Discovering The Lucino Roots of Panaon Island, Southern Leyte.
The story begins in Leyte. The Lucino Dynasty does not hail originally from Bohol, but are actually native to the lush green of Leyte Province. During my self-awaking experience in the summer of 2010, I was able to visit , for the first time in my life, the native land of my paternal grandmother and paternal grandfather. Both of my father's parents were from Southern Leyte: Padre Burgos and Pintuyan. The trip to Southern Leyte was coordinated via permission from my father and my aunt (both of whom are in the USA) as well as with the help of my Auntie Wella, Uncles Roger and Ray, cousin Jing and a family member, Aurora.
The journey to visit Southern Leyte required our travel by barge from the port in Ubay, which took us to the port in Maasin, Southern Leyte. From Maasin, we drove our Isuzu Crosswind through the towns of Sogod, Bato, Padre Burgos and then ultimately to Panaon Island, which took us directly to the home region of my late grandfather, Anhing Papa Titing.
That night , after arriving to Maasin, my aunts and uncles coordinated a family reunion with the Ebuenga Family, the family that my paternal grandmother came from. For the first time in my life, I was able to meet my grand uncles, distant aunts and uncles, and cousins. All of whom shared with me the memories, beautiful and tearful, of my late grandmother and my late grandfather, of my father's childhood and the experiences that they had regarding the old days. The eyes of my grand uncle, my grandmother's younger brother, kept on focusing at me during the dinner table. He reiterated time and time again, "Rico ka kaayo! Dong, Rico kaayo!" Apparently I bore strict resemblance to my father, whose nickname is "RICO". Pinangga kaayo diay si Daddy sa side ni Mama Luz (my grandmother)!.
The next day, we woke up early in the morning and drove to Panaon Island. The ancestral land of the Lucino Dynasty. The major town in Panaon Island is Panaon, and Pintuyan Town. There is a barangay in Pintuyan Town called "Catbawan". This town is populated with Lucinos, hundreds of my fellow clan mates. Then there is also another family there whom I have blood relation, the Estrella clan.
I felt so much at home in Pintuyan. Tho I never visited the place before, it felt as if i was there before, as if i walked the streets, smelled the fires at night, and saw the sunrises and sunsets here hundreds of times. There was a strong, powerful sense of 'belonging' there. That following day I also met with the local town officials in Pintuyan. The current mayor of the town is an Estrella, a relative of ours. The previous mayor was Mayor Lucino, and before him, was Mayor Cipriano Lucino (my grandfather's 1st degree cousin). I was able to see the newly built hospital , the newly restored St. Michael Church, the rebuilt (and enlarged) Pintuyan Elementary and High School, and the growing docks. All of which were infrastructural projects by my Lolo Lolong (Mayor Cipriano Lucino). I was impressed.
After all was said and done, I made my way, with assistance from my Tita Magda, the daughter of my late Lolo Piles (Felix Lucino, the older brother of my grandfather), to visit the cemetary in Pintuyan. There I was able to visit the grave of my great-grandfather, the late Mr. Bernardo Lucino. Ning bisita intawn ijang Apo sa Sungay nija.
As Tita Magda assisted me in prayer and in lighting the candles for his memory, a strong gush of cool wind blew and stroked my face. Ever so softly.
Tita Magda said to me, "Na lipay imuhang lolo nga ning bisita ka nija, Dong. Lipay to sija nga wa siya kalimtan sa iyang apo sa sungay..."
She was crying when she said this to me. And tears came down my eyes...as well.
It was hard for me to leave Leyte in that trip; as I so wanted to stay longer. Someday, God-willing, I will be able to visit and explore Leyte further.
The pictures I will post are of Panaon Island and Liloan Bridge. This was taken as I was leaving to go back to Bohol. Early in the morning.