Tree by F. Sionil Jose ( a Novel in the Rosales Saga)

Tree is a historical novel by F. Sionil Jose. It's the second book in the author's The Rosales Saga series. These are also referred to as the Rosales Novels. There are a total of five books in the series. Aside from Tree, the other four are Po-on, My Brother My Executioner, The Pretenders, and Mass. Tree was published in 1978 by the La Soliradidad Publishing House, a publishing outfit also owned and operated by F. Sionil Jose himself. 

From the back cover: 

 TREE is the story of a boy growing up in a small Ilokano town, surrounded by friends below his social class, by relatives and doting servants who have served his family all their lives. It is also a story of oppression and compassion. TREE belongs to Francisco Sionil Jose's largest body of work known as the Rosales novels. Like much of his fiction, it depicts man's continuing and often futile search for justice and moral order.

Francisco Sionil José was born in 1924 in Pangasinan province and attended the public school in his hometown. He attended the University of Santo Tomas after World War II and in 1949, started his career in writing. Since then, his fiction has been published internationally and translated into several languages including his native Ilokano. He has been involved with the international cultural organizations, notably International P.E.N., the world association of poets, playwrights, essayists and novelists whose Philippine Center he founded in 1958.

Excerpt (the first three paragraphs of Chapter 1):

THIS IS a journey to the past - a hazardous trek throughbyways dim and forgotten - forgotten because that is how I choose to regard many things about this past. In moments of great lucidity, I see again people who - though they may no longer be around - are ever present still; I can almost hear their voices and reach out to touch them - my friends, cousins, uncles and aunts and, most of all, Father.

My doctor says that it is good that I should remember for in memory is my salvation. I should say, my curse. This then is a recollection as well, of sounds and smells, and, if the telling is at times sketchy, it is because there are things I do not want to dwell upon - things that rile and disturb because they lash at me and crucify me in my weakness, in my knowledge of what was. So it was - as Father had said again and again - that the boy became a man.

I am a commuter, not between the city and the village, although I do this quite frequently; not between the inane idealism of the classroom and the stifling reality beyond it, which I must do for survival and self-respect. I am a commuter between what I am now and what I was and would like to be and it is this commuting at lightning speed, at the oddest hours, that has done havoc to me. My doctor flings at me cliches like "alienation", "guilt feelings", and all the urban jargon that have cluttered and at the same time compartmentalized our genteel, middle class mores, but what ails me are not these. I can understand fully my longing to go back, to "return to the womb" - even the deathwish which hounds me when I find it so difficult and enervating to rationalize a middle-aged life that has been built on a rubble of compromise and procrastination. It is this commuting, the tension and knowledge of its permanence, its rampage upon my consciousness that must be borne, suffered, and vanquished, if I am to survive in this arid plateau called living.