Dreaming of a Mango Farm

Last week I was feeling nostalgic and a bit sad. My lolo and lola (Filipino grandpa and grandma) have both passed away and I think that as time passes…I start to realize how young they really were. While grieving, I don’t think that I ever fully processed how the change would affect my life or that they would never meet my own children. My lola passed away a little over two years ago and she was only 74. I remember when I was twelve or thirteen she told me that our family’s farm in the Philippines was holding a logo contest and encouraged me to enter. I don’t really remember if I submitted anything but she later decided it wouldn’t be fair since I was family. So last week I decided to Google it. Sure enough, I found Rosa Farms. I figured I wouldn’t find anything interesting but as soon as I clicked over to the About page and I couldn’t help but smile. My great-grandparents! How beautiful were they? It was like a little scrapbook that I never knew about. Photos of their home, their farm, and what it is today. I felt a sense of pride seeing my maiden name, Jocson, and at that moment I wished I could have called my lola to hear more stories. I did, however, text my dad a screenshot and said, “Hey look! That’s your name!”

For some reason, this whole discovery really stuck with me. I was telling Adam that weekend that I tend to embrace independence…moving to Ohio and getting married young, working for myself, and not really digging into where I came from. I’m sort of rambling now but I do think it’s important that we stop and remember that our great grandparents, grandparents, and parents worked really hard to help us get to where we are. I need to take advantage of all the time I do have with my own parents, family and friends. I need to ask questions and listen to stories. It’s enriching.

Here are two photos that I have of my lolo and lola (I even make a cameo in the left photo). Such beautiful people. I want to take a trip to the Philippines with Adam sometime in the near future.

Where do you come from? How do you stay rooted in your heritage? How do you stay connected with family despite distance?

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Comments (26)

  • What a beautiful post Allie – it kinda makes me tear up a bit! I’ve also recently learned more about my roots with a trip to my dad’s hometown this past summer {Gloucester, Mass.} and it’s the little details are the most interesting to learn about – my great-grandfather was a fisherman and would go out into the Atlantic with nothing more than a rowboat and fishing rod! Like you said, knowing about the past makes you appreciate your life that much more. I really hope you and Adam get to the Philippines soon!

    • Halle- thank you for such a sweet comment! I was itching to share what I had found with other people–what better way than on my blog! That is so cool about your great-grandfather. I wish we could go back in time and just talk with them.

  • i am actually mixed Columbian and Panamanian…which tends to surprise people, i think, given that i am the palest of the pale. lol. though the german side of my family is all dead and gone, the hispanic side of my family is VERY much in touch with our heritage.

    many of our family had their name legally changed to arnedo, our family name–as it had been changed to Smith when they arrived in the 50’s (they wanted to fit in). we have a massive geneology project underway, with participants in multiple generations. we have incredibly rich and vibrant stories in our family!

    there are currently 5 generations of our family living. we are having a huge family reunion in Miami this summer, to celebrate the 90th birthday of my Great Grandfather and Ember’s Great Great Grandfather, George Arnedo! We have family flying in from California, Chicago, Texas, Honduras, Columbia, Panama, and Europe.

    my sister’s husband, rich, is from the phillipines. they go back once every 2 years to visit his family, so that their children will understand their heritage first hand!

    • I love how connected your family stays — I want to learn more about my heritage and family so that I can bring up my children the same way!

  • That’s so cool. These pictures are fantastic. I’m hungry for mango all of the sudden ;)

  • I love this. My grandparents on my Mom’s side died really young as well, I wasn’t even in high school yet, so i know how you feel. You’ve completely inspired me to do a little reminiscing. I might even have to dig up some photos. Aren’t old photos like these just the best?

  • Aww, I just want to give you a big hug right now.

    People always roll their eyes at me when I talk to much about my Irish/British side, but I think it’s very important to know where you come from. Yes we live in Canada/US, but what did our family have to go through to get us there?

    For example, my maternal grandmother is a war baby. Her parents put her on a ship from England and sent her, by herself to Nova Scotia where she with other children from England where sent to boarding schools and lived with families who took them in. She was then shipped by train across Canada to BC to be with a guardian, whom she never met before, her parents designated for her before they died. All this before being 13 and to me that takes courage.

    Then you have my Dad and I who are obsessed with our Scottish and Irish heritage and could talk on and on about our family tree. We’ve been here only a few generations and with all the talk and communication we still have with family over there, in a small part of me wants to move to Ireland knowing where that’s where I belong.

    • Wow! I can’t imagine being that young and on my own. It’s amazing how hard they worked. I love it when people are proud of their past/heritage. I’d give you a hug back if we lived closer :)

  • I love this post! I got into a genealogy kick about a year ago, and I found some cool stuff, but I tend to get totally sucked in so I’ve tried to stay away from it while I have work to do. I definitely think looking through old pictures is the most fun part, how neat that some of your family is already documented on the web!

    • I agree–I hope to be documented in such a great way sometime down the road for my own great grandchildren to find :)

  • As you (already) know, I love this post. So nice seeing some photos of your family, and it’s incredible that you found some information online! How cool is that. It’s funny that you’ve also been eating a lot of mangos lately too. What a funny but neat coincidence.

    My great-aunt (Auntie Flo—yes…that was her name) passed away a couple of years ago. She was the closest thing I had to a grandmother, and I miss her all the time. I love hearing my mom tell stories about her mom (who passed away before I was born) and Auntie Flo and their other siblings, and about my dad watching TV with his parents. Neither of my parents had idyllic childhoods, but they’ve given me so much in raising me and helping me grow.

    • Jess I’m so glad you loved this post! I think I need to remember how important story telling is–it’s the only thing that we’ll really appreciate later. I wish I had asked my lola to tell more stories.

  • Janine Renee

    What a great post Allie. It’s so cute that you just stumbled upon those wonderful photos of your family and the story behind it. I love “They taught us the value of hard work.”

    I started to really become interested in my roots over the past year and asked my dad to find out what he could from my grandparents without being too intrusive. About a month later, he sent me a spreadsheet and a 16-page document that he put together of our entire family history. He researched for weeks and even had bonding time with his mother to fill in the missing pieces.

    It was such a pleasant surprise because, growing up, all I knew was that my great grandmother came over on a boat from Switzerland and my last name is German. Now I have a report showing all of my ancestors from England/Germany/Ireland dating all the way back to 1605. (I sound like a commercial for ancestry.com… but seriously!)

    Some of the names in this family tree are pretty funny though – I mean, Cleofus?

    • Cleofus? That is awesome. And that’s so great about your dad compiling all that information! How amazing. My mom has an old book with all of her ancestors/family information that I need to dig up sometime when I’m home. So interesting!

  • I worry about this with my children. My mother recently passed away very young (64) and my MIL passed away almost 7 years ago at 74. My FIL passed away in college, before I really even knew my husband. My husband is first generation German American and I can trace my family back to just after the American Revolution. (Welch and British, German and Scots Irish on my dad’s side.)

    My kids have no connection to the past, other than what my husband and I can give them. We have been back to Germany and will likely go again in the next few years, but for them the past, their heritage is something we talk about, not something they can really experience.

    It feels very rootless.

    • That must be frustrating. But I do think it helps to tell positive stories and recall happy memories of the time you had with your own parents.

      Visiting Germany must be amazing–I think that really sticks with kids.

      And ultimately–you’re creating memories within your own family. Someday your kids will grow up and be the grandparents and will have so much to share.

  • Hey! I’m Filipino, too. ;) ♥ My grandparents passed away when I was little. I’ve never had any memory of them – what they look like – except in photos. What’s more, we didn’t have any pictures together. ;( I’m also clueless about great grandparents and other relatives from the past. ;(

    Rosa’s Farm looks like a fun place to be. You get to pick your harvest!

    Guimaras mangoes are the sweetest. ;) Guimaras is just a boat ride away. Hopefully you’ll get to visit Philippines. ;)

    • How awesome!! Thanks so much for commenting :) I’m excited for the day when I can visit the farm. My lolo and lola were very proud to live in the US after moving here so there was never a lot of pressure to go back with them to visit. Now I must!

  • Loved this post, Allie! I agree, hearing stories from grandparents is a treasure and one that I remember to ask about more often. On a side note, my cousins have lived in the Phillippines for the past 25+ years and I got to visit them for a week while I was studying abroad in Hong Kong. It was amazing. I can’t wait for you to get to visit!!!

    • That’s awesome Jess!! I’m really excited to possibly visit. It probably won’t be for a few years but exciting nonetheless.

  • Kabayan! It’s confirmed! Haha. At first, I thought you weren’t and somehow I stumble on a word you mentioned “adobo”. I was like, pure breeds only know that word! No way! (kiddin).

    • Heck yes! Now I’m hungry for some adobo and pancit ;)

      However I am only half Filipino. My mom is German!

  • This is so beautiful. I was fortunate to have spent few years of my childhood with my great-grandma still around, and I miss her all the time now that she’s gone. And I used to LOVE when anyone in my family spoke about my great-grandfather. He was an army vet who went on to start a driving school for truckers. I haven’t seen any photos, but there was a huge motorcade at his funeral of all the drivers he had trained — everyone from firefighters and EMT, to hauling truckers, to construction/agricultural equipment, bus drivers, etc. Many even drove their commercial vehicles. It must have been quite a sight :)

    Where I live now is a newer house, but on the same land my great-grandparents built their house. Being there helps me feel connected to them everyday :)

    • What an awesome story that was passed down about your great-grandfather. I get a little sad knowing I won’t hear many more stories about my own–but perhaps when I visit I will.

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