Nana Manang: A Tribute to Nana Coring and other manangs
Editor's Note: Many times we want to give up this labor of love. It seems nobody really cares whether we have it or not. But, occasionally, we receive letters and emails that keep us going. Below is one such letter, and we feel we should share with our readers and guests. Mr. Abcede's letter is certainly a personal tribute to Nana Coring Arizala (we forwarded his letter to Amb. Arizala), but it also reflects a day in the life of Infanta long gone.
Dear Mr. Arizala,
It was through your column on the MIF website, that I learned that your mother, Nana Coring, has passed away and I was sorry about that.
The last time I saw her was a few years ago during my vacation (I'm working here in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) in Infanta. She was on her way to the market. I told my mother (Corazon Abcede) as she was passing by and she said, “Mabuti naman at malakas pa si Nana Coring.” By the way, Sir, I am Daniel Abcede, the eldest son of Delfin R. Abcede's five children.
I have vivid memories of your beloved mother. I was about five years old when I first became acquainted with Nana Coring. My Lola Pae (Rafaela Ramirez Abcede) and your mother were friends and both were members of Catholic Women’s League (CWL). Incidentally, Lola Pae died in March 1979, more than a decade or two before Nana Coring.
Almost everybody in Infanta called your mother Nana Coring, but I used to call her Nana Manang and I guess she liked it because she just laughed every time I called her by that name. I never failed to greet her and take her hand for the "mano” whenever I saw her. She would put her hand on my head and would gently tap it. When she pulled away, I would always shout, “Nana Manang!” and she would look back, wave at me and smile.
Nana Manang walked with grace, her body straight and head held high. On her left hand was her umbrella and a beautiful round basket resting on her right arm. On her feet was a pair of beautifully made “bakya.” She walked briskly, when marketing alone. On her way home from the market, she would hand me some bananas, which I accepted with glee.
I also remember her and my Lola headed to the church every morning to attend the six o’clock Mass, which was sometimes officiated by Fr. Basil, a friend of Lola. My Lola used to bring me to many of the CWL activities, such as the picnics in Kiloloron. It was probably the reason Tita Aring Ramirez, who later married your brother, asked me to join the Legion of Mary despite my very young age.
I will forever treasure those wonderful memories with my Lola Pae and Nana Manang.
Incidentally, I also know your sister Merle, who is very much like your mother. She too often smiled at me whenever she saw me. Imelda eventually became my teacher in English and was class adviser in my first year at Mount Carmel High School. One day in 1967, during our class she asked me to read an article in the newspaper regarding the assignment of Pedro Ramirez as our ambassador to West Germany. Everybody in our class applauded after I finished reading and I felt proud. I only knew him as Lolo Pendo, my Lola's younger brother, but I had no idea that he was in the government service because nobody in our family, not even Lola, talked about what he's been doing.
I am very proud, and INFANTA should be proud and honored, to have men like you and Lolo Pendo as "The Ambassadors." Take you so much Sir, for your time and sorry for the inconvenience. May you have a pleasant day with your family. Good luck, good health and God bless.