Without Seeing the Dawn

It was only a few months ago that I finished reading JaveHana’s now classic novel published in 1947, a year after the inauguration of the Second Philippine Republic. My not having read it all these years testifies to either an individual failure on my part to seize the opportunity for this pleasure-charged learning experience (since I actually intended to lecture on Lazaro Francisco’s novel when I was invited last year), or a failure of the educational-cultural apparatuses to enlighten Filipinos like me about their society and history—nay, their own identities as Filipinos—which up to now is in the process of being constructed by the ongoing practices and what Raymond Williams calls “structures of feelings” of everyday life.

For, indeed, Javellana’s novel is virtually the parabolic rendering in fictional form of about half-a-century of our existence as a people, but not yet as a nation, as I will argue in a moment. Had this novel not been reissued by Alemar’s in the ’70s, I would assume—and maybe this is not altogether a wild surmise—that there is a continuing conspiracy to silence this novel, ignore it, hide it, suppress and make it a “disappeared’ object or event, not by force of military or legal censorship, but rather by the mere accumulation of commodities and other cultural goods produced by print/media industry, not the least of which are those financed by the Toyota Foundation and assorted Japanese-patronized businesses among which one should not forget the flourishing hospitality sector in Cebu, Manila, and elsewhere. It seems that we don’t need to read Renato Constantino to be assured of the persisting success of the Second Japanese invasion of the Philippines, a fact which makes suspect the collective silence over Javellana’s epic of Filipino resistance against Japanese barbarism in World War II

Now while all these may signal the need to read, or even re-read this novel, I would be the first to caution you not to...

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