Monday, February 18, 2008

"shoot on sight"

That was the directive given to the Japanese soldiers for my grandfather, Vicente, who was a Philippine government employee during World War II. He was working with the Treasurer's Office and they were printing money underneath a solid canopy of trees deep in the forests of Negros Oriental, "where no light could penetrate," my Lolo used to say. Having money meant power for the Filipinos because money could buy food, communication and ammunition. The enemy did not want the Filipinos to have that.

Because of this, my grandfather and his workmates had to work in a secret hiding place during the war, away from his family. This meant that his family was being hunted by the Japanese too. This also meant that my grandmother and her young children, aged 1 to 12, had to fend for themselves, find food for themselves, escape and hide by themselves, all throughout the war years.

This and many other war stories were told today as my relatives and I gathered around our dining table for nine straight hours! We, my siblings and cousins, alternately laughed and cried as we listened with mesmerized attention and gained new respect and admiration for our parents/aunts/uncle/grandparents.

I really, really would like to write about the stories that were told, before I forget them, before the past is forever lost. BUT. I have a lecture tomorrow and need to prepare for that. The past is precious and fascinating indeed. But the present is urgent and needs my complete focus as well. The reminiscing and documenting will have to follow ...later...

In the meantime, here's a picture of: (CW) Tita Mary, Tito Arnold, Tita Gloria, Tita Paro, Mommy and Daddy. Compared to what they have been through, our lives seem like a walk in the park.

Their genes, and life stories, I proudly and humbly share.

These are the people who have loved me, my children,
siblings and cousins unconditionally
and have supported us sacrificially
all these years.

Our love to you all.

1 comment:

Rosana said...

Hi Mel,

Will be looking forward to your war stories as told by your folks... Regards!!!