The wedding of Efren and Elena was the most elegant, most well-attended wedding in the history of the village. It was like a celebration, and some said a festival category. It may be written as a legacy for all generation to come, that one man and a woman whose mind and body were all envied, even in the town proper, tied their knot in a hinterland… It was a semi-military affair and even the program was designed to level to its standard.
Three months after the wedding, there was no rumor of chaos in the area. Villagers can go to the town with no fear. People always attribute to the peace in the area to the presence of a constable campground. And the commander has known also to them as well respected, and very courteous. He always treated people with a moral yardstick. And at this time, he received a notice from the Provincial command, telling him to go back to the mother unit. Elena’s gestation is already 6 months, and sometimes, Efren tried to feel her abdomen of the movement. Genaro was very anxious to see his first grandchildren too. But his stay in the village is more than enough. He has to go home because his wife Estella was waiting for him too. After all, he will also be going back to the wedding of Bayani. He is very proud of Mario and Bayani because he found out that their rice production is more than what is needed. But sometimes he pondered, about this kumander Islag, which for two occasions left a note at the grave of Teresa. The rumor that a young man always visited the grave and put flowers is for them enchanted. But no one had come closer to the young man. That was also three months ago.
Bayani is very enthusiastic about his wedding. It has six months to wait, and there are some hindrances, because, by that year, that would be a presidential election. He is also considered a Sitio leader in the village, and some friends also believe in his sharpness. He has a good vision for their village, and one is that he wanted the area as the center of Vegetable merchandise. He said that making one vegetable as one of the principal plants will make their place a name. And that it will soon become a central market in the mountain. He has talked to some of the Politician in the town and most were amenable to his idea.
Now his father asked him, that he is going home to Negros, and if things went good, he will go back with his family to live together. His wedding would be Estella’s first visitations, and it will be at that time, that he will decide, but it all depend on the result of their discussion. Mario’s children are all behaved, and intelligent, and that is also one reason that he wanted to bring his children here for primary schooling.
Efren has also known all over the town being an officer, and also with brilliant records. So, it is very enticing for him to come back.
And one afternoon, he was already in Negros, and he reported to the municipal hall, to continue his job. He was very surprised that in his place, there was already Gambling, and even the children could buy Numbers on an underground lottery. If they win, they will receive the so-called dividend, as a result of winning. But the rumor turns into a campaign in secret, and that it was already known, that Joseph Estrada will run for president. The mayor belongs to the administration, and it was now very positive, that President Ramos will handpick de Venetia, as the standard bearer of the administration. Being the Speaker of the house, many said it could be a big plus factor. But the popularity of Joseph was so strong because his movies in the past influenced so deeply to the poor people.
And on the eve of the last filing, it was sure now that Joseph Estrada and De vinicia were slated to slug it out, as front runners of their respective party. The campaign is now on and every day that went on, it became hotter. Leaders, mostly small leaders were killed and ambushed, the journalist was assaulted. And to those who are campaigning in the mountain were charged by the communist, campaign fee. Those who wanted to campaign in the mountains bend their knees, just to enjoy the privilege. Survey after surveys were done. And surely, the Estrada’s team was very much ahead. Issues were hurling false or true, just to get the upper hand. And most of all, the municipal level was also realigning them to the most possible winner.
And the government of the mountain were also prepared to tax candidate who wishes to campaign in their area. And to those who would not follow the procedure, some were ambushed and killed, and some politicians also exploited it by killing their opponent and blame it to the NPA.
In three surrounding villages, about six political leaders were killed, and as alleged, some were killed by the NPA because they were campaigning without the necessary permit papers. But many did not buy that notion and most were inclined to believe that the killing was politically motivated. Even if the election was still very far, the rumor of advance vote buying was already implemented. All the parties are trying to outsmart, just to be way ahead of the other. But all the survey point out that Joseph Estrada was very much ahead.
And the most awaited election came. It was generally peaceful, most of those who were casualties, were part of the local politics. Bayani was campaigning for Joseph Estrada was very excited, when he learned that in all counting, private or government his candidate won by a landslide.
Three days after the election, he was surprised that his father Genaro, without notifying them arrived with his family. Estella was very surprised about the wonderful scenery of the place. All over, you can see fresh environments, and most of the animals she had seen were all healthy. “Genaro, you did not lie to me. It is really beautiful. So we are going to live here. Then, I would be okay.”
Bayani brought them to the house of Clara, and introduced it to the family. When chairman Pio heard it, he organized a surprise party. In the evening out of his knowledge, Bayani was awakened by a shout, “Bayani, your father is there. I am here to bring all of you to the house of Chairman Pio. They have a salo-salo for your father”. Then, Bayani dressed right away, and accompany his parents to the house of chairman pio.
Many were waiting for them, and all the elected councilor was there, Chairman Pio has reelected as the Barangay Chairman Again. And the occasion was very conducive to great happenings. And the most talk about on that evening was the proclamation of Joseph Estrada as the new President of the Philippines. Many jokes about him and mostly do believe in him that he can change the image of the country. After a couple of bites, chairman Pio opened up by saying “Thank you, my fellow villagers! You have still faith and trust in me, and then I will try also to serve you to the best of my ability”. Then, he continued “Genaro, our brother, he is now decided to live with us with his new family. His family here was well respected because he has sons which are all industrious. I love him to be with us, and I hope you do also.” And Genaro, responded, “Thank you so very much. In my life here, whether in pain and joy, you are with me. At this time, I am bringing my family, for one good reason. I love to live here, with my other family, and also with you who accepted me as your brother. I hope we will have a brand new life here.” And everybody responded by an applause. , Then Bayani stood up, and said, “You are invited in my wedding next month. I can not have the same celebration, like my brother, but I can assure you, that your presence would be accepted by us as an everlasting gift to Clara and Me.”. Then again everybody clapped their hands. Chairman Pio was very elated, and everybody drinks the usual drink in a party, tuba! For all.
The following day, Bayani was very enthusiastic, because some who were going to the town to sell some of the commodities, will always drop by in his house, and leave chickens or a couple of ganta of rice. Some said that as a token of friendship, they are contributing a few for his coming wedding. He could not imagine how thankful he is to the folks there. But one contributor did not show his name. He just leaves a letter with no senders address. And when he opens it, it was 1000 pesos, and said this for you, because we love you as our model here.
In the first Sunday of June, the villagers, without the knowledge of Bayani and Clara, prepared the tennis court, lined it with flowers, and multi colored ribbons from one post to the other were tied, and a bunch of balloons kept on flying enjoying the wavelets of the wind. In the house of Genaro, Bayani was already preparing himself, and Clara also was finished and just waiting for the priest, who was invited to conduct the ceremony. People were already dressed up, and all were in an amazement mood, inquiring themselves about what will happen next. And from the hill, they have seen the coming of the Jeep, an old US Army type, the usual carrier of the priest. All the people now are excited, and their enthusiasm put them right away to walk towards the church. It was now the wedding Day.
Feeling with so much anxiety, Bayani was distraught because he was waiting for his brother, Efren to come. He never received any note that he is not coming. And the last time they see each other, he was promised to come back. And the priest arrived. The same priest who officiated his brother before. Then, everybody was already seated. And Genaro with Bayani were already waiting for the bride.
The truth is, Bayani on his way on the uphill climb, they were fired upon by a few armed guerillas, and they pursue it. They were fighting for thirty minutes before the antagonist withdrew. There were no casualties on both sides, but the notions that there are NPA in the area haunted his mind now. Anyway, the village is about twenty kilometers away. But this time, it made him alert about the situations.
One time, the people of the village were joyous, when the personnel carrier arrived. And the eyes of Bayani became proud because he knows that it was his brother who arrived. Estella with her long neck tried to scan the throng because it could be her first time, he will see efren, and she knows that only the news from Genaro she is much informed about him. Although late a bit, but he was acknowledged by the Fr. Gelbolingo, by reason, that he was the best man. Efren waved his hand to all the people of the village and also to the church. Clara was also very proud. The mass was started, and after the ceremony, and the kisses of both couple, the priest gives Efren the part to say something. Efren walks to the podium, and after due respect to the priest, he started “I am late, and I should have been very early. Our place is so peaceful, but in our way towards our village, just thirty minutes away, we were ambushed, and we had a grand breakfast of bullets. The good Lord was probably with us because there was no casualty.” all the people were surprised, at this time they now realized that there is a problem in the area.
Folks all over, a friend of the family, even in daylight, they danced to celebrate the marriage of the new couple. Efren had a hug to his new stepmother, and Genaro was very proud of it. The family again is so strong, and maybe, the start of the new season of their life. The festivity ends.