Saturday, February 6, 2016


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--"panusignan yu ne rugu", my Aou was wont to say when Tatang Matt had his tantrums. 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 operacion, canita nacami datang maca auto.

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


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


Francis Musni said...

Meantug cu ala capanandaman caniti

robby tantingco said...

My SLU literature professor looked muy guapo anyang anak ya!

James Laxa said...

Mig-lua ku kabang babasan ke ing sulat. It was speaking to me. I missed my parents a lot. I was born a year after that letter was written. Thank you for sharing this letter.

alex r. castro said...

Makalungkut talaga esp. nung deng pengari mu ilang mamun. Like you, ala nakung pengari, but I am happy with the thought na asesen kula angga keng tauli dang pangisnawa.