My mother didn’t go out of the house much but she took me to visit my great grandmother Eugenia every so often. We used to bring her Chinese food from a popular panciteria. And my mom always said it was amazing how Lola Genia, as we called her, (Lola means grandmother) could eat heartily at her age. At 89 years old, Lola Genia lived alone in her big house in Imus, Cavite. Her husband died before I was born. She refused to live with anyone of her four children. She owned a sizable rice field and received income from it. Now, that’s an independent woman.
|Battle of Imus Monument|
Lola Genia was born in 1873. She first witnessed the ravages of war in Cavite when she was 19 years old. The Philippine Revolution against Spain was launched in 1892. “The Battle of Imus, or the Siege of Imus, was the first big battle of the Philippine revolution against the Spanish colonial government in the province of Cavite…The resulting decisive victory for the Filipino revolutionaries in Imus very much alarmed the Spanish government in the country. Following the conflict, they attempted to subdue the revolutionaries in Cavite province with the twin battles in Binakayan and Dalahican weeks after the battle in Imus.”
She was 68 years old when World War II commenced in Europe in 1939. By this time, her children have all married. She built an underground air raid shelter beneath the floor which was elevated four feet from the ground. “Japan launched a surprise attack on the Philippines on December 8, 1941, just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Initial aerial bombardment was followed by landings of ground troops both north and south of Manila.” (U.S. Library of Congress) By the time the war reached the Philippines, Lola Genia had the air raid shelter ready to protect her children, who all came back for safety and stayed till the end of the war. Now, that is called foresight.
|Sample of Air Raid Shelter|
My parent’s, mine and the succeeding generations owe our lives to our matriarch, Lola Genia. Her rice field was handed down and liquidated to benefit all three generations of heirs, mine included.