IV Life Full of Treasures
My Wonderful Life
I enjoyed my life because I felt its magical, a fantasy that only my faith in God can explain. I didn’t do anything, just believe, enjoy and be thankful. But then again, life is how you make it, it’s those wonderful surprises that give you extras from being good and living clean. The school of fish in layers like a choreographed ballet as they swim gracefully in harmony, glistening in the blue waters, and the harvest of the sea as we went fishing in the deep seas of Palawan; the musical sound of a million chicks chirping, the red headed chicken bowing up and down as they drink from their feeders in my poultry farm; the beautiful garden surrounding the house I designed and built myself with an interior of native bamboos enclosed by a modern façade; the sixty dogs of all species following my commands as they gave me company and guarded me and my chicken farm against intruders and unwanted guests; the transformation of Calaca from a barren farm to an industrialized city; these all before my eyes, isn’t that life wonderful?~Irene Moraga Lumbrera
A Real Cinderella
I remember, there was a forthcoming special function in the church, and I wanted to have a new dress and matching shoes. Since I’m only starting the chicken farm, I have no money to spare. I prayed and asked Ama (God) for this outfit, and added an umbrella, too. As the day was nearing, I was still hoping for it. One day, as I was waiting for a ride home sitting in a jeepney waiting for more passengers, there was a brown bag in between the jeepneys that nobody wanted to pick up. As the driver is about to start, I told him to wait for me, as I was going down to pick up the bag. I took it as things are happening so fast. When I reached home, I was so surprised to see a dress and shoes, with umbrella, too! It was so perfect for Santa Cena (Banal na Hapunan). I felt so “beautiful” with my white dress with red polka dots, red low-heeled shoes like that of Dorothy (Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz), and red umbrella that Little Red Ridinghood will envy. It fitted me perfect as if I was there in the store to try it on, or it was designed and tailored for me. When they saw me in the church, everybody complimented while touching my dress in awe, gathering around me. I felt so especially beautiful, like a movie star! I can’t believe but it really happened. Who was my fairy God Father? I know its Him, the Father God! ~Irene Moraga Lumbrera
The Care Giver
I never thought I will become a caregiver as a paid full-time job. From a self-employed businesswoman to a high-class care giver to the rich and famous! This shows that everybody has the caring side in them. You don’t need a special training, but just doing what is good and proper and loving them because it’s an instinct as a human being. It is a common sense based on the Golden Rule to care for others as you want them to care for you in the same circumstances. I took care of multiple people, from babies waiting to be born to seniors waiting to die. I gave my best and treated them like my own and they lived beyond expectation and loving me in return. I was hired by her mom while she’s waiting to deliver Charlotte. Years flew until the little girl I carried all her early life turned out to love me more than her parents, even calling me “Mama Irene”, so that I needed to go when she was eight years old to give a chance to her parents to feel the joy. I heard her scream on the top of her lungs but only for a while, we all learn how to let go and accept things as they are, like Imelda who grew up with Peter for almost forty years and sobbed her heart out when he died. While Carla is a very sick old woman waiting to die when I met her, I became her personal assistant and companion, and made the rest of her years satisfying, lasting for over eight years, then her daughter-in-law wondered, “She’s looking good, I thought she was dying!”
~Irene Moraga Lumbrera
A Dog Charmer
I was always adventurous, not fearing. I remember, my roommates of housekeepers told me of a doctor looking for a dog sitter in the farther side of New York, closer to New Jersey. There was a rich Greek doctor and his wife who owns a house with all six dogs of the fieriest kinds, German Shepherds, and Bulldogs, that people cannot stay close, or they bark non-stop, but all well-trained. I took a bus from 42nd St and had some ride to Tuxedo, NY. There, the dogs approved of me before the owner, they sat on my lap and were all excited to see me. There was no need for the doctor to say I’m hired. Before they left, they showed me around the town, brought me to their country club for members only, all dressed in formal tuxedos and had dinner with a thousand-dollar tab. They introduced me to their neighbors and the police, so I was properly endorsed and became an instant resident of an exclusive community. Every afternoon, after my regular job in Manhattan, I will take my ride and check on the dogs. I talked to them strongly like a general, they followed my commands. The couple went on a tour for a year, my job was to make sure that the dog sitter will feed them and bring them to the lake for a daily swim. I continued to be these dog’s whisperer beyond my contract and stayed for five more years. I remembered that once, as we were going house to house in Quezon City, there was a Bull Dog at the gate who let us in without barking, to his owner’s surprise. And my sixty dogs, a million miles away, I’m wondering, am I born a natural dog charmer?
~Irene Moraga Lumbrera
A Philanthropist and Visionary
I was invited by a friend to Calaca, Batangas, a small remote area, so poor, no electricity, no farms, no fish in the ocean. There is no sign of progress and bounty, so dead and dry. It was called Puting Bato (White Stone) but there was no sign of white stone but rather a very black sand. The fields were barren, with the soil in the fields as white, you will fall in the bottom when it is dry and becomes so sticky when it is wet. On further exploration I saw a place, an area looking so unique and different, there is only one road through the beautiful mountain peak of Batulao leading to it. I wrote Iglesia and sent them a map to ask them to come and visit the place. I spoke to Ka Erdy as I believed and felt that it needs a blessing, from somebody in the Iglesia to come and just walk through it to be blessed. Iglesia then bought the land overlooking the bay from the mountain side. The air is fresh, the view of the surrounding mountains is very uplifting and the beaches, I thought they will make a very nice beach, a tourist haven.
In the beginning, there were only five families and we used to attend Samba under a private house of an old Iglesia couple. I did not like the idea that we were under the house, (silong). Then I asked the owner if we can go up in the house while waiting for the church to be built and accommodate the growing membership to the Iglesia. I bought stones and hollow blocks that will become the foundation of the “Kapilya”. Then I recruited carpenters who have no jobs, and the rest of the Iglesia families joined to build the Kapilya. During the inauguration, the secretary of Iglesia came, it was the beginning of the progress of Calaca. The farms started to produce, there were abundance of big fishes caught from the bay. Before Ka Erdy died, he ordered the building of a new and bigger Iglesia. The tall falls from the mountains became a source of electricity. Foreign corporations stayed and became home to an industrial park with several coal-powered plants, making Calaca the tenth best cities in the Philippines today. And yes, it has become a tourist spot with booming businesses.
We moved to Calaca with a brief stopover in Lemery from Quezon City after my Divisoria textile business as I do want to take care of Peter "Boyet" myself. We lived in Calaca since he was two years old until he started High School in Manila in the Far Eastern University. He left beautiful memories in Calaca, his hometown that he wanted to visit before he died. When I went home in 2017, I visited Calaca once more and I was glad. The original families who built the church with me, all enriched and well-to-do. ~ Irene Moraga Lumbrera
Irene became the “Social Worker” of Lipa with her genuine desire to help people and share her wealth. Her philanthropy ranged from small personal individualized advocacy to a big scale community project and initiative. Her vision (Pananaw) is beyond what is visible. She knew and understood the plight of the people and the unpredictability of situations arising and needing her help, so she carries her checkbook, and was always ready, like that time when somebody was bleeding and needed blood transfusion at once, she used her check to buy a pint or two of blood. ~Myrna D. Santos
As her heart was pure and God-laden, natural healing came unto her, a healing based on science and common sense as she virtually studied medicine with her husband, Juaning. She cannot forget how she cried with the sight of the child who fell into the boiling pot of hog-food, a child all bandaged up with skin all sloughed from the burn, under the hood of a “kulambo” (burn net). She prayed to God and asked for divine intervention. She asked the family to be good and sin no more. The burned child lived to become a nurse and now a supervisor in California. The parents succeeded in business and are now retired. There are more stories she can’t forget for the lessons learned, painful, but meaningful messages. “There was this person who fell from the carabao, his ribs all misaligned, far from the hospital, I put my hands on them and put them one by one together again as I prayed to God, and he walked, as if nothing happened!” ~MDS
My dog, Queenie, was my favorite, but was hated by my gardener because she keeps barking at him, maybe the dog sensed his evil thoughts. One day, I saw her limping, as if in pain. When I lifted her furs, I saw a wire tied so tight, cutting through her skin. I fired the gardener, Queenie lived as I took care of her like a human being who cannot talk but can communicate through other means. Like when I asked Boyet to take veterinary medicine, he said, “Animals don’t talk”, but I said to him, “They will let you know in their special ways.”
I rented my house to a rich fat woman, until she wanted to own my house and refused paying. One day, her driver came looking for me, as the woman wanted to see me. When I saw her in the hospital, all her limbs in traction, hanging, after her multiple fractures sustained from falling, from her bed to the floor. She lived for a while, but did not stay long, except to pay what she owed me.
There was a young, rich executive from New York looking for a companion for her dying sick mother. While she is still in the hospital, they are looking for her companion to recover in the Hamptons. The interview included, “Do you have any experience with homecare giving?” I answered, my husband is a doctor. I was warned by the son that the old woman is cranky and hard to please. When she saw me, she is in her good mood and greeted me, “How are you, my friend?” With that, the son knew they are ready for me. They took me to the Hamptons. They are extremely rich, she has a nurse, housekeeper, and driver; and my job is to give her company. Our conversation lasted for over five years, coming from two cultures, we had a lot to talk about. I took her to the best places she wants, fine dining in restaurants, shopping, and joy riding that I felt like a native in the hometown of the rich and famous. After some time, her daughter-in-law who is not fond of her, noticed that she looks happy and contented, death is not in the picture. My companionship worked for all our favors, as blessed by God. ~IML