Monday, May 15, 2017

Remembering The Philippines & the Gonzaga Family

Spent all day yesterday scanning a photo album I created so many years ago I can't even count any more. And yet as I look at the photos, the memories come flooding back. Click on the photo to enlarge the view.

Dr. Eduardo Gonzaga and his wife Anita were both graduates of American universities.  Dr. Ed was an an eye surgeon and the President of the Board of Central Philippine University at the time. Auntie, as we called her, was a musician and soloist as well as mother of six.  They were a wonderful couple and made sure we Biedlers had many wonderful and unique (for us) experiences in our 18 months on Panay. Their oldest son Otoniel was born in 1942 so he was just two years older than I.  He was singing even then, just like his mother did. It was wonderful to sing around the piano with those two at the Gonzaga home for I, too, loved to sing and did some solo work at age 15 at special vents while in the Philippines. But I had no idea at that time that Otoniel would go on to become an opera star!   and

One of the most memorable was spending a week on a fish farm on the island of Negros, sleeping in nipa huts, riding carabao and getting up in the middle of the night to help net fish in the fish ponds!  We also hiked back into the mountains to where their extended family had hidden during the Japanese occupation during WWII.

I had always had an affinity for history and geography from about age 10 on. Now as our family traveled the world to and from The Philippines, history came alive before my eyes. WWII came to life as I heard stories from those who had personally lived thru the Japanese occupation of The Philippines. As we family camped across Europe on our way home the summer of 1960, we even saw remnants of some of the devastating bombing that the Allies had imposed upon Germany.

We also saw wonderful museums, ruins of ancient historic cities, and visited people in their homes.

You can read more my clicking thru to my other blog here.

In the 3rd photo of this first scanned page from my album, I am at the far right. On my right stands Otoniel Gonzaga, the oldest son of Uncle Ed and Auntie, who went on to become an opera star.

Otoniel Gonzaga, the eldest son, stands next to me in the photo above.  Otoniel went on to become an opera singer in Europe. Music ran in the family for both his mother as well as his older sister had beautiful voices. Here are a few links if you would like to hear him sing. 

Here are recordings with no videos:

Being exposed to so many different cultures during my teens also introduced me to a great diversity of design and crafts, especially in The Philippines. I still have several yards of handwoven jusi from the Island of Panay as well as the barong that my youngest brother wore. Below Daday, the daughter in the family my age, is dressed in the lovely silk-looking fabric that I remember so well and still have several yards of.

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