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.


Debby@Just Breathe said...

This was a very special treat. I love all the history your shared with us. What a wonderful gift you received, the painting is beautiful and I know it hangs with honor in your living room.
The pictures are all priceless. I think I picked your sister out as you. I looked before I read further! Thank you.

Pam Kessler said...

That was probably the most interesting post I have read in a long time. What a fascinating house with such a history to it. I would be freaked out by the basement also! You are lucky to have so many photos of it and your family.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing with us about your childhood home!It was such an interesting post! Wow I wonder what kind of stories the house would tell if it could only talk!!

Dolores said...

Oh my, Christine.... what a beautiful family and wonderful heritage you have.....The home is so beautiful.....You are blessed!

Sue said...

This was really interesting. I loved looking at the pictures and hearing the stories. I will have to click the link and see the article. As much as you travel, I'm surprised you haven't gone back! You obviously love it so.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Thanks for sharing the home you grew up in and your family. I can see why it is such a special place for you.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Christine, this is just fascinating. I loved hearing all about your family and seeing the lovely home and its history. I went to the link you had, too, and read there, but I loved what you wrote, too.

I miss my family, too. My mother and father have been dead for many years, and now all of the older members are gone. Fred's dad is gone, but his mother and all of his aunts and uncles are still living.

One of the wonderful things about our faith in the Lord is the assurance that we will see them again... I, mine and you, yours.

Hope your sweet mama is better...


Sheila :-)

Marlis said...

Dear Christine, this post brought tears to my eyes. It's a wonderful tribute to all that have gone before you. I can feel the love that is in your family through your words. It is a magnificent home and you have a beautiful family. I am truly blessed to have meet you here and have gotten to know you even better. You are an inspiration to us all. Be blessed.

Debbie said...

This is just hauntingly beautiful. I loved reading about the history of your family and what memories you have of your ancestral home.
It's so sad about the basement being used as a dungeon.

So beatiful, Christine.

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Oh so interesting Christine. I really enjoyed hearing the stories and seeing the pictures. Beautiful home and your family is gorgeous. Hugs, Marty

Jenny @ Simcoe Street said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful, meaningful home with me. The history is so interesting. This was such a nice tribute to that.

Terra said...

I found your story here fascinating and read it carefully and looked at each photo. The house is handsome indeed and full of family memories, and maybe a few ghosts you mentioned in the basement. How good it is still in your family; who lives there now?

Tara said...

What an amazing history Christine! How wonderful that you can all share in something to go back to and celebrate your family ties!

Entertaining Women said...

Such a blessing that you have all the photos of your family home. It is so special. Thank you for sharing it with us. Cherry Kay

Vintagesouthernlife said...

What a fascinating post. I can feel the pride and love you have for your family and the home in your writing.Thank you for sharing your memories and know that someday you will be reunited with your loved ones. Annette

Cass @ That Old House said...

What a great post, Christine! And what a gorgeous house. I love your memories of it, and thank you for sharing them with us.

Loved it!

Johanna Gehrlein said...

Hello Christine,
I was so curious about you ancestral home, so I came here and had a look. You have a charming family and this house is gorgeous. I don't know much about the Philippines, but that looks very tropic and exotic for me. You have so many nice memories in your mind and those you will never lost. The paintings are beautiful done and very worthy reminders for you and your children. You could also write down all your memories, ilustrate that with photos to save them for your children and grandchildren. Thank you so much for sharing this private and touching memories. Wish you all the best.
Greetings, Johanna

Clarissa said...

The photos are priceless as well the memories that comes along with it.Thank you for sharing your precious photos to us^_^


Verna Luga said...

wow, did your local government have projects on preserving structures like this? Spanish it..

My Nostalgia here

Kat said...

What a beautiful home Christine. But more important are all the wonderful memories you have. Such a fascinating look into the past. I loved seeing all the old family photos. Thanks for sharing this with us! Hugs, Kat

Unknown said...

priceless indeed,very nice....

Carol at Serendipity said...


This is a lovely post with a beautiful story. I really enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing.


Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Christine, what a beautiful place. Very big and I love how open it feels. Great older photos of you, too.

EJ said...

Oh wow, you are one lucky lady. Love the painting!


Chubskulit Rose said...

Your old house is so grand Christine. Love that fountain, so big!

Thanks for joining Nostalgia this week!

Bill said...

Fascinating, Christine! I'm so glad you shared your memories of family and your ancestral home -- it looks magical, enchanted ... like something from a classic movie.

Gloria said...

Christine: Your family was like Royalty in your hometown when you were little! What a beautiful estate your family had. And your family -- all of them look so interesting, especially the older pictures. And the recent photo of 2004 is so nice with your whole family - I see AJ standing there with her hand on her hip!! Thanks so much for sharing the story and the photos with us. Loved it!
Gloria xxoo

Blondie's Journal said...

This is a fabulous and interesting post, Christine. It reads like a story. I so enjoyed seeing the pictures, especially of you when you were younger [you look the same}. I know you will always cherish the memories you had in this special home.


Traci said...

How interesting to read about. The house is so unique!

Wifey10 said...

wow so nostalgic nga naman, very historic nga naman..thansk for sharing

Anonymous said...

I love this post Christine. Wonderful!

Bargain Decorating with Laurie said...

What a beautiful home and such an intrestesting history. Love that your grandfather built the tower for your ailing grandmother. Your family is full of beautiful people, and I really enjoyed reading this post. I'm so glad you're going to make it a part of Favorite Things Sat. You should also think about linking it to Shannon's "Story Tellers Wednesday" at A Southern Belle With Northern Roots. laurie said...

I so enjoyed this post. I love history and you tell it so well. I know you cherish all these photos and paintings.It is so much more informative to learn about a country from some one who actually lived there- than read it in a history book.Hope your Mom is better.

Americana Lady said...

Christine, I so enjoyed your family history! You are so lucky to have so much family! My children did not get to grow up with family close by to experience that closeness and embrace the specialness of family. You are blessed. Joan

Rettabug said...

Christine, this was such an interesting read! I truly enjoyed seeing your native country & shots of your family's home. What wonderful memories you have of your childhood there!!!
I'm so glad you shared that with us. Now I'm off to visit the link your provided.

BTW, I loved playing Ma Jong when I lived in FL. I can't find anybody to play it with me here. Caroline loves to get out the tiles & match them up, though. :/

Sarah said...

Christine, it was both fun and interesting to read about your ancestral home and to see the family photos. I'd like to learn how to play Ma Jong. Many of my friends have begun to play. ~ Sarah

Anonymous said...

I am in awe of those who know their family history and can keep it alive.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post. Your ancestral home is truly a treasure.

Sue said...

Christine, I really enjoyed reading about your Philippine childhood home. You have wonderful memories of it and that painting will be a cherished heirloom for your children, one day. Thanks so much for sharing your history with us- it is just so amazing to see a family who treasures its past.
` Sue

Kathleen said...

That was very interesting. Christine! It sounds like you have wonderful mempries. When I was growing up we had neighbors who were from the Phillipines, the Yujuico family. I used to play with the girls.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

A beautiful post, full of wonderful photos and memories! I especially love the old photos of when your dad was little... I hope that I can find the old photos from my mom's family in the Philippines. I also went to your cousins link and read his post.

Thank you for sharing!
Blessings & Aloha!
(I think I am finally caught up again with reading your past posts :o)

shannon i olson said...

what an amazing story. Priceless photos and memories.. I would have hated to trip on those stairs! YOur house is beautiful and so is your family. I am so glad to have read this wonderful story from you!!

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