Lolo & Lola Keni

My favorite old couple.

They’ve been married for 50+ years (just shows how great I am with dates). It was in the twilight of WWII when these two Kapampangans fell in love. My grandpa loved my grandma so much that they contributed eight more people in this earth- my dad being their third offspring.

It was hard during those times to look for a job especially for a guy like my lolo who grew up in Santa Rita and only finished grade 5 and my lola who only reached grade 3. But somehow, married life worked for them. Lolo Cesario Ocampo was a very patient man. He was born with a hammer in his hand and an ability to learn the intricacies of carpentry and construction. Up to his old age, he never stopped planning, working, conceptualizing his latest creation even during his sleep.

His integrity was known to the people in his town. He did not cheat his clients and he wisely spent every centavo for a project given to him. Soon, businessmen came up to him and gave him more business with a very tight budget. But my lolo wound up exceeding their expectations. He got his biggest break when a Chinese businessman gave him a project to build bottling warehouses in exchange of a moderate sum of money and a piece of land in Quezon City.

Shrewdness, the best trait in business, was cruel to well-meaning people. It is really sad that up to this day, we are duped by cost-cutting and other means to enrich the tax-evading elite. From the story that I got from my dad and aunts, they were expecting a fair deal.

The property that my lolo received was a lot located near a cemetery.

But this hardworking Kapampangan remained undaunted. He didn’t complain but instead he continued to build. He put up a house for his family on the lot near deadland and built a store on a property he got from his other dealings. A Mom-&-Pop store named EL PINOY.

Santa Rita townfolk began to recognize my lolo and lola’s achievements. My favorite old couple was able to have their kids finish college. They got an educator, a civil engineer, an architect, a chemical engineer, an actor, and three businesswomen. Eventually, the Ocampo Family got the Model Family Award in Pampanga.

This story has always been told to me whenever I visit my old folks. Now that my lolo was taken to heaven, my Lola Panyang keeps on telling the same story and I’d have to say that I never got tired from hearing it.