The House in Zapote Street

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Quijano de Manila

About the Author
Quijano de Manila is the pen name of Nick Joaquin. He started writing before the war and his first story, “Three Generations” has been hailed as a masterpiece. He has been recipient of almost all the prestigious awards in literature and the arts, including the National Artist Award for Literature in 1976. He was also conferred, among other recognitions, the Republic Cultural Heritage Award for Literature in 1961, the Journalist of the Year Award in the early 1960s, the Book of the Year Award in 1979 for his Almanac for Manileños, the national Book award for several of his works, the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature, Creative Communication Arts (the Asian counterpart of Nobel Prize) in 1996, and the Tanglaw ng Lahi Award in 1997.

Dr. Leonardo Quitangon, a soft-spoken, mild-mannered, cool-tempered Caviteno, was still fancy-free at 35 when he returned to Manila, after six years abroad. Then, at the University of Santo Tomas, where he went to reach, he met Lydia Cabading, a medical intern. He liked her quiet ways and began to date her steadily. They went to the movies and to basketball games and he took her a number of times to his house in Sta. Mesa, to meet his family. Lydia was then only 23 and looked like a sweet unspoiled girl, but there was a slight air of mystery about her. Leonardo and his brothers noticed that she almost never spoke of her home life or her childhood; she seemed to have no gay early memories to share with her lover, as sweethearts usually crave to do. And whenever it looked as if she might have to stay out late, she would say: "I'll have to tell my father first". And off she would go, wherever she was, to tell her father, though it meant going all the way to Makati, Rizal, where she lived with her parents in a new house on Zapote Street. The Quitangons understood that she was an only child and that her parents were, therefore, over-zealous in looking after...
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