My recollection of life with Lola (Grandma) Goria starts in the early 30’s and 40’s when she stayed at our home on Dakota St. in Ermita, along with my parents Juanito and Aning, brothers Titong and Logy, and sisters Annie and Edith.

Gregoria de Jesus and Her Children ca. 1900
Family Portrait ca. 1900
L to R: Daughter Julia, only son Juan, and Gregoria de Jesus holding her infant daughter Francisca on her lap.
Photo courtesy of Roberto Tañada

Before that, Lola had been with us ever since I can remember at Martin Ocampo St. in Quiapo. The street was where Times Theater is now located, and has since given way to Quezon Boulevard.

My life with her, I believe, centered on strict adherence to the code of fairness, respect for elders, and everything that really had to do with the old and tested mode of compliance to established norms, conduct – such as, “do not spare the rod”, and the like.

I remember those unforgettable hours that we always relished when we had to sit with her as she read us stories from ’Liwayway’ magazine’s The Lola Basyang world of fantasy sequels. Many times she would recall to us her life during the revolutionary wars and how, once, she escaped the Guardia Civil, fleeing by banca along a river, putting her shawl and pretending she was fishing.

She said that if we were to dig under the garden of their house in Caloocan we would find many Remington and Mauser rifles. Once she tried to fire a Remington and almost dislocated her shoulder. This rifle had .40 caliber bore and was the improved version of the old cap and ball rifle of the U.S. civil war era. It is considered an elephant gun because of its caliber.

She had an ordinary camping knife that had a button that could actuate a small bore .22 to open ready for loading and firing. This she deemed handy during those precarious days in her life.

Bahay Nakpil-Bautista prior to World War II: Behind the house was a freely flowing stream which was clean enough to swim in and contained healthy fish that Lola Goria turned into excellent meals. Photo courtesy of Roberto Tañada.
Bahay Nakpil-Bautista prior to World War II
Behind the house was a freely flowing stream which was clean enough to swim in and contained healthy fish that Lola Goria turned into excellent meals. Photo courtesy of Roberto Tañada.

The women of old were trained and prepared to perform house chores with ladylike finesse. Aside from what would be considered unwomanly chores like riding a horse, and shooting, which Lola was quite adept in doing, she also had a special talent for preparing the old Spanish Filipino food.

I remember once, as part of her contribution to the memorable event  of my uncle’s homecoming from imprisonment in Capas as a prisoner of war, that she prepared adobo, its delectable taste to this day I have yet to savour again.

There was never any spare time that she did not make use of. She had a way of carving things like wooden jars, boxes, and play daggers.  It was later that I knew of her writing ability.

I can safely say that most old folks including lola had a habit of chewing ‘Ikmo’, ‘apog’ combined with betel nut that turned their lips permanently red. In her mode of dressing she was quite fastidious as shown by her collection of beautiful tapis, panuelos, saya, and slippers to match. I remember how she meticulously prepared herself for the event when she unveiled the famous ‘oblation’ statue in U.P. Padre Faura.

7 Responses

  1. This was a wonderful read! Tito Kokoy, please post some more articles because it is only through your generation’s cuentos and memories can our generation truly get a glimpse of what Lola Goria was like.

  2. dear lisa nakpil,

    am a sociologist and feminist. right now i have a blog on your grandmother in wordpress entitled ” Love,Learning and Suffrage in the Time of La Electrisista”. My request is to find out what electrical items, from lamps to refrigerators were in your Lola Goria’s home in Quiapo or even in Caloocan. Since my chapter on women and electricity takes off from my belief that electricity to the young Goria was important in recruiting for the Katipunan and later as a young mother, I will appreciate your replies or comments on my blog.

    marianita villariba

    ps. our book comes out on August 2nd so this is an urgent request. maraming salamat po.

  3. Gregoria De Jesus was my maternal grandmother’s aunt (my grandmother’s name was also Gregoria–after Lola Oriang her ninang) All I know is lola Oriang took my grandmother in and sent her to school. She lived in bahay nakpil-bautista also. I wanted to know more about lola Oriang aside from my mom’s story. My grandmother look so alike Lola Oriang.

    1. Hi Nikka,

      Thank you for the information. We will be posting more personal accounts from Lola Oriang’s descendants at this blog so stay tuned and post your comments where applicable.

      Jose Nakpil

  4. Hi Nika,

    Are you the pamankin of Tito Bong from Caloocan? I recall you guys when we use to go there.

  5. Maraming salamat sa mga larawan at alaalang ito. Pinanganak ako sa Quiapo (taga-Elizondo po kami). Lumaki ako sa Quiapo. Kinalakhan kong maingay, magulo, marumi, masalimuot ang Quiapo. Maraming salamat sa pagpapa-alala na kayganda at kayrangal ng kasaysayan ng Quiapo; na minsan pala noong una ay marikit at kaaya-aya ang sulok na ito ng lungsod kong pinagmulan. Salamat po uli ng marami!

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