Saturday, October 18, 2008

Man of Few Words

Manong Idrong was a fixture in our lives, specially in our growing up years.

Manong Idrong had the best yard in our town. Everyday, I would see him tending to the greenest patch of grass in town or watering his healthy calamansi plants. Whenever we need calamansi, we would just ask him for some in his garden. We were taught how to remove the fruit since we did not have prunes. He also had santol, jackfruit, balimbing, sampaloc (tamarind) in his backyard…and yes, we got showered with their fruits too!

Manong Idrong always accommodated us when it was time to watch TV - either basketball or Combat - in their house. We would sit on the wooden sofa, on the marble floor or the most coveted spot - the upholstered circle stool! During the basketball games, Manong Idrong, my Dad and I rooted for the same team Toyota while my sister Ria would cheer for the other team Crispa! And Manong Idrong and my dad would be like sports commentators or analysts while we watched the game. The TV times were fun social times!

Manong Idrong was also very generous. When he goes to the Subic base commissary (he was a retired navy so he had access), he would share the apples and oranges that he buys there. Those were precious - rare and expensive - for us. It was at their home, too, where I first tasted roasted turkey! It must have been Thanksgiving then when we ate the turkey at their house… but having not heard about Thanksgiving, of course, what just mattered was the delicious turkey!

Manong Idrong was always well groomed in his white shirt and denim pants even at home! I vividly remember him sitting de-quatro and busily reading his newspaper, but always with a ready smile to greet us.

Speaking of newspaper, I took a picture of him back in 2006 to send to the Philippines as a required proof that he is still alive on the date of the newspaper. I will come and post back that picture once I find it. :(

On that same trip, I had my first call and experience of 911 when he had difficulty breathing. The firemen came and by then his breathing had eased up.

Manong Idrong was a man of few words but if he had a strong opinion on something, get ready…he will say his piece! He has a wicked sense of humor - dry wit and impeccable timing.

Despite living a privileged life in the Philippines (he had the only brand new Mitsubishi Galant in town way back maybe in the 80's!), he was humble. I can't remember what topics we were on - I imagine it is about praises about him - and I distinctly remember his gentle, quiet voice saying "haan met, ading" (not really, my young cousin).

These are why I will miss him, too…

I am grateful and honored to have known him and to have fond memories of him.


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