My grandfather was from an illustrious family in Cavite. Back then I was old enough to appreciate lineage and social rankings from visible trappings that could be considered as coming from the affluent gentry.
According to my grandmother, Lolo Siso, in his youth had good looks and cut a dashing figure. He impressed the local lasses as he pedaled about town on the first and only bicycle in the town of Rosario then. He was a gregarious sort and had a roguish casualness in his demeanor that made the ladies vulnerable to his flirtations. He had an eager interest on the goings on in town and was quick to speak up to anyone who cared to listen to his political views and opinion of things generally.
(for correction...he was town mayor of Rosario after the war and some years before the war) At the time of the war he was the town mayor but because it was a military occupation he did not have much to do with the real running of the affairs of the town. Much of the administrative responsibilities were with the Japanese military officials. He was very much a figurehead and was used by the Japanese officers as a mouthpiece to convey their messages and orders to the barrio residents.
After the war we heard stories of our grandfather’s heroic acts that everybody thought was not believable because he had not shown any spunk in all the years that the Japanese were around. He kowtowed to the Japanese just like everybody else in town. As the stories went he helped the resistance by ushering and assisting them in their nighttime passage through town as they went about their raids in the bigger towns north of Rosario that led to the capital of the province. He played the role of a meek and obedient local leader to stay tyrannical abuse and to keep the peace in the town. This also made him less suspect of involvement in resistance activities.
Apart from being a small town politician my grandfather was an optician. Finding Manila too crowded, he tried to establish an optical business in Davao that prospered for a while but closed down when he became too old for the practice. He went back to Manila with a son, Boy, whom we could not call “Tio” because he was younger than most of his nephews and nieces. While it miffed my mom for some time my grandmother was more forgiving and was quick to accept him in the family.
Boy “Davao”, as we called him to differentiate him from our cousin Boy “Pikong”, joined the Armed Forces and was pursuing a successful military career, which ended with the ouster of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Boy “Davao” was in training at Fort Benning in the US when the EDSA revolution happened. Being identified with the Marcos regime he was not assured of a pleasant welcome in the Philippines. He sought political asylum and was able to stay in the US where he raised his then young family.