I was confident that my grandfather had already arranged our itinerary and lodging when we went to Iloilo. We only had 2 goals, to meet my lola-sa-tuhod (my grandfather’s aunt) who was turning 94 years old on 11-11-11 and to attend the reunion of the Sicad-Bagaforo Clan on the same date.
A text then came from one of my lola when we were in NAIA 3 bound for Iloilo. It said that I should text my Tito Jomar and my Tita Jolly. Surprisingly, they were on the same flight as we were and another surprise was that our seats were actually just near each other.
It was a good thing that we met them at the airport because we were planning to go straight to Concepcion, Iloilo but they told us that my lola-sa-tuhod was actually hospitalized in Iloilo City. I then realized that my grandfather was not in constant communication of my relatives in Iloilo. Where will we sleep, Where will we eat, and many more questions I asked my grandfather. He just answered with a smile.
Don’t panic! Don’t panic! I’ve been in situations like this like when I was in El Nido, Palawan and Isla Verde, Batangas. I can sleep in bus stations, beaches, sidewalks and I can eat in karinderyas. But I was with my Lolo. Panic! Panic! Panic!
Calm down… Calm down… Stop thinking about the bad things and think of the good things that would help us go through our travel. I then realized that (1) despite me being born in Iligan City, my father’s clan actually originated in Iloilo and (2) with that said we had a lot of relatives in Iloilo. And when you talk about Filipino relatives your talking about the best hospitality. An older and better version of couchsurfing.
I then asked my uncle Jomar in what were their plans and he said that we were first to visit my lola-sa-tuhod in hospital in Iloilo then head to Concepcion the next day. Where will we sleep? He also does not have any idea but he will be text-blasting relatives in Iloilo City to where we could stay but he assured me that there will be a place since we had lots of relatives. Phew!
After arriving at Iloilo airport and having our lunch at the best Lapaz Batchoy I’ve ever tasted (Ted’s) we were headed to the hospital and for the first time I met my Lola-sa-tuhod. One-by-one relatives visited the hospital and one-by-one I met for the first time relatives from Iloilo. Being the named-challenge that I am I warned my Cousins, Tito, Tita, Lolo and Lolas that I will be asking again their names. But it felt great that I was part of something big.
One of my Tito (Leo) then offered their home for us to stay overnight. 🙂
The next day we were headed to Concepcion for the family reunion. I’m happy to see that we were headed for a fishing village in Concepcion.
During the reunion they counted how many were the apos of the Bagaforo Clan and they have counted up to 100+!!! Amazing!
Seafood overload! It was my first time to eat an octopus and clams that were cultured.
Caffeine overload! Every house that we went to offered us coffee. I was trying hard to suppress my caffeine-overloaded spirit.
I was happy to know that they were all God-fearing.