Ninety Years of a Mindanao Life

My mother Lourdes Maestrado La Viña, Inday to all her friends, lived for ninety years and two hundred eighteen days. On October 4, 2020, on the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, she passed to eternal life.  She succumbed to complications from pneumonia even as she tested negative for COVID-19.

Mom’s life was rooted in Mindanao. Except for part of her high school years where she was an interna (dormer) in Saint Scholastica’s College and her college years in Saint Theresa’s College, both in Manila, Mom lived all her life in this great island. She grew up in Cagayan de Oro, spent the years of the Japanese occupation in Molave in Zamboanga del Sur, and did a couple of years of high school  in Ozamiz City. After marrying my father Gabriel Jr, whom she met in Ozamiz, they settled in Cagayan de Oro and never left.

Her parents were Silvino Dacapio Maestrado, a lawyer and politician from Camiguin, while her mother was Josefa Abejuela Chaves, a native of Cagayan de Oro. My mother had one sister, Carmen Maestrado Velez who died a couple of decades ahead of her.  Gabriel La Viña, Jr, my Mom’s husband and my father, was a lawyer and  a graduate of Letran College and San Beda College of Law. He also died more than twenty years ago.

Mom and Dad raised six children, all of whom inherited her intensity, both independent-minded and opinionated. Meals were always loud and road trips the family did frequently erupted into fights – when we were younger for trivial reasons like who could sit in front or by the window but as we grew older for more serious reasons like our political differences and disagreement on values and priorities.

When we were growing up, our parents brought us to places in Mindanao where our family had roots. We took long car or boat trips to Ozamiz, Molave, Camiguin, and Bukidnon. Later, Davao, Zamboanga City, Cebu, and Manila became family destinations. Confident in our roots, we learned to travel to far places, to foreign countries as well.

Mom was fiercely loyal, to her children, in-laws, and her grandchildren. My wife Titay and I, and our children, will always be grateful for the time she spent with us when we were living abroad. She made me promise to bring her to Paris one more time, and especially for the 2024 Olympics.

Her loyalty extend to our friends. In my case, for example, Mom is Gilbert Teodoro’s biggest fan in Cagayan de Oro. In the 2010 elections, already eighty years old, Mom campaigned hard for Gibo and was disappointed when he lost. She continues to hope that he will return to public service again. If he does, I am sure Mom will campaign for Gilbert from heaven.


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