Gender has been a popular issue in the past 40 years. Gender encompasses the recognition of the role that women play all over the world. This recognition gains much more significance due to the second class perception that had been accorded to women. This perception, in fact, has placed a diminished acknowledgement that women are responsible for one of the most important events in life – the ability to create another life.

In Nepal, women need more respect. Here a woman carries a heavy load up to her mountain village. This photo was taken during one of my missions to Pokhara, Nepal in 1995.

 

Without women, there cannot be new generations of children and families. When this process occurs, women are called “mothers” because they propagate and nurture life. Every child’s first consciousness upon achieving cognition early in life is the existence of a caring mother. It is a basic instinct that has been imprinted in every woman’s nature. Thus, it is an exception that a few “mothers” are able to put their children to harm or have the compunction of leaving them for another family.

The basilica of Our Lady of Lourdes in France. In the Christian world the Blessed Mother is venerated by millions of devotees and revered as the figure of the Mother of mankind. Taken during one of my visits, 1998.

 

The model that has permeated the Christian world is the symbol of our Blessed Mother whose depiction in religious history shows her caring for her beloved Son Jesus Christ as a baby and when He was brought down from the cross.

High school photo of my Mum.

 

The best person to talk about in this instance is one’s Mum. As everyone is sure, a person acknowledges his or her Mum as one of the most loved person in the family. Her role cannot be underestimated.

The baptismal certificate of my maternal grand dad, written in 1907 in Spanish, shows the Balanga, Bataan roots of my Mum.

 

The first two years of life leave children with very few recollections of his or her Mum or the concept of family. But the memories that linger often involved life long relationships with one’s Mum. One of the fondest that I recall was the frequent trips to relatives in Lucena City, Quezon province. My Mum’s not originally from there but the work of my maternal grand dad brought him to the city in the 1920’s. He was originally from Balanga, Bataan and is a relative of the former first lady, Luz Banzon. My Mum had a happy growing up period when she was a high school student in that city, having survived the great war (1942-1945) with her folks.

An ancient photo showing my Mum, Paz, holding my youngest brother (+) while my elder brother and I stand together with my Dad (+). Taken at the Perez park in Lucena City, 1958.

 

I am always happy to be with my family and as a young boy, I missed my Mum and my Dad when they leave for work. My Mum goes to her job in a hospital as a nurse while my Dad is absent for long periods due to his out of town assignments working in the railroad. She takes most night shifts that time because it pays a little higher than day shifts and before coming home she goes to the market and cooks our daily meal before resting in preparation for the next shift. The additional income helped her to enrol us at Lourdes School in Quezon City.

A graduation photo of my Mum when she finished BS Nursing at the Chinese General Hospital School of Nursing in 1952. She passed the Board same year.

 

When I had kids of my own, the love and caring that my Mum had for me was transferred to them. So long as her abilities and health allow, she spends time with all three of them from the moment they were born up until she was slowed down by arthritis a couple of years back.

Two generations: My Mum and daughter (extreme left) during the latter's performance at the Independence Day celebration, Embassy of the Philippines, Paris, France, 1994. The Honorable Rora Tolentino is in the white terno in the middle with embassy officers.

 

Now she stays with my elder brother also in Quezon City about six kilometres from where I live. She is unable to do much physical movement due to age and bone debilitating diseases. We visit her every now and then, cook food for her or bring some, which she appreciates very much. She is still lucid but finds it difficult to move about.

Two mothers: Lola Paying and my Mum (right) and my children (Ramon and Pacita) during one of our visit to her Valle Verde 2 residence in the early 90's. Lola Paying (+) is the Mum of Rep. Ronaldo Zamora. They are relatives on the side of my Mum.

 

It is just unfortunate that with modern living and the decreasing cost of income, we tend to spend so much time trying to make both ends meet even at near retirement age and only give our families secondary attention. I am not getting any younger either but I hope that circumstances, not only for me but all those with loving families, will improve so that we may be able to give back to our Mums’ the love that they deserve in much more meaningful ways.#

This Peso 5.70 ticket is good on the air conditioned first class coach in 1958. The coach seats two abreast and has a stewardess, too. Life then was a breeze!

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