Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Manong Manoling and Valentin are actually first cousins of mine but I have considered them more as brothers. This week is both their death anniversary having died within a couple of days of each other.


MANONG MANOLING is the eldest boy in the family of my favorite late uncle Venancio, older brother of my late father, Antonio. Having an older brother who was almost the same age as me and who entered the seminary starting high school, I looked up to Manong Manoling as the eldest boy in our family.

The first Filipinos who came to America were seamen who jumped ship from the Galleon while on its way to Acapulco, Mexico. They followed the Louisiana trail ending up in New Orleans where they established the old Manila Village. They also transferred the first Philippine technology to the United States which is the “Shrimping technology” which served the Shrimping industry in the Gulf of Mexico for centuries. The BP oil spill has now threatened the survival of the industry that sustained the lives of the first Filipinos for 8-9 generations.

The first Maynigo in our immediate family also came to America via the sea route. Manong Manoling joined the US Navy during turbulent times in the US, in the Philippines, and in fact, in the world. The battle for supremacy between Capitalist Democracy and Communist Socialism was raging and a substitute war was about to explode in Southeast Asia’s Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. In the Philippines, the communist movement was growing and had organized its own army to battle the government military. The fear of communist domination in the world and the defense of freedom and democracy inspired the recruitment of Filipinos who had proven their courage and bravery during the 2nd World War and the Korean War. Manong Manoling who was completing his college degree in Commerce decided to answer the call and hero he became. Risking his life in the battles on behalf of the American people and for democratic ideals, we were indeed proud to have had one in the family the likes of Manong Manoling In the Philippine context, as an Overseas Filipino Worker, he was a hero. In US terms, as a Navy man, he was definitely a fighting hero.

In my Senior year in high school, I was lucky to have received the American Field Service International Scholarship which brought me to the United States of America., Manong Manoling, who was already married to Manang Teresing, his hometown sweetheart, was residing in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. At the end of the school year all the AFS scholars were brought to the Capital for a brief meeting with then Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy whose brother, JFK, died only a few months earlier. My trip to Washington, D.C. was more significant and most meaningful due to the fact that I would also be meeting the “Trailblazer” in our family- tall and handsome Manong Manoling and his most charming and attractive wife, Manang Teresing.

I have always appreciated the way he gave importance to our family relationship. He set-aside time to show it and exerted efforts to manifest it. The last time I saw him was when my father-in-law, Raul Manglapus died. He joined me and my wife, Tina in grief not only during the wake and funeral but in fact, stayed with me up to the cremation.

Manong Manoling and Manang Teresing raised only one child named Rochelle. She is what I call the best tribute that could ever be given to the former. A medical doctor and a nurse, married to another nurse, Rochelle also raised two children named Raven and Venice. Raven is such a fantastic singer, I am convinced that an American Idol would come from our family someday. I am attaching a video of Raven singing “IKAW” as an additional tribute to Manong Manoling on his death anniversary and on Father’s Day.

“Ang lahat ng aking galaw
Ang sanhi ay ikaw
Kung may bukas mang tinatanaw
Dahil may isang ikaw”


VALENTIN was like a younger brother. He was actually the youngest among 7 children who all finished college: 3 Teachers; 2 Accountants; 1 Priest; and 1 US Navy man, born to Uncle Venancio,(Asiong), a brilliant school District Supervisor and Auntie Rosario (Chayong), a full-time housewife managing the little farms they had. I remember Auntie Chayong being a very religious woman, going to Church everyday.

Being the youngest, he was showered with gifts and assistance from the older siblings that he was almost a “spoiled” kid. Like most of his male cousins excluding me, he was sent to the seminary putting a structure and a direction to his life following a trail established by a nephew and an older brother who were called and chosen. Dark, tall and handsome, added to a seemingly unlimited emotional, financial, and intellectual support from very stable older siblings, the earthly temptations to choose an alternative calling was too strong. Never chosen to be called “Father Val”, he eventually became a great father to great children.

I was the closest day to day older “brother”. As such, I was lucky to have shared the benefits of the bounty provided by his siblings and parents. On the other hand, he became the beneficiary of an older brother who made sure that he was always gainfully employed. When I became Vice President and Comptroller of the largest taxicab company in the Philippines, he was one of the first people I hired. I made him an inspector roaming around making sure that taxi drivers do not cheat the company and the customers.

When I left the taxicab company, I joined GUEVENT, a Philippine conglomerate that owned Volkswagen, Toshiba, Radiowealth, and 14 other companies, as its Corporate Director of Personnel. I was also asked to be the Executive Vice-President and COO of Magna Services Corporation, a sister company which became the most profitable during my term providing profit-sharing plans to employees. As Personnel Director, I got my smart and hard-working MBA classmate hired as the Chief Accountant of the largest VW dealer. Immediately after, I asked him to hire Val as one of the accountants which he obligingly and willingly did. I understand that Val worked there until his migration to the United States a few years later.

When I learned that Val was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer and given a few months to live, I scheduled a special trip to visit him at his home in California. Beside him was his devoted, beautiful, and charming wife, Cora. We were joined later by their beautiful daughter, JoAnn, and good-looking son Joel. I remember giving him an eBookMan device – the predecessor of the now famous Amazon’s Kindle. It was assembled by my company and was proud for him to experience a device that was an MP3 player, eBook reader, Audio book player, organizer, game player, and many more at the same time.

Sadly, and unfortunately, Cora died even ahead of Val while she was caring for him. I was told that a massive heart attack was the immediate cause. A couple of days later, Val desiring to join his eternal love in eternity also passed away. Manong Manoling, also followed his youngest brother. This week is the death anniversary of the three.

Val and Cora raised great children. JoAnn and Joel- well-educated, and hard-working, married to great spouses and parents to great children, are the best tribute that could be offered to their parents.

In the Maynigo family, “amazing things happen”. I look forward to the planned “Monumental Maynigo-Gal-lang Reunion to be held in the Bay Area, California sometime next year. Within the family, a new generation of amazing kids raised by a new generation of great parents will be attending. It will be a greater and more lasting tribute to our forefathers!

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