56. Four or five weeks before we left Manila, on a Sunday, Peggy became a godmother. It is customary in the Philippines that when a baby is to be baptized, his or her parents choose sponsors for the baby, usually from among their closest friends. These sponsors or godparents are supposed to take over raising the child if something happens to the parents. In the meantime, sponsors are expected to give birthday and Christmas presents to their godchild. Thus, many parents choose their good friends to be sponsors, but they often make sure that the child will get nice gifts.
Peggy’s godson was Linda’s nephew, Glenn del Resario, born November 24, 1968. His mother, Liwanag, often visited Linda in our home. Peggy never got to know her well, but she always liked her. Peggy was pleased to be a Nina, and she certainly remembered the child, but she didn’t feel a lot of responsibility to him since his mother knew that we were about to leave the country.
Three years later Peggy received a letter from Liwanag, telling her that Glenn was “already talkative and a naughty one.” The mother went on to write, “Whenever he had a playmate the game always ends in fighting. He often told me that he wants to go to school. He loved toys. I brought him sets of toys especially the animals, he recognizes them all. You can’t save a penny. He used to spend 30 cents a day going to a candy store … that’s why at his age he suffers toothache. But he ran me for an errand, cigarette for his father. Glen, he’s wearing a long pants now. He has plenty of questions that sometimes I get hard in answering him.”
“At present, I got two kids. Glenn has a kid sister, Mildred, which was two years old. How about you? Are you not planning to have one or maybe two?” The del Resarios lived in a permanent house built in the middle of a city street in an area made up of squatters.
57. Peggy tried to explain to her mother that she didn’t think our relationship with Linda, our maid, was so unusual considering that our family was not very well defined. She explained, “Your family (her mother’s) is well defined with six children.” But in the Philippines Peggy and I were a long ways from the families with which we grew up. We had no children, and so two people made a very small family. Thus, it was easy for us to adopt others, at least on a temporary basis: Linda, Lew (who lived with us a year), Ray (my college friend), Tony (who lived with us for a month), and even our puppy Peta.
The last news we received about Linda came from her sister Liwanag. She wrote the following: “Linda has one kid now, about one and a half year old girl. They lived near our parents’ home in project 7, Quezon City. Actually, I don’t know their address. I’ll send you as soon as I can secure for it.”
58. Meanwhile we occasionally heard from friends and the family we left behind. On October 27, 1969 Mr. Hernandez (Peggy’s principal) wrote about how “the winds were changing (in the Philippines) and seemed to be blowing in the opposite direction. While many people desired change a majority of this group doubted that a change in the presidency would be for the better.” President Marcos had just won the support of a religious sect and Mr. Hernandez felt that this was a clear indication of where the wind was blowing. “With all the mudslinging, character assassination, expensive gimmicks of the presidential campaign, which has reached a new low, I still feel confident that our republic will endure. Presidents will come and go but the Philippines will remain a pearl, the pearl of the Orient.”
59. Meanwhile the teachers of Manila were still in a “make leave of absence.” After a bill was passed to amend the City Charter to solve the problem of salary slashes, after the President signed it, after the mayor set the machinery for its implementation, the municipal board as usual “resorted to dilatory tactics to annul it.” The teachers, however, although on leave reported to school to receive a briefing for the teacher examination and carried out their duties as examiners. They received a meal of P2.40 and for work on a Sunday. Of course, they were also given service credit for the work. After the service exam they had to attend to their poll duties. It was Verification Day. Meanwhile the teacher’s strike continued.
60. Meanwhile, Marcos, after his re-election- put into place “the new order.” About it Mr. Hernandez wrote “it is understandable that those who have much to lose in the new order are unhappy … those who amassed wealth through crooked games … the absentee landlord who will be forced to give up his lands, the political bigwigs who wielded power. It is understandable that the lives of those dedicated to the establishment of the new order may be in danger.” Mr. Hernandez then cited the attempt on the life of the first lady. Some of his teachers witnessed this.
Peggy and Randy Ford