Tino and the Typhoon by Alice Geer Kelsey (Book)

Tino and the Typhoon is a novel written by Alice Geer Kelsey that was originally published in 1958.


In the coastal Philippine village of Darapidap lives a boy named Tino, the lighthouse keeper's son. Watching his father keep the light inspires Tino to do a grown man's work, but his fears hold him back in his father's eyes. When a fierce storm threatens the safety of the village and the fishermen at sea, Tino's courage is put to a true test.

Excerpt from Chapter 1: Valentino's Secret

Valentino did not call it hiding. He would have said he just happened to be polishing the red outboard motor when his father, Lighthouse Keeper Rodolfo Luna, needed someone to climb the ladder. Its thirty-one dizzy rungs marched up outside the slim white lighthouse in the center in the Philippine coastal village of Darapidap. Its beacon signaled, "This way home," to fishermen in their narrow outrigger bangkas far out in the South China Sea.

It was not his fault, Valentino would have said, that the five-horsepower motor he was shining happened to be where his father could not see it, or see him as he polished. It was the lighthouse keeper himself, not Valentino, who was careful to store it in the thatched bamboo shed with the motors of neighbor fishermen whose wooden bangkas were drawn up on the sandy beach waiting till time and weather for night fishing.

Valentino heard his father call amiably, "I left the empty kerosene tin in the balcony beside the lamp. I need it. Who will be the one to go up for it?"

The boy was glad there were no windows in the banboo shed. He squatted behind the door, hidden from the doorway. He knew what would come next.

"Tino! Tino!" his father called less pleasantly. "Where is that Valentino?"

"He is somewhere around," said Tino's mother. She was sitting on her heels baside the shallow laundry tub near the pump on their high back poarch. "I saw him a minute ago."

The boy knew what he hoped to hear next. And he heard it.

"I will be the one to climb the ladder, Tatang!" It was the cheerful voice of his younger sister, Erlinda. For the hundredth time, Tino was grateful that she sensed his shameful secret and came to his rescue.

"Your lazy brother should be the one." Tino could feel the frown on his father's rugged, weather-lined face. "He is never around when someone must climb the lighthouse ladder."

"Oh, I like to climb it!" Erlinda's brisk voice came from the foot of the ladder - then from higher - and higher. "Tino is not lazy. He is just - just - " Tino wondered what she would say. Would she give away his humiliating secret? He was relieved when she finished, "Tino is just busy doing other things."

"I am going up, too!" Tino heard his brother Pedro say. He was four years younger than Tino. Everybody called him Pedring.

"Me - up - too!" lisped Rosario. She was between Pedring and Baby Pepito in age. "Me - up - too!"

Danger to his little sister brought Tino running from the bamboo shed. He dashed across the hard-packed dirt yard to grab little Rosario as she took a fumbling step from first to second ladder rung. He could not explain why he gave her a spiteful little shake as he set her on the ground. He was angry with someone, but not with her - nor with Pedring - nor with his adored father - nor with loyal Erlinda.