Posts tagged ‘relatives’

In Memoriam

in memoriam

This month marks the fifth anniversary of my cousin’s death. She was the daughter of my father’s elder sister. On October 27, 2008, she succumbed to a virus infection that ravaged her body weakened by leukemia and chemotherapy.

On the night she passed away, friends and relatives came over to visit her at the hospital as usual. They said their good-bye for the night, hoping against hope they could see her again for another day. But as the last one said good-bye, she also said her good-bye to this world.

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October 27, 2013 at 8:19 am 15 comments

Happy Thanksgiving

I don’t see any better representation of Thanksgiving than this work by Norman Rockwell that graced the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on March 6, 1943. It was aptly titled, Freedom from Want.

Thanksgiving is about food and family and friends sharing the food. It’s about togetherness. It’s about feeling you are not alone and being accepted for who you are. Happy memories are made of these.

This would be my last post until I come back from my trip next month.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! May the spirit of the holiday be with you all.

November 18, 2009 at 9:57 am 10 comments

Halloween Memories

Halloween Ghost

Halloween is a special holiday in the Philippines occurring on the first of November. It’s designated as a day of remembrance. It’s a time when Filipinos pay their respects to the dead.

Halloween reminds me of the house of my paternal grandparents in the Philippines. It was the house along the public highway close to the Catholic church and the elementary school in our hometown. Being one of the biggest in the town, it wasn’t easy to miss. During the Second World War, the Japanese Imperial Army took it over and converted it into sleeping quarters for its officers.

My cousins and I used to call it “Bahay na Malaki.” translated into English, it means “The Big House.” It had a big yard with fruit trees that we loved to climb. A couple of them were tamarind trees that towered three stories high. Darn, it was on those trees that my fear of heights first manifested itself.

I never saw my paternal grandparents. They died before I was born. It must be because from a brood of seven, my father was second to the youngest and the last one to get married. But while I was growing up, they remained alive with stories from family members and people who knew them.

Whenever my cousins from Manila would come for a visit, they stayed in the big house. They’d usually come during Halloween and other holidays. My childhood was filled with happy memories when they were around. They were the best friends I ever had when I was growing up.

As Halloween drew near, I’d start looking forward to my cousins’ arrival. Typically, they’d come a few days before the holiday. Once they arrived, we’d go to the cemetery and look after the graves of our grandparents, uncle, and cousin. We’d wash their graves thoroughly and put a fresh coat of paint on them and clean the surroundings of weeds and debris as well. We’d always try to do a good job as our efforts were usually rewarded with money for ice cream treats.

Come Halloween morning, the whole family would go to the cemetery to visit their graves to honor and pay their respects. We’d bring along flowers and burn candles on their graves. The day would be spent in praying for their souls, reminiscing the past, and keeping updated of each other’s current activities. We, the kids, would take turns collecting the wax melting away from the burning candles and shape them into a ball. By end of day, we’d be able to make several of these balls of wax which we used for our home-made lanterns.

In the evening, there’d be a huge family dinner at the big house. After dinner, mahjong tables would be set up. While the adults played mahjong, the kids would go from house to house around the neighborhood with their home-made lanterns. They’d sing in front of every house, announce that they were lost souls seeking their way back to purgatory, and then ask for handouts. It was easy money all the way.

The following day, if it fell on a Saturday or Sunday, the adult males would go to the cockfight with their favorite roosters. It didn’t matter to the women whether they’d win or not. If their roosters won, we’d have lobsters for dinner that night or whatever special fare they could buy outside the cockpit house. If they lost, the roosters would be cooked and served.

It’s been many years since the big house was torn down and replaced with a more modern house by my uncle who had inherited the place. Even then, I still dream of that big house. I guess we’ll never outgrow our childhood completely. Part of it will never leave and remain with us until we die.

October 29, 2009 at 8:49 am 4 comments

Remembering Grandfather


I remember my maternal grandfather when I think of the violence happening in the world today. Most of it, I’m afraid, is caused by well-meaning people striving for perfection. They found the truth and they are willing to use any means including violence to convince everyone of it.

My grandfather wasn’t perfect. He wore a big tattoo on his left forearm. He was a gambler. He drank a lot. He was a womanizer. My mother thought she was the only child, then she found out she has siblings from other women.

My grandfather would leave my grandmother for months and sometimes for years. But when he was around she could make her laugh. Looking back, he could have made her cry, too. but i never saw it.

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October 21, 2009 at 12:40 pm 13 comments

Long Lost Relative Found

spider web

It looks like Y’d survive from the spider bite I suffered last Sunday. The fear of an impending death has been a product of my hyperactive imagination. My neck doesn’t bother me anymore and the tingling sensation on the right side of my face is gone. I’m starting to feel good all over. I’m on the road to full recovery.

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May 31, 2009 at 9:30 am 9 comments

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From The Book Thief

i have hated the words and i have loved them, and i hope i have made them right.

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