Friday, June 11, 2010

Why We Write, By Noemi S. Rabina

After watching on TV the events that took place during WW II in the Philippines under Japan, 1941-1945, my four sisters and I started our unending recollections of our experiences. We decided to put them in writing to let our children and grandchildren know how we survived the war. The place we called our home was in Laguna. Pictures alone can not reveal our feelings, emotions, love and joy with the people that crossed our way.

We write about the beautiful place that God has created for us to enjoy. The mountain high, the rolling hills and forests that we have traveled, the flowing river, the spacious sky and the heavenly bodies that slowly traveled across the firmament before our eyes. We write about the fragrance of the orange blossoms and gardenia that surrounded us, the rainbow colors of flowers in the garden and those that decked our pathway, the orchids that hang on the branches of trees. We write about our friends, their love for us and their hospitality.

We write about the circumstance that brought our family to live close together, our fears, our work and play, our travel on foot for one hour to go to church and worship with Christian friends in town. We write about our fellowship with the young people, our laughter, our love for each one like brothers and sisters.

We write about the young men who tried to win my sisters’ hands. In those days, romance was just looking at each other, no holding hands, no kissing, and no dating. We write about the way young men woo their beloved by serenading at night, usually when the moon is bright. The one they named in their song would open the window to thank them.

We write about the industry that we have learned; such as weaving mats, bags and hats which were an added source of income. We write about the little business that my mother started, baking native cakes that we sold to the village folks. We write about our poultry. We write about the fish traps that my father set by the river bank. We write about the mini school that my sister started with the pre-school children who learned ABC.

We write about our Japanese friends who have been nice to us and taught us their language and songs. We write about the “Bamboo Army” to protect us from invaders and the “radio taizo” to keep us physically strong. They gave us products from Japan and we gave them fruits from our trees and garden.

These memories of struggle for survival during the Japanese occupation led me to write our experiences. Once started, ideas kept flowing. I am an inexperience writer and what comes to mind, I write. Going to a Memoir Class helped me a lot.


  1. Dear Noemi, You have had vast, and multi-cultural experiences rich in traditions. What a great legacy you have stored for the generations in your family. They must be very grateful to you, as well, they should.


  2. Hi! One thing I forgot to mention was the near tragedy that my father had in the hands of Jap. snipwrs on his way to town alone. They were about to kill him but with his little knowledge of their language, he pleaded for his life. All these incidents, I have written in my memoir. Coming to class, there will still be lots of imrovement that I can make. Thanks to Bonnie, our teacher and guide, and to all my classmates.

  3. Noemi,
    I so enjoyed your story on "Why You Write". All of our life's information is ours alone until we share it. I'm glad that you and your sisters are sharing all of this. Gail

  4. Noemi, Writing about our past lives can be healing, even though the past may have been painful you are consoling your emotions by writing these stories for future generations to read. It doesn't erase the pain of war's tragedies and disruptions in your life but it helps to be able to tell others of your experiences. Good for you, you are doing so!!

  5. Noemi, I love viewing life from the lense of others and you portray your experiences so beautifully. Inexperience has nothing to do with it. Pouring out your heart honestly does. Thanks for letting us share your experiences. God bless you, Annette

  6. Noemi,
    You have a beautiful mind. You are too modest when you say you are an inexperienced writer. You have vast knowledge to share. Obviously your faith helped you and your four sisters through deeply troubling times. Your story is a gift that your children and grandchildren will treasure for ever.