Remembering Nanay

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Special to DNX

She was angry, and tired. She would then declare, “I will be going back to Bacolod, and never I will return in Mindanao!”

She have said that many times over, in times when she’s overworked in the house and nobody seemed to care; a reprimand and a threat to us siblings, especially to me, whose youth was filled with carelessness and naiveté.

But of course, it never happened. She’s resting in a decent place in Davao City for four years now. She passed away due to a cardiac arrest in mid-70s.

But even today, it is still hard to write a eulogy for mother.

Aurora is her name. Aurora Telic. But it is not clear whether it is the real family name or something made up from her father, as she once mentioned that my grandfather had to “hide” in Western Visayas from the authorities from Luzon.

Aurora Esconde Telic when she was around 10 years old, "modeling" for her uncle's photo studio in downtown Bacolod City.
Aurora Esconde Telic when she was around 10 years old, “modeling” for her uncle’s photo studio in downtown Bacolod City.

She often repeated the same narratives when she has a lot of time “indoctrinating” me about family values; but it’s clear that they set foot in Mindanao, in Bukidnon province because the family’s vast lands in Negros were going bankrupt of its agricultural business.

I didn’t bother to ask, or my childhood memories failed me, but likely the migration happened in the 60s. This is also the decade she and dad probably met in Bukidnon. Dad, who is also an Ilocano migrant from Luzon.

Things somehow get better, they again moved to Davao region, where I was born as the youngest of the seven siblings.

But as I grew up, mom would bring me and dad along to witness Masskara Festival. For a time, it was her yearly pilgrimage. We would visit her relatives, and apologies for almost forgetting their family names.

Her last visit to Bacolod with dad was sometime between 2013 and 2014, but it was her first and last visit to the city in the last five years.

Months after her burial, I was able to check her mobile phone, a classic foldable Nokia ripoff, and saw a very short digital video recording from their last visit to the city.

They must have accidentally pressed the video mode when they just wanted to take photographs. But that short, less than a second video clip would preserve the remaining memories of my mother – in there, it recorded her voice.

For a time, I kept on repeating the clip in a loop, my eyes would become teary-eyed. I wish though, I’d cry harder.

Had things were better off, we could have buried her in Bacolod. The least we could do to fulfill her wish to be back in her homeland. But reality is a often a disappointment, I feel so sorry we could not grant her wish even when she’s dead.

I apologize if I least possess the standard Filipino, telenovela-style of showing love and grief to my parents. But it’s there.

The least I could do, is writing her memory in this Bacolod-based media platform.

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