This has been a busy week with visits from relatives from our small town in the Philippines. I tried getting us all together at one time but they had conflicting schedules. It would have been a great reunion with Manong Junior and Pepe had it worked out but it didn’t, so I saw them at different times.
Pepe is the youngest brother of my late high school classmate, Crispin, and Manang Zeny who’s been almost like an older sister to me, also first cousins of my brod-in-law. He came with his wife, Lita, for a three weeks’ vacation, a break from his work as an engineer in Brunei.
Another trivia that connects their family to us is they grew up in the house built and formerly owned by my paternal great-grandparents. It was a beautiful house but like all wooden houses in the Philippines it was destroyed by termites and replaced with concrete.
Lita comes to the US almost every year but this was my first time to meet her. A beautiful Ilocana from another town in our province but grew up in Baguio City which they call home now. It would be something to look forward to, having relatives/neighbors/family friends in proximity when I finally return.
Dinner last night was dim sum in Chinatown at Triple Crown.
Let me digress for a moment here. I love those Chinese small plates. They are delicious and I love the variety although I found their selection during the week limited. I could say now the weekend is still the best time to go, even though at those times the wait could be long. We all loved their Szechuan eggplant, “spicy” was not that at all but the wonton soup was forgettable. I ordered one with hand-pulled noodles but I wasn’t impressed, I could have ordered any noodles and it would not have made any difference and the wonton didn’t have any filling, just small fist sized globs of flour.
Going back to Pepe, I remember him as a handsome young kid, always so neat , self-assured and confident but shy. Straight as an arrow, he’s one you know will be successful later on. Married to a charming supportive and equally hardworking wife, it is no surprise that their children are now all enjoying their careers. Five or six years from now, they could both happily retire as they watch their family grow.
We talked about our growing up years in Santa, common friends, and many more.
Being the youngest brother to my friends, I knew him from a distance only, don’t ever remember exchanging any word with him. After this dinner though, I feel like I have known him for so long and my initial impressions of him ring true – even without saying, here’s one who’s self-assured, humble, well-mannered – still calls me Manang (a term of respect in our dialect addressed to an elder sister or elder woman), respectable and happy in himself person. Not once did I hear the word “I” from him.
Such poise and grace, they are such a breath of fresh air. Like last time with Manong Rudy’s family, it was a dinner I truly enjoyed.
Am so proud of them!
(See the rest of the photos in Album page)