Memoirs of Lope Lindio (Excerpt)

From Chapter 13, “Madridejos, Alegria, Cebu” in Father & Son: Overlapping Ordinary Lives On The Sidelines of Extra-ordinary Times 20th Century Philippines, by Lope Lindio, XLibris, 2015.

I enjoyed staying up late in the evenings, listening to them talking about the past, the latest gossip, peoples’ lives, romantic relationships or the political battles in what was then the 5th congressional district of Cebu, which included Alegria; the political feud between the Cuencos and the Osmeñas. Others who always obliged to talk when asked, those who came to the house to do some contract work like stitching our commercial fishing nets (pamarongoy) or doing house repairs or just relaxing talking with my father, were Martin Guisadio, Many Tengku Javierto, Escolastico Lendio, Alejo Javierto and a whole lot of others I can no longer remember.

Their subjects ranged from the cerebral to the trivial. One time, they commended the memory of Manuel L. Quezon for the massive coconut tree planting throughout the country. Although of doubtful credibility, they believed he was responsible for requiring the people to plant coconuts and abaca. If not for this “dictatorial” edict, the Philippines would not have become a major producer of coconut oil.

This scuttlebutt was just one of many I heard and forgot about until Iheard it again years later in the 1970s, from Renato Kintanar, a friend of mine, who told us the same anecdote when visiting his ancestral town of Argao and we came to talk about the coconuts found all over the place. It struck me this time that the story could not be true because no one, whatever his position in the government, could force people to plant their farms. I then thought about what happened and suspected that the supposed Quezon order originated from the major copra buyers in the city, who conspired with the national, provincial and town officials, in pushing people to plant more coconuts and abaca. They turned out to be foresightful even if their purpose was pursued in a wrong way. If not for the mass planting of coconuts, Cebu and all other places where coconuts were mandated to be planted, would not have a major or supplementary cash crop to speak of.

Lope Lindio
Author: Lope Lindio

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.