BAHALA NA (Come What May) is about a young man’s obssession to meet the lady whose picture is in his wallet. Will he be able to meet the elusive beauty?
When WWII starts, Benjamin Maranan is caught in a faraway place and wants to go home. With no transportation available, how is he going to get home and avoid the Japanese?
Read about the cultures, mores and traditions of the Filipino people and their life during WWII. Bahala Na is a dictum that sustains the Filipino people in their times of trouble.
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BAHALA NA (Come What May)
It was a sunny bright day on December 8 in Sambat, Bauan. There was not a cloud in the sky, not a hint of pending disaster. Adelaide and her eldest sister, Marta prepared to go to town and deliver the finished product to their distributors. With their bundles of goods, the two of them took a calesa to transport them. They got to town without any problem.
At around noontime, at a small barrio near Batangas, a couple of hundred miles from Manila, Adelaide and her sister just finished their deliveries of some textiles to their distributors and were heading out the door when someone came rushing into the shop and almost knocked them over.
He breathlessly said, “The Japanese just bombed Clark Air Base and Baguio.”
Adelaide and Marta turned around.
The owner of the shop said, “What are you talking about?” The owner of the shop could not comprehend what the man was talking about.
The man said breathlessly, “I heard it on the radio. The Japanese bombed Clark and Baguio.” The man repeated.
“O my God!” She made a sign of the cross and watching her, Adelaide thought the lady owner was going to faint. The lady owner sat down and asked for a glass of water. The man went to the back room to get some water from the earthen jar.
Adelaide looked at her sister who was as shocked as she was. The man came back from the back room with the glass of water. Marta signaled to Adelaide and she and Adelaide said goodbye and hurriedly headed toward the door. They walked a couple of blocks trying to find a bus to take them home to Sambat. They went to the bus stop. Few people were milling about. Marta asked one of the women who was standing nearby and talking to somebody else.
“Excuse me, when do you think the next bus to Bauan is going to be?”
“I don’t know,” the lady answered.
“I understand there is no bus service today,” the other lady said.
“Why?” Adelaide asked.
“All the buses are taken by the army.” The lady felt sorry for the two young girls. “Maybe you can find a calesa instead.” She pointed in the opposite direction and said, “Go that way, sometimes there are some calesas standing there.”
“Salamat po.” Marta said. “Thank you, m’am.”
Marta took Adelaide’s hand and they walked in the direction that the lady pointed as fast as they could. They saw a couple of calesas about to leave. They were full and would not take another passenger. So they waited. And they waited. After half an hour, another calesa came by finally. There were seats available but it won’t take them to Sambat. They would only go to Bauan market. Marta looked at Adelaide. Adelaide nodded her head. They took it anyway. They got into Bauan market and there was a big commotion around. They had to get another calesa to take them to Sambat. They waited and waited. But no calesa was coming.
Adelaide was getting nervous. Adelaide asked her sister, “Why don’t we just start walking? It would probably be faster.”
“Ok, if you are up to it. Let’s go,” Marta said.
As they were starting to walk, they saw a lot of people doing the same thing. There were very few calesas on the road. No buses at all. They kept on walking with Adelaide’s braid swinging behind her. Then suddenly Adelaide stopped, pulled her braid over her shoulder, fingered the tip of it. Marta looked at her. “What’s the matter?”
Adelaide blurted out, “The man said Baguio was bombed. I wonder where the bombing was in Baguio.” She had been thinking about it ever since she heard the news but was afraid to ask Marta. Finally she could not keep it to herself anymore.
“We forgot to ask the man.” Marta could feel the anxiety on Adelaide’s voice.
“Benjamin is there.” Adelaide was trying very hard to suppress her anxiety.
Her sister caught on quickly. “Yes, I know what you are thinking but we do not know exactly where the bombing was. The Japanese probably were attacking just the army bases. I don’t think you should worry.”
“I am not worried,” Adelaide lied.
“Yes, you are. He’ll be fine. Trust me.”
“Do you think the Japanese will kill the civilians?”
“Hard to tell. If they were on their way, they could be killed.”
“Benjamin is in Mankayan. I don’t know how far that is from Baguio.”
“I don’t know either. Let’s just hope he has the common sense to stay away from danger.”
“I wonder how long this war is going to be.”