Joseph Scalice is a historian of revolutionary movements and authoritarianism in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, based in Singapore. He moved to the Philippines at the age of five in the early 1980s in the final years of the Marcos dictatorship and has lived the majority of his life in the country. He worked in a car shop in rural Tennessee, served as minister for an impoverished church in the rural Philippines, and taught ethnic studies in an Oakland California public high school.
the expectant calm of provincial daybreak tricycles sputter in the distance,a ricefield wind rustlesthe greenveined mango leaves. The ten thousand sounds of morning commence,the quiet temporizing of daybreak as the orchestra of the world tests its strings. cricketcall and birdsong -- the euphony of morning mingles with the roar of distant buses gathering dawn passengers for the metropolis, bundled tingting scrape the ashen soil all is fruiting cobwebbed dewdappled, leafcutter guyabano, ilang-ilang and santol, dust and decomposition a heady rot thickens each lungful of the Central Luzon morning. the vast heaving breath of this rural world conspires still to a cyclic conformity of lives measured by inundation and harvest a faint quickening at its center an increasingly audible rasp at its fringes are muffled still by the timelessness that hangs over the town like an immense blanket. The pastel sky widens the sounds of the marketplace swell. A chatter of Ilocano Pampango Pangasinan Tagalog English freely mingling in the tones of rural commerce in the solicitation of vendors and the laughing, haggling lifestruggle over peso and kiloweight