Saturday, May 12, 2007


I clearly remember the day Mama got her pearl necklace.

It was a bright sunny morning a little past ten. I was sitting by the door enjoying a bottle of sarsaparilla and the sight of people walking by. I was in third grade then and since my class was in the afternoon, didn't have to start preparing for school until eleven. How I loved getting up late in the mornings and having the house to myself besides Mama, an aunt and our help. Papa had already gone to work and all my elder siblings to school.

Suddenly disturbing me from my daydreaming was Mama dashing past me. Without asking where she was headed, I tagged along, though it wasn't far where she had to go. In fact, it was only right next door to Tia Lydia’s house. Tia Lydia wasn’t actually a blood relative, but we grew up respecting our parents’ close friends much like actual relatives and therefore, addressed them as such.

Tia Lydia dabbled in buying and selling stuff — from tiny parcels of land to fashion accessories imported from Hong Kong. From what we knew about her, she hailed from an affluent family in Nueva Ecija. She rarely depended upon the earnings of her husband who was an insurance underwriter to manage their household. Whenever she needed money, all she had to do was sell off a piece of land she had inherited from her parents. She must have owned a lot, for she never ran out of it. Even when she passed away last year, she still owned quite a vast tract to leave to her children. So all those buying and selling she did was merely to while away her time aside from raising a large brood of hyperactive kids.

Anyway, on that particular morning, Tia Lydia had a pearl necklace to show to Mama. And as soon as she pulled it out of its satin pouch, Mama's face lit up with pure delight. She carefully took it from Tia Lydia and lovingly caressed each pearl. And then she put it on her and admired herself on the mirror untiringly; her fingertips never leaving those pearls. A look of equal joy was etched on Tia Lydia's face.

Both women then engaged in animated exchange of gleeful talk until Mama took notice of the time. She hurriedly handed Tia Lydia the money as payment for those pearls two hundred pesos! She then grabbed my hand and we went home so I could prepare for school.

Through the years that ensued thereafter, Mama had to pawn a piece of jewelry during emergency situations, but she never, not even once, pawned that pearl necklace. Apparently, she treasured it dearly. In New York, a number of her friends admired that necklace so much they whispered handsome offers for it, which she would charmingly decline. Unable to acquire her pearl necklace, most of her friends ended up buying one at either Tiffany's or Mikimoto in Manhattan.

One Mother's Day, while we were having lunch in an Italian restaurant in New York with my brothers and their families, she mentioned that Papa once bought a nice piece of land in Subic. This was intended to be given to the child that would care for Mama during her old age. Unfortunately, that piece of land had to be sold to pay for medical costs when Papa became seriously ill. Concerned that Mama might be getting too melancholy on such a festive day, we immediately switched to a lighter topic of conversation.

About a couple of years ago, Mama started giving away most of her jewelries to grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She kept only a couple of favorite pieces for when she goes out on casual and special occasions. I believe my sister Inday will eventually get them when she passes away.

And then one day, Mama said she felt bad for me for not having any piece of prime real estate to leave for me as Papa would have wanted it. In jest, I suggested that she leave me her pearl necklace instead. I said this so she'd stop feeling bad about it. When she asked why the pearl necklace, I said it will always remind me of one of the happiest moments in her life that I had witnessed (being I was with her on the day she got it from Tia Lydia). The joy that glowed from her face then was priceless and will remain forever associated with those pearls, I added.

Much to my delight, she consented. That means Inday is not getting Mama's pearls; I am!

Happy Mother’s Day!


posted by Señor Enrique at 5:46 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

happy mother's day sa mother mo.. :)

May 12, 2007 9:15 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Happy Mother's Day !

Sweet story.

May 12, 2007 10:23 AM  

Blogger carlotta1924 said...

awww... such a sweet story. happy mother's day to your mum! =)

May 12, 2007 10:55 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...



Your Mama's Pearls must already cost a lot now as two hundred pesos must already be a lot during those times!

The Pearl is my birthstone... :)

May 12, 2007 11:00 AM  

Blogger Belle TH said...


What a beautiful story! And what a beautiful piece of jewelry!

bI, too, was the lucky beneficiary of the two beautiful pearl necklaces from my mother in law that will forever remind me of her.

May 12, 2007 1:33 PM  

Blogger sheilamarie said...

Eric, what gorgeous pearls! And I loved the story behind them.

I inherited my Mum's pearl necklace. I've never worn it, but I take it out from the case now and then to look at it and think about my Mum. She loved that necklace =)

Greet your Mama a Happy Mother's day for us =)

May 12, 2007 3:22 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric, Happy Mother's Day to your Mum. What a wonderful story as conveyed by a wonderful person.

May 12, 2007 7:45 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Rhodyl! Please extend my same joyful wish to your wife :)

May 12, 2007 8:15 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks and a Happy Mother's Day to your wife as well, Sidney :)

May 12, 2007 8:16 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hey Carla! Is your mom traveling with you? If so, I'm sure she's having a grand time, too. I wish her a Happy Mother's day!

May 12, 2007 8:17 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks, Rhoda ... and tha same to you and your mom!

Can you believe it? Only two hundred pesos and that was during Garcia's administration ... hehehe.

Is that really your birthstone? Wow!

May 12, 2007 8:19 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Belle, and I'm sure you have loving memories of your mother-in-law. She must've have loved you dearly to have left you her pearls :)

May 12, 2007 8:21 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Sheilamarie! Like you, I'd most probably not wear it at all ... well, maybe in New Orleans during Fat Tuesdays. While they all wear those cheap plastic bead necklaces, I'd be wearing pearls ... hahaha!

But seriously, what I would like to have done with it someday (since they're practically of same sizes) is convert them into several pairs of earrings and distribute them to every female member of the family!

A Happy Mother's Day to you, too :)

May 12, 2007 8:24 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Aw shucks! Many thanks, Batapaloc! Wishing your wife and mom a Happy Mother's Day!

May 12, 2007 8:26 PM  

Blogger Ai Dihayco said...

You have a vivid childhood memories with your mom... It's not only owning the pearl but your mom's heart as well.

Happy Mother's day to your mom!

May 12, 2007 11:44 PM  

Blogger Daisy said...

Dear Senor Enrique,

Happy Mother's Day to your Mama! God bless her!

Awwww sweet to remember that particular moment you shared with your Mama.

I love heirlooms and the colorful flavor of stories behind each one. They are indeed family treasures.

Remembering these details are a gift in themselves.

I hope you keep it intact the pearl necklace...

May 13, 2007 1:04 AM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

And unlike other gems, pearls come from organic materials, thus adding not only luster but also life to memories attached to them.

One just needs to be sure to care for them properly, precisely because they are made from organic materials.

May 13, 2007 2:14 AM  

Blogger Learning Team said...

Hi Eric

Happy Mother's Day to your Mom.

Beautiful Pearls and I like the story behind it, stories like that remains in our hearts forever.

That is a good idea to make them into earrings one day, i am sure anyone who will receive it will surely treasure it.

Good on you Eric....

May 13, 2007 4:46 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

For the life of me, A!, can't figure out why that particular incident remains so vividly in my memory. I guess, it's because as children, we really appreciate seeing our mother's face lit up with pure joy ... and that remains etched in our memories forever, huh?

May 13, 2007 7:52 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Daisy!

Firstly, told my sister about your auspicious experience with Victory Liner's Baguio Express. She was glad that its staff who found or received your missing pouch from whomever found it, returned it to you with contents untouched :)

Yes, it is one of the sweetest memories I have of my mom :)

Happy Mother's Day to you!

May 13, 2007 7:56 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

One of the things she's proud of about that necklace, Amadeo, is that the pearls ay naganganak!

In other words, sometimes, one of the pearls in the strand will show a protrusion as if another pearl will come out of it. Are these living things?

May 13, 2007 8:00 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

And a Happy Mother's Day to you, too, MM!

That's what I was thinking -- spread mom's joyful spirit through those earrings. This way, many will enjoy it :)

Thanks, I'm glad you like my story behind Mama's pearls!

May 13, 2007 8:02 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Mother's Day sa Nanay mo!


May 13, 2007 11:04 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Sa nanay mo din ... a Happy Mom's Day!

Hope all is well with the studying, Kyels. Take some time to unwind even for a bit.

May 13, 2007 11:16 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is such a sweet and beautiful story, eric. You do have vivid memories of your childhood.

Happy mother's day to your mama. :)

May 13, 2007 1:05 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great and heartwarming events of your life. Don't let those pearls get soaked in vinegar, I've heard they will actually melt!
Great your mom a happy mother's day and all mother's out there..
cheers and goodhealth to all....

May 13, 2007 5:05 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Actually, Irene, Inday has sharper recall. I have to consult with her most times for details I have forgotten. She's only a year older yet, she remembers more childhood stuff than I do.

Many Thanks, Irene. I'm sure you had a wonderful Mother's Day, especially considering your eldest's fine achievement in his art :)

May 13, 2007 9:09 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Much thanks, TruBlue!

Ok, I'll remind her not to clean those pearls with vinegar then :)

May 13, 2007 9:11 PM  

Blogger ladybug said...

What a wonderful and touching story. You are a very thoughtful son. Happy Mother's Day to your mom! :-D

May 13, 2007 11:45 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

Pearls living organisms? I don't know though I have seen pearls with bumps on their surfaces, like another one is coming out.

But I do remember my late aunt admonish about allowing pearls to "breathe" or be aerated regularly. She mentioned about those pearls kept in tight boxes and stowed in safes losing their lustre if not taken out regularly. Maybe due to heat and humidity in the tropics.

Also, some take their pearls swimming on the notion that since they come from the sea it should be good for them. Salt is said to also be not good for them.

May 13, 2007 11:48 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you, Ladybug! I trust you all had a wonderful Mother's Day, though it rained dogs and cats at one time here in Manila.

May 14, 2007 6:15 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Ah, I'd better tell my mom then to take his necklace out once in a while to let those pearls breathe. Thanks for the tips, Amadeo!

May 14, 2007 6:17 AM  

Blogger -= dave =- said...

Belated Happy Mother's Day to your Mom, Señor E! Haven't commented recently since I've been to Bicol visiting Mama and my mother city :)

May 15, 2007 10:09 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Dave! Now, I'm sure you made your mom's day even more special with your presence! Did you visit your old school while you were there?

When relatives from Bicol used to visit when we were young, our house would be abundant with delicious caramelized pili.

May 16, 2007 5:54 AM  

Blogger -= dave =- said...

Yup, I dropped by my high school. I'll be posting about my Naga trip soon.

May 17, 2007 11:18 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Looking forward to reading it, Dave :)

May 18, 2007 5:58 AM  

Blogger INKBLOTS said...

I got teary eyed...honest! And I remember my mom who is now in the US with my sister.

I wanted to write something about her but something's keeping me. Perhaps it was just too personal to post it in my blog. But I will write about her. And will just be for me and my family, perhaps.

Mama's boy here...


May 19, 2007 12:20 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Inkblots!

Sometimes I think that memories, especially those rare moments of pure bliss, are more valuable than tangible materials; and that the universe is generous enough to make sure that we are all blessed with such.

Yes, do write that piece; I'm confident your mom and the rest of the family will someday appreciate greatly your efforts.

Thanks for dropping by :)

May 19, 2007 6:28 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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