Family reunion enriches family roots

With the Escobar Clan Reunion, expect much stronger roots for the family tree!

Cantiveros brothers, from left to right, Ben Escobar Cantiveros, Rod E.Cantiveros, Boy Clarito E. Cantiveros and Jesssie E. Cantiveros

Guadalupe Lopez Escobar and Dalmacio Cantiveros

“Oh my! Relative pala kita, crush pa naman kita!” “Wow, cousin at least we see in person.” “Ikaw, apo ka ni Auntie Conching, you resemble her.”

These were the common dialogues when I attended a family reunion many years ago where I’ve experienced my very first encounter with cousins, relatives, aunties, and uncles. The atmosphere was electric and surprising.

This coming March 2023, our clan, the Escobar’s, in Quezon Province will have a grand Escobar reunion and I am excited to meet my long-lost cousins and relatives!

My mother’s side, the surviving clan members of Guadalupe Lopez Escobar vda. de Cantiveros has never attended the Escobar Clan Reunion. And to make it more exciting to see each other for we never had contact for more than 45 years.

My mother had only one brother, Uncle Pascual Escobar with six children and during our growing years, we were close in many ways. If there would be Lopez Town Patron Fiesta in October, the whole family would be our guests and whenever there is Calauag Town Fiesta in May, we were there to enjoy the food and camaraderie with their family.

The last time we had seen together was when some of Uncle Pascual Escobar’s children were studying in Manila. Then I immigrated to Canada and since then, no more contact. I am the person who seldom sends cards for their birthdays, anniversaries, or even Christmas cards. And whenever I visit Manila, I did not meet them because I could not find them at their new addresses. Sometimes, I would inquire about their whereabouts but always faced a blank wall.

The Escobar Clan in the town of Lopez, Gumaca, Calauag, Guinyangan, and Tagkawayan has stronger roots since our forefathers had been active politically, being pioneers to settle in the various sitios, and had become well-known town officials, even my father and mother were so much involved in politics. Most of them inherited chunks of farm properties, and in our case in Canda Ilaya, Lopez, Quezon, the Escobar farms are fully connected that during my growing years, I wonder how our uncles and auntie would meet together. Our farms are fully connected as Escobar clan properties. We were young and we still remember meeting my uncles and aunties. We never asked questions about who were the other members of the Escobar clan. We never asked about our family tree.

Unaware that there is a root for every family tree, we never tried to start making a family tree record.

Before the pandemic, I went home to visit my family, my brothers, nephews, nieces, and my cousins, but mostly from the 2nd generation of our family. My single mother nurtured eight, four sisters and four brothers, and enjoying our growing years after my father was assassinated for political reasons. And every two years, we had a Cantiveros Clan family reunion.

But there was a vacuum in our celebrations. When can the big Escobar Clan on my mother’s side have a grand reunion? I knew my mother came from a big political family but never had a chance to meet our first cousins and relatives, and I am itching to meet them as we,the four living brothers, ranging from 88 to 77 age brackets, to have an Escobar Clan Reunion would be most sought because we want to meet them before we go “gentle into the night.”

Then, something happened in 2021 when one of my cousins connected me through Facebook! And that was the beginning of our connection through Facebook and almost daily chat in a private way. At last, the silence was broken and the Escobar Clan members started communicating through Facebook. And a plan for a Grand Reunion was presented to the members of the clan, and in early 2022, we started the initial planning. And through this connection, we were able to connect with our first cousins: the two surviving children of my Uncle Pascual Escobar and Auntie Conchi Masaganda: Arcadio Escobar, the second to the youngest, and Lucila M. Escobar, single and the youngest. And excited they are excited to join the Escobar Clan Reunion!

So many private chats went through messenger and lots of stories were told. Most exciting and more stories to be told when we will meet in early February 2023 to discuss the March 11 reunion in detail with other Escobar Clan who are involved in the planning and organizing committee led by Raquel Erandio de Luna, (our host); members consist of Marietta Escobar Depilo, Maria Cristina Escobar Martin, Bella Pacurib, Rodel Pacurib my younger son, Johnny Cantiveros, my brothers Boy Clarito and his wife, Venus Argamosa, Jessie Cantiveros and his wife, Ellen Ramos, Emilyn Ferias, Freddy Pavia, Mhelly Cayanan, William Caniveros, Norie Pavia, Aileen Joy Joy Balmes, Ailene Escobar, Aire Hungo, Chrysler Cantiveros, Lea Cantiveros, Joy Adler, Lucy Escobar, and Virgie Odarbe.

As days are getting closer, enthusiasm is mounting to meet the branches of the Escobar Roots, and with this reunion, for sure, day and night of storytelling as we savour the culinary wonders of our hometown, mostly seafood because our host, Raquel Erandio de Luna, and her family live in Guinyangan, Quezon, a Pacific seafront town where the seafood is in abundance.

What poignant stories to be told when we meet our cousins and relatives face to face?