Celebrating Gregoria de Jesus as a Mother
Gregoria de Jesus was born on May 9th 1875 but the commemoration this year was held a day ahead, May 8th, to coincide with Mother’s Day. Hence the theme for the celebration was about Gregoria as a mother.
To bring this about, the room (apartment) located at the ‘entre suelo’ of the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista where Julio and Gregoria lived and raised their six children was turned into an exhibit area. Pictures of Gregoria, Julio, their children and their grandchildren were put in place.
As a special feature, an acrylic portrait painted by the international visual artist, Imelda Cajipe-Endaya, entitled “Walang Lihim” was strategically displayed.
A complete and conserved set of Gregoria’s baro at saya, in beige, with small hand-embroidered flowers in magenta, dominated the opposite end of the same room. And a few parts of baro at saya belonging to her daughters were also put on view.
Julio, her husband, was presented as a musical composer with posters of pages of two of his well-known compositions, Marangal na dalit ng Katagalugan and Recuerdos de Capiz (the former almost became the national anthem; the latter, awarded a Diploma of Honor at the first Exposicion Regional Filipino, 1895).
Two large wreathes and a wide banner announcing the occasion were sent by the Honorable President of the Philippines, Mr. Benigno Aquino Jr., and the Mayor of the City of Manila, Mr. Alfredo Lim.
The program started at the zagwan with a thanksgiving prayer followed by laying floral arrangements at three places– at the plaque that should be marking her actual birth place in Caloocan; at the entre suelo apartment of Julio and Gregoria; at the Dambana ni Gregoria, at the upper room where paintings which honor her as a wife, mother and Katipunera can be viewed. Gregoria’s grandchildren led the prayer and floral offerings.
A short program was held at the entre suelo’s exhibit room. The portrait painting was unveiled, and the artist acknowledged. Mrs. Endaya generously loaned the painting for the occasion. In this painting Gregoria is portrayed looking out the window, framed by white curtains. At the background on her right, superimposed, is a map of the Philippines and on her left, a scripted text of one of her advice to the youth—“Matakot sa kasaysayan pagka’t walang lihim na di nahahayag.”
To further portray Gregoria as a mother, unpublished anecdotes written by her children about ‘life with Nana (as they called her)’ were read by her grandchildren.
A children’s book drive was launched to carry on Gregoria’s tradition of reading “Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang” to the Nakpil children. Guests were requested to bring children’s books and these were collected. The books will be used to continue storytelling sessions to neighborhood children at the Bahay.
Invitations were sent to all who continue to support Bahay Nakpil-Bautista. These supporters were duly acknowledged. It is to be noted that for this occasion, specially invited were ‘de Jesus’ relatives of Gregoria as well as Andres Bonifacio’s descendants. The de Jesus descendants came and there was lively interchange on tracing family roots.
Light refreshments were served while guests and families mingled through the afternoon and shared more stories that are not too known about Gregoria as a mother.
***Related topics: anniversary, celebrations, Gregoria de Jesus, katipunan, old manila, Quiapo