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My Mom, Corazon de Jesus Obligacion was born on July 19, 1918. She married my Dad, Irineo (Bill) Obligacion, Jr. in January 22, 1941. They had five children Bong born in 1942; Coralis born in 1947; Myrna in 1948; Cleotilde in 1950 and me Irene in 1954.
Corazon passed away last July 2, 2011.
In 1936, after studying in Centro Escolar University, Corazon studied Beauty Culture at the Realistic School (which during that time was one of the best beauty schools in the country). During the Japanese occupation, my parents with my brother Bong hid in the mountains as part of the Guerilla movement together with the Roces brothers and family. Can you imagine the hardship that Corazon endured trying to make a family life, cooking, washing, taking care of a baby and at the same time always aware that the Japanese soldiers could hit them anytime. When the family finally came down to Manila, Corazon began cutting,curling the hair of her neighbours. Word got around and before she knew it, Japanese women, wives of Japanese soldiers and officers came to her for beauty services.
After the war, my parents ventured into several small businesses like beauty parlor, crayola (crayon making), mannequin production and finally they put up Oriental Machineries in Evangelista Street, Quiapo, Manila. The company sold gas engines and agricultural equipment. Before going into the crayon business, Corazon had to study the art of mixing colors in a laboratory with a chemist from the University of Sto. Tomas. When they went into the engine business, Corazon didn't know anything about how to operate and sell engines. But, she was a resourceful woman. She studied how the engines work and demonstrated it to buyers.
Throughout the years, I saw how my Mom would always serve the family first. She would take care of my Dad's food, his clothes. When he gets sick, my Mom would not leave his side. If any of us children got sick, Mom would stay up all night just to make sure we were alright. And when we all got married, she treated all her "apos" with the same love, care and concern she showered on us her children.
My mother Corazon and her children (from left to right) Coralis, me, Bong, and Myrna.
About six years ago, my Mom had an accident, she broke her left hip and had to undergo an operation to insert a titanium brace in her hip. She had difficulty standing up and walking even during therapy. She has been wheel chair bound since then.
Even if my Mom can't walk, every time we go home, she would ask my husband Dante and my son John if we already ate. If she finds out that I am sick. She would try to massage my head even if her hands are painful due to arthritis problems. She would always remind me to rest, get enough sleep and not work too hard.
Corazon may look small and fragile, but underneath that, is a woman who survived World War II as a wife of a Guerilla member. Corazon was a beautician, crayola maker, mannequin producer, a self taught gas engine entrepreneur. A wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother who showed us strength when we needed it and gave us love each and everyday of our lives.
This is my tribute to Corazon, I am so proud to be your daughter.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of HerWord or BusinessWorld.
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