Monday, December 13, 2004

:: Mr. Incredible ::

His name was Macario Israel Naval, and he was my grandfather. Born into a family of 14—yes, 14—children, he begot 12 of his own. A Fullbright scholar who finished his AB and Master’s degree in Iowa, he worked as a high school teacher, then became a superintendent of schools, traveling all over the country. He later became the first president of the Philippine Normal University upon its conversion (from Philippine Normal College) to a university.

All twelve of his children—my uncles and aunts—finished college (more or less; one uncle never graduated officially because he went out with his friends when he was supposed to be attending ROTC) and are leading (mostly) happy and stable lives.

It’s an incredible experience belonging to such a large family. Our gatherings are noisy, chaotic, energy-filled. In our biggest reunions, there can be dozens of conversations going on at the same time. Drawing from such a large pool of wisdom, experience and, yes, kookiness can only result in good things.

Most of us in our generation—59 cousins all in all—have fared pretty well so far, due in part to the legacy of my grandfather. He raised his children well, and they in turn passed what they learned on to us. Ours in not a perfect family; far from it. But we have had more than enough blessings over four generations to be thankful for. And it all started with a man named Macario Israel Naval.


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