Mr Amado Guiang, Professor and mentor
My Banana Republic Memoirs Part IX
Still reminiscing Botolan....
If I sound like or showing any appearance of conceitedness, please
excuse me and disregard the rest of the article and go on to the next part.
I can vividly remember the rows of diplomas hanging on Papô A-ke’s
walls. Diplomas from Botolan High School, Zambales High School, National
Teachers College, Philippine School of Arts and Trades and University of the
Philippines. There were a couple of diplomas marked Valedictorians, a Salutatorian
and something Summa or Magna Cum Laude. Perhaps these diplomas were like the
seeds implanted in my brain, which later grew into hunger for knowledge. Early
on I felt a need to walk the same path so I can have “one” of those. I
definitely think that I was lucky to grow up in an environment full of
intellectuals. I thank God I was raised in my Papo’s household where
education was encouraged. Now I really believe this… I was, what I was, when.
This drive is what I am now emphasizing upon my kids. I keep telling
them, “I don’t care what field you had
your Bachelors Degree is in… whether it is Basket Weaving or Patio Gardening, and
I will not stop bugging you until you graduate”. I know they all have the
“tools” or brain provided by my Papô A-ke as attested by the diplomas,
which hung on his walls. I hope my kids will push education on their kids too.
My Tatay Mado was a very gifted man. He was a Valedictorian in
High School and graduated Summa or Magna Cum Laude from the University of the
Philippines. Just like my Papô, Tatay Mado loved to read and
write. I can always hear the typewriter’s racket whenever he was around. I recall reading some pages of the carbon
copies of the manuscript’s he submitted to Reader’s Digest when I was in grade
school. And he would always check with us if any mail from RD came that week.
I also remember some of his framed paintings of seashells that looked
like a photograph not a painting. He had my Papô’s patience and
meticulous attention to details only his were steadier hands. I watched him paint
on my grandpa’s desk (no drafting table) for hours with just the basic arts
tools (quill pens and colored India inks). And boy can he do calligraphy well
too. Come to think of it most of my uncles do calligraphies as well. All their
handwriting and printings were really nice when I looked at some their old
notebooks. I kind of copied some of their styles which I later value for it
helped me in preparing construction plans while in the Seabees.
He taught at Botolan High School the same years as Mr. Pedro Rabaca,
his best friend from Pacô. After a few years of teaching he took a
sabbatical and went to Samar where he met his wife. He was teaching at Manila
Central University in Balintawak when I joined the Navy and retired a Professor
Emeritus when he passed. I remember him living next door to us in Mandaluyong
with his Visayan wife for quite awhile. Too bad he did not have any offspring
to pass on his talents.
My dad (arms on my shoulder) my tatay
Another one of my talented Uncles was my Tatay Carling. He
graduated salutatorian from Botolan High School. Although I remember him more
as a good basketball player since he was the high scorer for the “Five Aces”
Tampo Team. He wore the number of LA Lakers Elgin Baylor, No. 22. He
was my idol when I was growing up. The town and barrio basketball fans knew him
and sometimes referred to me as little Charlie. Their basketball
rivals during fiestas were the teams from Danacbunga, Parel and Bangan with
their deadeye and highflying “Bulahî”. He was my uncle’s closest rival
in high scoring honors.
I remember Tatay Carling going to FEATI University taking
marine engineering courses so he can join the merchant marines. I don’t know what prompted the change but he
transferred to the University of the East to take civil engineering classes instead.
He first stayed in Dapitan with the Dagsaan’s then moved in with
us in Mandaluyong. I learned later on that he joined the Philippine Navy
Seabees while I was in Norfolk, Virginia. He retired either a Lcdr or a
Commander as the C. O. or X.O. of the Naval Training Center. I believe he was
also the Officer –in- Charge of the Construction of the Pinatubo Resettlement
Area in Botolan.
Nanay Edit in polka dot-like dress, Tatay Julio is the kid to the right of the
kid directly infront of her
Nanay Edit was my teacher in fourth grade. I heard she
was also Tatay Will's, Tatay Carling and Tatay Julio’s teacher in
fourth grade. Occasionally, I would watch her do her lesson plans in her
room but it never occurred to me to read the answers for any quizzes while I
was going through her class. She never gave me any preferential treatment
though we lived in the same household. I do the same school chores that
everyone else does like mopping the classroom floor, erasing the chalkboards,
emptying the thrash and picking up trash in the school grounds every Friday
afternoon. I vaguely recall sliding on coconut husks while shining the waxed wooden floor. For us kids the
school chores were just a part of our play or game, not work. Nanay Edit, like
a few of the elementary teachers never got married. I wonder why?
The last time I talked to Nanay Edith before she passed, I asked
her who was the most “brainy” among her siblings. Would you believe that her
answer was not any of the ones that got the Valedictorians or Salutatorians
awards? If ever there was a wager if she would say that my Tatay Mado
was the one, I could have bet my paycheck and was 100 percent sure I will
collect. I almost fell out of the papag when she said it was my Tatay
Julio. My Tatay Julio whom I don’t ever remember seeing
leaving for school let alone write or read anything. Yup he has the most
intellect according to my Auntie. He just did not have the drive, the patience,
and the care in the world. All I can say was what a wasted opportunity for him
and his family.
I always visited Tatay Julio and his family in Beneg whenever I go
home. He was married to Nanay Demia Divino. I paid tribute at his
grave the last time I was in Botolan. May God bless his soul and keep his
My Nanay Toyang was the oldest of all my Papôs children
and thus was the designated sibling’s babysitter and the family’s homemaker.
She did most of the household chores. She went to the town market at least
every other day to buy produce and fish. From time to time she went with my
grandma and me to fiestas. I think she was a better cook than my grandma. She is
now in her late 80’s and lives in Mambog.. I remember her winning the
Philippine Sweepstakes. She bought a small sular with her winnings. Like
my Nanay Edit she never got married.
As of this date there are only two siblings left out of a dozen.
They’re both aging and I hope I will still see them next year on my annual
May God bless my Banana Republic.
Tampo, Botolan, Zambales
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Doon po sa Amin