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* NoNameGiven: The Boy himself, and his grandfather (however, it’s implied in the later-written prequel ''Po-on'' (''Dusk'') that he was once the town chief named Don Jacinto, who sheltered the RealLife Revolutionary leader Apolinario Mabini). Subverted with the narrator’s father—his name is seldom mentioned, but people his age or older call him Espiridion.

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* NoNameGiven: The Boy himself, and his grandfather (however, it’s implied in the later-written prequel ''Po-on'' {{Prequel}} ''Literature/PoOn'' (''Dusk'') reveals that he was once the town chief named Don Jacinto, who sheltered the RealLife Revolutionary leader Apolinario Mabini). Subverted with the narrator’s father—his name is seldom mentioned, but people his age or older call him Espiridion.


-->"Who, then, lives? Who, then, triumphs when all others have succumbed? The balete tree — it is there for always, tall and leafy and majestic. In the beginning, it sprang from the earth as vines coiled around a sapling. The vines strangled the young tree they had embraced. They multiplied, fattened, and grew, became the sturdy trunk, the branches spread out to catch the sun. And beneath this tree, nothing grows!"

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-->"Who, [[quoteright:226:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/f_sionil_jose_tree_rosales_saga.jpg]]

->"Who,
then, lives? Who, then, triumphs when all others have succumbed? The balete tree — it is there for always, tall and leafy and majestic. In the beginning, it sprang from the earth as vines coiled around a sapling. The vines strangled the young tree they had embraced. They multiplied, fattened, and grew, became the sturdy trunk, the branches spread out to catch the sun. And beneath this tree, nothing grows!"

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Compare ''Literature/WithoutSeeingTheDawn'', a 1947 novel set in roughly the same time period, but in the province of Iloilo to the south, and which basically gives ADayInTheLimelight to the tenant farmers themselves, people like those who work for the Boy's father in this novel.


* ChristianityIsCatholic: Even in this bastion of Roman Catholicism in Asia, the trope is notably averted, with Sepa (the family cook) being Protestant, and a plot point about the Boy's uncle Benito converting to the uniquely Filipino Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).

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* ChristianityIsCatholic: Even in this bastion of Roman Catholicism in Asia, the trope is notably averted, with Sepa (the family cook) being Protestant, and a plot point about the Boy's uncle Benito converting to the uniquely Filipino Iglesia ni Cristo (INC). {{Justified}} since the novel is set in the U.S. colonial era, a time when non-Catholic Christian sects first made their mark on the population, with American Protestant missionaries arriving in considerable numbers.



* GoOutWithASmile: The Boy’s grandfather dies happy and of old age out in the fields of Carmay, after he claims to hear Christmas church bells for the last time. This instance of the trope isn’t treated “negatively”, however—i.e., it wasn’t a release from misery or torment, but simply the end to a long, happy and blessed life.

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* GoOutWithASmile: The Boy’s grandfather dies happy and of old age out in the fields of Carmay, after he claims to hear Christmas church bells for the last time. This instance of the trope isn’t treated “negatively”, however—i.e., it wasn’t a release from misery or torment, but simply the end conclusion to a long, happy and blessed life.


* DoubleInLawMarriage: Something of this sort happens with the Boy's cousins, Pedring and Clarissa, who are from opposite sides of the Boy's family—Pedring is a cousin on his father's side, Clarissa on his deceased mother's.



* KissingCousins: Subverted with the Boy's cousins, Pedring and Clarissa, as they're from opposite sides of the Boy's family—Pedring is a cousin on his father's side, Clarissa on his deceased mother's. Nothing suggests they were related in any other way except that the Boy is their mutual relative.


* WhereDaWhiteWomenAt: Tio Benito goes chasing after white American skirts while labouring on American plantations; even the Boy has seen him occasionally with tall, white blondes on his hand.

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* WhereDaWhiteWomenAt: Tio Benito goes chasing after white American skirts while labouring on American plantations; even plantations, to the point that the Boy has seen can clearly imagine him occasionally with tall, white blondes on his hand.hand. The image appears to upset the Boy for unspecified reasons, however.


-->''"Who, then, lives? Who, then, triumphs when all others have succumbed? The balete tree — it is there for always, tall and leafy and majestic. In the beginning, it sprang from the earth as vines coiled around a sapling. The vines strangled the young tree they had embraced. They multiplied, fattened, and grew, became the sturdy trunk, the branches spread out to catch the sun. And beneath this tree, nothing grows!"''

to:

-->''"Who, -->"Who, then, lives? Who, then, triumphs when all others have succumbed? The balete tree — it is there for always, tall and leafy and majestic. In the beginning, it sprang from the earth as vines coiled around a sapling. The vines strangled the young tree they had embraced. They multiplied, fattened, and grew, became the sturdy trunk, the branches spread out to catch the sun. And beneath this tree, nothing grows!"''
grows!"



* GoOutWithASmile: The Boy’s grandfather dies happy and of old age out in the fields of Carmay, after he claims to hear Christmas church bells for the last time. This instance of the trope isn’t treated “negatively”, however—i.e., it wasn’t a release from misery or torment, but simply the end to a long, happy and blessed life. In fact, the description of the Grandfather’s last moments almost makes his death also a case of AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence.

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* GoOutWithASmile: The Boy’s grandfather dies happy and of old age out in the fields of Carmay, after he claims to hear Christmas church bells for the last time. This instance of the trope isn’t treated “negatively”, however—i.e., it wasn’t a release from misery or torment, but simply the end to a long, happy and blessed life. life.
**
In fact, the description of the Grandfather’s last moments almost makes his death also reads like a case of AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence.

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* IncurableCoughOfDeath: Ludovico's mother Feliza develops one from overworking herself around the farm; it's likely she will meet the same fate as her son, [[OutlivingOnesOffspring who dies ahead of her]].

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* CharacterFilibuster: Tio Benito launches into one at the dinner table, explaining why, for the first time ever, he refuses Sepa's ''[[TrademarkFavoriteFood dinardaraan]]''.
-->"''But Tio Benito ignored her; he stood up abruptly, and in sudden inspiration, he began the best speech — or sermon — I ever heard on the importance of eating the right food so as not to pollute the body or offend God. He spoke with power and conviction, and we stopped eating; even the maids paused in their chores and crowded in to listen to the words of wisdom that now poured from his lips. He spoke of the growing evil in the world, of the need for brotherhood, community, kindred spirit that would not only allow us to enter the kingdom of God but also banish the usurpers of His word in this land. He railed against the friars who established a church subservient to Rome: look at the money collected in the Catholic churches — it is sent to a foreign land to fatten foreign priests. The Americans were no better; they also sent their own missionaries to perpetuate the subservience of Filipinos to them. The Catholic priests, the Protestant pastors — they talk in a foreign language, they are ashamed of their own, of Ilokano or of Tagalog, which are the languages of the people. And then he spoke of the reasons why he could not eat ''dinardaraan'' or anything with blood, for such food was not fit for anyone who believed in the true God, for anyone who could read the Bible and regard it as sacred, for it is right there — and he proceeded to quote from memory the particular chapter and verse. It was my first experience with a convert of the Iglesia Ni Kristo. Sepa was very pleased, although her particular sect was Protestant; what was important was that Tio Benito finally believed.''"


* KissingCousins: Pedro (or Pedring) and Clarissa.

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* KissingCousins: Pedro (or Pedring) Subverted with the Boy's cousins, Pedring and Clarissa.Clarissa, as they're from opposite sides of the Boy's family—Pedring is a cousin on his father's side, Clarissa on his deceased mother's. Nothing suggests they were related in any other way except that the Boy is their mutual relative.


Hanging over this motley plantation society are two enormous and enduring shadows: on the one hand, the largely unseen but incredibly predatory landlord Don Vicente, whose vast landholdings it is the narrator's father's job to manage; and on the other, the gigantic ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balete_tree balete]]'' (strangler fig) tree growing in the town plaza, for which the novel is named, seemingly invulnerable, deathless, and, owing to its biology of growing around host trees eventually to suffocate them, a monstrous predator in its own way.

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Hanging over this motley plantation society are two enormous enormous, enduring, and enduring immutable shadows: on the one hand, the largely unseen but incredibly predatory parasitical landlord Don Vicente, whose vast landholdings it is the narrator's father's job to manage; and on the other, the gigantic ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balete_tree balete]]'' (strangler fig) tree growing in the town plaza, for which the novel is named, seemingly invulnerable, deathless, and, owing to its biology of growing around host trees eventually to suffocate them, a monstrous predator in its own way.
right.

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* TrademarkFavoriteFood: ''Dinardaraan'' (a pork-blood stew, known to Tagalog speakers and Manileños as ''dinuguan'') for Tio Benito—at least until he becomes an INC member, upon which he stops eating it, as blood dishes are taboo to the Iglesia ni Cristo.

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* [[FatSweatySouthernerInAWhiteSuit Fat Sweaty Spaniard In A White Suit]]: Don Vicente, basically—certainly he's enormously fat, and white suits were essentially mandatory in the tropical heat, in the days before air-conditioning.

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* ChristianityIsCatholic: Even in this bastion of Roman Catholicism in Asia, the trope is notably averted, with Sepa (the family cook) being Protestant, and a plot point about the Boy's uncle Benito converting to the uniquely Filipino Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).


* OutlivingOnesOffspring: Ludovico the farmhand dies of typhoid fever and overwork on the farm, survived by both parents, although his mother, herself very frail & ill, is very likely not far behind.

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* OutlivingOnesOffspring: Ludovico the farmhand dies of typhoid fever and overwork on the farm, survived by both parents, although his mother, herself very frail & and ill, is very likely not far behind.

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