Still on the Alberto mansion…
The last time I saw casa alberto was with my friend a few days after the super typhoon ondoy. We heard that it was in pretty bad shape so we decided to pay a visit. When we got there the house was still soaking wet. The whole house smelled like old laundry. In one room, films of fungus started to grow from a pile of documents and furniture.
This marked the end of one of the most historic house in the country. Gerry, the owner, laments that “there’s no money to fix it”. He sold the house to Acuzar of Bataan later on, convinced that the millionaire’s resort project would give the house a new lease in life – in Bagac.
The mad antiquarian in us made us scavenge around the house. Looking for old documents, books and photos we could salvage. We found some interesting ones but decided not to take any.
I felt that someone was there with us, a presence. I don’t know if my friend had the same feeling.
When we were about to leave the room, my friend saw two old passports. The passport of the current owners father, Zoilo and aunt, Pilar. I told him to put those back in the box but before he did, I took a quick look.
We took a photo together with the owner and after a brief conversation about the house we left.
What a strange feeling it was to leave a house knowing you’ll never see again. Only callous people with no love for history allows such transgression against our national heritage without any remorse.
Somethings very, very wrong with us Filipinos.
As we walked away from the house, Pepe and I hardly spoke. He was on a hurry to go back to his family and I was dog tired. So we both walked in a hurried phase towards the national highway which was less than a kilometer away.
I don’t know what happened but I just suddenly stopped walking and started to look at a crowded narrow street on my left. I heard no voice but it felt like I was being led. My mind was telling me to cross – so I did. Pepe followed. I continued walking straight not knowing where I was headed. I was following something I can’t explain (which by the way, is so me).
After walking for about 2-3 minutes we then saw the old Catholic cemetery of Biñan. We both did not know that it was there. At this point I thought to myself why I was led here but there must be something there to see.
Curious, we decided to enter. At this time, sunlight was no longer visible – so, it was not the most comfortable situation. Cemeteries are not among my favorite places to be in especially during night time!
I told Pepe that I’ll check on the old camposanto which appears to date back from the Spanish era. It’s just a few yards away from that small iron gate we entered. My friend then started walking around reading inscriptions on some of the lapidas.
After I was done taking pictures (which were all bad because it’s almost night) Pepe frantically called me to join him.
Turns out that he just found the final resting place of those two people that once traveled with those passports we found inside Casa Alberto.
I couldn’t believe what we just found – was I led by these two people’s spirit to their graves?
One thing I’m sure is that along with the shivers that ran up to my spine, I felt their love for their home that very moment. It was like they wanted us to be there so they could thank us–personally.