I pine for the Penafrancia Festival living from so far away. September evokes stirrings and sounds of the festivities that make the bustling Naga City come to life to the highest degree.
The most cherished memory I have of it happened years and years ago. I came home to my family in time for the celebration. My joy was boundless seeing all the familiar faces of loved ones. None could compare to the joy I felt looking at my parents’ familiar, gentle albeit aged faces, after so many years. Our first emotional embrace was just short of magical. I did not want to let go. I closed my eyes and soaked up everything that I missed about Ma and Pa. That embrace wiped away our decade long absence from one another’s life. They were beyond happy. As was I for making them gloriously so.
We kicked up the celebration to high gear that year. Ma made sure that my favorite dishes were on the table. My father and I prepared our favorite “ginatan na tangoy.” And I could hear Ma cautioning me not to stay too close to the heat. “You are bound to get your migraine again.” It is true, mothers never
forget no matter how old you are. They remember every little nuances in your life. How could I forget the familial chats and banters I had with all my siblings as my parents gathered around the kitchen getting ready for the big day? It felt like the old times. My parents had the biggest hearts. Our humble
home had always been open to anybody, festivities or not, for as long as I can remember.
That day, they entertained relatives and friends with abandoned joy. Why? A long-absent child was home! Little did I know that was to be the last time I would see my mother alive. It is an indescribable pain, losing your parents. Both Ma and Pa are now gone. But I would always cherish that last fiesta I
had with them. I keep a picture of us that day in my wallet that goes with me wherever I go. Most of all, in my heart, forever.
Happy Fiesta to everyone!