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Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Juxtapose of Lolos

I’d describe Filipino culture as something that is very much driven by emotions, particularly that which concerns family. Issues concerning blood ties are never an easy thing to discuss. Propriety is always considered top priority. The concept of “keeping the family’s name” is always given much hype, where secrecy became a household name. And the notion of devotion and ardour to one’s own kin is often overrated, if not underrated (either to the extreme poles).

For now, I’ll strip off all propriety and secrecy, but would now be temporarily be an objective onlooker, just so for me to analyse things clearly, void of any bias against family and practicality. And I ask you all to give me some of your insights.

Let me first put two of my lolos (grandparents) side by side. Let you see their similarities and the differences in their own fates.

Both are my grandfathers… direct blood relation of my own folks.

Both would have wonderful offsprings… sprung from their own flesh and blood.

The conflict starts when both…

Were placed in a home… for the old of age


Remember that both came from different families, one from my mom, and the other my dad.

Each would have their own reason/s. And each reacted differently according to their own perception of things.

Lolo # 1:

He has three kids. And all of them are either out of the country or don’t have the ability to take care of him.

Visual inspection of him would tell a case of gouty arthritis. He couldn’t walk, unless aided by walker/ stand. His memory is still intact, though moments of dementia may be observed. Relatives are still recognized, but would take much time of recall. Speech is almost incoherent, but when listened to, still contains much sense. A bystander might suspect a history of stroke upon hearing, but I couldn’t really affirm.


“Itay! Kamusta napo ba kayo?” (Pa! how are you doing?) to which he usually
replies, “ok laang, pero minsan ako’y nakakalimutan, asaan ang aking biskwet?” (I’m fine, but sometimes forgotten, where is my biscuit?)


Close to town, is a facility for the old age to which he was taken. An analysis of raison d'être would present practicality. Two of his kids are abroad working. The third is incapable of such a responsibility. The spouse of one working abroad has her hands full with three kids and a job.

The facility poses an inviting solution. To eliminate element of institutional charity, payment is being made along with some/ minimal provision of supplies. Daily activities are set and programs and events are being held to delete monotony and boredom.

Food is served at the right time with attendants in tow. Sheets are changed every now and then. It is a reasonable deal. At least someone is watching over my grandfather.

And as expected some objections from other relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins etc.) were heard, but immediate blood ties would only permit them of an opinion, not an immediate action. You cannot have everyone take your side on decisions. Each would have their own valid reason, but not until an alternative solution is presented, the first decision would stand.

Thus he now still stays in the home for the aged.

Lolo # 2:

He is around the age of 95++. He has 11 living kids. Three are single (two are priests) and the rest would branch out their own family tree.

Previously, he was being taken care of the third single (unmarried) brood. With the aid of another one living in the same compound in Batangas, food and other services are offered. This is what I call, aid within vicinity. Other siblings would either be scattered somewhere in Manila, another in the US.

The third single unmarried brood is getting old himself. Pains of old age are being felt. And life is never enjoyed. The feeling of single-handedly being responsible for his father is strongly being felt, and motivation can hardly be found.

A family meeting of the big eleven took place (with an offspring-representative of the absent is optional). Wherein an option of a “home” was presented. No one was able to suggest an alternate option. No one even raised an objection. A number would assume agreement to the proposed solution.

Money was one of the matter at hand. None could commit an amount to sustain lolo’s stay in the main house, thus a hired help is out of the question.

The eldest took charge. The others sat silently. But as the “silence” deferred proper communication, each differed with expectations.

The eldest being an “action-man,” (and him needing to go back to the US soon) he wasted no time and arranged transfer to one of his chosen “home” in Laguna. His family having once owned an almost same facility in the US, he knows the trade and was able to set plans in action. As with lolo number one, to eliminate the concept of “charity” and instil utmost service, he presented a sum (unknown to most siblings) to be paid monthly and an agreement with the facilitator’s chairperson to give special treatment.

All was set. But with news spreading like wild fire in the forest, a portion of the second (2nd) generation children unexpectedly discussed the issue while in a party celebrating one of the two priest’s birthday. If money was the problem, an alternate solution would come from the 2nd generation with an idea of a bank account to be set up as a family fund. Monthly pledges were given according to capacity.

"Lo, bakit ka nandito?" (Gramps, why are you here?) a cousin
asked, "Eh mamamasyal lang kami ng barkada ko eh, iniwan ako rine." (My peers and I were going somehwere, but they left me here) "Ok lang po ba
kayo?" (Are you ok?) " Ok laang, masaya dine, me palaro, at kung ano ano
pa, kaso kakapirangot lang makain ko, gusto ko pa kumain eh!" (I'm ok, its so
fun here, there are games and a lot of stuffs, but i can only eat a small
amount, I want to eat more)


And like the eldest brood, actions were made by the 2nd Generation kids (SGK). The SGKs then pulled out Lolo form the home. The question of WHERE to place him was raised, which ended up going back to the old main house in batangas. The factor of WHO to take care of him ended with the same single (unmarried) brood. WHAT to do after was presented with a monthly contribution from the SGKs. With the 3 W’s all set, all went seemingly back to normal, or so I thought.

Everything (the placing to the home and the pull out thereafter) happened so fast that no one was able to set proper communications. Each party declared a breach of family code (not the legal one).

I guess the damage was not with the placing of Lolo in the home or the removal of him. I guess in the end, its with the ties being slowly severed (reserved for future post). Like a slowly rotting rope, each strand/ fiber being cut off, waiting for the rope to be wholely cut.

So tell me, placed in the same situations, what would your reactions be?

(sorry ang haba no?)
Note: busy po ng sobra, post lang muna kao ng mga dati kong diary write ups. Hehe.

6 mga umutot:

RONeiluke, RN said...

i'm not a fan of placing grampas and granmas to home for the elderly..hmmm..

Mugen said...

Strong ang family values ko eh. One reason why I'd stay homo without the guilt of ending my family's bloodline is to look after my mom when she grows old.

I cannot place her in the home for the aged. Not even in my wildest imagination.

wanderingcommuter said...

its the saddest and the least thing that i will do... or not even.

na-sad naman tuloy ako.

Toilet Thoughts said...

@Ron: Yup. Like most of us. I guess that what separates us from foreigners who have these sorts of facilities (pioneers at that).

@mugen: "to take care of your mom when she grows old"... question: who will take care of you there after?

@wiwik: sad. but some would do it out of practicality. I guess values change through years. Ako? up to now I can't form a concrete opinion. kasi to do so would contradict one of my families. Ang hirap minsan mag take sides. Lagi kang me masasagasaan.

aliping binabahay said...

akala ko ang mga ulila lang talaga ang mga nasa home for the elderly. ngayon lang ako nakarinig na dinala doon pero na may mga anak pa.

praktikal nga siya kung praktikal. pero medyo mahirap siyang i-justify dahil nagko-conflict siya sa filipino values (i.e. pag-aaruga sa pamilya) natin. sabi nga nila, "kung gusto, may paraan. kung ayaw, may dahilan."

pero yun na nga, nasasabi ko ito dahil outsider ako. pero kung isa ako sa mga stakeholders, malamang sa hindi, mahihirapan din ako magsalita tungkol dito.

Toilet Thoughts said...

@alipin: yup mahirap pag ikaw ung nasa loob. lalo na kung anak or apo ka lang. me mas nakakakatanda pa sayo.

Supposedly, ulila lang nasa home. pero culture nadin na dinala ng kano, basta kung practikal, edi sige. Difference lang is, me bayad ung huli.

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