Love Story

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By Linda Grace Cariño

Baguio Stories

Friday, February 21, 2014


IT IS the last night of the wake of the late Jose Olarte, and I am with son John, paying proper respects, of course. I spot John Glenn Gaerlan of the famous voice. We are outside the door of the house as the Knights of Columbus perform a rite for the deceased. I sit with a neighbor of the Olartes, Gina, and we get acquainted. When the K of C rite is done, John and I squeeze into the house, where the family of the deceased is receiving.

When the good attorney of the Olarte family, Jose Olarte, Jr., Bubut, shows, I quiz him about his parents’ love story, as it’s about the only aspect Manong Mondax does not elaborate upon in his “Educator Jose Olarte passes on,” that pays tribute to Bubut’s father. And I uncover a lovely anecdote.

So one day Bubut is in Itogon, and is hailed by one Peping Fianza, who is playing the guitar. I imagine that at that instant, the guitar is an instant point of union between the two. Said Fianza proceeds to relate to said Olarte Jr. that the former is instrumental (pun alert) in securing the latter’s mother’s hand for Olarte Sr., since it is Fianza who plays the guitar (pun, pun) for Bubut’s dad when he serenades Bubut’s mom. In Itogon.

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Itogon? As it turns out, Bubut’s mother Macrina is a young teacher assigned to Itogon, where she has Fianza relatives, when the late Olarte Sr. appears there. In Bubut’s words, his father is on his mother’s turf, and I guess that that isn’t exactly easy for him. So a Fianza instrumentally being instrumental might indeed help matters. His words to Bubut: “Awan ka nu awan ak.” The romance takes itself to the altar, and the love story continues, lasts, and lasts.

“So,” I ask, “How does that Peping Fianza relate to Peter?” We wonder, tossing about a theory here and a theory here. Bubut and Peter have yet to talk about this…. , would you believe?

In walks Councilor Cosalan, and we chat, some. Then I must hie away because my son has had a sleepless 24 hours and can’t keep his head up. As we exit, I see that it is Judge Claravall on a sofa, keeping Bubut’s mother company.

Driving home in the still cold Baguio night, I marvel at the love stories of old, like those of Bubut’s parents, my parents, others too, that withstand the test of time and travail, and how we should learn much from them, in this day and age.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 22, 2014.

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