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Kapitan Sino - Chapter 16


Published at 18th of March 2018 11:15:56 PM

Chapter 16

KS Chapter 16


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Captain Who got ahead of the police in the pursuit for jewelry shop robbers. Before that, he has also saved an infant held hostage by his own father who lost his mind to drugs; helped a limping old man cross Roxas Boulevard back to his home; tipped out members of a B&E gang cuaght in the act; rescued a family caught in a strong flood; saved farmers on a coconut husking field from the lava of an erupting volcano; landed a Boeing 747 with three broken engines; exploded a giant robot wrecking havoc to park-goers in Nayong Pilipino¹; quickly escorted volunteers helping the Negros children²; and saved women and children victims in the war of Afghanistan. From waking up in the morning ’til falling asleep in the evening, Captain Who did nothing but work as a hero to the best of his ability. He no longer sees Bok-bok, nor talk to his parents. He has lost playing time with ET and his basketball. He no longer holds the broken stuff he loves tinkering with, neither does he clean the shop anymore. He does not sing along with the songs on the radio anymore since he does not open the radio anyway. No more watched movies. No more writing poems. He has stopped thinking before falling asleep. He no longer dreams. He no longer has a dream.

"Stand up. Are you sick?" A rough voice wakes up Rogelio one evening at eight o' clock. He did not eat dinner that day, nor lunch or breakfast; like every other day past. He gets up and sits on his bed to face his visitor, but did not bother opening the lights.

"No." This was the first time he answered his father rudely.

Mang Ernesto continues walking into the dark room, using a cane to support his lame leg. The right part of his face becomes visible under the moon's rays thrusting in through the windows. History has written lines and wrinkles on the old man's face. "You can't save everyone."

Rogelio does not answer.

"You have powers, but you do not hold the people’s lives."

"How did you know?"


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"You are my son," Mang Ernesto's gaze is nailed to the ground. "But I never had the guts to take the path you have chosen. I was afraid of the responsibilities that came along with this power. I could never promise that I will never use these powers for my own gain." The old man sighs. "I mean, I could, but like my brother…I couldn't do it for my whole life."

"Brother?"

"To try and dodge fate and start a new life, they gave the surname of your grandfather's second wife to the mayor. Solomon chose to be the hero of his son. I chose to be me." Mang Ernesto winces for a bit as he looks at his limp leg. "I didn't know there were consequences." There were no bandages wrapped around his right leg, showing a foot four times the size of a normal person's, full of little lumps and watery wounds.

"Why are you only telling me this now?"

"There was no need before," the father turns his back to him and pauses for a bit. "What happened to Tessa wasn't your fault.”

Rogelio doesn't reply.

"You shouldn't punish yourself."


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"I am not punishing myself!"

"You did what you can," Mang Ernesto turns back to his son. He sees him wiping his watering eyes.

"No cotton," Rogelio shakily says for the first time the anger bursting in his heart since coming from the hospital, a voice trying to steady itself but could not hide it's tears. "No medicine, no doctor—"

"No hospital! There is no sickness that heals in Pelaez!" Mang Ernesto's voice is loud. "You're a hero, not God."

"I wasn't a hero to the one I loved!"

"What do you think being a hero is? Those people in comic books lunging into fictional dangers? Saving imaginary people? Making things that don't happen happen? Never dying and never losing?" Mang Ernesto bows and takes a deep breath before continuing what he has to say. "Just stop what you're doing if you aren't happy with it. You won't get rich doing what you do. You won't even be able to pay electric bills with what you're doing. You will never get the chance to love nor be loved. You will save strangers, and hurt your family. You will battle both your weaknesses and being swallowed by overwhelming power. Whether you wear a mask or not, the people will judge you. They will never thank you for your service, you will just keep on repeating yourself." The old man sweeps his eye through every corner of the room while circling it with limping steps, but his mind is not in it. "No hero can ever save Pelaez because the biggest enemy of Pelaez is itself."

"I can no longer turn my back to the people."


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"How tragic the nation that needs someone like you. There is no hope for people looking for extraordinary creatures to save themselves."

"They lack the ability."

"You are not a hero for the things you can do. You are a hero for the things you did." Mang Ernesto turns at the bright window; his long shadow lay on the floor. "The people are not lacking in power. We are the excess. An illusion. A reason to use for their own deficiencies. The very name they gave you is a desperate cry for anyone at all to help them!"

"Are you also the enemy of the people?" Rogelio stands up and faces his father, with closed fists and gritting teeth.

"Are you their ally?"

"Do you not like what I am doing?"

"Do you?!" The old man's breath is rapid and the veins in his neck and face are showing. "It is your duty to help the people because you can and you want to help. But never forget that you can never change the world nor save all the people. You are not the first one to try…nor will you be the last…you are not the solution. But that is not an excuse for you to lose hope nor to stop giving it." The old man slowly calms down. He picks up the dirty helmet that Rogelio just threw beside the trashcan and wiped the dirt off with his palms. "Do what you think is right as a savior, but do not let go of yourself as my son." He holds out what he's holding to his child who now has his head down and sitting on the bed once more. "Become the hero of your own life."

Rogelio had nothing to say when he accepted the helmet. Mang Ernesto turns to leave the room after he places his hand on the shoulder of his son.

"If I am not the one they named," added the young man to his father while looking at his own reflection on the helmet. "Then who am I?"

Mang Ernesto sees Aling Hasmin in tears who was waiting for a while now outside the door. He looks back at his son. "You just help people…you don't need a name," he then continued to exit the room in order to reach his significant other’s outreached hand.

Translation Notes:

1 – A cultural amusement park that portrays a miniature Philippines. 

2 – Not to be confused as a derogatory term. “Negros” here pertains to the people living in the Negros Island, a province found in the Visayas of the Philippines. You could read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negros_Island



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