I sometimes believe that the people we meet and the choices that we make had been written in the stars long before we have been born. That there is a very thin line between coincidence and fate. This is what I have come to realize when a friend’s grandfather’s contributions was posted in Facebook. He was a poet, known not only in Pampanga but in the world as well. He also happened to be my mom’s first mentor as he was her first school principal when she was just starting out. My mom was originally from the southern part of the country that one has to literally board a ship and take a bus to get to our province. She moved when she married my Dad and she had very limited knowledge of the dialect, only the basic ones. Such was her challenge, every time she teach. Add to that, she had to ride a boat to get to work, rain or shine. That’s how much she loved teaching and how she was dedicated to it. After a few years,with my dad’s encouragement, my mom was transferred to a different school. In the mainlands, where most of the provincial busses from Manila going to Olongapo and Subic Bay would pass by. It was an accident prone area but she taught there until she retired.
|A world-renowned poet laureate happened to be my mom’s first mentor.
[image credit: Center For Kapampangan Studies Facebook Page]
When I was just starting in high school, I met a girl who always caught everybody’s attention because of her black hair and beautiful eyes. She did not know then that I already knew her name because she and her friends usually pass by our house on their way home. I think she introduced herself because she was seated in front of me. She loves plants and flowers and was good with crafts and arts. She also loves to sing, in fact we like the same kind of music and later found out that her mom was also a teacher. How coincidental. We could not stop ourselves from giggling of the things we have in common. That warm feeling stayed with me on our way home that I told my Dad about my new found friend though it was kind of odd because he was not a bit surprised. He said”your friend’s mom taught in the same school when your mom was just starting and that their boss, the school principal, is her grandfather, Mr Delfin Quiboloy.”
Because I was very young and was so exited about what I’ve learned, I planned to tell my friend the next day. I thought of surprising her. But it seems I was the one who got surprised. She said, “my dad told me we are related. Our grand mothers were cousins. That either our great grandmothers or great grandfathers were siblings. I am part “Mallari” too.
How odd life is.Before I was just drawn to this girl, just wanting to be her friend only for me to learn later that we are related, that we come from one tree. Perhaps, it was too much of a coincidence that her grandfather was my mom’s mentor, observing her teaching, giving feedback and suggestions, making her feel home to a place she had never been and barely being able to speak, more so understand, a dialect very foreign to her. Her grandfather. A Poet,Teacher, Mentor, Friend. And all of these happened when my friend and I both have not been born yet.
How humbling it is to be grateful to someone you never met before. Of the things he have done, not because he will gain a lot from it financially, but because he felt it was his job to do so. Sharing his gift for writing not only to his fellow Kapampangans but to the world as well, and choosing a profession so noble, that he extended his knowledge, not just only of the dialect but his love for teaching to those who needed it, including my mom.
Poetry.Teaching.Friensdhips.Perhaps it all had been written in the stars after all