Pagdiriwang – A Celebration
On the morning of May 9, 2009, a small group of direct descendants of Gregoria de Jesus, representatives from community groups, volunteers, and friends, gathered to celebrate Gregoria’s 134th birthday with a simple and short remembrance program.
It was held at the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista in Quiapo where she lived with her husband, Julio Nakpil, and their family as well as with her husband’s brothers and sister’s families.
A marker from her birthplace in Caloocan now rests at the ‘zagwan’ of the Bahay. On this day a red streamer adorned the marker and a red-motif floral arrangement was laid beside it. In contrast a white bouquet was also placed upstairs in the Shrine of Heroes room which houses the 10 advice bequeathed by Gregoria to the Filipino youth.
The wreath laying was followed by a short homily of thanksgiving for the valor, steadfastness to truth and honor, and service to country exemplified by Gregoria de Jesus.
To portray that she was as well a mother, short prose written by her daughters were read —
One said that their ‘nana’ sewed their dresses herself; she did the laundry, starching their ‘camisas’; and also mentioned the style she wore – “…sinamay blouses. The sleeves were wide and long, the real butterfly sleeves; and she wore panuelos which encased the beautiful lines of the women’s neck and head. She wore gored skirts called ‘cinco (5) or ‘siete’ (7) ‘cuchillos’ and ‘serpentinas’.”
A daughter wrote that their mother had a pet ‘loro’, a parrot, that chattered gaily, even reporting her to their Tio Ariston of excessive coffee drinking, “Goria café!Cafe!Awrk!Awrk!.
Her children remembered her as an exceptional cook – she did not have to keep tasting. By the smell of the dish being cooked, she would know if the dish was rightly seasoned.
On Fridays, she bought ‘Liwayway’, a weekly magazine. It has a series, “Ang Kuwento ni Lola Basiang’, which she read to them and their cousins from her favorite nook, the ‘azotea’.
She loved her birthplace, Caloocan, and visited her family often, being so close to her favorite cousin, Tomasa. She enjoyed her little haven there that even when she was waning in health, nobody could stop her from going there by ‘tranvia’ when the family car was not available.
The remembrance day ended with servings of brewed coffee and pan de sal.
Her Excellency, the President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo sent a tall bouquet of white flowers.