Family reunion

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Friday, May 9, 2014


TALISAY CITY, Negros Occidental---I am here attending a three-day family reunion.

Talisay is some 12 kilometers north of Bacolod City and four kilometers to Silay City where a new airport is located. I think Negros Occidental has the most number of cities among the provinces in the country.

This is our second reunion after the death of our mother, Dorotea, in 2008. Our father Pedro died almost 20 years ago. This year's reunion is hosted by my older sister, Dr. Gloria Nalzaro-Pution, principal of a public secondary school here. I hosted our first reunion in Cebu two years ago.

When our Nanay Doring was alive, we held our reunions during the annual fiesta of our home place, Barangay Olingan in Dipolog City, every May 29 of the year.

Our Nanay had opted to stay in our native place for sentimental reasons. She would say, “I was born here and I will die here.” Since we were all away to pursue our professions, we left her to the care of our relatives while providing for her needs.

But Nanay Doring understood our situation.

We were not at her side when she died at the age of 84.

After she died, we decided to rotate the hosting of our reunion very two years. Our next reunion may be held in Iloilo because my other sister, Dr. Rosette Nalzaro-Braganza, lives there.

Our oldest brother, Felixberto, is in Zamboanga City. Another brother, Dr. Oscar Nalzaro, is in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. He holds a high position in the state-run University of Western Philippines.

Another older brother, Vicente, lives somewhere in Sulu province. He unfortunately cannot be contacted and located. We have not seen him for a long time. Perhaps he has joined the Abu Sayyaf.

He did not finish schooling because he was considered the “black sheep” of the family.

Actually, we are 11 in the family but five died when they were still kids. Only six of us survived.

Two of my older sisters and one brother are in the academe. Our oldest sister, Juanita, also a secondary public school teacher, died of breast cancer in 2000. I am the youngest and the only one in the media.

Had we opted to remain in our hometown, we could not have finished schooling and ended up as farmers, following the footsteps of our parents. But because we have dreams and aspirations in life, we struggled to fight poverty. Individually, we have our own story to tell on how we achieved our respective goals.

Anak ra mi og kabus nga pamilya mao nga nanglimbasog kaming mga magsoon aron makab-ot ang among tagsa-tagsa ka mga damgo ug tingusbawan sa kinabuhi. Inubanan sa grasya ug tabang sa Labaw'ng Makagagahum, nakab-ot gyud intawon namo ang among mga damgo.

Nagtubo kami sa panultihon nga nagkanayon: “Ang kawad-on dili babag sa kalampusan.”

In the first day of our reunion yesterday, we visited tourist and historical sites in Bacolod and neighboring cities. Our main program was held last night in one of the hotels here.

Aside from our children and grandchildren, our host invited members of her faculty, close friends and relatives of her husband to attend the program. Today and tomorrow, we will go to some beach and mountain resorts.

Indeed, there is no dull moment in bonding with family members.

As we toured various places here, I observed that Bacolod, known as the “City of Smiles,” has become progressive and economically booming.

Almost all of the country's leading real estate developers and mall operators like SM, Robinsons and Ayala are now operating here.

Infrastructure is good. The city has wide roads, preempting traffic problems in the next few years.

But like in other urban areas, there are informal settlers living in creeks and esteros here. Not too far from the city proper are hundreds of hectares of sugarland with sacadas tilling them. I don't know if they are receiving fair pay from their landlords.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 10, 2014.

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