Friday, November 2, 2012

Lolo Bats

Lolo Bats' grave, Nov 2012
I barely knew my paternal grandfather, Lolo Batangas. My only recollection of him was when he dropped by our house with a wound on his knee; he had taken a fall from his bike back in Padre Garcia, Batangas shortly before he visited us. I was, I think, almost five years old at the time.

I was drawing on the back of some piece of  cardboard using a permanent marker. It was supposed to be a sketch of a girl skating on an ice rink. When I showed it to him, he said:

Ano yan, kuwago? (What's that, an owl?)



Of course, I didn't know what a kuwago was until my parents explained that it's a bird with huge eyes (the girl I was drawing had big googly eyes :P).

Despite not really knowing him, I feel like I know of him enough based on my family's stories about him and even from people he had helped long time ago. From what I gather, he was a quiet man who always smiled. He worked really hard to keep his brood of six children in the best schools. My grandma, Lola Bats, fondly retells of their days as ice cream makers and bakers; their experiences when they stayed in the USA for a while; how pets (a dog and a horse) were very fond of Lolo Bats. My father always talks about my grandfather's high regard for education: he believed (and preached) that highly educated people live more convenient lives than people who didn't graduate from college. My aunts talk of how close they were to Lolo Bats; it gave me the impression that each daughter felt that she's my Lolo's favorite. My cousins relate of their days learning how to drive a tractor directly from him (they were preparing the land for sugarcane cultivation). People my grandpa had helped talked about his generosity in helping them with their businesses or their farms...

In short, I may not have known the man, but I know the legend. It would have been cool to know him, I think.