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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Visiting my Mother's Birthplace - Dumangas, Iloilo

During my last day in Iloilo when my friends have already left for Manila. I decided to make a side trip to Dumangas, a town approximately 30-45 minutes from Iloilo City. It was a special trip for me because I was able to see with my own eyes the place where my mom grew up. Together with my other uncles and aunties along with my grandparents, this was the place they spent their formative and happiest years together.

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Obviously, after 50 years - as my mom was only about 14 or 16 years old (she was born 1944) when they left Dumangas for Manila, a lot has changed since. I took some photographs so I could show my mom what the place looks like nowadays.

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Upon looking at the images I took, she told me that the Dumangas Cathedral is still splendid as ever with a lot of interior improvements but the high ceilings, brick walls were still the same. Gone are the grassy plaza where the Iloilo baseball team used to practice before, today it is the site of a small park with a basketball gymnasium.

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I also took a photograph of the Dumangas school where she attended elementary, the school was very near where they used to live at Salas Street. As expected there is nary a trace of their old house. Today, small houses occupies the street.

With almost nothing identical to the time my mom spent her years there, I still felt a personal joy within myself that somehow I have come and seen the place where once upon a time my mom, uncles, aunties and grandparents lived together.

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My grandfather passed away in 1980, while my grandmother died in 1987. They have 8 children with my mom being the youngest, today only three of them are alive. I missed my other uncles and aunties who passed away through the years. Somehow, my visit in Dumangas was not only a homage to my mom but to them as well.

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I know and have listened to my mother's fond stories of growing up in Dumangas, that it was a place they found happiness as a family and that they have lived one of the happiest times of their life there. A happy outlook that they individually took in raising their own respective families.

My grandfather used to own a fishing pond near Dumangas port and for years the business thrived and supported the whole family until a great flood wiped out most of the fishpens. Shortly afterward, my grandfather chose to relocate his whole family to Manila. Since then, my mom has gone to a lot of places but has not yet returned to Dumangas, I know she has plans of coming back in the future. Until that time, I was glad to show her some photographs of the present day Dumangas.

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My trip to my mother's hometown of Dumangas have shown me a thing or two about her past. Wherein before, I could only listen to it through her stories. Today, even though many things have changed and people have come and go within this sleepy and peaceful town, the feeling of seeing the place with my own eyes brings added satisfaction and meaning.

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This is my Fifth entry to the "Pinoy Travel Blogger's Blog Carnival" with the theme "My Hometown's Alphabet: A Traveler's Guide" posted on Atty. Mhe-Anne Ojeda's "My Comings and Goings" Blog.

12 comments:

happysole said...

It's nice that you made the time to explore and get to know were your mother grew up. Happy travellin'!

Markyramone said...

Yes, I really intend to pass by Dumangas when I made the plans of going to Iloilo. Happy traveling too.

withonespast said...

This is nice. My Ilongo roots are from Dumangas. Visited the place this year. Interesting, my Mom left Dumangas 50 years ago :) she just came back this year, I had to convince her to do so...

Markyramone said...

Hi, kababayan pala ng mom ko mom mo :)

I hope my mom pushes through with her plan to visit Dumangas next year with my aunt. I'll probably go with them too :)

AJ said...

The best thing about going back to our parents' hometown is discovering our family history. These stories should be passed on to succeeding generations so they have a deeper appreciation of their roots and higher admiration of their ancestors.

Markyramone said...

Indeed, it's one thing to see a place for the first time but different also when a place is something that holds a lot of place on your parent's heart and memory.

chinchanlakwatsero said...

I was not aware you are from Iloilo ... Our huge clan (my father side) is from Iloilo too. He was born in Miag ao. Other relatives are from Guimbal , Oton and nearby cities... I miss my lolo and lola. I remember when I was young we go to Miag ao church almost everyday. Its just a few minutes away from my grandparents house. Its been a long time I have not seen them... =(

Pinoy Boy Journals said...

very timely post, Marky! i'm bringing my friends to ilo-ilo and guimaras. sana maka-side trip kami sa dumangas. i'll share this post for sure!!!

Markyramone said...

@Chinchan - my mom was from Dumangas, my father was also from Iloilo but they both left when they were young.

I visited Guimbal during my 2nd visit to Iloilo - love the old church there.

@Jerik - yeah the port of Dumangas is nice daw, you can ride a ferry to Bacolod too from there.

Aleah said...

I've always wanted to visit my grandparents' hometown in Bohol (my parents are still living in my mother's hometown). It would be nice indeed to see where they grew up.

Pinoy Travel Freak said...

It's nice to hear that your mom is an Ilonggo. I'm from the city and grew up hearing about the aswang myth in Dumangas. So far wala naman ako na-encounter doon. hehe

Simurgh said...

Iloilo is such a dear place to me! Dumangas is one of its many humble towns. I miss home!

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