On September 18th, Mama will be starting a new business. She will be selling bigas at a small store she had built at my grandparent’s place.
Mama was a Bulacan grade school teacher, while Papa was an electrician. They both quit their jobs in 1977 to start a business together. They made embroidered products – tablecloths, pillow cases, maria clara gowns, among others.
They purchased the machines, and got the raw materials from Quiapo and Divisoria. They would make the designs and hire people from our barangay to complete the product. Some of these people would work from our small tahian, while others from their own homes. Papa and Mama would then deliver these to stores in Divisoria and Central Market, in Manila.
As with any business, there were good times as there were bad times. Fortunately, this business thrived and allowed us to live relatively comfortable lives (not luxurious but enough) and it was able see us through grade school, high school, and university. We also had the added benefit of having our parents always at home as they only needed to go to Manila two afternoons every week to deliver products and/or buy raw materials.
In 2008, Papa was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and Mama decided to quit their business to focus on taking care of him. It must have been the toughest time for our family but I support her in this decision. Papa needed her and she gave him her 100 percent… maybe more.
After his long battle with Alzheimer’s, Papa said goodbye in June 2011 and for the first time in almost 40 years, Mama doesn’t have her partner. We, her kids, and our relatives will always be there to support her but I can only imagine how difficult it must be to no longer have your lifelong partner by your side.
It’s tough but life goes on. After almost three years of giving Papa her all, she decided to start a new business. Nothing grand as she no longer needs to worry about sending us to school. As a tribute to Papa, she named it “Bigasan ni Rod”.
Rod is my Papa.