Don knew more about demonstrations than he let on. He had seen and participated in them. But the demonstration wasn’t his main interest this time. He said, “You wonder if they know what they really doing. I’m not sure I would know. Nick you’ve taught here for a number of years. I wonder if they really know what they’re demonstrating about. In a few hours it’ll be over, and they’ll go home. I bet that’s what Marcos is counting on. What do you think? And they aren’t just doing this to get out of class, I can see that.”
Ted picked Ben out of the crowd, as he waited for the mike, a little impatient by now. The young man stood to one side of a dais and grim-faced in light of the situation waited his turn. Ted said, “Do you think Ben intends to graduate?” Nick really hadn’t thought about that before; Ben was like so many other radical students; probably he’d end up in prison. Nick said, “I know Ben. That young man is bright. Leaders are usually very bright. No nonsense kind of guys. He may look like a boy to you, but he knows what he’s fighting for. He knows as much as Comrade Sison.” Ted was about to explain to Don that the Comrade Sison Nick so casually mentioned was the Communist college professor who….when Don chimed in, “You don’t have to tell me. I know about Jose Maria Sison.” Don’s quick response startled Ted. Nick said, “Dr. Sison articulates what we all know, that’s all. No offense intended, but Ben knows what he’s doing, as well as anyone.” And in that short exchange Don had his suspicions confirmed and knew from Susan that Ted was involved. He supposed Ted could claim he was unwittingly involved and given his assignment he supposed he could say he had to befriend Nick. But then, too, Ted could’ve given all of his attention to the theater at Fort Santiago, or nearly all of it, allotting only enough time at the university to teach his classes.
When he heard President Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, Don decided to do something for his country, and all he could envision was digging wells in places in Africa or South America, living with the people and surrendering as much of himself as possible. He saw that for some the sacrifice of putting off a Ph.D. in science to join the Peace Corps, as he did, would’ve been too big. Those first two years Don lived in a small but clean one-room cement house. His town was a small rooster-infested town on the north coast of Mindanoa. It wasn’t Africa or South America, his first two choices, but living there suited him, and, as a science teacher, with a sea as a lab, and within reach of forests and mountains, he couldn’t have been happier. In no other part of the world would Don have been more satisfied. From day one he took his students out in the field, and many of the grownups thought that was a waste of time. It wasn’t. He was trying to teach them by showing them something, show and not tell. He would say, “Take that conch shell you just picked up. Place it to your ear, and what do you hear? Why do you hear what you hear? And is it living or dead?” And they began to understand that Don wasn’t going to teach their children by rote, or by having them memorize from a book.
They finally chanced it. Don, Ted, and Elaine; Nick stayed behind. (He said to catch up on some work,) They would run, duck, and hide. Every now and then they would run into a pocket of students; and Ted would identify himself as a faculty member. It didn’t matter then that they were Yankee imperialists. As the students had chanted and shouted and drowned each other out, every once and while someone would take up the “Internationale” in Tagalog. Yes, the students had been rowdy, irreverent, and troublesome, but after seeing Ted’s I.D they showed their politeness, and let them go through. By then the demonstration was over, but here and there down the central street a victorious cadre of leaders congratulated each other after the university had virtually been handed over to them. Mimeographed manifestoes were scattered all over, with the barricades and the command posts still manned. The campus had truly died down, but there was still a potential for a fight. So school kids, now in control, posted sentries around the campus, where students and faculty earlier in the day had hurried to their classes. They held the high ground…the Administration Building…where they waited to be challenged. Don said, “We better be quick. They’re hard to predict.”