This is something very close to my heart, because it reminds me of my granduncle who I miss dearly (believe it or not, we only got really close the last few years of his life). I found some old photos,of our old ancestral home. I was going through my old CD’s and I found a digitalized copy from my old film cam. Pardon the camera shakes but I was only starting out with my first SLR then and I was obsessed with perfecting my available light photography…and I was only limited to film.
Our ancestral home was a place where our family would get together on Sundays and holidays to have lunch and dinner.
On my younger years, we would be alternating trips to Manila Hotel’s Champagne room and the house on Sundays. This was on every single Sunday of the year, I would even bring my non-Gonzalez relatives (my cousins from my mom’s side) to eat there and they would be most welcome.
My great grandmother, used to have a rose garden which was known inside of the house’s garden.
Actually, the house used to have about 3 santol trees, 3 star apple trees, a rambutan tree, a few kamias trees, a mullberry tree and a mango tree.
The back area was equally large with a basketball area, a wonderful dirty kitchen, a covered garage, and a even a place where we used to keep 3 pigs before they would be slaughtered for parties.
The perimeter of the house were all gardens, and a pool.
Then a main back terrace for open-air parties. The inside of the house, wasn’t really that big but it was always filled with people. A sala, a dinner room, a lunch room and kitchen…as you can imagine, most rooms were dedicated for food. Then there was a creepy basement, which was full of plates and old stuff, and kept a constant cool temperature (some drunks actually fell into that basement on some parties since the door was right next to the bathroom door).
The second floor was typically creepy. The large hall had a lot of statues of saints and Christ. There were also individual kneelers (my great grandma was very devout) around the hall. Which leads you to a few creepy bedrooms, mostly made out of narra. It always gave off a distinct woody smell which I can never forget.
I am still actually in awe that this place now only exists in my head and in pictures. A few years back, my granduncle, Bro. Andrew Gonzalez decided to sell the house to some dude who promised he would keep the structure. Well, to be honest, my granduncle was a very smart man, but he couldn’t tell a swindler from a normal person. And so after heartaches from my the other family members and stuff getting trucked all over the place, we waved goodbye to our heritage.
A few weeks after the sale, things were quiet. Then they started tearing down the house. Piece by piece. I guess the guy decided to sell of the parts since the house was old, but very well built, the floors were made of narra, who’s size was huge that you can’t find them around here anymore.
Anyway to make the long story short, the new owners divided the lot and now a bunch of townhouses stand on it. I’m not sure if anyone lives there.
But come to think about it, I have come to realize why everyone made such a big deal out of it. I guess it was my family’s heritage and it was the only one really left that we could call “ours”. My great grandma used to live and entertain there, heck, my lolo used to live there and travelled back and forth to pampanga in a horsedrawn carriage using “highway 54”. It became a Japanese bomb shelter during the war. That’s were most of us celebrated our birthdays, parties and Christmases in…and after all those years, it would be torn down and made into a bunch of townhouses.
Ah well, as my tito Pipo always says…”next time nalang“.