[Vigan] First Time to Celebrate Birthday in 52 Years

I went home today seeing my cousins handling a plate of bihon (this is a kind of pancit). Someone told me, “Go to uncle Edwin’s house, someone is having a birthday.” I didn’t know it was my uncle’s birthday. I entered their house and saw Ma’am Rhoda Ped (my elementary teacher). His wife, auntie Cathy was busy serving bihon to everyone.

First time in 52 years

My uncle was crying. It was tears of joy. According to him, it is his first time to celebrate his birthday in 52 years. I can’t help but to stay speechless. Deep inside, I feel like crying too.

My uncle never finished college. Actually, he can do the work of an architect. Some licensed architects even go to their house to consult from him. See? He is not an architect but he has the skill of an architect. It was self-taught. He is also a good sculptor, a folk artist, a sketcher and he can make plans for houses and buildings better than ‘some’ licensed engineers and architects who consult him.

Well, it is sad. My grandma was a single mom of 8 kids. My grandpa died before he saw his first grandchild. I am the second grandchild by the way and my mom is the eldest of the 8 siblings. My mom helped my grandma to raise the other kids. My uncle Edwin is the second eldest. He gave way for the younger siblings. He stopped studying and worked to support his 6 younger siblings. Now he has no money. He has no stable job. He is drunk always. This is his life. He has 5 children.

So he cried when his wife cooked a simple bihon for his birthday. See? It was a simple thing but it was a BIG, GREAT thing for a simple person living with meager resources. He said crying while drunk, “Thank you Lord, you didn’t forsake me even though I don’t have money.”

Below are photos of his family (with his children). Added in the family is the husband of her daughter.

I said I have to capture photos of them as remembrance. They were very happy in spite of shortage, financially. Missing on the photo is his eldest child, Mark.

Other photos

Photos above are my cousins Edlaine, Faye and Joshua (uncle Edwin’s third child) and my brother Emerson.

So it was a great learning day. For rich people, this simple celebration is worse than their normal daily breakfast. But to someone who has less in life, this is precious. It’s like the worth of gold that could make the recipient cry in tears. I learned, we must be grateful with what we have because some people can not even afford have the things that we usually have.

Happy 52nd birthday uncle!

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