Nonchalantly, the barrio was in very high spirits, maybe proud, because two of their produce, will soon be married. On corner stores, the talks are unabated, and it also affected the annexed villages. Elena who is considered a virginal model to that geographical segments, had so many admirers, and one who ever won her love will be presumed to be proud and very lucky. Efren in his elementary years was always at the top five, and being a leader with reliability and intelligence, is well look up by his classmates. They are both in love, and any loss of one will be a big blow to their life. The teaching force prepared also their part, because Elena is one of their alma mater.
At kanlatumbo, two villages away, which is considered a sitio, five houses where burned and three children vanished, twenty people turned out homeless. And to those who were burned were brought to the towns District Hospitals and the 3rd degree patients were referred to the city. It was held right away as a headline of all newspapers. The prime suspect is the group of Kumander Islag. This is now the point, the Kumander was considered Most Wanted. Businessmen contributed for the prize of 1 million, to any person that can give information, or apprehend the Culprit. But a sudden turned of events came, when by Cell phone, Kumander Islag called Radio Davao, denying the said atrocity. Some of those in the village believed that the culprit, are the newly trained Militia, and this is also the one who reported that the malfeasant act was done by the insurgents. Efren really believed it, but not the militia, because they are extension of their enforcements. Now people in Kanlatumbo, who were presumed, inclined to the undergrounds, were whisked to the City for questioning. Some were not returned home. Maybe, they were killed, or just disappeared with no traces. Efren with his group were assigned by the provincial command, to solve this malady.
Efren requested the high command that he will make his village as his Camp ground. And after some questions and were answered, his company was now on their way to the mountain for the missions. Efren was also very happy, because he lived there and most of all, he will have his marriage. He had already sent invitations to the mayor, and also the Provincial commander. When in fact, both knew, they are their principal sponsors.
He used his house as his Temporary station, and they also made some two makeshift houses at the back where his men are housed. But one room upstairs was left empty, in case his father Genaro will be there to grace his marriage.
By reason that the commanding officer is from their place, the people felt safe and satisfied. Now that the fiesta of the barrio is also fast approaching, people also prepared and decorated their tennis court for night benefit dances. The money raised as usual is used for the expenses in the coming festival. Chairman Pio, the leader of the barrio, had already assigned people to man the different programs they wished to do. But two weeks before the wedding of Efren, Genaro his father arrived. Chairman Pio was very elated, because he knows that Genaro has also the capability to help him in running any kind of programs or projects, or even solving community problems. And his hope also that Genaro will stay there for good. But one thing is not sure because Estela his wife is not with him. “Chairman, I could stay here until such time, everything is okay, like your fiesta, and the wedding of Efren.”
He also wanted to visit the Cemetery. In the course of his visit, he glanced a small note tagged in the tombstone that said, “Kumander Islag was here”. Although it finds it very intriguing, because Efren is the commander of the Stationed constables, he believes maybe, he was the intent of the letter. He went immediately to Efren and showed it to him the note. He just nod and said, “We will see soon, and I am not afraid of him, pa.” He circulated right away the note to his personnel, and even Chairman Pio.
The benefit dance came, and the night was very cooperative too. People from other villages also came to witness and participate, for this is the only time they can meet other single and have some courtship. They always enjoy this occasions, because this is not the same as the fiesta where you cannot recognize some of the visitors. They danced for the whole night with no hustles. The smile and laughter of the villagers is a strong witness of the healthy atmosphere of the place.
As part of the wedding preparations, the co teachers of Elena also practiced the Rigodon dance, an old dance their forefather used to do it, when one of the sons and daughters of the Cabeza is wedded. And Elena requested Efren to be a part of it too. In short the Wedding will be a large fanfare for the village. The gown of Elena although made in her village, was an emblem of natural elegance. Clara was the unanimous choice as her maid of honor.
Efren has ordered Barong suites for his two brothers, Mario and Bayani. And for him, he will use his military uniform, because his medals and ranks can be shown too. He perceived that the wedding will be military in character. He had already requested the chaplain to conduct the Ceremony. All he invited will be there. And the cook, the material for cooking is now very ready for the eventual start. And Bayani is his Best man.
Friday night, before the full moon start to scatter its rays, and beyond the mountain shadow, a group of five torch bearing neighbors emerged from the interweaving vines on trees, as if they walked in horrified manner, reached the front yard of Chairman Pio’s house. “Chairman, please, let us come in, we have something to talk to you.” The leader of the group shouts. “Ok, Pedro what can we do for you? Come on in.” Pio received them.
“We will not make any other talks, Ill just be straight to the point, Damaso and his family are being shots at point blank, and maybe the shooters is still there. We need help from the constable there, but I think Efren will heed your request, if you will be the one to tell him.” Ok, we will not waste time; we will go to his house right away.”
At the house of Efren, they let him know about the situation, and Efren right away headed the operations. Since the moon was already in full blown, they did not use any torch anymore. As they got closers to the house of Damaso, they made a pause, to evaluate the surrounding.
Suddenly, a masked man dashed out carrying an armalite ready to fire back if fired upon.
The radio man of Efren’s constable trumpeted, “You are surrounded, surrender now! or you will be rained with bullets, we are agent of the law, your surrender means no harm, and we will give assistance to the best of our ability. We are license to shoot you, get out and raise your hand in the air.” Since there was silence for 5 minutes, Efren ordered to fire, and like rains in a tornado fashion, shoot the shadowy areas?, it forced the man in mask to get out with raised hands. They handcuff him and interrogated. ‘” where are your companion?” “Sir, they left me.” “And how many are you?” “Five sir”.
In the camp office, the man was asked if they are members of Kumander Islag. “No, sir, we are Capgu from other village. We seized village for money. Our leader is only using the name of Commander Islag, so that the people will be diverted to the Communist. And one of the blotter sergeant said, “Don’t confess like that, just stand what your leader said, so that there will be no problem. Just make it clear that the one that lead is Kumander Islag. Understand? And the Capgu replied, “yes, Sir”. Now, Efren’s mind became puzzled and suspicious. But since, the communist is presumed to be doing it; he did not exonerate also the group of Kumander Islag, as the main source of the village fear.
Damaso and his wife and the two children, after being examined by the inquest officer, were already in the coffin ready to be interred in the cemetery. People in the village mourned for them, because he was one of the most industrious folks, and it has no questionable records. Some cried in disbelief. But who knows?
Genaro after the burial of those corpses, before going home he visited his former wife. Again, he was amazed to have seen a note. “Kumander Islag was here”. At this time he did not pick it up, instead called efren to see it by himself. Bayani, Mario, and Efren, was stunned because for all the places it is only his mother which is always with a note like that. “Maybe vagrants are doing that.” And bayani told Efren not to care for it.
When two people are very much in love with each other, mostly it will end up into marriage. The sky was so blue, and you can still feel the coolness of the morning dewdrops, whenever the wind from the south stir a wavelets in a small pool, manmade at the park, which in every afternoon, you can see small birds swings their beck as it drinks the water in contentment. The world of being single for them, Efren and Elena, will end on this day, because it is their wedding day.
The sounds of the slaughtered animals, for foods were sacrifice for the day, and the pig as the knife plunge on the neck, in pain it screams, and then it wane down into moan, an acceptance that life as a second creation is just for consumptions of the waiting hungry belly.
The church is now full of flowers, roses along the aisle, and sampaguita tied on every post, sends fragrance to all, as if the coming wedding is a ceremony for a village royal family.
Both sides of the family were already prepared, and a Caleza pulled by a carabao, renovated to fit with the occasions, was used. Only the Bride and her bridesmaid were carried till there. And all the bigwigs were already in the church, eagerly waiting, so do with people. The church was jam-packed, and the kids who are participants in the programs were well dressed.
The groom arrives with his best man, and they were seated with their father. Genaro as the father is now so well dressed. And he was standing now with Efren, as they waited for the bride’s throw away. Chairman Pio was delegated by her father to act in behalf of him.
The bride was so lovely and beautiful, and the people around, appreciated it in awe.
Father Narciso Silva officiated the mass, and the Provincial Commander and the mayor of the place was the principal sponsor. The school choir was utilized as the group which accompanies the mass. There were lots of Photographer and some were permitted to take pictures, showing their ID’s as member of the media.
The wedding was achieved in every decent and proud way. And after they were pronounced as husband and wife, Police forces were lining on both sides, as they wedded couple passes by. Then, a while later, 9 times shots to the air executed by his groups cap the enjoyment of the occasions.
People in all walks, were free to eat, and there were lots of foods. There were even gift giving, coins were thrown to the crowd, and the kids and adult were busy scanning the ground for it.
And before sundown, the program was started. The groom and the bride speak about their affair, their yesterdays, and their hustles. Some of their friends also narrated their friendship with the two. There was laughter, when joke is spiced to what is said. And the last part was the dance, and everybody rejoiced the occasion.
When everybody went home, one of the helper spotted a small letter hidden underneath the table cloth. She picked it up, and it was addressed to Efren. She gave it right away to him. Efren then open it. It was not properly written, “Congratulation, hope your life will be blessed with more abundance.” And it was signed, “Kumander Islag. Your next mission is me. As I promised, you will not be unsuccessful. But don’t bungle on your way.”