The Summer Solstice
About the Author
Nicomedes Márquez Joaquín was a Filipino writer, historian and journalist, best known for his short stories and novels in the English language. He also wrote using the pen name Quijano de Manila. Joaquin was conferred the rank and title of National Artist of the Philippines for Literature. He is considered the most important Filipino writer in English, and the third most important overall, after José Rizal and Claro M. Recto.
Joaquín was born in Paco, Manila, one of ten children of Leocadio Joaquín, a colonel under General Emilio Aguinaldo in the 1896 Revolution, and Salome Márquez, a teacher of English and Spanish. After ...view middle of the document...
Joaquín paid tribute to him in books such as The Storyteller's New Medium - Rizal in Saga, The Complete Poems and Plays of Jose Rizal, and A Question of Heroes: Essays in Criticism on Ten Key Figures of Philippine History. He translated the hero's valedictory poem, in the original Spanish Mi Ultimo Adios, as "Land That I Love, Farewell!"
Joaquín represented the Philippines at the International PEN Congress in Tokyo in 1957, and was appointed as a member of the Motion Pictures commission under presidents Diosdado Macapagal and Ferdinand E. Marcos.
After being honored as National Artist, Joaquin used his position to work for intellectual freedom in society. He secured the release of imprisoned writer José F. Lacaba. At a ceremony on Mount Makiling attended by First Lady Imelda Marcos, Joaquín delivered an invocation to Mariang Makiling, the mountain's mythical maiden. Joaquín touched on the importance of freedom and the artist. After that, Joaquín was excluded by the Marcos regime as a speaker from important cultural events.
Joaquín died of cardiac arrest in the early morning of April 29, 2004, at his home in San Juan, Metro Manila. He was then editor of Philippine Graphic magazine where he worked with Juan P. Dayang, who was the magazine's first publisher. Joaquin was also publisher of its sister publication, Mirror Weekly, a women’s magazine. He also wrote the column (“Small Beer”) for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Isyu, an opinion tabloid.
The narrative of The Summer Solstice begins with St. John's Day, as it occurred in the 1850s in the Philippines. Entoy informed Doña Lupeng that Amada participated in the Tatarin fertility ritual. Amada was believed to have become the Tatarin personified. The next day, while onboard a carriage, Doña Lupeng started a conversation regarding how Amada could still believe in such a ritual. Don Paeng cut her short because children were listening. The carriage stopped, and they watched the St. John's Day procession. Thinking and speaking to herself, Doña Lupeng mocked the men's demonstration of arrogance during the procession. Upon arriving at the house, Doña Lupeng found out that Guido, Don Paeng's cousin, had...