Plot summary
Amanda Bartolome is a mother of a middle-class family who has five young sons. Her eldest son, Jules, had a normal upbringing. Being the eldest in the family, he was already old enough during the declaration of martial law President Marcos. He became exposed to rebellious reading material, and inevitably molded his mind into that of guerilla. Jules grew up to become a member of the communist New People's Army.
Amanda and her husband, Julian, had suspicions of their son's inclination to become an anti-Government winger but became convinced when they find copies of rebellious pamphlets lying around the house. They confronted their son about them, and he had to admit his decision. At first, conflict ensues in the family. Eventually, the parents learned to accept their son's decision, and eventually became proud of him. Since then, their home became a constant place of recreation for Jules who often brought a friend along with him.
One of these friends of Jules is Domeng who stayed with the family for some time while recuperating from an injury. The family became close to the young man because, among other things, he reminded them of their son Jules. Unfortunately, it was already late when they realized that Domeng was an operative of the government all this time and that the friendship was all a front. Domeng exposed Jules participation and involvement in the NPA movement. And Jules was subsequently sent to prison.
Isagani, the second child, grew up to become a sailor, and became the family's cream of the crop. Gani, however, quickly became the goat of the family because he had made the simplest mistake of getting a girl, his girlfriend Evelyn, pregnant. Naturally, being a Catholic country, the parents insisted on marriage. Alas, their lives were nothing but hollow imitations of couples in love, without enough of the very essence that keeps two people together. Their separation was inevitable; Gani never lived the shame down.
The third Bartolome offspring that provided himself with the most secure future. Emmanuel lived the same life as his elder brothers, but knew that the extreme left and the extreme right had no place in society. He called for peaceful evolution, change in the form of expression. He wanted to become a writer, a noble profession, one exceptionally crafted for someone of Emmanuel's ability. His problem was, his father violently objected to his son's decision, due to practical reasons. There is no good pay for a writer.
Jason was Julian's favorite among his children. He was also the opposite of Emmanuel. While Emmanuel was studious and hardworking, Jason was a typical teenager. He joined rallies to make noise, not express a message. He was a constant failure in school, albeit his problems were self-inflicted. He stole from his parents. He lied to them. However, in the midst of the first three brothers' hardships, it was Jason's happy-go-lucky demeanor that provided Amanda and Julian with a well-needed dose of happiness. Unfortunately, in the end, it was Jason's felonious tendencies that caused hm his life; it wasn't his fault, but he was out with his usual round of pecadillos that the police accidentally killed Jason.
Sometime before he was sent to prison, Jules himself met a girl he wanted to marry. And unlike Gani, he truly loved this woman, Marah, and also got her pregnant. While in prison, he married Marah, and so there was the first addition to their family.
The youngest son was Benjamin. After all had come to pass, he was in the middle of his teens.