Udis the Great Chapter 4
Udis the Great, Chapter 4
© Dr. Udis Sanchez Manalansan-Lord, Ph.D.
The House I Grew Up In
The Autobiography of Dr. Udis Sanchez Manalansan-Lord, Ph.D.,
Author of From Fieldhand to Ph.D., Ms. Asia International:
Motivation for Succcess and Happiness.
Dr. Lord grew up dirt poor in the Philippines. She graduated with a Ph.D. at St. Louis University in America, completed her second year Juris Doctor of Law.
Representing herself as her lawyer, won the landmark case Lord, vs. Pontigon at the Missouri Courts of Appeal.
She was crowned Ms. Asia International Beauty by the Asian Promotion of North America based on academic excellence, talents in the arts, physical fitness and humanitarian services. The U.S. Army Human Resource Command awarded her a Certificate for the most Inspirational Contribution during the Asian Pacific Month.
She is the author of 8 books and publisher for PAEP ( Philippine American Educational Press). For further information, go to www.drudislord.com.
The house I grew up in was made of three little rooms. The two rooms was where the family slept. The other was where we ate.
The roof and walls were covered with discarded aluminum that my mother gathered from the torn down Army Baracks.
The house was extremely hot in the summers. It leaked during the rainy season.
When the wind blew, the aluminum made a lot of noise.
There was one window. My mother used to carry me on her shoulder while she looked outside the window.
She used to sing me to sleep.
Before I fell asleep, she always told me how pretty, smart and kind I was and that she will never sell my smile for all the money in China.
Thus, my mother planted in my brain a steel shielded self-confidence and belief in myself so that when I became an adolescent and others called me ugly, I did not believe them because my own mother told me how beautiful I was.
We had a water pump on the ground. We had a stove that my mother made from a discarded wheel and clay from the river.
She filled the wheel with clay from the river. Then, she scooped the inside middle part so that we can put the wood we gathered from the woods that we burned on that stove to cook our food.
Then, she placed three rocks on the side.
She then dried the clay on the sun.
When it was dry, we were able to put our cooking pot on the three rocks. The middle part of the wheel where she scooped the clay was filled with charcoal from the wood that we burned to cook the rice.
When we had frogs or fish, we used the burning charcoal to broil them.
Everything we ate was broiled or boiled with some tomatoes, tamarind, sometimes onions, garlic, and salt. We called this sinigang.
Sometimes we cook it in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and laurel, we call adobo.
Most of the time we ate plain rice with tomatoes, soy sauce, eggplants, green beans, and whatever vegetables we were able to either buy from the market or grow from our backyard.
I remember one night my father woke us up in the middle of the night because there was a very strong typhoon.
The aluminum roof and wall of our house were making too much noise and the house was moving from the wind.
We carried a kerosene lantern and stayed at our neighbor’s house until the typhoon was over in the morning.
When my brother Godo was old enough, he worked as a gasoline pump attendant in Dinalupihan. He got paid twenty pesos, about 5 dollars a month, which my mother took so that she can buy rice for the family.
My brother Godo lived in the house of the gas station owner where he also did some household chores.
Later on, he came home to live with us and worked as a jeepney conductor for Apung Luring. A conductor collected the fares for the passengers and lifted their cargoes.
There were times when he came home very late at night. He gave my mother some money to buy a can of sardines with about 4 little pieces of fish soaked in tomato sauce.
We shared the sardines for our meal. We mixed it with a lot of rice to fill us up.
Oftentimes, I was too tired to wake up to eat. My mother used to tell me that my soul will wake up and get the pots and pans looking for food if I do not wake up and eat the rice and sardines.
My brother Godo used to come home dead tired after working as a jeepney conductor. His eyes were whitened by the thick dust that clung to his eyelashes.
My father worked for Dr. Santa Maria in Dinalupihan. He gathered the harvest from the sharecroppers.
Dr. Santa Maria gave him a horse to ride around his hacienda. He rode that horse on weekend to come home to us in San Pablo.
It probably took my father about twelve hours riding on the back of that horse to come home to us.
When the horse was at our house, my father, my brother Eloy and I gathered some grass from the ricefield to feed the horse.
My father was a very handsome, slim, calm man.
I was told that during the war, he was accused of being a communist because he allowed the Hukbalahaps to hide in his farm.
The Hukbalahaps were fighting for equality of treatment for the poor.
He was captured one night and beaten in front of my sister Perla and brother Toti.
They told him to dig his grave that they were going to bury him alive in.
One of the civilian guards told his colleagues that my Uncle Eloy Baluyut, the Lieutenant of the Philippine Army will kill all of them and their families if they killed my father.
Scared of my powerful Uncle, they set him free.