detail from Labels for Hair Ribbons by Manuel Ocampo a delectable selection of oriental appetizers
Friday, April 02, 2004

: . The Travel Diaries of Jose Rizal

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    Calamba, 1 May -- Monday1

    My brother woke me up at five o'clock in the morning to get ready for the trip. I rose up mechanically and arranged what I had to take with me.
    My brother gave me 356 pesos which I should take with me. I asked my servant to call a vehicle to conduct me to Biñan. I dressed and while I was waiting for breakfast, the carromata2 arrived. My parents had already awakened but not yet my sisters. I took a cup of coffee. My brother looked at me with sorrow; my parents knew nothing. Finally I kissed their hands. I was on the verge of crying! I went down hurriedly, bidding a mute goodbye to everything dear to me: Parents, brothers, house. I was forsaking them all. I passed by the house of my sister Neneng to ask her for a diamond ring, but I found her still sleeping. I proceeded on my way to the house of my sister Lucía. My brother-in-law3 was already awake and I was expecting him to accompany me, but he did not. I proceeded on my way. The sun was beginning to rise.
    Calamba's houses, her cultivated fields, her Makiling, all her simple and picturesque beauty -- all appeared to my eyes at those moments with an inestimable value.
    When I thought that I was leaving my family behind, tears welled in my eyes. I felt I was drowning. The horse was nimble; my driver, silent and so was I. What thoughts! What sad reflections!
    Oh, how much sacrifice for an ephemeral good! We reached Biñan soon. There I changed my vehicle, my new driver being Vicente, an old acquaintance. I gave Macario a peseta as a tip. This new driver, Vicente, is gay and loquacious. He recounted to me many things that I did not understand. He entertained me somewhat, but not altogether.
    Thus we passed through San Pedro Tunasan, Muntinglupa, Las Piñas, Parañaque until Malate. I gave him 3 pesos. I took another vehicle for Manila.
    There I found Chengoy4 with Dandoy. Chengoy told me he would give me my passport that same day. My uncle Antonio really came bringing me the passport. We went to Henry's5 house to get my ticket and afterward we went shopping. That afternoon I ordered a lounging chair and then I wrote letters.
    What a night that was! How distressful it was for me!
    Shall I see my family, my father, mother, brothers, and brothers-in-law? Oh! One who has never left the bosom of his home; one who has left it amid a thousand loving goodbyes and farewells can consider himself happy.
    (The ticket cost me...)

    1This is a translation of the diary published in Unitas, Manila, October-December 1953, pp. 854-872. Obvious errors in the transcription have been corrected.
    2Light two-wheeled covered vehicles, usually horse-drawn, and more spacious than a calesa.
    3Matriano Herbosa
    4José M. Cecilio
    5Henry, a Frenchman, owner of Bazar Filipino located on the corner of Escolta and T. Pinpin, and agent of the Messageries Maritimes.

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