heading to Dumaguete to be picked up by PT boat. From Dumaguete, he was taken to Mindanao from where he was flown to Australia and then to the United States where he headed a government in exile.
My father, who led the sentries securing the camp perimeter, ordered a guard to puncture the front tire of the presidential car with a bayonet when it refused to halt. What follows is an exciting retelling of events recorded for posterity probably for the first time. Was he punished or rewarded for doing his duty is a question answered by reading this book.
Familial memories bubble up in my father's book. He sketched a sympathetic portrait of my paternal grandfather, Luis Sr., who was always somewhat of a distant figure in the lives of my father's children, including myself, on account of his physical distance from Negros where my father had chosen to raise his family. An itinerant land surveyor, my grandfather was from Calinog, Iloilo, where he lived almost all his life. When most of Iloilo province was virgin lands, my grandfather worked for the biggest geodetic engineering company in Iloilo and surveyed lands throughout the province for development by the American colonial administration. He did this for a living from the 1920s up to the outbreak of the Second World War.
The great divide that separated us from our grandfather was represented by the Guimaras Strait, a yawning body of water between Negros and Panay islands. On a good day, it takes a day's journey from Calinog to our place and vice versa by land and by sea. Plane travel became available in the 1960s, but it was short-lived due to lack of demand.
According to my father, Grandpa was a generous parent who made sure he provided for his children's education until he was forced to sell their rice lands to support a growing family. He was thrice married, and by the time my father graduated high school, he and his two sisters by his father's first wife had additional siblings: three half brothers and two half sisters: Pedro, Lirio, Carmen, Luvisminda and Osias. In the 1960s, my grandfather lost his second wife, Aunt Elise, and was married for the third time to Aunt Patti. Their union was blessed with two beauful daughters: Maria Luisa and Divina.
Besides my father, Grandpa's other children by his first wife included two daughters, Aunts Maria and Lourdes, and an elder son, Eliseo who died at ten years of age due to a bacterial infection. Tiay (aunt) Lourdes retired as a schoolteaher and then joined her two daughters in Australia where she died several years ago. Tiay Maria joined a huge Christian migration to Mindanao after the Second World War, along with her husband with whom she had two children. She died there twenty years ago.
In his book, my father described Grandpa Luis as having "an easy-going personality and was a good public speaker. Politicians brought him to their campaign sorties to warm up the crowd with Hiligaynon poetry known as binalaybay. He told funny anecdotes which his audiences ate up, and they went away entertained and feeling like they had learned something new. But since my father had sold our rice lands and other properties my mother left behind, the burden of supporting a big family increasingly became unsustainable for him, the sole bread winner in the family. Financial difficulties put my dream of becoming an engineer on hold, and I was forced to look for a job." The change in their family fortune was responsible for my father's own personal quest for his place in the sun. It led him to Negros island, where he was caught by the Second World War during which he met and fell in love with and got married to my mother.
He was a lover of education who appreciated knowledge and drilled its importance into the minds of his children. The reason his last name is spelled with a "te" instead of with a "ti" is that my father, upon coming into his own, decided to use a variant spelling of the family name. My grandfather's love of education has yielded good fruits as evidenced by the success of his children and grandchildren now scattered across the globe.