by Carmelita Cochingco Ballesteros.
November 16, 2012
Tuesday, Oct. 23. Typhoon Ofel was reported to be in Mindanao. We live in Mendez, Cavite in Southern Luzon. So we thought we were safe.
The Block Rosary devotion visited us at the Faithful Shepherd’s Garden. This devotion involves the home visit of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the praying of the rosary as well as Bible reading and sharing. The visit lasts about a week.
Thursday, Oct. 24. My sister Susan and her family, six altogether, had touched down on Wednesday afternoon at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. It had been a fine day.
However, by the time all six of us siblings and our extended families met up in Tagaytay City for lunch on Thursday, Typhoon Ofel had been howling, pouring down torrents of rain, and threatening floods everywhere.
Nevertheless, we all braved the rain and drove to the restaurant rendezvous for Filipino food – kare-kare, sinigang, sisig, and fried chicken.
Susan and her family had gone to Oman nine years ago. It was a memorable visit because her entire family came with her and all of us six siblings, plus extended families, met together for a meal, stories, games, songs, and prayed the Holy Rosary together! Typhoon Ofel made the reunion even more memorable and symbolic as if stating the obvious that Filipino families endure and overcome.
The typhoons which our families have endured and overcome, individually and collectively, will probably qualify us for a FAMAS Hall of Fame award but we’d rather not showcase our thespian abilities.
What matters is that we have kept the faith in God Almighty, and the Good Shepherd has faithfully kept us intact in His pasture.
Among my siblings, I am the only one with grandchildren. I am both amazed and amused by this picture on the left representing three generations. My grandson Angelo is 11, my brother Dante is 50, and my nephew Bon is 19.
Wednesday, Oct. 31. On the eve of All Saints’ Day or Undas, my siblings and our extended families held another family reunion, an annual occasion, at the public cemetery of Nasugbu, Batangas.
My brothers had cleaned our tomb of weeds and wild flowers. It was the turn of my daughter-in-law Ezra to arrange the flowers and plants for the November 1st gathering of more family members and friends. She transformed the humble dead spot into a vibrant garden of flowers.
Thursday, Nov. 1. We share our piece of memorial lot with my uncle and his family. Tio Berting and my father were close as brothers. Although my uncle wasn’t a perfect husband and father, he was always there for his Kuyang, my father. His widow, Auntie Nery, is still a beauty at age 76 and still calls him, “My darling.”
At a signal from my sister Carol, some eight of us thirsty souls escaped to Celing’s Refreshment for her world-famous halo-halo. It’s world-famous because Filipinos around the world rave about her ice concoction of sweets and shaved ice mixed in a glass.
Thus refreshed, we closed the curtains on All Saints Day. Thus reconnected, we said goodbye to one another, grateful for our enduring family ties.