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How my Melbourne relatives celebrated in Bulacan, Philippines the centenary of matriarch Inang Gorya



By Lutgarda “Lee” Espiritu Pendleton    THE LATE  Norberto Gerona Gonzales from Ligas, Malolos, Bulacan  who was brother of my late grandmother Carmen Gerona Gonzales  was the  patriarch of my three relatives now living in the state  of  Victoria in Australia

Norberto’s wife  Gregoria “Inang Gorya” Sanchez Gonzales who was also from Ligas, Malolos, Bulacan  celebrated her 100th year  last  12 March 2014 at St Agatha’s Resort in Guiguinto, Bulacan.

Nevertheless,  all her three children from Australia   and their families flew from Melbourne, Victoria to celebrate with the ocassion.  

When I first arrived in Australia on March, 1988 I knew that on my mother’s side  I  have some relatives in Melbourne, Australia.

My mother’s cousin Uncle Raff and his wife Arlene were one of the first Filipino immigrant in the early 1970’s who settled in Melbourne, Australia.

 When I  first met my Australian husband in the Philippines and eventually he sponsored me to come to Australia and we got married,  and my relatives from Victoria came over to Sydney and supported me, and  on my wedding day  stood as our  sponsors.

The Gonzales siblings from Malolos, Bulacan comprise of  three families. One is Raff & Arlene Valencia Gonzales from North Eltham, Victoria, Medy & Vic Valencia from Tarneit,Victoria and Pablo “Pabs”  & Elizabeth Flores Gonzales from North Vermont, Victoria.

Although my husband and I and our children eventually lived in far away Bundaberg in Queensland, I was able to keep track of  the lives of my Melburnian relatives.

Their children all grew up in their adopted Australian state of Victoria and well over finished their studies and have their respective career and some of them have their own families.

Victoria Raff & Arlene and their family children and grandchildren, Medy & Vic Valencia with their son Rodney and Pabs and Elizabeth Gonzales with their daughter Giselle, Allan and Andrei together with the rest of the other brothers and sister in the Philippines have a family reunion and celebrated with the rest of all the family and friends from the Philippines and some from overseas.

Despite the challenges and the hassles, this old tradition of going home seeing each other in family reunion  is treasured so much and held deeply in the hearts of Filipinos. which is held  usually in such grand occasion as a matriarch’s centenary, compelling even those who had been away for many years  to go home and see the Philippines.

This importnant family event usually coincides   with  milestones such as the matriarch turning 100 years , or the wedding of  another relative.