Elle Marie is the 8th grandchild of my parents. We are five siblings and all of us have kids, between one to three. As my two girls are growing up, my parents are getting older and weaker. Our house is in a barrio about four kilometers away from Cadiz City proper, Negros Occidental. Cadiz City is 62 kilometers north of Bacolod City, the provincial capital.
These two pictures were taken April 2010 or more than two years ago. Elle was 3 1/2 years old then. She had that always smiling, always laughing face, beside Lolo Ben and Lola Consuelo. My parents were relatively healthy that time too, it was nice.
These photos were taken on April 2009 or more than three years ago. My wife, Ella (white shirt) was about three months pregnant at that time for Bien Mary. The girl beside my Mama is my elder sister, Manang Lilibeth and the girl beside Elle is my niece, Lois Oplas, the daughter of my younger brother, Bobong.
Lower photo, Marvien, holding my mother, is Manang Bebeth's only son.
Here, Elle sat on a truck that hauls sucarcane. Also her first experience to hold a sugarcane. And she enjoyed playing with my parents' two dogs.
When we were young, we would enter a sugarcane farm almost anytime we want and get some cane to munch. A sugarcane field was just about 15 meters away from our house.
I got a temporary playmate for Elle in our 2D/2N stay at that time. The two children are real barrio folks, but at least the girl could read some English sentences. But Elle would go out to look for the two dogs and play with them.
Below, upper left photo, with Tita Gemma, the wife of her Tito Bobong, and Lois. The two girls here are my niece, Krizza and Nessa. Their father, our eldest in the family, Manong Nestor, died of prostate cancer more than five years ago due.
Lower photos, with her Tita Bebeth. Manang Bebeth has a flower garden beside our house, Elle enjoyed picking up different flowers from it.
Below, after her Santakrusan parade in Lapaz, Iloilo last May this year, Elle and I crossed the sea and we went again to my parents' house in Cadiz. Elle here posing beside a sugarcane farm. Upper right, Elle posed with Joshua, the son of our helper in Manila, their Ate Cheche. Elle and Joshua are of same age. Here, Elle was playing with a puppy.
Lower photos, Elle tried to help her Lolo Ben tilling a small vegetable plot behind our house. My Papa was planting some tomatoes and other vegetables in these small plots.
Elle seemed to have enjoyed touching the soil that morning. That was several hours before we would go to the airport for our flight back to Manila.
My younger brother, Bobong, the sleeveless guy standing in lower photos. Final photo ops before we boarded the car that would bring us to the airport.
More photos: with Lolo Ben, then Tita Beth and Ate Lois, they brought us to Silay-Bacolod airport for our flight back to Manila. Elle with her weak Lola Consuelo.
The masks are inside the Silay-Bacolod airport, Elle tried one just for fun. The famous annual fiesta in Bacolod is called the Maskara festival, done during October I think.
I told my Mama to hang on as we will visit them again, either this October or December. I will bring along Bien Mary.