Udis the Great, Chapter 5
Udis the Great, Chapter 5
© Dr. Udis Sanchez Manalansan-Lord, Ph.D
My father was a very handsome, calm, gentleman. He was ten years older than my mother. When he was courting my mother, my mother’s parents sent her to live with my Uncle Eloy Baluyut’s home so that my father will not be able to see her.
My mother’s parents did not know that Uncle Eloy Baluyut’s parents were friends with my father’s family.
So, my father courted my mother there. They got married.
During that time, there was no dating. If a gentleman wants to marry a lady, he visited that lady’s parents’ house on Sunday evenings.
If they find the gentleman acceptable, they arranged the marriage.
I never saw my father angry. He never raised his voice. He joked and laughed a lot.
When my mother was in a bad mood, he took a walk to visit his brother and sister who lived in Pangulo. Pangulo means President. That is the name of my Grandfather’s estate.
My Grandfather, my father’s father was the Cabeza de Barangay.
Pangulo was about thirty minute walk from where we lived. We walked. We had no cars.
When I got bored at our house, I also walked to Pangulo where all my cousins, the Manalansans live. We climbed trees and swam in the river all day.
It was a big estate. Everyone was a Manalansan. We are all descendants from the same ancestors.
When my father returned from his visit to his brother and sister, usually my mother had forgotten what she was in a bad mood for.
They are back to joking and laughing all day even if we only had plain rice for a meal.
My father planted trees around the yard and in my grandfather’s estate in Pangulo. There were trees there that were probably a hundred years old or more. They were huge.
We used to climb them and jump to the river to swim.
There were mangoes, santol, etc., that my ancestors planted.
When my father planted new trees or vegetables, I used to pump the water pump. I had to jump up and down so that the water will come out of the water pump to water them.
I did not realize at that time that jumping up and down for hours to help my father water his plants helped me be in great physical shape, so that when I had to walk for two hours one way to attend Sta. Cruz Central Institute to attend high school, it was no big deal.
My father was a very kind man. When he had a good job, hundreds of people came to him for help. He and my mother never turned anyone away without giving them any help.
My grandfather on my mother’s side was the same. When people came to him to ask for lumber to build their houses, he gave willingly, so that when he died, people from mountain to mountain came to his funeral and wept.
I used to follow my father around the yard while he tended his plants. He used to tell me stories about what life was like during my ancestors.
I remember while we were in the yard talking, he told me, “What is mine is yours. If there is anything that is mine that you want to have, all you have to do is aske me. I will give it to you, because if you get used to taking what is not yours, you will be stealing, and you will not be able to stop yourself from stealing not only from me, but also from others.”
When the Russians sent a woman to the moon in their Sputnik, I told my father, “When I grow up, I will go to Russia because I want to go to the moon.”
“Go to America instead. They are God fearing people,” my father replied.
Here I am in America.
My father did not give me a feeling of guilt for following my dreams.
When I left my father and mother to go to America, I did not know if I will ever see them again. I did not want them to see me sad. I pretended I was happy, and that I was just going next door. I did not want to worry them.
I am sure, though that both my father and my mother prayed for me every minute of their waking hours that is why I was able to survive all the trials and tribulations that I faced in America, which needless to say, was not the least easy.
I faced Goliaths and chewed bullets between my two front teeth to survive and become a Ph.D. in America. I am proud to say that after so much trials, I graduated from St. Louis University in America, one of the top universities in the world.
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