THE most exciting “acontecimiento” (event) in the family of Tita Charet was having a group excursion in Calaptan swimming pool and Hda. Maquina river bank. Those were the days when rivers in Silay were not polluted by sugar mills.
For the Locsin-Montelibano family, Sunday lunch was an “opurtunidad” (opportunity) for the family members to be together and eat their favorite menu: beef pochero, fried beef liver, and “fedios” (angel hair noodles with pochero broth). Dessert after lunch could be family business, the latest in politics, or the incoming religious event.
The buena familias of Silay have standard breakfast according to Tita Charet. “We always cook ‘bas-oy’ (entrails with liver and beef mixed with soy sauce), dried fish, scrambled egg with our hot drink (cacao tablea mixed with peanuts). A non-Silaynon friend is always amused to have breakfast with us.”
The political life of the Locsins is very challenging. “Our big house in McKinley Street (the house of Senator Locsin) is for formal reception. The Locsin House in Punay Street is for political business. It belongs to Oskie Locsin and wife, Goring. Goring is the daughter of Senator Locsin. She acts as the First Lady because the wife of the senator, Salvacion Montelibano Locsin, is shy.”
“The Locsin House is at all times ready to receive official visitors. The sala at the first floor and the area in the formal dining room (second floor) are always fixed for the event. The family members have to use the backdoor. Family friends and relatives are received in the informal dining room (near the kitchen).”
“There are different sets of plates for the family dining room and the formal dining room. For guests, there are exclusive servers who handle the food from the kitchen passing the small window. The frequent guest of the house is Pres. Manuel Luiz Quezon.”
When Quezon was in Bacolod for the cityhood in 1938, Senator Locsin hosted a party in the house where the president danced Regodon de Honor with music played by orchestra stationed at Locsin’s library. Tita Charet and the other “dalagitas” (teenagers) were just peeping near the stairs. Only the “dalagas” (ladies) were dancing.
Bishop Lladoc and Bishop Yap visited the Locsin House officially. Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez was a constant visitor. When Ramon Magsaysay was still campaigning for president, he entered the Locsin house looking for Ton (wife of Senator Locsin) who at that time had just arrived from the farm. He found her inside the kitchen in barefoot and eating food with her bare hand.
Tita Charet recalled all those incidents and she fondly remembered her important role as helper in the kitchen and in fixing the house. That was the hardest role being a member of the Locsin-Montelibano family. For her, the day ends with an Angelus, the time for the family members to pray together.
Rosario Montelibano Locsin is 91 years old now. She will be 92 on December 12, 2019. She is still blooming and beautiful. Her secrets? Home-church-home and talking intimately to friends like us. That made her our “unica hija.”