A Painting In Corregidor

the guns... one of the popular fixtures in corregidor
the guns… one of the popular fixtures in corregidor

About two weeks ago while having a quiet weekend breakfast with Nengkoy, I learned that my family have close affiliation to that of the historic Island of Corregidor.  During this peaceful breakfast, Nengkoy told me that her mother (Lola Teray) actually lived and inhabited the island of Corregidor for a considerable amount of time.

Nengkoy told me that Lola Teray (though was born in Naic, Cavite) lived with the rest of her family in Corregidor when the island was still under the control of the Americans.  In fact, Nengkoy’s eldest sister (Aunt Lydia, who is now based in Canada) was born there.  She also told me that Lola Teray and the rest of her family was living at the Bottomside of the island where Barrio San Jose was located.

Three Sundays ago, I got the pleasant chance to again visit Corregidor.  It has again been an enlightening tour and visit.  I learned from the tour guide that since the island was controlled by the Americans, Filipinos born in Corregidor in the past are given the option of either being an American or a Filipino citizen.  How cool is that!

The competent tour guide however raised that at present the island is no longer inhabited by anyone and is already preserved because it has been declared a National Shrine.  Thus, there is no longer called a newly born Corregidor-ian.

But what truly moved and startled me was when I saw a rather small framed painting hanged on the wall of the Pacific War Museum (the last stop of the tour before heading back to Manila).  Surprisingly, the prolific piece of art which I never noticed during my first visit was actually painted by no less than my late Uncle Dante.  The younger brother of Nengkoy.  This further confirmed that indeed, somewhere in the marrow of my bones can be found my affiliation to the Island of Corregidor.

a street in early corregidor by dante romasanta
a street in early corregidor by dante romasanta

Painted in 1960, the painting depicts the life of ordinary citizens of Corregidor and the usual dealings of the locals with the Americans prior to the horrific World War II.  It’s a representation of a social drama which imbibes a superlative story telling skill through the usage of oil pigments and genius strokes of the brush.

At first sight the painting may seem chaotic.  But at a longer glance, it actually presents a mantra of noisy energy contained by discipline, freedom and order that is miraculously held together.  This I suppose is the glory of this painting.

super proud!
super proud!

I thought I would surprise Nengkoy about this immense discovery during that breakfast.  So when I told her about my finding Uncle Dante’s painting, she simply told me that she has known about it all along.  And that she has long been immensely proud by this artistic feat achieved by his beloved brother.

Super prawd pamangkin hir!!!

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