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First published January 1, 1966
The play is about Manila before the outbreak of World War II. The Marasigan family composed of the dying Don Lorenzo el Magnifico and his two spinster daughters, 43-y/o Candida and 40-y/o Paula are still living in their old ancestral house located inside Intramuros, the walled city located inside the city. The house is already in its decayed state and the two daughters are now collecting bills. Candida has a talent on catching rats so she applies at the Bureau of Health as a Chief of Rat Control but she is suspected by the government people as a government spy. Paula, on the other hand, knows how to play the piano and speaks Spanish so she displays poster in front of the house for interested students. However, both plans go kaput. Their only hope now is to sell the famous painting that their dying father painted and given to them as a gift called “Portrait of an Artist as Filipino.” The characters in the painting are Aeneas carrying at his back his father Anchises as they flee the burning Troy.
However, instead of the actual faces of these Greek mythological characters are the actual faces of young and old Lorenzo. So, it is like the young Lorenzo carrying the now old himself. An American painting collector is interested to buy it for $1,000 which during that time translates to P2,000 and is enough for Paula and Tony Javier, their lodger, the to go to Europe and see Spain, Italy and France.