When we (cousins) were younger, we were so blessed to be under the care of our grandparents, particularly (on my dad’s side) Apung Tino & his wife, Apung Ingging. My sister is their 1st apo and since her, the succeeding apos went under the care of the couple. I just find it amazing (and until now) that our lolo and lola never got tired of looking after us, when they have already finished their obligations as parents to their 7 offsprings. 5 of my adolescent years were spent with them in Minalin while my parents work in Manila. Apung Tino will be remembered (by Jon) as the “man with a few words,” ever industrious and thrifty. he is the disciplinarian among our elders. i loved his values and until now, i admire them.Apung Ingging, on the other hand, is the mother figure who selflessly gives everything for her family. She doesn’t really care if nothing’s left for her for as long as her children, and grand children have something for themselves. She cooks good, and her pork sinigang was my first love. She never left us in times of typhoon, the strong earthquake in 1990, the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, and the succeeding years of endless flooding. I’ve witnessed how she took care of my younger cousins when their parents are far away from them. And even I never felt neglected under her care (and Apung Tino’s also.) They played the parents role to some of us (cousins) who, for a time, were separated from our hardworking moms and dads. Apung Ingging cooks a different ulam for me when she serves all the rest of the family tidtad. Coz she knows i don’t eat blood. At my young age, I greatly appreciated that because she showed a lot of respect to my beliefs. She witnessed the stage of my life— from the young Jon to the “bayung-tawu” who I came to be. And even after I left them to go to college, the couple frequently sees me as I grew older, entered my years of adulthood, got married and have a kid. I paid them a visit whenever there’re occasions and it’s amazing that they took under their care a new generation of family members, still, tirelessly. Apung Ingging as she gets older started to lose her voice but her mind remains alert and vibrant. More admirable when our lolo Tino got sick and bed-ridden, Apung Ingging never left his side. She was his strength. She was his loyal better-half, until he breathe his last in 2009. After his passing, I knew Apung Ingging got lonely… and who wouldn’t, anyway?
Last Monday, I got this surprising news while i was driving on my way home from work… that Apung Ingging already decided to rest. She has no known illness, and she isn’t that old either. So I was REALLY surprised. And to borrow the first apo’s FB status when she learned of our grandma’s passing, to quote, “Apung Ingging : so lovingly remembered; so sadly will be missed.” Today, on my 36th birthday, she will be laid to rest. At least, Apung Ingging witnessed 35 years of me. Today, I thank GOD for bringing me to a family who really knows the very essence of the word— FAMILY.