Fences have been mended in Guimaras. A family dispute that started last October and prompted our move to a subdivision outside of Iloilo City, has ended. My asawa, twin nieces and myself, along with my new American expat friend Scott B, headed out from Parola Dock in Iloilo this past Friday morning to make the pump boat ride to my asawa’s home on the sweet mango province.
Thanks to generous donations from Scott H, Charles S, Jason B, and Kenny P, we had a supply of vitamins and school supplies to deliver to our niece, JalAmiel and her brother Jorreal. We also had even cash raised to pay for books for the two at a cost of P2,000.
Now P2,000 or 47 USD, for books might not sound like that much money, but I can assure that to many people in the Philippines, it is. With four extra mouths to feed at our home, we didn’t have any extra cash to spare. The donations were a lifesaver.
Walked from the jeepney stop in San Miguel to our former home, “The Compound.” Saw my my mother-in-law out front, told her I was sorry, and gave her a hug. She smiled at me and planted a kiss on my cheek. Shook hands with my brother-in-law, Joery, who was standing nearby. My sister-in-law, Alida, was in the back getting ready to teach her second class of the day.
Our niece, JalAmiel, age four, was in her nipa hut, having finished with her schooling for the day. I looked inside and said “hi” and gave her the school supplies. She did not even smile. The little one always used to carry a big smile on her face. She was always so full of life and quite the little character (see next photo.) Now, however, an air of sadness seemed to surround her.
Scott and I walked into the back of our home where my brother-in-law Joery had built a one-room classroom. Alida announced that the class had visitors. I approached my sister-in-law and apologized for the my part in the misunderstanding back in October.
As I stood before my sister-in-law with tears in my eyes, and my back to the students and Scott, she said it was OK. She soon became misty-eyed, also. Thankfully, the class had not started yet as I brushed aside the tears coming down my face before anyone could see them.
Walked back to the front. Advised my asawa that Scott and I were going to Lisa’s Talabahan and asked her to please text the “TomCat” and LenLen to meet us there. My spouse and our twin nieces would catch up with us later since my wife loves the smoked oysters at Lisa’s. I like the cheap beer and grilled pork on a stick.
I said good-bye to JalAmiel for now (brother Jorreal was in the “big school” now in downtown San Miguel.) I gave her a hundred peso note to buy some snacks with. She waved good-bye but still no smile.
Scott and I walked down the cow poop-laden muddy subdivision road and headed for the eatery. Hopefully, my American expat friend from Florida would meet up with us. I hadn’t seen Tom since we roamed the Manggahan Fesitival back in April with “Fearless Frank from Florida.”
It would prove to be an interesting day where Scott and I would be greeted with some “Hi, Joe’s!” from a group of ladies yelling out of a second story window as we passed by. I can assure you, the boisterous Filipinas were not members of the local Michael the Arch Angel Catholic Church Missionary Society. (More on the day’s events to follow.)