Mapanglaw Ang Mukha Ng Buwan: A Short Story by Efren Abueg
Mapanglaw Ang Mukha Ng Buwan is a short story by Filipino writer Efren Abueg. It was published in 1986 as part of his collection of stories titled Mga Agos sa Disyerto. The story is set during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines and revolves around a poor family that struggles to survive and cope with the hardships of war.
The main characters are Aling Maring, a sickly mother who suffers from tuberculosis; Mang Andoy, her husband who works as a carpenter for the Japanese; and Clemencia, their daughter who dreams of becoming a teacher. The story depicts the sacrifices and dilemmas that they face as they try to provide for Aling Maring's medical needs and Clemencia's education. The title of the story means \"The Moon's Sad Face\" and symbolizes the bleakness and hopelessness of their situation.
The story begins with Mang Andoy returning home from work with some money and medicine for Aling Maring. He tells her that he got the money from selling some of his carpentry tools to a Japanese officer. He also tells her that he has been offered a job by the same officer to build a coffin for his dead son. Aling Maring is shocked and dismayed by this news, as she knows that building a coffin for an enemy is considered a betrayal by their fellow Filipinos. She begs him not to accept the job, but he argues that they have no choice and that he is doing it for her sake.
The next day, Clemencia comes home from school with a letter from her teacher. The letter informs her that she has passed the entrance exam for a prestigious high school in Manila and that she has been granted a scholarship. Clemencia is overjoyed by this opportunity and shares it with her parents. Aling Maring is proud and happy for her daughter, but Mang Andoy is worried about how they will afford to send her to Manila. He decides to accept the job of building the coffin for the Japanese officer, hoping that it will give them enough money to support Clemencia's education.
However, his decision comes with a heavy price. As he works on the coffin, he is harassed and insulted by his neighbors who call him a traitor and a collaborator. He is also haunted by nightmares of being killed by Filipino guerrillas or Japanese soldiers. He becomes depressed and isolated, losing his appetite and sleep. He finishes the coffin in three days and delivers it to the Japanese officer, who pays him generously. He returns home with enough money to buy more medicine for Aling Maring and to send Clemencia to Manila.
But his happiness is short-lived. As he arrives at his house, he sees a crowd of angry people surrounding it. He learns that while he was away, some Filipino guerrillas raided their house and killed Aling Maring, thinking that she was a spy for the Japanese. They also burned their house and all their belongings, including Clemencia's letter and scholarship papers. Mang Andoy is devastated by this tragedy and blames himself for causing it. He runs away from the crowd, leaving behind his money and his life.
The story ends with Clemencia waiting for her father at the bus station, unaware of what has happened to him and her mother. She looks at the moon and wonders why it has such a sad face. aa16f39245