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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

He was convinced that poverty was the only way of life for a certain category of people; they would die without it – as surely as it would kill people like him.

Speaker: Adrian

After the Great Flood, Adrian visits a refugee camp with a girl who seems saint-like to him. Adrian is overwhelmed by the devastation and loss surrounding him. He flees from it, convincing himself that as surely as he does not belong in poverty, the people who have known it their entire life do belong in it. In the years following this experience, he thinks of this girl as someone valuable whom he lost—until, through Eliza, he is re-introduced to Anna.

Do not tempt fate by saying never. Never again this, never again that—for you can never be sure of never and that's the only thing you can be sure of.

Speaker: Anna

Anna says this to Eliza after they graduate, in order to illustrate that people should exist independent from destiny. Anna wants Eliza to experience life and its joys and happiness by virtue of existence, rather than be preoccupied with how long something will last. This passage ties in to the novel’s theme of fate and destiny, both in terms of personal destiny and a larger Filipino destiny associated with post-colonial revolution.

It is the living nature of resistance. It exists in constant flux, changing, breeding, metastasizing.

Speaker: Colonel Urbano Amor

The Colonel says this to Eliza when she tours the compound where the government detains individuals who provide information on the resistance. The Colonel took these words from a professor. They refer to the changing nature of the resistance, affected by historical events, colonialism, and changes in rule and political circumstances. This passage ties in to the overall message of the novel: that the Philippines is in a persistent state of war and that true independence is yet to be achieved.

It was a kind of sin, certainly, to forget—but it was not easy to remember, especially when names changed, languages changed. A century-old name held that century; when replaced, a hundred years were wiped out at one stroke. Amnesia set it; reality itself, being metamorphic, was affected.

Speaker: Maya

Maya has these reflections while walking in Rizal Park, a historical urban park in the Philippines. During the era of colonialism, the area was known as Bagumbayan, where executions took place. Now the name has changed, and with it, the lives of the people who were killed there are in danger of being forgotten. Maya wonders at the fate of the country’s future if the past is forgotten.

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