Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Ancestral Home

Alex Maynardo Castro posted a blog about our ancestral home at

which is what inspired me to do this post.

I hope you get a chance to visit him cause his post has more information and pictures of the house.

Alex is from our hometown, Mabalacat, Pampanga in the Philippines. I met him when he was just a little boy but I have not seen him again since. He wrote a book about our hometown and featured our ancestral home there. Her aunt married my uncle who is a younger brother of my father and who just passed away a few weeks ago. He was the longest and lone survivor of that generation for a while.

Pictured below is my grandfather. My father used to tell me that he would always ask his chauffeur to pick me up when my father would take me to the city because he always wanted me to be close to him. Unfortunately, he died when I was only 5 years old but I still remember him.

My grandfather with my dad and his siblings. Two aunts and an uncle are not in the picture. They must have come later. My father is the eldest and he is the one standing on the left.

My grandfather and grandmother...this picture is hanging above the sofa in the living room.

This family reunion was held on my grandmother's birthday in 1968 in the Philippines.

Of course, my grandfather was long gone then but my grandma lived in her 90's. Can you spot me? I was 18 years old then. My father is the first person sitting on the second row and my mom is standing behind my grandma. Behind her is one of my sisters and I am standing next to her (with long hair and bangs).

Below was taken during my mom's 86th birthday in our home in Florida in 2004. My dad passed away in 1996. Pictured are all my children, brothers and sisters, in laws, nieces and nephews and our grandkids. My mother has 15 great grandchildren now.

This is our ancestral home in the Philippines. My grandfather had it built in 1932. My grandfather was a prominent business man with sugar and rice plantations.

Originally, there was no tower but when my aunt got sick of lung problems, he had the tower added so my aunt can get some fresh air up there.

The roof came off and fell in one whole piece all the way down to a vacant land next to the house during a big earthquake in the 70's. It would be very hard to replace it so they just tore it into pieces. The tower stands roofless now as you can see on the right side of the mosaic.

My son stayed there for 6 months to take care of my mom when she had a stroke. Here he is posing in front of the house.

During the Japanese war, the Japanese took over the house and made it into their headquarters. They turned the basement into a prison. Do you see the tiny windows at the base of the house? They are covered with iron grills. I was always afraid to go down there cause it felt so eerie. Every All Saints Day, they light candles in the basement, for if not, it is said that they could hear moaning coming from down there.

My mom and I.

I used to go home a lot to visit my dad when he was ill but my last visit was in 1996 when he passed away.

The fountain in the garden. I was with my cousin, Hazel.

I remember hiding there when we played "Hide and Seek" with the maids whenever it was full moon because it would be bright at night and they would be done with their chores.

Here am I just relaxing in the living room. Behind me is my favorite aunt, Mating. Sad to say that she is gone too. They all are and I miss them a lot. The only surviving ones are their 2 spouses, my mom and an aunt, Mang Elsie. I lived in the house with my aunt and my grandma until I was 8. I went to school there until 4th grade and then joined my family in Manila to continue my studies in the city, but I went back to spend my summer vacations there. I was really close to both my aunt and grandma.

The wooden staircase on the right is leading to the tower.

We played mahjong a lot there. Here I am playing with my 2 sisters and brother while my aunt was watching happily.

When I was small, my aunt and I were sleeping in the tower and then it rained. My aunt carried me down the spiral staircase and she slipped. Luckily her legs were caught in the iron posts and we did not fall or we would have landed on the main house roof.

This is part of the tower, the lower level. I have a picture here when I was 4 or 5 but I cannot locate it. It must have been left in Florida.

On the very top, you can see Clark Air Base, Mt. Arayat and also mountains in Tarlac. I used to go up here with food and have a picnic with my friends. The breeze always felt so good.
We would also fly paper airplanes from there and mess up the driveway below.

A friend from the same town created this oil painting of the house and presented it to me as a gift.

As you can see, the house is very special to me. The painting holds a very special place in our home now, a focal point on top of the mantel in the formal living room.

I am linking with Rose for Nostalgia at

Laurie for a Few of my Favorites at

Shannon for Story Tellers Wednesday at

Thank you so much for stopping by. This post is making me emotional again. I have so much memories in that house which is still standing strongly today and still belongs to the family. It is owned equally among 5 brothers and sisters who are all gone so it's been passed down to the next generation, us and my cousins.

Thanks Rose, Shannon and Laurie, for hosting.
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