By Luis G. Dato
Recited during the golden wedding anniversary of Cousin Pablo Iraola Arroyo and Caridad Mirando Iturrios, at the St. Anthony of Padua Parish Catholic Center, Iriga City, June 24, 1970
The family from Totanes descended
Has history made whose chapters have not ended,
It strikes deep roots into the misty past,
Extending branches long as life shall last.
My mother (may the good Lord bless her soul!)
Five aunts, three uncles had, that’s eight in all,
Seven of them made Baao their abode,
The home as well of quite a numerous brood.
Her Aunt Maria chose for home instead
The neighbor-town of Iriga, was wed
To an Arroyo, said by word of mouth,
To have Ilongo forbears way down south.
Arroyo, named Matias, held the helm ·
As Capitan this part of Philip’ s realm,
That was in middle 18th century,
A hundred twenty years, if you ask me,
God blessed her marriage with eight children dear,
And two of them continued to live here
The other six, or five (for one there was,
Romana, whom God called when still a lass)
For domicile chose nearby Baao town.
Which till today claims all of them her own.
And daughter Serafina, to Estrada wed,
And son, Antonio, Iriga they made
Their permanent and lifelong residence,
Both blessed with offspring by kind Providence.
And Serafina had nine children all -
Three lived in Iriga –six heard the call
Of Pili or wherever they would will,
Where to this day reside their children still.
In Iriga, Antonio, too, kept house
And took Iraola for his loving spouse
And from the pair, twelve sons and daughters saw
The light of life, and lived in love and awe
Of God, and ever followed in His ways,
For which they have been favored all their days.
And of the twelve, it’s Pablo who now here
Commemorates a marriage fond and dear,
That lasting more than half a century
Has reared to life prolific progeny -
Eleven sons and daughters, goodly and fair,
Of Nature’s gifts with more than usual share,
Of brain and spirit, form and loveliness,
As is in God His chosen ones to bless.
And then grandchildren, great grandchildren, too,
That are indeed a great delight to view
A pledge of life’s continuing new lease
To which we say, “May this fair tribe increase!”
And so we pause and turn back fifty years
Through life’s vicissitudes of joys and tears,
The tribulations which our mettle show,
The blessings that from God’s great bounty flow.
Arroyo is no doubt a worthy branch
Of a big family whose branches launch
Diverse ramifications far and wide
In Bikol city, town, and countryside,
From far and near, as well from south to north,
Like scions from the tree of life come forth
Fresh leaves that falling leave bloom that stays,
And fade not with the passing of the days.
May God bless you and yours, our cousin dear,
And grant to you a long life free from fear,
May this your golden anniversary
Remind that we are but one family,
One quite distinguished, one to be proud of,
United all by bonds of Christian love,
Its emblem —love of God and home sublime,
The Lord permitting, till the end of time.