even more…
Let me arise and follow that river
back to its source: I would bathe my bones
among the chaste rivulets that quiver
out of the clean primeval stones.