Monday, August 29

xkg's Manila

I finally finished reading Manila, My Manila, Nick Joaquin’s supposedly "pop" history of the city which was conceptualized as something that would bring pride to the city’s inhabitants. "Ikaw na taga-Maynila, ikaw ay dakila” is how this city’s current mayor pushes local pride. Joaquin compares the Noble and Ever Loyal to Troy, that as Troy was seven different cities, one on top of the other, so is Manila.

But even with all the layers, the constant destruction and rebuilding, the city that Joaquin speaks of is not the one that I seek. His Manileño always equates the city’s happenings with the feast of this and that saint, he goes to the cabaret and the theater, he knows the battlecries of the streets—Yeba!—but he is not part of the streets. This is all fine and dandy, as I’ve learned a lot about my city which I now infernally impose on people, to their detriment, but to my amusement, of course. But the Manilenyo that I seek is the kanto-boy who asks “Sinong kaaway mo?” whose (kanto-)girl probably works in a tabacalera and jeers the gang(sta)-boy wannabes from Uste as all porma and no brawn.

A look at the table of contents reveals that the town that I seek, one of the arrabales outside the walls, should be found between Pampango colonies and Panday Pira, but it is not there, not even listed although repeatedly mentioned throughout the book. So I noted all the appearances of my town and pasted a post-it in the index. So those who seek it will find it, even if outside the margins.

No comments: