A 02 November 2009 entry from my daily journal:
“***02 November: All Souls’ day. During Lola Charing’s lifetime [ up to 02 November 1976 ], and up to 1984, All Souls’ day meant a 7:30 a.m. holy mass at the Gonzalez mausoleum at the Apalit Catholic Cemetery and afterwards a nice traditional Capampangan / Filipino breakfast prepared by Lola Ising [ Elisa Arnedo – Sazon, Lola Charing’s youngest sister ] at the [ former Buencamino – Arnedo ] Arnedo – Espiritu / “Lolo Ariong’s” Governor Macario Arnedo’s / the Saint Peter’s Mission House in Barrio Capalangan. No questions, no ifs or buts. Well, THAT was another life…”
“On hindsight after all these years [ 01 November 2009 ], after the clandestine sale of the remaining Arnedo – Espiritu antiques at the [ former Buencamino – Arnedo ] Arnedo – Espiritu / “Lolo Ariong’s” Governor Macario Arnedo’s / Saint Peter’s mission house, several major pieces of which were actually Lola Charing’s inheritance which she hesitated to take from her parents’ house, in April 1984 by Tita Erlinda “Linda” Arnedo Sazon – Badenhop to the emergent Malabon collector Antonio “Tony” Gutierrez [ which inevitably resulted in rehashed, deep – seated resentments among the three Arnedo – Espiritu branches — between the Gonzalez, the Ballesteros, and the Sazon ], the Gonzalez somehow seemed less inclined to gather for the traditional breakfast in that house after the All Souls’ day holy mass at the Gonzalez mausoleum. From 1984 onwards, Brother Andrew started adjusting the traditional All Souls’ day holy mass and breakfast to suit his constant traveling schedule [ before or after 02 November depending on his whims ] and somehow it just unraveled year after year until it was NO MORE, no longer a family tradition. Farewell to another part of the family’s soul.”
When I was young, 02 November meant leaving the house at 6:00 a.m. sharp with the whole family for the hour-long trip to Apalit, Pampanga. Lola Charing and Tito Hector left her house, ditto Tito Melo and Tita Leonie and their family. And Brother Andrew from De La Salle University, sometimes with Fr. Cornelius Hulsbosch or Fr. Luke Moortgart, if the parish priest of Apalit was unavailable.
By 7:15 a.m., we had all arrived in our various cars at the Apalit Catholic Cemetery. Lola Charing’s majordomo, Bito, had already been preparing the Gonzalez mausoleum for two days, decorating it with candles in ornate candelabra, flowers, live white Japanese chrysanthemum plants in their pots [ high style!!! ], and roses from Lola Charing’s garden, in elegant, old porcelain and silver vases. Benches and kneelers had been borrowed from the Apalit church. The priest would usually ask how many in the group would be receiving holy communion. And by 7:30 a.m., the holy mass would begin.
The All Souls’ day holy mass did not take long. It was over in half an hour, and then the priest would bless all the gravestones, with Brother Andrew directing him. The family would exchange pleasantries, however briefly, with all the friends and the loyal old retainers who had come for the mass. That done, we boarded our respective cars for the 15 minute trip to Barrio / Barangay Capalangan, to the old Arnedo-Espiritu residence where Lola Ising [ Lola Charing’s youngest sister ] and her family stayed, for the traditional Capampangan breakfast which all of us eagerly anticipated.
Our awaited Capampangan breakfast was served on ancient stoneware platters with a violet Greek key pattern which had been with the Arnedos for ages. There was native chocolate, neither “eh” nor “ah,” made from homemade “tableas” and carabao’s milk, and whipped to a froth with a wooden “batirol” in an ancient brass “chocolatera”; there was good freshly-brewed “barako” coffee; Chinese jasmine tea; warm carabao’s milk for the children. There were exquisitely fresh Capalangan teeny-tiny white “puto” and glutinous “cuchinta” which we kiddies could consume by the handfuls; Native “suman” and “kakanin” of all kinds; “San Nicolas” and several kinds of traditional bread from the Padilla bakery in Sulipan; “champorado” chocolate porridge for the kiddies. There was the ubiquitous “pistou,” really a “scattered omelet” [ the eggs were mixed in with the contents ] with ground pork [ or was it ground beef? ], Spanish chorizos [ erroneously termed “de Bilbao”; actually “Cudahy” made in New Jersey, USA ], diced potatoes, green peas, garbanzos, julienned red and green peppers, etc.. Fresh “daing” dried fish. “adobo del diablo,” twice-fried chicken and pork “adobo” stew with all the innards swimming in oil. “pindang baka” dry beef tapa; “kare-kare” oxtail stew. “pindang damulag” preserved carabao beef, almost sour. “longganisa ni Oray” vinegary and garlicky Calumpit “longganizas” which were Gonzalez family favorites from prewar; “Hoc Shiu” Chinese ham, cooked “en dulce” style; pork longganiza; “burung babi” [ pork tocino ]; crisp “lechon kawali”; and “menudo” long-simmered pork leg stew. Served on saucers was genuine “sasa” vinegar from Hagonoy. Traditional “pan de sal,” still big then, crusty on the outside and soft in the inside. And of course, steaming “sinangag” rice [ steamed rice fried with garlic cloves ]. For dessert, there were native fruits of the season freshly picked from the garden, “tibuc-tibuc” [ similar to “maja blanca” ] of carabao’s milk, “leche flan” of carabao’s milk, and the ubiquitous “fruit salad” made with Nestle cream and homemade mayonnaise. Native homemade candies. THAT was the Gonzalez and the Arnedo idea of a big family breakfast, but really more Arnedo. It was only during that Apalit breakfast, once a year, that Brother Andrew dispensed with his elegant and expensive European predilections and went totally native, totally Capampangan. 😛 😛 😛