Burning rice is not a good thing. It is a blasphemy against God. The sacredness of rice can be seen in the numerous terms used to denote it. Just as there are a hundred names for God, the terms for rice include: sapaw (budding of rice grains on the stalk), tukol (overripe rice grains not harvested), ipa (chaff of rice grains), kumag (fine powder sticking to polished rice), umok (small worm found in rice), tahip (the shaking of grains to remove husks or chaff), palay (unhusked, freshly harvested rice), bugas (uncooked but husked and polished rice), kan-on (cooked and boiled rice), am (broth made from boiled rice), goto (rice porridge with meat), suam (rice porridge with fish), bahog (random broth mixed with rice), apa (wafer made of rice), busa (popped rice), ampaw (sweet puffed rice), malagkit (sticky rice), kata (rice bubbling as it starts to boil), saing (boiling rice), bahaw (leftover rice), tukag (burnt rice left at bottom of pot). There is no word for deliberately burned rice.

The bells of Balangiga, stolen by U.S. soldiers as spoils of war, have still not been returned to Samar. 

The historic life of Casiana Nacionales, also known as the Geronima of Balangiga, is chronicled by the Leyte-Samar Historical Society, most pertinently in Glenda Lynne Tibe-Bonifacio’s “Deconstructing Maria in Geronima: The Balangiga Story.” As Professor Tibe-Bonifacio notes, Casiana was a “lay prayer leader and the lone woman privy to the Balangiga plot.” On the plaque of the plaza in Balangiga registering revolutionary names, her feminine struggle is solitary. However, the ghosts of the washing women, cooks, gihay sweepers, water carriers, and so on who helped the men survive lie behind her august name. Women in war salute you with tears in their eyes, Casiana Nacionales! And kudos and bravo to you, Leyte-Samar Historical Society! Keep it up!

The martial arts of chess and arnis saved the day. The great chronicler of the Balangiga incident, Professor Rolando Borrinaga, credits the Chief’s twin obsessions, the intellectual arts of chess and arnis, with the chess moves of the townspeople’s actions and the martial arts stealth of their cunning plot. Kudos and bravo to you, Professor Rolando Borrinaga, for your own scholarly wizardry! History salutes you!

The statue of Valeriano Abanador, the Chief, the Hero of Balangiga, remains standing in Balangiga despite the ravages of time, oblivion, and Typhoon Yolanda. 

Balangiga, Samar, has been the eye of storms. Most famously: razed to the ground following uprising of its people on September 27, 1901—helped or not by Aguinaldo’s general in Samar, Vicente Lukban (opinions are divided). Their daring action was fit for a costume zarzuela, an operetta, with cross-dressing, divinely inspired but comely heroine, chess maneuvers, and inspired use of ancient martial arts. Americans found no women and children in Balangiga after the raid, despite evidence of their presence the night before when the Chief, Abanador, got Americans got drunk at a fake fiesta. Who knows if the revolutionaries were already in disguise—hairy women spooning out rice and bibingka to unsuspecting soldiers? Americans found absolutely no one in the burning huts of Balangiga, so they also burned the outlying towns, Giporlos, Guiuan, San Roque, Quinapundan. In fact, the U.S. Army kind of took all of Samar to exact revenge. Body counts range from 2,500 to 50,000, depending on who is doin...

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ELVIS AARON PRESLEY

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