The Café at Kilometer Zilch

Marcos was from Ilocos Norte. That and the surrounding provinces were his stronghold, and everyone referred to the area as the Solid North. Everyone, that is, except the communists, who called it Ilocoslovakia. From the electoral point of view, Northern Luzon was cut and dried. From the revolutionary perspective, it was quite different.

Fred, my new guide, had been working there for the last few months. There was too much competition among the photo-journalists in Manila. He had to prove himself. He had to get some exclusive stories, and that meant working in the provinces, where the war was. ‘My only weapons are my courage and my guts,’ he said. He would work from his home province for the next couple of years, and if all went well he would then move to Manila.

The disadvantage of working from near home was that he wouldn’t be able to marry his fiancée yet. It was impossible to do so at home without inviting all their friends and relations, and this they simply could not afford. Whereas a wedding in Manila could be a much more modest affair.