When I visited Seattle this past May, my brother Edgie expressed to me that he wanted to visit the Philippines. He had just lost his wife, Ate Cristy, to cancer earlier in the year. I told him that if I found the time, I would join him. I was with Mng. Edgie and Ate Cristy last time they were in the Philippines, back in April 2006. He was already planning a one year commemoration for Ate Cristy for next February in Cuyapo. I suggested to him that since we were going to be in Cuyapo this time that he should plan to do a small remembrance for Ate Cristy with her family. I think it was important to my brother that he meet with Ate Cristy's family to express, in his own way, his gratitude of his late wife to her family in the Philippines.
At the same time, my sister Eden has been constantly urging me to visit our father in the Philippines. I had seen my father in the Philippines last December and in Seattle this past February. He has had quite a bit of difficulty traveling back and forth from the US to the Philippines. So it would be easier to visit him in the Philippines, rather than him go the US and then schedule my time to visit him in the US. Since I had the opportunity to do it, I planned a 10 day visit of my hometown, Cuyapo, and its barangay (village) Tagtagumbao in the Philippines. Two other brothers, Bong and Nemy, and a sister, Eden, joined my brother Edgie and myself for the visit. My oldest sister, Evelyn, had already moved back to the Philippines with her husband. So the trip had multiple objectives for me: to be with my brother, to visit my father, to see five of seven siblings, and as always, to see again all the relatives and friends that I do not see on a regular basis.
I did not really do much while there except to see family and friends. I spent a day in Manila waiting for two of my brothers to arrive from the US. They arrive a day later than I did. The traffic in Manila was horrendous, especially around that time because many people were going back to the provinces for the All Saints Day holiday. I spent another day in Manila when two of siblings returned to the US. Traffic was a bit more bearable this time. I spent the rest of the time in Cuyapo and Tagtagumbao. I wanted to get out a bit, maybe on some day trips, but my back could not tolerate the pounding of road travel.
We celebrated birthdays of two of my brothers by throwing a big bash for them. We had initially planned for the party to be at my cousin's small resort out in the countryside. The weather, steady rain during the scheduled day, changed our plans. The party was moved to a newly built gymnasium/hall in Cuyapo, graciously offered by great family friends. It turned out to be a better venue because the place was much bigger and the party was well attended. Pictures and videos are soon to come.