Two biographies

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

TWO books written by two women writers from Cebu have been in my plastic cabinet for some time now, one of them many months ahead of the other. The books are about two interesting individuals who had lived exciting lives in their separate social enclaves in our island. It is uncanny that, somehow, the two books embraced almost the same war years.

Both books were published by the University of San Carlos Press and copyrighted by their respective authors. One is “Romancing with Words: The Life and Works of Greg M. Mercado (1819-1967) by Erlinda Kintanar-Alburo. The other book is, “Twilight in Misamis, Josefa Borromeo Capistrano’s Guerilla Days,” by Erma M. Cuizon, and published only some months ago by the USC Press. They make us sit up and notice USC.

The book on Cebuano writer Greg M. Mercado is about a Cebuano bilingual writer who is proficient in both the vernacular and English tongues. But his writing capability embraces not just as a news and feature writer but also as creative one. Alburo has included selections of short stories, as well as essays, if only to prove that what she claimed Mercado was, he really is.


“Twilight in Misamis” is equally interesting, although in a different vein. The book is not only about a courageous woman taking on her share of the travails of war but is also about accepting the challenge as by someone who is just as rightly prepared and ready for it--doing the work tenaciously to help her people in war, as well as for country and God. To think that she was socially of the elite crowd.

“Twilight” is a thin volume--only less than a hundred pages-but it is a very insightful and exciting read. The development of the Women Auxiliary Service into a full-blown group devoted to assisting the Filipino men fighting a guerrilla war in the mountain fastness of our country creates no less an impressive notion of how a nation strives to ensure its life and survival in war. Josefa and her husband, Nick, makes a genuine role model for Filipino couple.

On the other hand, “Romancing” projects the virile stature of its subject as Greg shows the bravado of one who is determined to cut a path through the course of his life and brooked no blocks along his way. There was the scene about a Lt. Ramos whose squad was isolated from the rest of his company. In the dead of night, he did not know where they were and how many of them were still alive.

Compare that with a scene in “Twilight” about Josefa, who was conned into meeting a Japanese captain in downtown Misamis alone, but was able to extricate herself from her dilemma through quick-thinking, the use of a sluggish horse, a woman’s wiliness with bravado, and gain survival.

The two books by the two prominent Cebuano women writers are truly worth keeping in the library at home, so our young could also be familiar about our past life and culture, with episodes of the war in-between.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 21, 2014.


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