Summary of VIBORA by Francis B. Tatel
Vibora is a brief yet perplexingly unique a novel. It is a story within a story which tells about Benjamin ‘Ben” Singkol’s research about the Filipino hero Artemio Ricarte for his novel Vibora. Benjamin "Ben" Singkol, who is described by Jose as “perhaps the most interesting character” he created, is a renowned novelist who wrote the book entitled "Pain", an autobiography written during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Singkol was described to be a coward, a "supot" or an uncircumcised man who did not only run away from such a “ritual of manhood” but also evaded his “foxhole in Bataan when the Japanese soldiers were closing in”. Singkol was a “runner” or “evader” throughout much of his lifetime, while being haunted by the “poverty of his boyhood” and of the “treachery that he may have committed” in the past. In 1982, Singkol began receiving letters from a Japanese named Haruko Kitamura. It is just very opportune for Singkol because Kitamura is a writer and a journalist who can help him find relevant information on Ricarte. During his research, he is visited by Fred Lana in order to ask for his help in the for the fabled “Yamashita treasure”. Singkol has a daughter who has her own search, too; the search for the real Filipino heroes in the contemporary times, search for the truth. Singkol read many letters from friends, diary and journal entries and other relevant articles about Ricarte. In his research Singkol found out that During the US-Philippine War in 1900 (a post extension of the 1898 Spanish-American War), General Artemio Ricarte (1866-1945), considered the "Father of the Philippine Army” was captured and refused to take the oath of allegiance to the US Government. He was exiled, he returned, was exiled again, returned and started to re-kindle an insurrection. He was arrested and sentenced to 6 years in prison. He received political asylum in Japan where he lived with his wife quietly for 30 years. He...
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