Photo by: Aussiegall

The small congregation of mourners inched their way through the muddy terrain like a laboriously moving snake. It was drizzling and dark clouds were hovering over the horizon like ominous monsters ready to gobble up anyone within its reach. A fierce storm was about to brew.

The men wore black arm bands and the women were adorned in black veils denoting the grief and sadness they were harboring in their hearts.

At the cemetery, the elders paid their respects one last time as each of them gave a brief speech about the departed’s courage, bravery and moral integrity.

” Naapon katna e tago e nangwa adte amin eh mambalo .” (Nobody can ever equal the noble thing he did for us.)

” Kabuniyan, sika pay de mangala kan siya.” ( God, we entrust him to you.)

Just then, a sizzle of lightning, lighted up the sky and the sonorous sound of thunder rumbled as the drizzle began to increase in intensity – even the sky was grieving.

The women wailed and chanted their cries of grief. ” Aiieeeee…”

Julia’s pale, stony face stood out amidst the group of women .


In the city, the newspapers screamed the headlines , ” NPA Rebel Leader Ka Benny Lomiwan Captured.”

The article was extremely brief for a supposedly enormous triumph of the governent’s campaign against insurgency. The article described how Benny was seriously wounded and captured in a skirmish between the army and the rebels.

People who read the article were skeptcial, especially that the article was accompanied by a picture of a bloodied man who was hardly recognizable and most especially that it was from the government .

The advent of Martial Law heralded the “news blackout”. The few enterprising, TV , radio and print media were tightly controlled by the government – even those pirvately owned. Freedom of speech was no longer a basic right. If someone spoke against the government, then he is a rebel. A curfew was in place from 12 midnight to 5 am. People caught outside during these hours were herded off to jail. Control through military might – that was how the whole machinism of Martial Law successfully worked.

There was no longer any news about Benny, the succeeding days. Freelance journalists tried to dig up the rest of the story but the “government” was silent and the courageous ones who stubbornly persisted in searching for the truth were branded pro communist and incarcerated.

From then on, people refrained from expressing their genuine, anti -government sentiments. Life was peaceful, as long as you have convinced the government you don’t belong to the other side of the fence.


Photo: By Larry and Linda

The breathtaking view was like a painting being slowly revealed in the sky. It deserved a Picasso, the man thought. He watched as the awesome interplay of the sun’s emerging rays interacted with the nimbus clouds -producing a shimmering kaleidoscope of colors.

He was sitting in a small clearing at the highest peak of the mountain. He had always basked in the beauty of nature- the forest wind on his face, the raindrops pelting his fatigued body, the dip in the cool, refreshing springs; and just watching that awesome “painting” being unfolded infront of his very eyes had given him a renewed hope that in the end, the good will triumph and that everything will eventually fall into their designated places.



  1. That should be “SKIRMISH” my dear readers, I can’t edit it for now, due to some technical problems, thanks.

  2. dear jena, where is benny? what happened to him. And who is he at the end? What has he to do with the story. A lot of questions let me looking forwar for the next chapter.

  3. You’re definitely keeping us guessing with this one. Who was buried, and who is this mysterious man admiring the view at the end? I like the shifting scenes and air of mystery to this chapter.

  4. Jena, Is that Benny adamiring the view? I lived through the Martial Law days in the Philippines and actually liked that period. There were less violence happening. Before Martial Law, I always dreaded during election times because of all the gun battles and killings happening between political parties and their supporters. Those events terrorized me as a child. Often times, we were in the midst of a crossfire, bullets hitting and going through our house. Thank goodness we were all spared. Goodnight.

  5. Hi Ray, your question is answered in the next chapter. Thanks for the visit.

    Hi Francis, thanks for liking this chapter. Your questions are answered in the next chapter.

    Hi Tasha, yes you’re right, it was Benny admiring the view. Thanks for visiting.

    Hi Ken, yes, I jumped into the future..(grins) and the past is in the next chapter. I hope you enjoyed your vacation.

    Thanks guys.

  6. You had me scared. I was actually believing Benny was to buried at the first. Some warning next time, you all most gave me a heart attack. LOL

    I really like the last paragraph. I can share Benny’s feelings and emotions. The Mountains where ever they are, are always comforting.

  7. Eric, I smile at your comments, You’re so generous with them. Thanks for reading on. I appreciate it a lot. Do give some suggestions if you feel like it.

    Thanks again.


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