Tuesday, August 16, 2005

III. Rosang Taba, in brief (2)

Rosang Taba’s parents had longed for a child. Her father prayed to the spirits of his people, those whose names were forever etched in the collective memory of the mountain tribe he had left behind when he sought his fortune in Ciudad. For many years, he called out to the gods of the wood and sky but it was as if his gods chose not to hear his prayers. He always thought he was being punished for abandoning the ways of his father, grandfather, and all those who came before him.

Her mother, a kitchen servant in the service of the Residencia of the Guvernador-Henerale, offered prayers to the icons of her masters. She would stand outside the Katedral Grandu and silently implore the Tres Hermanas, that inscrutable Trinity of Women in whose name the Ispaniola had come. But they also seemed deaf to prayer, and the poor woman decided that perhaps the Tres Hermanas suspected that her piety had an ulterior motive.

It was after they ceased to pray to both the spirits of the Hinirang and the goddesses of the conquerors that a child came into their lives. In the endless delirium of joy that characterized their love for the child, they named her Rosa and proceeded to give her everything their meager stations in life allowed them.

Her father, riddled by the guilt of having left the mountains, taught her all the stories of his people and instilled in her a pride in her ancestry. Rosa’s heart grew rich with her father’s every telling of legend, fable and myth.

Her mother established Rosa’s presence by her side in the kitchen and taught her the secrets of the Ispaniolan sideboard – its medley of rich sauces, creams and spices, and attempted to share with her child her appreciation for the language, culture and faith of her masters.

It was thus that not only Rosa’s heart grew, but her mind, spirit and body as well, as if her external nature struggled to keep pace with the leaps and bounds her inner nature knew. She drank deeply of her father’s tales and devoured the fruits of her mother’s suspect conversion. By the time she was a young woman, it was inevitable that her name would change to reflect what to all who saw her was obvious. She became Rosang Taba – of broad shoulders and massive girth, insatiable appetites for food and learning, and an almost overwhelming pride in her mountain ancestry.

(2) Fr. Fernando Carlos Barraquias, ed., Immacolata: Origins and Speculations (Illustrado Press, 1845)


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