Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What do 96-year old nuns do in their spare time?

Why, they make bread shaped like pigs, of course.

In my short trip to Manila last weekend, Sister Rufina, lovingly known to the family as Lola Madre stopped by the house to give me these. She claimed to have made these. No, actually she claimed to have raised these in the convent. At least her sense of humor lasted longer than her sense of hearing, that's gotta count for something. Also she still has her original set of teeth (not complete, though). And something else that counts is the fact that she is 96 years of age and still traveling to and from the convent, which sits in N. Domingo, in San Juan. I had not realized that she is that old. She's one of those persons who's always been there.

She's the third, I think, of five siblings. The eldest, Lola Piring (aka Lola Champion, because of all the Champion cigarettes she puffed) would have been a hundred this year, had she not succumbed to lung cancer (natch) in 1992. The second, Lola Lucing (aka Lola Banana, from all the bananas she brought from General Santos) was the first to go in 1990. Lola Canding went in 2004. Grampa (Lolo Dioning), the youngest, is still there of course, though all alone in Bulacan, at one point an American citizen overstaying in the Philippines (he might have gotten dual citizenship already, but I'm not sure).

So every now and then, Lola Madre shows up at the house hollering for her apo. I meet her downstairs and she gives me something to give to my "girlfriend" (a concept that stuck after all these years), also reminding me to take it back if "we" broke up. I don't bother to correct her anymore, after years of trying. Otherwise, we might just go back to pre-girlfriend stage of me on the way to becoming a priest. Anyway, she gave different things every time, whether a rosary, a handkerchief, or a hand-me-down gift. This time it's them bread things that she might have gotten from somewhere. She could've made it herself, who knows.

But, wow, 96 years old, and still going. Wala kayo sa lola ko!

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