Friday, September 11, 2009


I will never forget that frantic call in 1991 from my octogenarian aunt from Gerona, Tarlac, expressing worry that the family's ancestral home there might get buried in mud if government engineers were determined as ordered them to divert the mudflow from Mount Pinatubo toward towns in Northern Tarlac namely Gerona, Moncada, Paniqui and San Miguel in order to save Hacienda Luisita, which is owned by Noynoy Aquino's family.

All these northern towns are inhabited by Ilocanos, who strongly support Danding Cojuangco, Cory Aquino's estranged cousin. Danding, who hails from Paniqui and Moncada, is still loyal to the family of the late Jose Roy, a Nationalista Party stalwart and Marcos leader.

I could only advise my aunt to pray. When she asked why nothing could be done, I told her that the President, of course must come first, ahead of the common people.

But what really hurt her was that she had bucked her Ilocano relatives and voted for President Aquino in 1986. She went on to say that she would pack up her belongings and evacuate to her relatives in Santa or Sinait towns in Ilocos Sur, and leave the ancestral home to the diverted mudflows.

I could only think of my great-grandfather Lolo Tranque (Jorge's father) and the other revolutionaries who met several times in that ancestral abode to plan their fight against the colonizers - and my heart ached.

(Image from

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