i don’t know if you have paid attention to my short bio in this blog, but i described myself as “a self-proclaimed royal lady knight”. forgive me for this little hallucination, but really i felt i was conferred with this title of honour (yes, look at the british spelling!) when i became a GINES on december 30, 1997.
pronouncing the letter G as /h/, many have mispronounced my married name. some would read it like in the GUINNES book of world record. a former co-teacher would call me as miss gines /jines/, giving a long sound to the letter i. that’s why one of my spiels during the first day of classes is to play on my family name’s sound. with temerity, i would introduce myself as the ROYAL HIGHNESS (gines). in a way, my students would have no problem of recalling my name because of this unlike my maiden name MEDIAVILLO, which is more complicated to pronounce and even to spell.
anyway, i am happy to have this five-letter family name. i felt, i became a “royalty”. thus, when i got to meet with the clan last november 30 for this year’s reunion, i expected to rub elbows with a lot of my purple-blooded kindred.
no curtsies were exchanged though on that day when i arrived with my two kings, arthur and alexander. lancelot opted to stay behind upon learning that his tita nano would house sit for us. this son of mine does not enjoy socializing much. so, king harry…i mean larry, my husband, told me not to force our youngest “king/knight” to join us when he gave us an early morning overseas call. it was a better decision since we had to commute and transfer four times just to arrive at the venue when the hired driver, jerry, informed me the night before that he was not given a day off by his employer.
reunion time with the gines clan is always an opportunity for me to bond with my in-laws. being clannish, i had to make sure that i could recall most of their names as i approached and paid my respect. i don’t want forgetting anyone lest i would be blacklisted and would be considered a persona non grata in their bailiwick. thus, for the last three years, whether i like it or not, duty demands that i should attend this family tradition (which was revived last 2010) even in the absence of my husband. and as his representative, i was expected to be hands-on especially on the day itself.
that’s why i was very thankful when my husband was here last year. it was a shared responsibility for the both of us. he, for the mingling and sharing of stories, while i for the emceeing. with my parents-in-law around after a two-year stay in canada, onofre “pepe” gines’ family became bigger.
from being complete last year, we became lesser by two (minus larry and my brother-in-law’s wife who’s also outside of the country). held at the eldest sister’s compound (the first one was held at la felicidada resort, agus-us, cavite and last year was at kuya julio’s kubo) i could see that the total number of attendees was really reduced. despite this observation though, everybody made sure that the same enjoyment and intense rapport would be felt by everyone via the games, program and most specially the sumptuous food (first time to taste rebusado) that had all of us having take-out.
what made this year’s reunion more colorful and memorable was that it coincided with banaba cerca’s fiesta celebration. for the first time in my husband’s birthplace, i was able to witness a karakol (the first time i heard of this was during the sto. nino fiesta in san beda college alabang last january 2012 where i also participated in). karakol is a philippine trradition in fiesta celebration where instead of just walking normally in a procession, they would dance to the different pinoy folksongs. the image of the town’s patron saint is likewise swayed. in the case of the karakol in cavite, saint andrew was placed on a wooden platform with four handles which these four men would vigorously sway continuously making the image also “dance”. in the karakol which i saw in san beda, a medium-sized sto. nino image was carried by one person and was just swayed as the one who was assigned to carry it moved to the music.
the gineses were ready for the karakol. someone brought several firecrackers and “lusis” which were lighted once st. andrew’s image passed by the venue. with the lighting was a silent prayer which most of the old members of the clan had been doing for the past years.
as the hour ticked, the prepared activities were one by one accomplished. of course, never would a reunion take place without proper documentation.
at seven o’clock in the evening, the affair which was originally an overnight affair was officially ended. and before i bid goodbye to all the aunts, uncles, first cousins, and in-laws of my husband, i was reminded by the wife of my husband’s first cousin to be present when a meeting will be called for next year’s reunion. you see, as early as now, they are already thinking of the next clan bonding.
indeed, this is a very clear indication how filipino families would like to be closely-knitted as much as possible.