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If you love Marinduque and want to contribute articles to this site, please do so. My contact information is in my profile. The above photo was taken from the balcony of The Chateau Du Mer Beach House, Boac, Marindque, Philippines. I love sunsets. How about you? Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news in the right side bar of this blog. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing your copyrights. Thank you and Cheers!

Tres Reyes Island view of the Marinduque Mainland

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Other Miracle of Multiplication

By Yong Nieva

Who among us could ever forget summers when we were young? As young kids we all looked forward to to those school breaks with anticipation that would bring us all close to bursting! Thoughts of bonding times with friends ; summer trips with cousins; and,as our aunts and uncles would admonish us , to 'reconnect with our roots'' . We would be sent to Bacolod( on my mom's side} and to Marinduque( my dad's from the Nievas of Boac ) just to know where we came from.

Our summers were always memorable because on both sides, our families were close. Though we had numerous cousins, we were raised thinking we all came from one progeny. We were never made aware of 'degrees of separation'' but in our family once a cousin ,...is a cousin! In fact,It was only when I was older, and probably already in college, when I realized that even children of close family friends, who were not even blood relations but were introduced as cousins! We were all just cousins!

Our families lived the 'extended family' dream long before the word was ever popular. We were raised only as one.

My friends up to this time would tease me on how big my family is. And just so I could respond both with sarcasm( because I sense a hint in them) and with comic glee, i would respond ' 'in my mom's side three hundred, and on my dad's side five hundred!!! ' I would see eyes grow big with surprise but my quirky retort never really made me feel guilty.. never with remorse. I actually became prouder each time I uttered those words, and yes, even until today, to each year I added to these my golden years!

As all of my Marinduque cousins can attest to this, we were always reminded, ' Never forget your roots!'' It was like a mantra of our parents they wanted us all to remember,... with them! Well first, surely their roots was a proud one, but I eventually realized , its was not really the roots they were referring to but it was much more than that. It was abstract and intangible. It was really only about love.

Tombstones and markers long forgotten and with only the references to genealogy by some cousins patient enough to record the family tree( or trees by now! ) , we cousins can now only look back to the memories and , with the fading faces of relatives long been dead and gone, we can only recapture the one thing that is abstract... the one intangible... that one that is Love!

Of course we have had fights, money, envy, greed, politics, or maybe even crimes and murder( not necessarily coming from our side) among us but who any other family that does not have tainted past! Who does not have a 'closet' hidden somewhere? Yet family is family.

And this I remember fondly but I do remember it vividly

I got married and lived in San Francisco beginning of the 80's. I was alone thinking of all the three major changes in my life I just went through ( ceased being a bachelor at 30, moved to a foreign place, got married and about to start a family) . Yes, I was happy because I fell in love and chose to relocate though I always said I never liked being in the states. Yes, love can make you do that and I believe it. But my story is not about falling in love with someone.

I just started working as an insurance agent for Allstate and I was assigned at the Sears Financial Center inside the Sears store in Tanforan Mall in San Bruno, California. It was one night when I met this fellow Pinoy, who upon giving him my card mentioned that he has a friend who is a Nieva.Trained again to say,'ah, he is a cousin!'' , I did not take it to be serious and that he would ever pursue that connection.

I get a call from Cesar Nieva soon after and he sounded a warm and happy person. It did not sound as if he was taking the effort to talk to me. He then arranged that he will stop by and visit me sometime when he goes to Sears. And he did.

When he came and we met, my lola's words 'luksong dugo' came to being. Its true, much as I want to call it mushy, much as I want to call it an old wives tale!

What could have been my first Christmas abroad and I was getting sad, turned out to be the opposite. 'Primo' Cesar invited me to the Nieva reunion which was just around the neighborhood at the house of Tito Menandro and Tita Norma Nieva along Callan Blvd. in South San Francisco.

What a sight as I walked in into their living room. It was just a typical Nieva gathering. Each one snug and comfy seated down next to a close tita or cousin, tight in conversation or 'kuento'. As I got introduced, it was the elder titas who took me in so instantly because they do remember my dad ,' si Will ' as they would fondly recall his name. It was then I realized that what my dad did what was normal to a Nieva. My dad did not only plant roots, he planted memories. Tita Nena ( Nieva-Alminiana) and even the youngest sibling Tito Men said, ' iyang Papa mo, napakakamaganak!' He lived and loved the way he did.He 'planted roots' which,I hope, this generation still could.
Yong and some of his numerous friends all over the World

Ah yes,...the 'other' miracle of multiplication was the forty or-so-plus Nieva cousins I instantly gained that year.

1 comment:

David B Katague said...

Yong, this article reminds me of how Macrine and I reconnected with Ronnie Nieva Ettinger of Chevy Chase, MD and Pepi Nieva of Honolulu, HI, our second cousins. They are the daughters of Tony and Teresa Nieva of Forbes Park, Manila. We met Pepi, two years ago in Hawaii and just recently we had dinner at the Ettingers in their mansion in Chevy Chase, MD. I will ask Macrine to write a short article, how we met them by accident!

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