Tuesday, April 26, 2016

*402. GEN. LUCAS, KING OF BALUGAS.

LUCAS, KING OF BALUGAS, arrayed in regal splendor, in military uniform, boots, hat, and complete with military medals, badges and a swagger stick. 1922. Photo courtesy of Mr. Jim Biven.

Our history shows that Negritos (Balugas, now used pejoratively) , like other ethnic groups, have always been marginalized since the day lowlanders took over their lands and conquistadors drove them back into the far reaches of the islands, in uncharted mountains and forests. Still others were sold into slavery.

No wonder, Negritos continued to be nomadic in their ways, unable to integrate with other Filipinos. For many years, this has helped them retain their customs and tradition, including their system of leadership.

 The American Thomasite Luther Parker, in his report on work among Pampanga Negritos in 1908, wrote about a certain “King of All Negritos of Pampanga”, by the name of Lazaro. But while the Negritos did have their own leadership system, there were no “kings” to speak of. Among the clans in their community, seniority is equated to authority. The oldest member of the clan was sought for advice, especially when tribal transgressions took place, and was looked up to as a chief.

 It was an American general who first gave a Negrito a royal title--Gen. Johnson Hagood--who took command of Camp Stotsenburg in 1922. By the time of his assignment, the Negritos had become privileged visitors of the post, silently paddling across officers’ residences, peddling orchids, ferns, animals and cultural souvenirs like bows and arrows to the foreigners. Negritos had easy access to the camp, and Americans let them be—even posing gamely posing with the naked natives for photos.

Gen. Hagood was also fascinated by these dark-skinned Filipinos; he even wrote many anecdotes about them, which filled up 7 pages of his published 2-volume memoirs.

 Beyond his amusement and interest, Gen. Hagood shared the belief with fellow Americans that help and protection would not come from the local government; hence, he viewed the Negritos with paternalistic concern. The one who struck most his fancy was the Baluga chief, “General Lucas”, an elderly Negrito with a dignified mien and who conducted himself with a confident air.

 Gen. Lucas once presented himself to the general arrayed as “a brigadier general in a miniature khaki uniform wielding a sword” and wearing an assortment of “fantastic and humorous commendations”, one of which was a Manila Carnival medal that identified him as “a prize bull”.

 Hagood proclaimed Gen. Lucas as “King of Balugas ”, and gave him a peace-keeping role in his region that was often beset by feuding Baluga tribes. He was elevated to kingship in the presence of hundreds of fellow tribe members and amidst great fanfare as Gen. Hagood conferred more decorations to the new king. He was given the titles "Defender of the Orchids” and the “Grand Commander of the Order of Dead Mules, Second Class”.

 Of course, the ceremonies were all done in good humor, but Gen. Lucas took his title seriously, even posing for an “official royal photo” smartly dressed in military regalia. What his fellow Negritos felt or thought of at that time can never be known, but for the next decades, they continued to become fixtures of Clark Field, with many families settling in “Baluga Village” in the 1970s. They enjoyed perks such as free medical care (the base hospital allocated a budget for them), free food from welfare groups run by the wives of American servicemen, and they could also set up stalls to sell “authentic” souvenir weapons (actually, Manila-made).

 King Lucas is now but a blur in our memory, a king of nothing with his small” kingdom” nearly gone—swallowed by Pinatubo, taken over by malls and resorts, stolen by unscrupulous land grabbers. Even the culture and traditions of his race are being obliterated and changed by modernism. Help from the government has been too long in coming. Yet, the hardiness of these simple, free-spirited Filipinos remains, but only time will tell if this is enough for their future survival.

Friday, April 1, 2016

*401. LIZA LORENA: A Luciano Star from Magalang

LIZA WITH A K. Born Elizabeth Ann Jolene Luciano Winsett, this multi-awarded actress comes from a family whose history is linked with that of Magalang town, where she was born.

 The Kapampangan beauty who rose to stardom after a series of career moves was born Elizabeth Ann Jolene Winsett y Luciano on 31 October 1949, to American George Winsett and Magaleña, Josefina Luciano.

The Lucianos—together with the Cortezes and the Suings—are recognized as founders of the town, and Elizabeth’s forebears include prominent relatives like Dons Jose and Antonio Luciano, and the lawyer Andres Luciano.

 She spent her formative years going to Catholic schools at nearby Angeles, first at Holy Family Academy and then to Holy Angel Academy. Her family, however, moved to Manila when Elizabeth turned 13, so she had to complete her high school at Our Lady of Loreto in Sampaloc.

 Soon after graduation, she was accepted as a domestic flight stewardess at Philippine Air Lines, then took a corporate job at the Philippine Tourism and Travel Association as a tour guide/receptionist. Things became even more exciting for the teener when she joined the 1966 Bb. Pilipinas Pageant and placed second to winner Clarinda Soriano.

 This exposure led to movie offers from such leading studios as Sampaguita Pictures and Nepomuceno Productions. Asked to do a script reading with director Luis Nepomuceno, Elizabeth gamely went through the audition that she thought was for a commercial. She had prepared for the reading by practicing Tagalog, a language she was not well-versed in. Elizabeth was chosen from a field of over 60 ladies, but unbeknownst to her, the reading was actually a screen test for a movie project.. destined to be a classic --“Dahil sa Isang Bulaklak”’ 

 She was given the screen name “Liza Lorena”, and immediately was cast as Esperanza in a family drama headlined by major stars Charito Solis and Ric Rodrigo, who portrayed her parents. ”Dahil sa Isang Bulaklak” was touted as the “biggest Filipino film ever in 50 years ” and the first Philippine movie in color by De Luxe. It was released in 1967 to thunderous acclaim.

 Many thought that Lorena’s star would shine brighter after such an ominous start. She, however, put her budding career on hold after her relation with matinee idol Eddie Gutierrez produced a son, Eduardo Antonio Gutierrez Jr.. Just 18, the teen-age mother risked not only losing her career but also incurring the disapproval of movie audiences. However, Lorena was determined to take care of her son—who would grow up to be the equally-accomplished actor, Tonton Gutierrez.

In later years, she would also have a daughter with Honey Boy Palanca. Lorena would rebound only in 1982, in the acclaimed Peque Gallaga-helmed classic, “Oro, Plata, Mata”. The epic period film, which told of the changing fortunes of two Negros families with the coming World War II, earned for Lorena, the Film Academy of the Philippines’ (FAP) Best Supporting Actress award. In 1986, she won another Best Supporting Actress honors, this time, from Gawad Urian for the movie “Miguelito: Batang Rebelde”. 

That same year, she was named “Best Actress” of the Manila Film festival, for “Halimaw sa Banga” and was also cited by FAMAS with a Best Supporting Actress nomination for “Pahiram ng Ligaya”. Her most recent Best Actress triumph came at the 9th Gawad Tanglaw Awards, for the movie “Presa”, completed in 2010.

 Lorena is also a staple in many popular TV series— “Pangako Sa ‘Yo” (ABS-CBN, 200) “Kung Mawawala Ka” (GMA 7, 2001-2003) , Maria Flordeluna (ABS-CBN, 2007) , "Lobo” (ABS-CBN, 2008), “Apoy Sa Dagat” (ABS-CBN, 2013), and “Akin Pa Rin ang Bukas” (GMA, 2013). In a career that spanned 4 decades, Lorena has appeared in more than 185 movies and television shows since 1967.

 Today, Lorena remains a single mother, and continues to be active in showbiz—a feat she takes pride in. One other source of pride is grandson, Carlos Philippe Winsett-Palanca, who, in 2009, placed first at the Kids Golf European Championships in Scotland.

Lorena, a Kapampangan speaker, also has remained very much in touch with her Pampanga roots—she regularly goes to her school homecomings at Holy Angel, now a University, in Angeles. She may have taken unexpected detours in the course of her life journey, but this resilient Kapampangan artist has always managed to get back on track, finding fulfillment on paths that few have chosen to travel.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

*400. A SEASON OF SINNERS AND SAINTS

LA ULTIMA CENA OF ANGELES CITY. Holy Week evening procession, 1950s. 
 Just a few days from now, roads in Pampanga will be crammed with a procession of both sinners and saints—magdarame or flagellants imitating the passion of Christ, and life-like figures of saints, borne on richly carved and brightly-lit carriages, followed by a retinue of candle-bearing devotees.

 Such annual Lenten scenes provide contrasting sights— penitents walking in abject misery, stripped of their clothes, covered with grime and dust, with bodies bruised and bloodied. On the same road, one will also find santos resplendent in velvet vestments, wearing their silver halos, adorned with dazzling lights and flowers.

Though starkly different, these Lenten practices stem from a common personal objective—of fulfilling a vow, a “panata”-- a solemn promise made to God—in gratitude for answered prayers and for favors still waiting for divine intercession: a plea for for miraculous healing, for cleansing of one’s sins, for repentance.

 Both practices---deep-seated in our culture—require days, weeks and even months of preparations. Both have also become highly-organized family traditions. Dressing up santos for the kwaresma (40 days of Lent) involves at least 2 or 3 generations of families, who gather on such occasions to do their share. It used to be that ladies of the house prepared and arranged the images' garments, but now, even men have become adept at dressing manikin santos. 

 The Mercados of Sasmuan, who own a Sto. Entierro in a spectacular calandra (a glass casket) , have organized themselves by assigning specific tasks to family members. One branch of the family is responsible for the upkeep of  the antique silver components of the carroza (processional carriage), while another branch is in charge of Christ’s garments.

 The closely-knit Panlilio family of San Fernando have always taken pride in caring for their Mater Dolorosa (Sorrowful Mother), a tradition that began way back in the late 19th century. Every year, scattered family members make the trip back to their ancestral “bahay na bato” to help in preparing the image’s carroza, and in dressing up the image in her black velvet gown embroidered with gold threads. The family would then earnestly pray the rosary before the life-size image of their dolorous Virgin.

 “Like many traditions,” said one descendant Criselle Panlilio-Alejandro, “the Good Friday procession involving the Mater Dolorosa is more greatly appreciated as one grows older.”

 On the other hand in old Pampanga, to be a magdarame was purely a personal choice, an individual decision based on his relationship with God. It was not uncommon to find a cross-bearing penitent, his face covered in anonymity, trodding down dirt roads all by his lonesome. If, by chance, he meets a fellow magdarame along the way, he joins him quietly in his walk of faith.

 In recent times, more and more people are drawn into this bloody rite—to include whole families--brothers, sisters, wives and friends--who accompany the penitent as they intone prayers, whipping him to inflict more pain, propping him up when tired, providing water when thirsty, and taking occasional photos for posterity.

In Mabalacat, the practice of pamagdarame is organized with clockwork efficiency—the platoon of magdarames who crowd the city streets and the churchyard on Good Friday are dressed in similar Nazareno robes, equipped with professionally-made crosses, all uniformly painted with their designated barangay chapter.

 Times may have changed, but religious traditions endure. The belief in penance and salvation remains, but to many Kapampangans steeped in the practices of their colonizers , there are divergent ways to achieve them. One, is to be unified with Christ in his sufferings, as flagellants do, in an extreme display of physical mortification. The other is to contemplate on the Passion of Christ through staged processional scenes that depict the way of his Cross, involving mourning santos.

 The gory and the glorious. The pain and the pageantry. Sinners and saints. All these merge and converge on Pampanga’s roads once a year, only on Holy Week. May our traditions remind us that we are ransomed not by perishable things—like silver or gold—but with the precious blood of Christ.

 A BLESSED HOLY WEEK TO EVERY ONE!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

*399. A Tireless Thomasite: DR. ADAM C. DERKUM

PAMPANGA TRADE SCHOOL PARTY IN HONOR OF DR. ADAM C. DERKUM
Division Superintendent of Schools. Dated March 13, 1925.
The American contribution to Philippine education began with the arrival of Thomasites – a band of American teachers who came to our shores in 1901, lured by a sense of adventure, prospects of employment in the exotic Far East. and a genuine will to serve and build a new nation.

Of the thousands that were sent to help establish a modern public school system were the Derkums, from Richmond, Wayne, Indiana. The Derkum family, however, traces their beginnings in Wales, before becoming Hoosiers in America. Born in 1874, Adam C. Derkum studied and graduated from the University of Southern California. He was appointed to the civil service on 30 December 1903.

On 1 March  1906,  Dr. Adam Derkum, together with his wife Agnes, were assigned to Mexico, Pampanga. Alan became a supervising teacher, while Mrs. Derkum was put in charge of the intermediate school. In the years that followed, Dr. Derkum assumed a more prominent role as a Division Superintendent of schools in Zambales and Tarlac. He acquired a driver’s license in Manila so he could be more mobile as he attended to his duties in the region, often attending commencement exercises and giving addresses and speeches.

 On 31 March 1915, for example, he was at the evening graduation ceremonies of Iba central School in Zambales, where he awarded certificates and gave an inspirational talk to the class .  "The clear and distinct singing and speaking of the small boys and girls have won my heart”, Dr. Derkum said, “I believe that Zambales will be the first English speaking division of all the divisions in the Philippine Islands. Thus, it means that the larger part of the future young leaders and assembly men will be from Zambales”.  Hi address was met with deafening applause, as expected.

In the meanwhile, fellow Thomasite Frank Russell White,  had opened the first Philippine public high school building in Tarlac on September 1902. By 1915, the Tarlac Provincial High School had incurred much damage wrought by usage and time. Dr. Derkum, who had become the Division Superintendent of Tarlac schools, had a new building erected at a new location.  Wife Agnes Derkum became a teacher at this school and was the adviser of the 1918 pioneer graduating class.

In fact, at this first annual commencement exercises of the Tarlac High held on 27 March 1918, Dr. Derkum was in attendance as a guest speaker. He was there, along with Tarlac governor Ernesto Gardiner and principal Matthew D. Ashe to award diplomas and medals to class members, led by the valedictorian, Luciano Salak.

On 1 August 1925, he accompanied Mr. George R. Summers of the General Office  on a visit to Pampanga Agricultural School in Magalang.Both spent the whole day at this school observing academic classes and inspecting the nursery gardens and students’ farm reports.

Dr. Derkum took the lead in organizing various training programs for students,  through teacher camps and educational missions held in different provinces. He also looked into the conduct and performances of teachers ( for example, the status of a certain Miss Gilmer was investigated by his office).  As part of the American effort to promote physical education and national fitness, Dr. Derkum took part in the creation of the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation, and became one of its founding members, that also included Manuel L. Quezon, Camilo Osias, Regino R. Ylanan and Jorge R. Vargas.

On a lighter note,  Dr. Derkum found much enjoyment when he attended the week-long "Pampanga Carnival and Provincial Fair", held from 20-26 February, 1925.  All the 22 municipalities of the province—including Camp Stotsenburg—participated in this exposition began with a parade of town floats presided by a princess-elect from the same. The fair was opened to the public by Princess Floridablanca, Eloisa Wolfert, after the speeches of Dr. Derkum and Gov. Sotero Baluyut.  

The next year, Dr. Derkum was chosen as President  and Chairman of the Executive Committee tasked with organizing the 1926 Pampanga Fair and Provincial Garden Day, This was to be one of  his last major activities as division superintendent of schools. Later in the year, the Derkums---with their four Philippine-born children in tow—returned to America where they would spend rest of their lives in California, even as the results of their life works in education continue to be enjoyed by a grateful Philippine citizenry.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

*398. A Reunion: PAMPANGA HIGH SCHOOL, CLASS OF 1933

PAMPANGA HIGH SCHOOL CLASS 1933 ALUMNI AND THEIR FAMILIES. Reunion. Brookside Swimming Pool, owned by Renato Tayag and family.  Dated April 13, 1952

Pampanga’s premiere high school was just a little over a decade old when it graduated its classes of over 240 senior students in 1933. Some two decades down the road, members of this batch gathered in a resort in Angeles to hold their grand reunion. By then, many had established careers that for some, would flourish even more in the near future.

 From this large 1933 class, we can single out a few distinguished alumni who are certainly worthy of a place in the school’s historic roll of honor.

 Leading the list is Renato "Katoks" Dayrit Tayag (b. 9 Oct. 1915/d.1985) who graduated as the class valedictorian (Rosalina Catap was the salutatorian). “Katoks” went to the University of the Philippines and earned a Law degree in 1939, where future president Ferdinand E. Marcos was a classmate. Tayag later joined his law firm as a partner. During World War II, he saw action in Bataan as a field artillery officer. He was sent off to the U.S.in 1945 to study at the Judge’s Advocate School in Michigan. Tayag is well-known for his writings and journalistic feats. His most daring accomplishment was going on a forbidden journey to Red China in 1964. Tayag's books include The Angeles Story, Sinners of Angeles, Farewell to Irian, Odyssey in Southeast Asia, At Home and Abroad and Recollections and Digression, published in 1985 while a director of the Philippine National Bank. Angeles City, his birthplace, celebrated his birthday centennial in 2015.

 A batchmate who also embarked on a career in law was, Moises Sevilla Ocampo (b.27 Feb. 1916/d.1997) who gained national fame as a brilliant trial lawyer.Not only did he enjoy a long legal practice but he was also found success in politics, having been elected as a member of the Provincial Board of Pampanga. He spent the rest of his life in California.

 Choosing a different path was Diosdado F. Garcia. He pursued a career in the military, and as war clouds gather in the Pacific in 1941, Garcia worked as an instructor in the Infantry School at Camp Murphy under Gen. Mateo Capinpin, tasked with training new military graduates. Garcia rose to the rank of a Brigadier General Commanding General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines from 1962-1963, during the term of fellow PHS alumni, Pres. Diosdado P. Macapagal.

 Two classmates from the same batch became respected figures in Philippine media arts. The first, Jose Luna Castro (4 Mar. 1915/d.?), finished his English degree at the Union Theological Seminary before going to Syracuse University in New York for his Master in Journalism and Political Science. At one time, he was the press officer of the Philippine Embassy in Peking. Castro rose to become the Executive Editor of the Manila Times Publishing Company, which put out Taliba, Daily Mirror, Sunday Time Magazine. In 1966, he authored the Manila Times Handbook of Journalism, which has become an indispensable style guide for mass communication and journalism students today.

 On the other hand, Liborio “Gat” Gatbonton made a mark in the field of cartooning during the 1940s and 1950s. he did not proceed to college after graduating from PHS at age 17. Adept with drawing, the imaginative Candaba teen submitted his first cartoons which saw print on the newspaper, Tribune. Before long, he created the popular series "Jappy Days," a comic book that satirized the Japanese rule in the Philippines. “Gat” became the chief cartoonist and art director of the Manila Chronicle owned by the Lopezes. He illustrated covers, did editorial/political cartoons and was the first Filipino to win in international cartooning competitions, winning the Stanvac Journalism award for 7 times!

 On the distaff side, Dr. Evangelina Hilario-Lacson, who counts nationalists, patriots , writers and poets among her family, became the leading light of the province in the promotion of Kapampangan writing and language. She taught English and Literature at the Far Eastern University for over twenty year before joining the government as a regional manager for the SSS. After her retirement, she returned to the academe, and held  key positions at the Pampanga Agricultural College and Angeles University. Her book, “Kapampangan Writing; A Selected Compendium and Critique”, published by the National Historical Institute in 1984, has become a major reference of scholars of Kapampangan Literature. 

There have been others from this batch who may have taken different career paths, whose lives today may not be as high-profile as others. But regardless, all are bound by a common experience of being educated at Pampanga’s foremost institution of learning, proud graduates all of the Class of 1933.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

*397. LYDIA MONTAÑEZ: A Russian-Kapampangan Actress from Arayat

CALL HER TATIANA. Tatiana Simbulan Korionoff (aka Lydia Montañez) of Arayat was one of the most exotic faces of Philippine cinema in the 1950s, owing to her Russian-Kapampangan lineage.

 The bloody Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 saw many thousands of Russians to flee their beleaguered country and seek refuge in other lands. One who escaped just in time was Victor Pavlov Korionoff (b. 28 April 1902) of the city of Perm, Russia. To escape the cruelty of the Red Russians, the 17 year-old decided to flee to Shanghai, via Manchuria, along with 2,000 czarists.

Victor was supposed to proceed to Australia by sea, but some ships sunk, leaving him stranded in Palawan. He had no recourse but to go back to Shanghai, where he established a cigar business whose success was short-lived.

 Back to square one,Victor decided to apply as a policeman but failed meet the height requirement. His next stop was a factory where he saved enough travel funds to find his fortune in the Philippines.

He finally found work in Negros, at the Kabangkalan Sugar Central, where he got along very well with Tabacalera officials because of his ability to speak Spanish. With him was fellow Russian, Simeon Kibanoff, whom he met on a ship in Hong Kong and who would become his lifelong friend.

 Victor was assigned as a plant engineer at the Arayat Sugar Central in Pampanga in 1926. Simeon, who had by this time gotten married to Negrense Angela Parcon, tagged along with him and relocated his family to this mountain town.

 The next year, Victor  married a local 18 year-old lass named Marcelina Lising Simbulan, who gave him a firstborn son, Victor Jr. The rest of the brood would come in quick succession—Tatiana, Dimitri (Jim), Lydia, Jacob, Mary and Joseph (twins). Victor, a licensed electrical and mechanical engineer, built a large 2-storey house on the Lising ancestral land for his growing family, complete with a porch, a swimming pool and a bathroom with a flush toilet—a first in Arayat . At home, the family spoke in Kapampangan, a language also quickly learned by the patriarch.

 Of the Korionoff children, the natural artistic bent of eldest daughter Tatiana (“Tanya or Tani”), born in 28 April 1933, was apparent at an early age. Like her homegrown siblings, she attended Arayat Elementary School and Anderson Intermediate School. There, she learned how to sing and play the guitar. It was off to Arayat Institute for her college years, and although she admitted that she was not exactly a diligent student, she finished her studies and bagged a teaching stint at her elementary alma mater.

 The exotic mixed-race Tatiana never considered herself beautiful; in fact, when she joined a local beauty search—the Cinderella Contest—she placed a dismal 26th. But this paved the way for her entry into showbiz, with Royal Pictures (owned by Fernando Poe Sr.) signing her up, renaming her Lydia Montemayor and giving her small roles in “Tatlong Limbas” (1950), “Lihim ni Bathala “,“Mag-Inang Ulila” and “Maria Bonita” (1951).

 Thereafter, Benito Brothers Productions offered her a contract and turn her into a full-fledged star. She was rechristened Lydia Montañez—Lydia, in honor of her foster aunt, and Montañez, from the mountain town of her birth. Her launch film--“Irog, Paalam” (1951) directed by Jose Villafranca and with no less than the established matinee idol Leopoldo Salcedo as her leading man—proved to be a success at the box office tills. Their team-up would be repeated in “La Roca Trinidad”, produced by Salcedo himself.

 Her follow-up movie,”Isinanlang Pag-ibig”, in which she portrayed a woman wrongly accused of killing her loved one, was an even bigger hit and it was not long before Lydia Montañez became a byword among Filipino movie fans.

 With her father growing old and needing hospital attention, the dutiful Lydia helped in financing the education of her siblings though her showbiz earnings, enabling them to earn college degrees. She also took under her wing, Dolores Kibanoff, a niece of her father’s bosom friend, Simeon Kibanoff, who had been like family to them.

 On 2 April 1952, Lydia married Medardo Aquino, and gave birth to her first child, Nanette Ma. Socorro. She was followed by Medardo Jr., Agapito, Anatole, Maria Yasmine, Remegio, Katrina Grace and Gerardo. Even as a young mother, she would continue to make more movies in the first half of the 1950s, until she decided to leave showbiz behind in favor of family. Her family now lives in different parts of the U.S., and Lydia, who has reverted back to her original name Tanya, is settled with her husband in California.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

*396. A SON'S LETTER TO A DYING FATHER

NOW THERE'S A WAY, AND I KNOW, THAT YOU HAVE TO GO AWAY.
Graduation photo of  Mateo Castro, youngest son of my grandfather, Gerardo. 1957
(Last year, a cousin of mine, knowing my interest in our family history, turned over some documents from my aunt’s possession. Among these were my grandfather’s 1968 medical records from San Juan de Dios Hospital, which revealed a dreadful illness—colon cancer. Also included was this letter from my Ingkung’s  son, Mateo Castro, then 31 years old,  married wth 2 kids and settled in Baguio. 

 “Tatang Matt” was my Ingkung Dando’s youngest of 4 living children, 10 years younger than his next coya. Frail and sickly as a child, he was doted on, favoured if you will, and always had his own way. After graduation, he left Pampanga and hied off to Baguio to pursue a career as a university professor, and never left. Tatang Matt may have been far away from the crisis happening in our Pampanga home, but far removed—he was not, as this letter to his seriously-sick father shows. 


Learning that his father was scheduled for a critical operation, Tatang Matt sent him this letter, mostly in Kapampangan, expressing his urgent request that he make a confession and receive communion before surgery. His deep concern for his father could be sensed from his firm insistence and implorings to heed his wish. It was to be the last—and most important favour that my Ingkung granted his bunso, for just a month after, he succumbed to complications from his illness.)



*******

62 Bokawkan Road
Baguio City
November 14, 1968

 Dearest Father:

Mig long-distance cami cang atching Elsie uling angga ngeni e cami pa tinanggap call; emi balu nung capilan ca ma-opera ania minaus na cami. Queng ma-opera ca, carin na cami muling maca auto. Queng Lunes, mibuclat na ing clasi mi; pero maniauad cung leave of absence cabang ma-opera ca. 

Pagawa cune ing deed of sale na nitang lote Mabiga; pepacana queng P3,000.00, ban canita ditac mu ing bayaran cu quing registration. Paqui-firma mu niamo ban canita adala nalang Auring ding papeles at apa-register que.

 Bayu ca sana pa-opera buri cu mangumpisal ca at mag-comunion. Sinabi cu cang atching Elsie queng long distance quing panintun nacang pari a buri mung pipagcumpisalan. Masanting ing macasadia ca; talagang macanian at cailangan itamu ngan macasadia tamu nung nanu man ing maliari.

Panusignan mucu sana; iyan mu ing aduan cu queca. Enapa canu sinabing Atching Elsie queca pota eca bisa; ania acu na ing sasabi quening sulat cu. Cabud manaquit lang pari a capad mu, ilabas muna iyan at nung maliari, magcomunion ca aldo-aldo anggang datang ing aldo mung operacion. Siguradung atin lang capilia queng hospital; o caya atdanan dacang communion queng cuarto mu. 

Masalese cami queni. Cabud asigurado yu ing aldo ning quecang operation, canita nacami datang maca auto.

Yanamu, mapgpasican ca bang canita milabas na ing operacion mu.

 Matt

(POSTSCRIPT: Mateo "Tatang Matt" Castro y Razon passed away on 13 May 1997)