It’s not every day that you meet an individual that’s passionate about their heritage. Majority of the owners of ancestral houses grumbles about the cost of conservation and the absence of government backing. Not the case for Ma’am Marietta Go who looks after their heritage house with much care and attention. Theirs is a charming old house built in the 1930’s.
Ma’am Go runs a small sari-sari store in the house’s ground floor which she says doesn’t deliver much but keeps her busy anyway. She’s a proud mother of a unica hija that studied in Manila and now works for a major TV outfit. She’s married to a popular radio DJ. Her mother would visit them during special occasions in Manila but would “think of home after a while.”
The house, built by her parents has undergone continuous repair but much of the old had been retained. You could still see the original woodwork inside, like the solid daragkalin (literally an entire tree bole) that serves as the foundations of the house. “It is not cheap to maintain, my sibling(s) and I dedicate time and funds to maintain it, the way it was when it was built,” say Ma’am Marietta. It’s not an easy thing to do but her family’s committed.
This love for heritage could be traced from her appreciation of their immigrant ancestors history. “Our ancestors had traveled far to reach this place, imagine what that voyage was like?” Asked if she thinks her daughter and grandchildren would keep the house the way it is, “they will, they appreciate this house, even my son-in-law.”
The Go’s of Mogpog are historically linked to the town’s history. They were business pioneers. According to local stories, they were suppliers of a coconut byproduct, a kind of fiber, used by the the Spanish army.
Ma’am Marrieta told me that her father told her so many stories about their family’s past and his recollection of what the town was like when he was younger.
When children are taught to appreciate their heritage they would treasure it for life. They would never part with it. Neither money nor the world could convince them to give it up. For them, toppling their ancestral house down is tantamount to slaying the memory of their ancestors.
I have nothing but admiration for people like Ms. Go and her family. They get it–they understand that for as long as these ancestral houses remains, the past lives on, their ancestors lives on. They’re shining examples of Filipinos who profoundly respects history. They don’t sell out the way others do. Filipinos like them deserves our appreciation and gratitude for sharing with us their heritage—our heritage.
Related article about the town: Moryonan and The Heritage Houses of Mogpog