Lolo Roming (1925-2009)

Last week, my last surviving grandparent also succumbed to his failing health. He’d been confined for almost a month at the intensive care unit of a hospital in Manila and since then been bedridden in his home for weeks. He died on the evening of July 22.

That weekend, after my last class on Saturday afternoon, I drove to our upland southern Cavite hometown of Amadeo (by myself, for the first time), with my cousin, to join the rest of the extended family at the wake and interment of Lolo Roming.

I was, to be honest, never really that close to my grandfather. I would always remember him as a stiff person who doesn’t talk much. Though, at the same time, I don’t know any other man who is as sentimental and who cries as much as him. A peculiar mix of characteristics, I think. In his last years, he would often cry on the spot upon seeing relatives visiting him or cry even in the middle of conversations among his children.

He was, for around a dozen years, an elementary school teacher in Tagaytay. He is largely remembered by many, however, as Col. Villanueva, Tagaytay’s Chief of Police for almost three decades. (It escapes me how one becomes a chief of police straight from being an elementary school teacher, I still have to ask my elder relatives). One time we were buying fruits from among the elder fruit vendors in Tagaytay, and it was quite amusing how the women suddenly remarked how my father looked like hepe, for indeed he was Col. Villanueva’s son.

Despite the heavy rains that day, the ceremony continued with the family, relatives and townspeople finally walking the casket to the town cemetery in the afternoon.

On the picture above is my father, myself, and my grandfather, during my first birthday.

Random family notes, again

Santa Cruzan at Amadeo, Cavite Santa Cruzan at Amadeo, Cavite Santa Cruzan at Amadeo, Cavite Santa Cruzan at Amadeo, Cavite Santa Cruzan at Amadeo, Cavite Santa Cruzan at Amadeo, Cavite

Tisay will begin her post-daycare schooling this week as a nursery student at some private school a few minutes from home. I’ve been doing errands for my mom with regard to her enrollment, so I’ve been to her new school a number of times the past week.

It’s amusing how some of the people at her school mistook me as her father, that day I took her and bought the prescribed school uniforms. This time, she’d be taking the school bus, so there’d be no need for me to bring her and fetch her from school, as I used to do over the summer, when she was attending daycare school in UP.

A few weekends ago, we went to Amadeo for the Santa Cruzan. We had lunch at the residence of the presidente of the youth council of sorts in the community, organizing the festivities, who happens to be a second cousin also. It was the first time Tisay donned a gown for the parade. Too bad the dress made her itchy all over so she backed out from the parade the last minute. It’s hilarious how young girls are so excited over dressing up and parading, I don’t get it.

A weekend ago, the family went out for lunch together at the mall. It’s been a while since we did that. There are those rare times when we’re not all busy with our own preoccupations.

Some random family notes

Yesterday, I went with my family to Tagaytay to pay my paternal grandfather a visit at the hospital. He’s actually been at the ICU for around two weeks here in Manila, and for that span of time my parents have been visiting him almost every day. The doctors and the family decided to have him discharged from the private Manila hospital, after the hospital bills reached the seventh digit. For quite some time already, his children–my dad and his siblings–among with other relatives have been talking about how his health has been failing terribly the past months and about his possible demise anytime soon. They’ve also made plans, apparently, for his funeral. Despite everyone’s expectations, however, and quite fortunately enough, he’s still alive. I never really grew close to my grandfather at all, but I’m glad he’s still here. These past weeks we’ve been having unofficial family reunions almost every week.

On other family matters, my days of bringing my sister Tisay to school early in the morning and picking her up at lunch time are temporarily over. I used to enjoy doing it, but during the past few days it felt like quite a chore. One morning, I brought her to school too early so she didn’t want to go in. Though the school’s doors were open, she insisted on staying out and waiting for her classmates. Because I grew quite impatient, I told her I have to leave and if she wanted to wait for her classmates before going in, she could wait without me. Before I stepped into the car, I saw her crying silently and alone in the bench. It wasn’t the usual bratty-type of crying I quite detest of a brat, but the silent and genuine type that just crushed my heart. It was too cute, and too heart-breaking, I decided to walk back to her and stay. Bought her a happy meal after picking her up.

Christmas 2007

my family on Christmas day

I miss being a kid during Christmas. Sure, it still brings that warm snug feeling whenever you’re with your extended family. Perhaps its our consciousness that has been contaminated with the ugly realities of this world, that makes it feel less, um, exciting or magical.

Christmas Day '07 (Amadeo, Cavite) Christmas Day '07 (Tisay & piano) Christmas Day '07 (Tisay & Bikoy) Christmas Day '07 (Gino, Bikoy & Tisay) Christmas Day '07 (Family Picture) Christmas Day '07 (Family Picture)

We went to Amadeo and Indang in Cavite today and spent Christmas with the paternal relatives.

May ganoon pala roon

Last Sunday some brods and I were asked to go to Cavite to offer assistance to an alumni brod, Boying Remulla, in his congressional re-election bid. Though there are some issues wherein I don’t agree with Mr. Remulla, helping him was perfectly fine for me. Especially when his opponent is one of the President’s men, and that this opponent’s┬ápropaganda have saturated the entire district. It felt quite tokenistic, though, since I doubt our giving out flyers to a handful of baranggays will have an impact. I found it quite sad that a majority of the people whom we were handing flyers to always asked for something–cigarettes, candies, food, anything, when we didn’t have anything to give aside from the pieces of flyers. I guess people really have gotten so used to being given tokens and other such material and financial gifts during campaigns.

Amadeo, my father’s family’s hometown is part of Boying Remulla’s district. Though we skipped Amadeo, we did get to go around Maragondon, Silang, Indang, and Tagaytay. We spent some time at a forest resort with springs, pools and waterfalls in Indang that night. Then we had dinner and we stayed overnight in Tagaytay.

A very tranquil Holy Week

We didn’t do a Visita Iglesia this Maundy Thursday, as we usually do almost every year. We just visited my grandfather and other relatives in Amadeo, Cavite. And since we were in upland Cavite anyway, my parents, against all odds, decided that we spend a night at Tagaytay in one of its numerous hotels and lodges. As expected, however, traffic in Tagaytay was severe, and since it was nearing sunset and we were still on the road, we all decided to just go back home to Quezon City. The rest of the days were spent lazily at home.

Joyful children

Pasko 2006December 25, 2006. Christmas is a time when kids earn quite a handful. I’m sort of grateful I’m still considered a young grandchild or a young nephew or godchild. And thank God, I didn’t have to dance boom-tarat like most younger kids to amuse the grown-ups.

Don’t you find it amusing how kids have a national theme song to which grown-ups will make them dance to every Christmas season? There was the the chocolate a year or so ago, the ocho-ocho, the spaghetti, the macarena, the shalala when I was much younger. Oh God, I shouldn’t have reminded myself.

Pasko 2006

Christmas with the extended family is enjoyable because of the younger kids. Christmas is always fun because the joy the children are experiencing can be contagious. I may not find Christmas as magical anymore, but Christmas is still Christmas.

Today I refused to allow some bad news about Virgilio Garcillano or the thought of millions of other families experiencing hunger ruin my day, I just surrendered to the joyful Christmas virus. This virus has made me go on eating and eating from morning till midnight today, it’s unhealthy already. I’m going to be reprimanded for gluttony.

Pasko 2006

Today we went to Amadeo and to Indang in Cavite for my paternal relatives. Then we also dropped by our Bulacan town later today.

Mga anak ng kape

November 1, 2006. We went to visit the graves of my paternal relatives yesterday in Amadeo. Today, November 1, traditionally the day Filipinos flock to cemeteries, we will be in Sta. Maria in Bulacan to visit my maternal relatives. Our restaurant will also have its soft-opening today. I wish it does well. Our place is just a few blocks from the town church and the town cemetery–I hope traffic will spill-over to our street.

Of course, before leaving Amadeo yesterday, we stocked up on Amadeo coffee and fruits for the restaurant.

Barako coffee from Amadeo

Cappucino made from Barako coffee from Amadeo, Cavite

October 29, 2006. The coffee that will be served in our soon-to-open restaurant is sourced from my father’s homewtown, Amadeo, Cavite. This cup of cappucino is made with pure Barako coffee from Amadeo. It will cost someone 30 pesos.

Save the Barako! websiteAmadeo is the Philippine’s self-proclaimed coffee capital. My grandfather’s farm, aside from papayas, pineapple and cocoa, is planted mainly with coffee. As young children, much to the annoyance of our elders, my cousins and I would play on heaps of fresh and colorful coffee beans being sun-dried in the backyard.

There are, however, no more heaps of colorful coffee beans in lolo’s backyard today. For the longest time, coffee farming in the small Cavite town was dying. It was only until recently when it has started recovering with the initiatives of the local government and some private institutions. It gladdens me to think that we are helping this recovery by serving our own Cavite coffee in our restaurant in Bulacan. Aside from coffee, we will also be getting most of our fruits (for the fresh fruit shakes) from Amadeo.

Have one with me

Amadeo town parish and plazaMay 1, 2006. Spent almost the entire day in Amadeo for the annual town fiesta. Stuffed myself up for a second day in a row. Masarap talagang kumain. Somtimes you just deliberately forget to care about gluttony or overeating. Regret it some other time.

One of my past times whenever the extended family gets together, aside from eating, is pseudo-playing with my nieces. I love kids. They’re adorable. Even if they appear annoying, they’re still cute. I hope they don’t grow up too fast.

my nieces
Now that we’ve brushed up on this topic, playing with kids has also become one of my past times in Bulacan, whenever I don’t feel like manning the grocery store. I actually got a myself scarred on the knee while playing tag with them. How childlike, right. When was the last time I actually got scarred in the knee because of running around the street?

Tomorrow, the social worker will come by and bring us another foster baby. I’m excited to kuya another foster baby again. I missed that. It’s been almost two years since Hailey Belle was taken by her adoptive parents to Belgium.