I suppose most everyone asked this question would say their life. Or maybe honor, but honor is only possible if there is life to honor or debase.
The gift of life, from parents, from God, is for each one of us to shape, to give meaning to. It's not pre-determined. The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder is a brief but thoughtful novel exploring fate or God in relation to life. I argue that life has no meaning, that the individual must shape it to his or her own will, and it will end not so much by God's will but by circumstances beyond the individual's control. My answer to Thornton Wilder is my novel, Gagamba.
We love life for it is our dearest possession and because the logic of love is sacrifice, for whom would we give it up?
That question is something I've not had to face. But if ever I would have to choose, I am positively sure I would give it up for my wife, for my family. For my country? I am not too sure although so many have done so, a few of them writers like myself. Maybe it is enough that I live for my unhappy country.
When I think of material possessions that I prize, I think of my house in Quezon City, a modest structure built painstakingly through the years by my wife, home to my children. I think of this small bookshop in Ermita, which has provided us a modest way of life.
Objects? The old German portable, which I used for years -- I don't remember where it went. The electronic typewriter my daughter Gigi gave me. It handles so smoothly, I write better, faster with it. And now, also my smart phone, which brings me both discovery and distraction. My fountain pens. And my shoes that are difficult to find because my peasant feet are short and wide.
But I'm not really attached so much to these material things. I never was. I could lose them and would not weep.