CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 25 June) — In 1949, after the second world war, my Nanay Ina sailed from Bohol to Mindanao together with other young Bol-anons to find work as household helper or “maid.”

My Nanay was very fortunate to find work with the very kind and generous young couple, Patching and Nena Roda who were just starting to raise a family in Cotabato City. Aside from doing household chores, Nanay also helped take care of the couple’s children as they came one after the other.

The couple and their children treated her as part of the family. They fondly called her “Tinang”. She was even made a godmother of one of the children, Titang Perpetua Roda.

One of the children she took care of was Rene, who eventually grew up to be known as Fr. Rey Roda, OMI, and who later became a Christian martyr when he was killed while doing missionary work in Tawitawi. My mother was heartbroken when she learned about it.

My Nanay went home to Bohol after giving birth to me in 1958. We returned to Cotabato after three years, lived for a while with the Rodas, and finally becoming informal settlers (then called squatters) in one of the poorest sections of Cotabato City, selling tuba for a living. We eventually settled in Cagayan de Oro in 1990.

But the Roda children have not forgotten her. In 2016, Ate Baby (Josie Sanga),  the eldest of the Roda children, Yeyeng (Mary Catherine Factora, my batchmate) and Nonoy (Francis Roda), the youngest, came to visit her in our home in Cagayan de Oro. Before leaving, they promised to come back.

And yesterday they indeed came again. The complete family this time – Ate Baby, Titang (Nanay’s kumpil godchild), Yeyeng with her husband Ronie and daughter Trina, and Nonoy with his wife Tess.

My heart is full of gratitude. You made my Nanay Ina very, very happy…(Kaloy Manlupig, Chairman Emeritus of Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. posted this piece on his FB page on 24 June 2018. Permission to publish granted to MindaNews)