‘The past is present still’ in Revolutionary Routes

By Sylvia Mayuga

Its “uncharted maps” to “paths of self preservation where there aren’t any,” make Revolutionary Routes the perfect title for Angela Stuart-Santiago’s new book. “No one’s made into a hero” in this story of an old Tayabas clan “finding community in times of revolt and revolution.” Historian Reynaldo Ileto calls it an “alternative history,” with family secrets revealed casting new light on written history.

It began with a curious grandson asking his Lola about her life in bygone eras. Concepcion (a.k.a. Concha) Herrera vda de Umali, 88, first responded with Spanish proverbs, then succumbed to a writing fever. In a year, she filled ten notebooks with the handwritten Fragmentos de mi juventud (Fragments of My Youth).

Only her Spanish-speaking daughters could read it with ease, but with her passing in 1980, they saw what a pity it would be for her English-speaking descendants to miss out on Lola’s life. Her eldest daughter Nena struggled with incipient blindness to do the translation. Blind by the time she finished, she passed on an heirloom of memory to her writer daughter Angela.  Click here for the rest