It’s been almost 9 hours since my grandfather died and so far, the wake has been solemn yet without the grief and sorrow. Our family has long accepted that one day he shall be leaving us so he could go home at last. He’s home now at 86 years old.

He has a brother who has already passed away. He often would speak about him when he was still alive. When my grandfather was still strong, he used to pedal his bicycle almost 5-10 kilometers just to visit his nieces and nephews almost every day. He would knock on their doors, have some small talks, and ask for a cup of coffee and a free meal if any and he would pedal his way back home.

Ingkong Dado

My Ingkong Dado

As I grew up, I did not fully notice all these. I was having favoritism because I was closer to my paternal grandfather but I see my maternal grandfather almost in a daily basis. He almost thought then that we are ashamed of him because he is old now and he often would be tagged as the only old man who rides his bicycle daily pedaling around town. Almost everyone knows him. Three things that would best describe him would always be coffee, bicycle and art.

My grandfather is a known artist in our town. His father was long sent by President Manuel L. Quezon to America to pursue studies in arts. He was one of the recognized artists of the land during those days. My great grandfather sculpted the original “Our Lady of the Assumption” or “Immaculate Conception” kept in the museum of the University of the Assumption. The replica of his work can be seen at the Cathedral of San Fernando, Pampanga.

My grandfather on the other hand, painted some of the images in the same cathedral where his father’s work are seen. He painted in the ceiling of the church the images of 4 evangelists – St. Luke, St. Matthew, St. John and St. Mark. He did other paintings as well in other places though I have yet to list all the churches and places where his works now resides. 

Aside from painting, he can virtually and literally cut any images using a pair of scissors and paper. He can cut a very detailed rendition of The Lone Ranger in a horse with the gun’s holster and a neckerchief so visible that you need to even sketch one before you can cut the same. He can make Tarzan and his cheetah in a cut out so vivid that you can even see their facial expressions. Fascinating! Unfortunately, we never got that talent except for painting!

I can write so many tales about my grandfather but then again, I am not doing this just because he is now dead and I have to say good things as part of the usual Filipino trait of praising the person when he is dead. I have always been proud of my Ingkong Dado and I have always been thankful for getting a lot of his traits including his physique and looks. I have my raised and sharp eyebrows to show that I am a Gonzales.

I am happy. I am happy for having him as my grandfather and I am happy that he is now home with his brother and with his other siblings who died during the Japanese War. I am happy that he is now reunited with his father and mother. I have heard him many times uttering their names. He almost had mistaken me as his brother. I know that he misses them so much. Now I know that he is with them in heaven with God.

Thank you Ingkong Dado!   You will miss the hot coffee that I grew up preparing for you and the cigarette that I always secretly pass to you because you wanted to smoke but you are not allowed anymore because of your age. You will always be remembered because a big portion of our selves and who we are now is your legacy. Thank you very much.