Saturday, December 12, 2009



This is a novel book about the people who survived to an earthquake. This was happened, on Sunday, July 15, 1990 at around one pm, and executed at about four minutes of apocalyptic turbulence in Central Luzon including Manila were submerged in the wave of panic. The epicenter was recorded as exceeding intensity 8 on the Richter scale.

The author discuss the different characteristics of the person who was their inside the Camarin. Most of the people who die are rich and in the position, and some of them were jut want to earned money for their family. In that particular moment they just want to feel comfortable in spite with lots of their problems.

This story was really injustice. It is alright to happen for those who are sinners, not to the innocent people who just want earned money and trying their best to escape the poverty.


1. The cripple, Tranquilino Penoy – otherwise known as Gagamba (spider) to the denizenz of Ermita – was one of those who survived the collapse of the Camarin building on Marcelo H. Del Pilar Street – the only building in Manila which totally wrecked. He is selling sweepstakes tickets. He looks like a two -legged spider, ball of a head, squat body, and long arms. He was born with short limp limbs no longer than a foot and even now that he was fifty; they were as useless as ever.

2. Didi Gamboa, the first owner of Camarin, would not have permitted Gagamba to be at the entrance for so long, selling sweepstakes tickets. Didi Gamboa is the madam of Camarin, migrated to the United States out of boredom with the lesbian debauchery provided by her establishment; she got her second cousin Fred Villa.

3. Aling Pacing brood of twelve. The vegetable vendor’s dullard husband had died. Aling Pacing is the mother of Gagamba.

4. Fred Villa is interested in the restaurant. He was a most auspicious choice. Not only was he family, he was also Camarin regular and personally knew most of the old clientele. When they learned that he was going to take over, they were relieved and at the same time pleased – they could trust him with their peccadilloes as well as their idiosyncrasies for Fred Villa had one quality they appreciated. He was discreet.

5. Don José Villa the father of Fred Villa.

6. Don Manuel the son of Don José Villa and the brother of Fred Villa

7. Jose Rizal the head waiter who looked like Jose Rizal was the only one in tuxedo.

8. Mars Floro he was the old customer and a good friend of Fred Villa.

9. Lina Reyes was barely eighteen. She came from a middle-class family in Pampanga, where her father was a small town doctor, her mother a schoolteacher. She is the youngest, was well on her way to finishing a nondescript course in the humanities at the state university. She was tall, with a pert nose and a face virginal in appearance. She was five feet six inches, almost as tall as Fred Villa, with such clear ivory skin that he drooled every time she undressed before him. Her breasts were not all that large and her height, thirty-four inches seemed almost small.

10. Namnama- Gagamba’s wife. She was adopted by Aling Pacing because she was an orphan back then. She did not look at the deformity of Gagamba and did not hesitate to marry the cripple.

11. Joe Patalinghug- A 22 year old man. He and his wife traveled from Dalaguete to Manila because of the fear that he will also be killed like his two brothers. Joe’s younger brother was killed; the reason why he and his wife went to Manila, knowing that he would probably be killed. He has a teenage wife whose name was Nancy, who was 6, months pregnant. Because of sudden-environment change and no one helped them; they ended up begging in the streets of Manila.

12. Pedro (Pete) Domingo- also known as Jose Rizal at Camarin. Although he is 50 years old, he is still youthful. He is the easygoing and voluble head waiter in Camarin. After several years of working in Camarin with Madam Gamboa and Sir Fred he already know by heart the favorite order of most of the costumers. He has a wife named Bebang who had a cancer and will die in nearly 2 months.

13. Sixto Carmelo- also known as Mabini, also a waiter of Camarin, a close friend of Rizal. He came from Tayug, Pangasinan and like Rizal, was Ilokano. He has no problems at all but his looks because he was the darkest and in senses the homeliest of the waiters in Camarin but he is the most popular waiter in Camarin because of his quick and honest answers.

14. Jim Denison- Son of Ruth Denison, who would be going to Asia for the first time, specifically to Philippines. But the other reason behind his brilliant mind is actually, he wanted to meet his half sister and the Filipino wife of his father Cresencia Reyes.

15. Emma Denison- Jim Denison’s half sister, daughter of Cresencia Reyes. She was always being protected by Cresencia her mom, specifically her virginity. Emma was always in the list of honored students in his high school and college years. More than of her intelligence, she was also very beautiful that she won the title of Miss Philippines.

16. Hiroki Sato- executive of Mitsui, who liked the Philippines best of all Southeast Asian Countries. He visited annually. He was wary in dealings with the Filipinos in the beginning what attract him most in returning the Philippines is actually the girls which his friend, Mars Floro, is partnering with him. He has one child.

17. Mars Floro- Close friend of Hiroki Sato, who has as well one child like his friend. But what his friend doesn’t know about him is that he has a dozen of children with different women.

18. Eric Hariyan- he is a friend of Gaston Navato when they were taking up law in University of the Philippines. He is a student leader. With his friend, that led those Demos against Marcos regime. When they were released for Marcos got irritated with them and put them in jail, he got a fellowship to Yale. Eric Hariyan is brighter than his companion, was in more modest circumstances. He is parenting six children. He was famous for his intelligence.

19. Gaston Navato- also known as Gasty, he was with his friend in University of the Philippines and in prison. But when they were released he stayed on, took the bar and continued his human rights campaign against the regime. He was middle class. Eric and him remained friends.

20. Rudy Golangco- Marco’s closest crony. He had gone into exile when the dictator was deposed. And now he was out of power and only way he could get back all the wealth that been taken from him was to acquire political clout himself.

21. Eduardo Dantes- is a business man who retired from his active life for he was already old and weak, actually in the age of 80. He had left the management of his publishing empire to his two sons. He always dresses elegantly. In his age he could still walk sprightly, with no need for a nurse the way other ancients move abort a nurse always in tow. He hates Japanese a lot.

22. Senator Reyes- wheeled senator for he is having some medical tests. HE is eighty years old as Eduardo Dantes. He is also retired from his janges life. His vast property were divided among his heirs but was assured a hefty income in his last days from his investments and stocks.

23. Dolf Contreras- was not a regular Camarin costumer. He had a very successful real estate business which he had inherited from his father whom he has paid his grate attention. He is now in his forty. He has a wife whose name was Elisa. But before her, he had a lot of affairs with different women, mutually and sexually.

24. Elisa- Dolf Contreras’s wife. A patient woman who bears all the things that Dolf throws to her. She is working before in Camarin, where Dolf actually met her. Even though her patience was long, she still got fed up with what Dolf was doing to her. She went a far from Dolf and ended up being a nun.

25. Tony Picazo- is a son of an honest politician. He visited his former teacher, Fr.dela Terra. He is a young man who is losing hope for his own country, Philippines. He is planning to migrate to other country and leave his own. He is earning a lot.

26. Fr. Dela Terra- old priest, who is actually considered to be a missionary. He is a Spanish priest who came from China before getting in the Philippines. He lived almost half of his life in the Philippines, to be specific 30 years of his life on earth. And because of this he really doesn’t want to go back to the Seedbed of his life, in Spain. And he believes in the capacity of the young people.

27. Major Solomon (Sol) Flor- Philippine Military Class ’72. He is a senior aide to Major General Calixto (Cal) Primo and general’s confidante, he lives a very simple life compare to his co-majors. Actually just renting an apartment in Cubao. He is living with his wife and children.

28. Colonel Simeon Flores- an elegant and dishonest colonel who is a close friend of his opposite Major Sol. He is tempting and influencing Major Sol to do something which in one click will make him a millionaire.


The story happened on July 15, 1990, Sunday at around one pm, a killer earthquake – the strongest recorded in the Philippine history – struck and for four minutes of apocalyptic turbulence, Central Luzon including Manila was submerged in a wave of panic. Farther to the north of the capital, where the epicenter was recorded as exceeding intensity 8 on the Richter scale, the landscape was changed as mountainsides crumbled and the earth cracked. The story was ended at the Camarin building on Marcelo H. Del Pilar Street – the only building in Manila which totally wrecked.


The date of the mid July 1990, the earthquake happened and so many people died in the natural disaster, rich, beggars, old, and all kind of creatures are being suffered because this earthquake is the strongest recorded in the Philippine history. Gagamba a sweepstakes’ vendor located in the Ermita restaurant also known as Camarin. Gagamba is not a beggar nevertheless he had a casualties and defects in his body. He was born with short limb that why he always stays in his cart to move and work to have food every day. All of the costumers are being known by gagamba and their stories, gagamba told the story all costumers og camarin restaurant. The first one is a landlord, Fred Villa.

The big boss of Camarin because madam Didi was migrated in the United States and Fred was being appointed to take charge of the business. His girls are well selected to work in the Camarin, All of the women in the Camarin would be tested first by Fred and one of them is Lina an eighteen year old girl from Pampanga. She was beautiful not taller but in the average height. Her family is in the middle class but her studies not so well supported by family that why she found a job like this.

There are costumer, Mars Floro who waited to her but Fred Villa where tested her first. The next character was a Cebuano; Joe Patalinhug arrived on November in 1989. In the first day in manila they are slept in a culvert intended to the bridge construction site in Tondo Manila. After a month’s they know that there’s a people from Cebu was staying in the squatters area in Paranaque that Joe’s family can live. They life is worst than their life in Cebu before because they have only a little rice and some salted oyster mussel. He live his wife in Tondo and went to Paranaque alone to have a better life and find a job that suits his capacity.

The next character was apparent and a regular costumer of Camarin. He is Pedro (pete) Domingo, he is youthful and still wavy hair in place and lived at the squatter area close to the Rizal Memorial stadium. The place was once swum, and being criticized by other people, Although Rizal and his children lived in squatters surroundings. Rizal had discovered his wife had a cancer, two months to live. His children do not know what to do and Rizal makes all way to cure and extend the life of his wife. He tried so many faith healers one of those was the faith healer of former president Marcos. He tried going to Quipo and completing the nine days on novena and to the Baclaran. He wishes to God his wife would be spared not to death because all men die, but the pain that she was now suffering. Eric hariyan and Gaston was best friend in university of the Philippines.

`While Eric is joining in the Law firm of lastog, Cacab and Rawet. One of the biggest law firms in the county. They are jailed in camp Crame because they oppose to government of President Marcos. They have experienced together nevertheless they have so many differences they were stay as best friend, While Eric invited him to meet Rudy Golangco, perhaps Marco’s closest crony. While Marcos dictatorship change the ownership the majority stock went to Rudy Golangco. Lastog want to meet him because e want to interrogate asked at so many issues before about him. First he research and finding all the information about him and use his knowledge as a lawyer and give so many question hat Rudy cannot be known.

There are compadres Senator Reyes and Eduardo Dantes. As a sugar man and Politician, they are so elegant and regular customer of Camirin Restaurant. Senator Reyes was always buying tickets from Gagamba. Like no other higher class people they are always have money and women that they are always treasure in spite of their age. They are Sherry one of the women of Senator Reyes who were always giving him pleasure. He gave a brand new car to her because she celebrated her 24th birthday. The waiter to them and Senator looked to his Rolex gold watch. It was almost one o’clock

Dolf Contreras was the next story. He is not regular customer of the Camarin restaurant it because of he had a company. He finished his studies in states in a course in art history and most of his classmates were from New York and foreigners, because of his very successful real states business which he inherited from his father. He can afford any pleasure he wanted. He had a wife name Elisa; she had a mind of her own. He pampered her with many clothes and shoes hat you compare to the shoes of Imelda. Dolf Contreras has so many women except of his wife. He gave all of the things to his women and disregards his wife apparently. There’s a time that he wanted to take Elisa in Singapore but Elisa cannot go because of her personal reasons.

Tony Picazo decided to go to abroad to support his growing family. When he come back here almost so many years he found his former teacher Fr. Hospicio dela terra rending in the house of balcony that opened to the Pasig. Fr. Dela terra Terra was reading a thesis while Tony approaches him and has some on conversation happen. Father said so many things in environment and he is missionary from Spain, first he went to china but when the communist come he went to the Philippines. Tony had a problem that’s why he went back, because of his father are been dismissed from his work and need some assistance. The government need to change said the priest. Tony were joined some revealed groups before where some young priest are killed. Tony asked Fr. Hospicio to go to the popular Spanish restaurant Camarin for him to thank and because he was a long ago that he meet again and he want to treat him. Fr. Hospicio are trying to caped because of food eat so expensive and he said it is a sin because other people cannot eat this kind of expensive food. But don’t have a choice and then they stayed there until one o’clock.

The people trap in Camarin had money, influence in the highest places in the society. The earthquake had happened all the Jaguar, Pajero and other vehicles parked outside of Camarin restaurant are destroyed like a scrap of metal. all the people inside of the Camarin are died but there’ a three survivor. On is Joe’s six moth old daughter had found by the rescuer. Gagamba doesn’t know the parents of the child but he knew they came from Cebu. He named the child Namnam like the name of his wife. After three days of searching to the missing survivor, Fred Villa lay his body in a huge rock and felt his head of so much pain. He screamed repeatedly while he heard a jackhammer somewhere in place. In the three days that he had not eaten, his waistline had receded. He was paralysed from waist down. Gagamba think that God was everywhere, and it was God’s breath that blew him away from the blocks of cement that had crashing down. I want to tell the one of the sentences in the book that struck me most. “Blessed are the poor, blessed are the meek he had always known those words belonging to God”. Hate story ended were Gagamba selling sweepstakes and said “maybe you will be millionaires next Sunday...”


This is the moral lesson that we can get from this story (“Gagamba” by F. Sionil Jose).

Many of the people who were there was a rich, a politician, in a position, and some of them are sinners, because of what they have done. For this kind of people, this earthquake or an apocalyptic turbulence was a good punishment to them. But the other people who die without anything on their mind but to earned and to give shelter for their family. This is really unjust.

Always remember that we cannot control the nature. The only thing that we can do is to be Holy, keep away our self from temptation, sins and to take our self with care and consecrated to God by praying Him and doing His will.


The novel exemplifies how just God is. Without these people knowing, it would be the same building that would take their own breaths. Perhaps, the incident was one of God’s ways of cleaning out the dirt of the society. Even though there were less casualties because there were no offices open; still, the incident took away several lives of the people who were making profits and gaining pleasures in the classic restaurant of Camarin that was actually a very intelligent front of prostitution.

The manner of how the separate stories of the characters were put together was not helpful in maintaining the continuity and the intensity of the level of the emotional appeal of the readers. Was thought to give emphasis on how Gagamba—the cripple sweepstakes vendor was able to survive when Camarin collapsed, but as the story progresses, it reveals more the people from different sectors of society whose lives had given Camarin its breath and shine.

Still, Gagamba is indeed a genuine masterpiece and a perfect result of castle in the sky, making the story become truly veracious in the minds of the readers. Tranquilino “Gagamba” Penoy was one of the survivors of the collapse of the Camarin building—the only establishment in Manila that was totally wrecked. The day after the acrid incident, a cry was heard inside the totally wrecked building.


anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karl said...

some lines and statements are familiar and almost exact. copy then paste?

Mark Lester said...

i can't understand your english...

Michael Derwin D.M. Musni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.