Sunday, November 23, 2008


STAR-CROSSED LOVERS. A happy ending to Erlinda Bautista and Silvestre Lansangan's tempestuous romance. Their love story captivated a whole town for its sheer drama, so much so that the lovestruck duo were known as Mabalacat's "Romeo and Juliet". 1949.

(The story of star-crossed lovers Erlinda Castro Bautista and Silvestre Malit Lansangan is one for the books; in fact, it’s the stuff TV telenovelas are made of. So much so that the story was used for a "Ms. D." episode aired on 12 August 1998, over GMA Channel 7, from a letter sent by daughter Lily. This account was directly taken from the Golden Wedding anniversary invitation sent to us by the family, who are direct relatives. The great grandfather of Erlinda, Isidoro Castro is the elder brother of Gerardo Castro Sr., my paternal grandfather. )

Erlinda (Linda) and Silvestre (Beting) first met in May 1949, during a town santacruzan where Linda was the Reyna Elena. Silvestre was quickly smitten by the young queen and Erlinda, too, succumbed to her feelings. So, on June 14, 1950, on her 14th birthday, Erlinda went to hear mass and never came back home, having eloped with Beting.

Apung Coring (Linda’s mother) was against Bet, because her daughter was too young to get married. Her parents tried to convince their daughter to come home with them and forget about Beting, but being head over heels in love with him, she refused. Her parents were very disappointed such that they decided to send her to jail for disobedience. There, the Chief of Police, an uncle, took her under police custody but gave her special treatment, apparently because she was not a criminal. She stayed there for 21 days.

At the back of the Municipal Jail, there was window to Linda's cell. Beting secretly saw his beloved Linda by climbing the back wall and peering through this small window. To this day, Beting often wonders how he could have climbed the prison wall that was so high and forbidding.

Their love story made them popular in Mabalacat, so much so that the people made this line for Linda: "Tadtaran daku man mapinu, ing mitalamsik a daya kang Bet ya pa murin." (Even I were finely chopped, my blood that spatters will still be for Bet).

Eventually, her parents had her released from jail and she was sent to Marikina where her paternal relatives resided. There, Linda was enrolled at Cubao Elementary School. Beting, who was so much in love with her, didn’t stop looking for her, a search that lasted for a month. It was at Cubao Elementary School that Beting finally saw Linda, as she was getting ready for the flag ceremony. Linda skipped her class and sat down with Beting to discuss their relationship and their plans.

It came to a point that one day, Linda stuffed her school bag with clothes, a suspicious act that was not lost on her Lolo Pedro, who had been keeping an eagle eye on her. She told her Lolo, a former Katipunero, that she was going to school. In fact, she was again, plotting to elope with Beting. The couple were already on a bus when Lolo Pedro appeared at the station, brandishing a bolo, and demanding that the two alight from the bus. Their plan was once again, thwarted.

Her Lolo Pedro reported this to her parents. But this time, realizing the depth and sincerity of their love, Linda’s parents gave their blessings to the couple. Linda and Beting were married in San Juan Church and were blessed with 4 children: Joel, Rod, Elvis and Lily, all married with children. The Lansangans now all reside in the United States.

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