While Doug and Claudia prepare for their move from the sunny glades of Bucharest to the snowy slopes of Yerevan, I thought I might distract and appall HDTD's regular readership with stories of someplace completely different. Like Romania, the Philippines is a Latin country. Over twenty-seven hundred years ago, a pair of twins living in a shack on top of a hill in peninsular central Europe had a vision of the future: Marcello Mastroianni walking down the street badly hungover, every hair on his head perfect. That works! they said. And the rest, as they say, was history. But all such dreams have their dark side. Twenty-six hundred years and three or four waves of Latin expansion and contraction later, the following horrible events occurred, which I recount for the edification of Brett Bellmore:
Sometime in November 1897, sixteen-year-old Faustina Trias left her home in Calumpit, Bulucan, and moved with her husband, Candido Ramos, to Manila, where they entered the domestic service of a certain Doa Ladislana. After about a month, seamstress Martina Rafael and her husband, Pedro de los Santos, a day laborer, offered to employ the couple. Despite their less-than-lofty social status, Rafael and Santos somehow convinced Trias and Ramos to transfer to their service. Doa Ladislana had already advanced Ramos twenty-three pesos, however, so it was arranged that Rafael would pay the debt in full, and Ramos would reimburse her by going to work as a coachman for another Spaniard, Don Catalino Sevilla. With the young husband out of the way, Rafael took Trias for a walk a few nights later and delivered her to a house of prostitution run by Alejandra Umali. There Trias was locked up and held as a virtual slave for a month and a half and forced to have sexual relations with those who came to the house. After experiencing genital bleeding, she became frantic but could not escape because the other inmates helped keep guard over her. She finally slipped away one night when Umali was sleeping and no one else was watching. She found her husband in his lodgings at a rice store owned by a barrio captain, and together they went to the tribunal and told their story to a judge. An action was brought in early 1898 against Rafael, de los Santos, and Umali. A mdico titular testified that Trias could not attend the preliminary hearings because of the severe venereal disease that she had suffered for more than a month. Umali had disappeared, and the authorities were still searching for her when Admiral Dewey sailed into Manila Bay, throwing the colonial administration into disarray and effectively terminating minor [sic -- CY] legal actions like this one.(From Ken de Bevoise, Agents of Apocalypse: Epidemic Disease in the Colonial Philippines.) I leave the story's application to the contemporary world as an exercise for the reader.