Feature: Cebu Revisited
At the invitation of my extended family from Chicago, I went on a sentimental journey to Cebu recently for the Grand Rabor Reunion. Their most kind andgenerous mother whom I fondly call "Mama Rabor" took care of me when I was ill in the Windy City that’s why, there is always a special mass for her on her birthday on March 24 at the Carmelite Monastery in Bacolod City and I always prayed and offered flowers at the Chicago Memorial Park for her each time I would be in town. Hence, there is a strong bond between the Rabor Children and me.
Formal Affair at the Casino Español with L-R: Brothers Sam & Willie, Sister Oping Rabor McNichols and Niece Florence R. Montalvo
Day 1: While my siblings were sight seeing the World famous Chocolate Hills and island hopping in Bohol, I went on a pilgrimage to Mama Mary of Simala. The holy place reminded me of Lourdes in France and there I lighted candles, prayed and had a mass said for my personal intentions.
Left to Right: Ariel Araw- araw, Jessica, Jackie, Florence R. * Jose Montalvo, Sr., Manolit Rabor, Albert Rile, Jose Montalvo, Jr., Sam Rabor and Oping R. McNichols at the Beach Party in Kauayan Resort at Mactan, Cebu.
Day 2: Fr. Jerome Cayetano, SVD, my room mate during the pilgrimage to the Holy Land in February 2012, gave me a guided tour of downtown University of San Carlos/USC. While I went through the portals of my Alma Mater, I recalled my college days when I was active in school politics and got elected President of the Carolinian Chemistry Club and was appointed Editor of the USC Retort, a newsletter of the Chemistry People and Associate Editor of The Carolinian, a quarterly publication of students in the University of San Carlos. It’s here where I had my formal training in journalism under the competent tutelage of my former English and Religion Professor, the late Fr. John Vogelgesang, SVD. At that time, I got paid 60 PHP per issue which was really big for me.
There were tremendous changes on campus. The chemistry labs were con-verted into air-conditioned rooms for the Carolinian Hotel where HRM students get their training in hotel management; there was a Wrockladge Study Park in memory of our basketball coach, Fr. Wrockladge and a Kolk Nook for Fr. Raymond Kolk who was my close friend and who became instrumental in getting me teach college chemisty while at the same time I pursued Master’s Degree in Chemistry in this institution of higher learning.
At night, I finally met my siblings at the formal dinner at the Casino Español. I was so happy to see my lovely sisters Oping and Nimfa who are worthy of my love and trust and my brothers Sam, Bob, Manolit and Willie. They introduced me to their relatives as their brother and was I honoured! Day 3: A big bus carrying my siblings and relatives picked me up late that morning at the hotel where I was billeted. We were all dressed up for the Beach Party at the Kauayan Beach Resort in Mactan and we enjoyed recalling the good old days in my Kind of Town. There were 2 lechons, fruits and veggies, seafood, drinks, etc., I felt like I was in the "Land flowing with milk and honey"! They dropped me off shortly before midnight tired but happy.
Next day, I took my flight back to Bacolod with all those beautiful memories in Cebu. I ran across the organizer of the reunion on my mother’s side and she proudly told me that "sadya sadya gid!" was their reunion. A cousin however informed me that they did not even get to know the other relatives while another said they ran out of food! Dindo Cuadra Ramos and his family arrived late and did not even get to taste the 2 lechons that he donated for the occasion. That’s probably why "sadya sadya gid!" On the other hand, my reunion with my Rabor siblings was a lot of FUN and I really had a wonderful time with all of them that I am looking forward to the next one either in Chicago or the Queen City of the South.*