As a boy, Aurelio has always wanted to be brave and responsible and adult-like, even when his childhood friend Narcisa makes it hard to do so.
But in a time of war, being brave is a challenge that may be beyond a young boy’s capability, even one as dutiful as Eliong.
And when disaster strikes their hometown and Eliong finds himself in a dangerous confrontation, he finds that even the bravest boy can have a little help from the most unexpected places.
This is another story I wrote about a decade ago, and this one’s special to me. It’s based on two things. The first one is a Philippine legend or alamat explaining the origin of the malay rose apple tree or macopa. The other is my father’s own story of how the Japanese Army swept through his hometown in a northern province in the Philippines when he was a boy during World War II. I just added some historical details (not enough, this is not a scholarly dissertation on the Philippine experience during WWII), and took great liberties with both my dad’s story and the legend.