THIS week, this column begins a Baguio story that I have been wanting to see in print for the longest time. I have been hounding my mother to write the story, also for the longest time, and have now decided to do it myself. With her help.
The idea is to start with a name, connect it to others in natural progression, and end with another name with which the next column begins. So here we go.
We start with Gabriel Baban Keith, Jr. Why him? Because as my mother and I are watching one Kapihan or other this week, Gaby is emceeing (being with Baguio City Hall’s Press and Information Office), and I happen to ask her, “Is the Baban in Gaby’s name the same Baban of General Baban?”
It is the same Baban. My mother goes on to inform me that the mother of Gaby is Emma Baban Keith, whose sister is married to Dr. Perfecto Cating, brother of the Atty. Mos Cating, married to Zenaida Baptista Cating. Gaby himself confirms all this, and supplies the name of Dr. Cating’s wife: Ester, his mother’s sister. MY mother -- like I keep saying -- she knows these things.
And she remembers first meeting Zenaida Baptista at the induction of the first ever officers of the Baguio Correspondents’ Club in the early 1960s in the Pines Hotel of old, where my father “Dy-ans” and my godfather, Uncle Bert Floresca, were in attendance. My mother also says that Gus Saboy, father of my dear friend and colleague Scott Saboy, seems to have been at that same inaugural induction. As was Auntie Lily Yaranon, mein muder adds.
What she has to be reminded of is that there is also an Elsie Baban Veloso, married to Atty. Nick Veloso, this bit of data also emanating from Gaby. What my mother doesn’t know is that Gaby’s parents, Gabriel and Emma Keith, are authors of a book titled Kabayan Mummies: A Glimpse of Benguet (1981), available on Amazon.
The Baban sisters are the daughters of General Pedro and Priscilla Baban of La Trinided and Acop, Benguet, respectively.
Some of Gaby’s cousins on the Cating side went to Maryknoll Baguio when it had been renamed Marishan. One of them, Rocky, was my sister Annette’s classmate. These two were eager members of the Drama Club I oversaw when they were perhaps in fourth or maybe fifth grade at Maryknoll, the name we begin with next week. (With corroborative data from Gaby Baban Keith)