BOOK DESCRIPTION FOR LAURIAT - A CELEBRATION OF FAMILY
Once in a great while, a memoir like "Lauriat - A Celebration of Family" delivers a breath of fresh air because of the lightness of spirit with which it guides the reader through what many often feel are insignificant and ordinary mundane happenings in the life of a large, ordinary middle class family with nine children, a mother who loves to cook, and a father who believes that "tsia si hok" eating is prosperity. But it is in such ordinary things that real gems are hidden, if one knows how to look.
Set in the sixties and the seventies, amidst the colorful environs of downtown Avenida Rizal in Manila, the canvas of life revolves around the Ong family and weaves us through the scenes of school, wet market, kitchen, home, and neighborhood. Local colors are abundant which depict rich cultural tomes of home cooked meals, childhood games, street foods, household help, disciplinary practices, common sense remedies for ailments, and family traditions.
Enriched by the maxims of their Mama and Papa, Lydia and her siblings venture through their studies and their lives buoyed up by a firm resolve to reach for their dreams. Empowered by the support of home with its good food and good cheer, the children felt not pressure but a gentle yet firm push towards their various ends and goals. Training to be responsible early in life goes a long way towards shaping up the person one eventually becomes. This was instilled early on in the children of Mariano and Sion. The siblings, although vastly different in temperaments and aptitudes, never the less experience the cohesiveness of family and grow up with a strong sense of it.
Growing up has its ups and downs, the reader would be amused to witness the unique manner Aling Sion gives out her particular style of discipline. Even here, the humor that attends such sessions does not escape the onlooker.
This book is unique in that it is not saddled by the heavy burden of ancestral history that haunts generations but prefers to look at family life events with neutral eyes and only later to view them within the vaster totality of life. Seen from this vantage point, the seemingly separate and independent series of events never fail to bring one back again and again to the core theme of purpose and goal which Mariano and Sion have managed to successfully bring across to all their children....that life carries hope and limitless possibilities.....and education is the key to all of it.
The much treasured recipes of Aling Sion are given a treatment like no other. And I think Mama would be pleased to share them with those who are interested. Lydia assures you that you would not be disappointed. And for those of you who are curious how we managed to eat chicken at all when we couldn't buy them already dressed, you would be happy to realize how lucky you all are now because the process was not easy at all. And you might not believe it if I tell you that school is enjoyable. But it is. Find out how our parents honed that enthusiasm in us, and in doing so, enabled us to excel in our studies. The lives of Mariano and Sion came to a full completion surrounded by family. As they lived, so they died....surrounded by family. This memoir celebrates them.