We have known Señor Guillermo Gómez way back in college because he was our teacher in a couple of subjects. But being naughty students back then, we rarely paid attention to him. I actually received a low grade in one of his classes: 3.00. The highest I received from him was 2.5, LOL! And my hubby Pepe? Believe it or not, Señor Gómez gave him an incomplete grade in a Spanish class (4.00) because he was always absent, LOL!
Who would believe that Señor Gómez would become part of our life? He and my hubby became staunch partners in their advocacy to bring back the Spanish language to our country, he ended up as our compadre when he stood as godfather to our eldest son Mómay (whose real name, José Mario Guillermo, is a combination of Señor Gómez and Pepe's names), and he also became our wedding godfather in our Traditional Latin Mass wedding more than three years ago!
During our early years of living together, my hubby Pepe never had a permanent job. Señor Gómez took him in as his editorial assistant in Nueva Era, the last Spanish-language newspaper in our country. His main job was a typist, and he worked in Señor Gómez's house in Makati City. It was there where my husband learned how to type fast using Spanish accent marks. At the end of each day, he would go home with an allowance from Señor Gómez. It was during this time when my husband's knowledge of Filipino History and the Spanish language has grown. Pepe owes his love and deep regard for the Spanish language because of Señor Gómez. Without Señor Gómez, our family would not have discovered our national identity.
Last month (February 12), Señor Gómez invited us for lunch at the Casino Español de Manila. We haven't seen him for more than a year, and we heard that he is already using a wheelchair because of a struggle against gout. But he was still his jolly old self.
|Señor Gómez (with his assistant Jeffrey Vecina) arrives. Junífera Clarita gave him a violet-colored flower which she had picked from the garden (Señor is holding that flower at right photo).|
That Saturday lunch was so sumptous. Señor Gómez treated us to Spanish dishes such as paella and fabada. Before we even started eating, Junífera Clarita was already enjoying glasses of margarita. Maybe that was the reason why I think she fell asleep after our lunch, hahaha!
The best paella I have ever tasted is in Casino Español de Manila. I think one serving is good for three. During the meal, my dad and Señor Gómez chatted about their favorite topics: politics and history. Señor Gómez also advised my hubby to go back to blogging. Daddy Pepe already stopped blogging last year when he closed down ALAS FILIPINAS and FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES, mainly because of a nerve problem (and since then, I have been the one managing this blog). Señor Gómez told my hubby that he also suffered the same problem many years ago, and that he also stopped writing for about two years. Señor Gómez thinks that my hubby must have suffered from some sort of nervous breakdown, and that he just didn't know about it. That is why he advised us that I, as a mother, should take care of our kids full time, and that my husband should just focus on his work or advocacy so that he would not be prone to stress. Great advise, Señor. Thank you. Because many times Pepe becomes so stressed out with our children particularly when he comes home from his night shift, and that is one of the major reasons why he gets stressed out. Better take Señor's advise, Daddy Pepe. 😊
I have been to Casino Español de Manila many times already. Instituto Cervantes de Manila used to be beside it but has already transferred to Makati. Whenever there were events in Instituto Cervantes de Manila, many guests go to Casino Español de Manila to relax and dine. Casino Español de Manila is not a place to gamble. Casino is a Spanish word which means a social club. My hubby told me that the place is for members only. We are thankful because we were privileged to have visited the place many times, mainly because of our Spanish circle of friends. Whenever we are invited there, we feel as if we are already members, hahaha! The warm welcome of our Hispanic friends is so touching and muy intresante. ¡Mil gracias amigos y amigas!
|Aperitivo: pan con mantequilla.|
|Fabada is a rich Spanish bean stew. It has blood sausage (morcilla) which reminds us of dinuguán.|
After our heavy Hispanic lunch, my husband and Señor were still chatting over important matters. Krystal was listening to them. They haven't seen each other for a long time. Since I couldn't relate to what they were talking about, I just went outside to the garden to take pictures and a video clip of the place while our three boys and Junífera Clarita were running around the grass and played with the piano by the hallway. They really enjoyed the place. It was not their first time to be here, that's why they were already familiar with the place, as if we are already members, hehehe!
In the afternoon, Señor invited us for a car ride in the old districts of Manila. He toured us to Ermita, Binondo (Chinatown), San Nicolás, Quiapò, Pandacan, and Santa Ana. Too bad our camera's battery power got drained, but I was able to record a few video clips (you may view them by clicking here, here, here, and here). Anyway, the best things in life are not captured on camera, hehehe! Señor shared to us historical tidbits during the tour while he's driving... and he's already 81 years old! He is a good driver for his age, and he still has a clear vision! 😊
Click here for our complete photo album!
|Parroquia Basílica de San Lorenzo Ruiz y Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario.|
Before we went home, he brought us to a mall near his house and treated us to some ice cream and KFC meals. We were so stuffed that we didn't eat dinner at home anymore!
We parted ways at the carpark. We did not want him to drive us to the nearest road where we could commute so that he could relax because of his age and he has driven a lot the whole afternoon. But despite his age, we know that he will never grow old. He feels and acts young all the time. He laughs with us, cracks jokes with us, and takes time to talk to our kids. His vast knowledge of historical information is still intact. And he could still give me advice on how to take care of our family. He still wants to teach Krystal Flamenco although he couldn't anymore. He just advised us to enroll her in a Flamenco class under one of his former students. He may have stopped teaching flamenco, but we are still hoping he could dance once again.
Señor Gómez is not just a former teacher, nor is he just a friend nor a compadre or padrino. We consider him a part of our family...
Thank you for always being there for our us, Señor Gómez... I am teary eyed as I write this. And as I wipe my tears away, I would like you to know that we love you so much and we are very thankful and grateful for having you in our life! We pray for your good health, and may we have more parties, events, and travels for us and our family to share. ¡Muchos besos y abrazos! =) =) 😊 😊