Ria loved her stay on the farm!
Ria’s father Andres was a freelance card dealer who traveled around the Philippine islands to fend for his family. When he dealt cards in towns nearby Manila, he would take the entire family with him. As Ria’s siblings got older, Ursula and the children would stay home.
About 1963, when Ria was twelve years old, Andres landed a card-dealing gig in Calbayog City, Samar. Since Ria’s older sister Evelyn had smallpox, Ria accompanied her father on this trip to the island of Samar. Upon arriving, she stayed with her maternal Delos Reyes cousins who lived in Barrio San Joaquin near Calbayog City. Her cousins (Gelacio ‘Lacio’ Franco and Soledad Delos Reyes (Magampo) Luma) had a large farm there which totally sustained them. They raised primarily coconuts (copra, rope, etc.), but also grew sugar cane, guava, and papaya. Ria was a city girl (a “Tagala” from Manila), and she lived on their farm until about 1964 when she then returned home.
While living in the barrio, Ria had to learn to eat grits instead of her beloved rice, learn to speak the native language Waray, and learn how to do farm chores.
In this audio recording, Ria shares some of her funny stories when living and farming in the Barrio San Joaquin. Joining Gregoria in this conversation is her friend Josie Dunn and I.