Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Did Nanay Come from Taiwan?

Being the youngest in our clan has its drawbacks. I only managed to meet my maternal grandmother since by the time I was born my other grandparents had gone to heaven. On my father side though we never met our paternal grandmother since she passed away when my Dad was just 7 years old.

Ever since I was a child I always wondered about my other grandparents since I always had an awesome time with my Mama Lola. My elders say that I'm a lot like her, bit eccentric, creative, moody and hated parties. I treasured the time I got to spend with my Mama Lola and still miss her a lot.

A few years ago I chanced upon a museum somewhere in Laguna. The place had this huge painting of a woman who seemed very familiar to me. My maternal grandmother had very few photos, but the woman in the painting looked a lot like her. I asked the museum staff if they knew who she was. They said she was the aunt of the owner. They didn't know her name though and said they had no idea where she was already. I wondered a lot since they had barrels in the compound that had my Dad's middle name printed on it. I showed my Dad a photo of the painting and he said it qas Nanay. I've emailed the museum a couple of times, but they have not responded.

My paternal grandfather and grandmother had eloped since during that time it was unheard of for a Filipino and Chinese to marry. So my grandmother essentially left her family and moved to Lucban. I am not sure if she passed away before or after my Dad's family escaped to the South (coz the Hukbalahap used our family name as an alias).

I'm usually wary when I travel since I have to take special care of my health. Last year was the first time I managed to visit Taiwan and the place just felt very different. It was like... Home. All the food i eat here is very familiar and I don't feel different. And well I definitely blend in like a local (I just unfortunately don't speak Chinese).

And then I remembered Nanay. I showed her photo to a few friends and they said she looked Taiwanese from the olden days. I wrote the museum again but they haven't responded and I don't think they will. I'll probably need to go visit the place again when I have time.

In any case if anyone of you would know anyone from the Sulyap museum. It would be nice to know if that was indeed Nanay in the painting and if there's any family I should meet.

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