Recollections is a compilation of short anecdotal pieces written by Thelma M. Arceo, head of Bantayog’s Research and Documentation Committee. Striking a pact with a friend to “put these snippets of memories down to paper,” as she writes about her son, Bantayog martyr Ferdinand “Ferdie” Arceo. Mrs. Arceo hopes this will inspire the other families, relatives and friends of our martyrs and heroes to do the same.
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“Thelma Arceo’s Recollections is a labor of love: for her son Ferdie, who at 21 years old died fighting the Marcos dictatorship; for Ferdie’s “Efren”(s), comrades who the Arceos welcomed to their home knowing their own son was welcomed by other parents who knew Ferdie only as a revolutionary; and for Ferdie’s many causes: love of country, a demand for government accountability, and the quest for social justice for and with the workers and farmers who Ferdie served “wholly and entirely.” This book brings to mind Jose Rizal’s mother; we have many modern Teodora Alonzos in our midst. Recollections will hopefully inspire other mothers and fathers of our martyrs and heroes to write their stories not just for the sake of remembering but also as a reminder to us all that the struggle for country, accountability and social justice continues.” -Judy Taguiwalo
“Thelma Arceo, whom we fondly call Tita or Auntie, has finally gathered these brief anecdotes about her son Ferdie, killed at the prime of his youth by the Marcos military soon after the declaration of martial law. He was only 21 when he died in Panay, slain with four other students who had chosen to cast their lot with the poorest of the poor in the Philippines. That a parent survives a child is cause enough for the deepest grief, but to have lost a son like Ferdie who embodied the noblest ideal of being “a man for others” and who lived to “serve the people,” makes the pain and the sense of loss permanent. Through a mother’s eyes, this is the story of a Filipino hero who offered his own life for the liberation of his people from tyranny.” -Ed Maranan