May 23, 2024

Dacal a salamat ima (Thank you mother). Rest in peace now. You had a very happy and meaningful life that spanned 97 years.
Life was a fruitful journey. Ima is survived by five of seven children: Tetchie, Gay, Nenette, Edith, and Junjun. Ima (mother) in Kapampangan, is how she was called by many, relatives, and friends alike. Pelagia Rojas was the mother of my friends Ligaya “Gay” Gomez and Edith Ramos, both in the restaurant business. Happy Tummy for Gay and Rancho Norte for Edith (sadly it burned early this year).
Ima was like a second mother to me. She painstakingly cooked my handa during my private wedding at home. On that rainy day, she tagged along two of her friends with her to cook my kamayan handa. With our meager budget, Ima cooked a feast for Ed and I and she even paid the cooks she hired. I was not aware of this, until she told me one day many years after. Truly, ima was my second mother. Gay, on the other hand, came all the way from Manila and brought our bilao plates amidst the storm. Gay is godmother to my son Nash and daughter Reggie. Mia, her eldest daughter is the inaanak of my one and only sister Teresa.
Ima was always well groomed and coiffured. She wore her gold jewelry. She used to sell jewelry and watches in her small cubicle near the Rainbow Café in Kayang. She did not need the money as she was abundantly provided for by her children, but it was her pastime.
She would be there morning till night and tita Gay and tita Edith would complain that she escaped from her caregivers so she could go to Kayang. She always had a happy smile for everyone and would talk incessantly as she shared the day’s happenings. Yes, ima was a dear mother. She would narrate how she brought up her children with tatang Dominador who passed away many years ago.
She said she brought up her children and trained them in the hardships of life. She was always snappy and full of life and so I was a bit sad to see some postings of her apo when she got sick. I never imagined her to be sick. But then, you can feel the love that surrounded her. Goodbye ima, watch over your children and grandchildren. Have a happy journey back home to God.
Ima and Jimmy (James) de Jose, my stepbrother, had the same birthday, May 4. They also both had Kapampangan roots. What a coincidence that both passed one after the other early this month.
I have not seen Jimmy for many years, except when he called me at the hospital eight years ago to ask how I was. His daughter Geraldine said, he too was ill and had been in and out of the hospital. Jimmy had been working as manager and executive housekeeper for several hotels like the Philippine Plaza, a big hotel in Beijing, China and just before he retired at the Shangri-la Hotel and Spa in Mactan, Cebu.
He was an alumna of Saint Louis University Boys High and I am sure had many surviving friends like Edgie de Guia (my husband’s tokayo). Happy memories linger on. Childhood memories spent with love, joy, adventure and happiness will always stay on.
Rest in peace ima and Jimmy.