'Caybigan' is a story set in the Philippines, and begins with a group sitting around the big center table in the sala of the "House of Guests" in Ilo-Ilo. It was near Christmas; they had left their stations for the holidays—the cholera had just swept them and the aftermath was not pleasant to contemplate—and so they were leaning over the polished narra table, sipping a sweet, false Spanish wine from which they drew, not a convivial spirit, but rather a quiet, reflective gloom. All the shell shutters were drawn back; they could see the tin-roofed city gleam and crackle with the heat, and beyond the lithe line of coconuts, the iridescent sea, tugging the heart with offer of coolness. But, all of them, they knew the promise to be Fake, monumental Fake, knew the alluring depths to be hot as corruption, and full of sharks.