Remembering: No shame in being second

Papang, the family tenor

By Rochit Tañedo

Papang, Eliseo Del Mundo Tañedo, was a beautiful tenor, and sang amazing duets with his favorite sister, Auntie Nena Wijangco, a contralto. They had a “panata” in their youth to be Joseph and Mary in the annual “Salubong,” and in their adulthood sang the 1930s Kundimans beautifully. My fave was “Pakiusap” which he serenaded my mother with from time to time up to when he was 90. (His being OC and super seloso gave Mamang a hard time.)

By 94, he had begun to lose his hearing and that was the most heartbreaking for my mother. Still, he could recount many things in his youth, and WWII, and his ‘compadres’ whom he was looking for in the last months of his life. Alas, with a diet of pure Liempo Taba for the last 50 years, he had outlived them all, the Class of ’33, Tarlac High School. When my sibs come over in July or August, definitely, you all should be there with us to celebrate Papang’s life with Ihaw-Ihaw and lots of music!

Papang succumbed to pneumonia last May 24. He was 98.

Social media has turned us into spontaneous storytellers. Our new feature called “Remembering: Pinoy. Powerful. Personal” is a collection of short essays of memories pushed aside by time and making themselves apparent in the writer’s present. Some of the essays are contributed; others culled from social media posts. To send your essays, email

No shame in being second

By Mauro Feria Tumbocon Jr.

This was my mother and myself, when I was younger. Carolina Feria then, was already in her thirties when she bore me. She had married a year earlier a teacher-politician almost 30 years her senior. My father, Mauro Sr., immediately uprooted her from her native origins in Manila and Zambales, and they would take root in Ibajay, Aklan. She would then learn the language, Aklanon, post-haste, and then got to teach in both high schools in the municipality.

Having been “madrasta,” she would never imagine the resentment she withstood in silence from the first family — except for very few of our kin — even up to this day. Typical you may suggest of second families among Filipinos. Even though I got my father’s name — this was part of the first family’s hostility — how come, of all the 13 children in in the first family, I got my father’s favor. I got my mother’s curly hair. If at all, she spared us the “ignominy” of being second — by being our steadfast mother.

Mama, you would have turned 100 today.

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