why i’m ‘sweetheart’

Growing up in old Lactao, my younger sister was ‘darling’ and I was ‘sweetheart’. My grandpa created this distinction between the 2 girls of Nora. Lolo Noy~ or Grandpa Nic ( short for Nicanor ) called me sweetheart because of this:
Bing Crosby/Georgie Stoll Orchestra

Written by: Leo Friedman/Beth Slater Whitson

Let me call you Sweetheart
I’m in love with you
Let me hear you whisper
That you love me too
Keep the love light glowing
In your eyes so blue
Let me call you Sweetheart
I’m in love with you

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Keep the love light glowing
In your eyes so blue
Let me call you Sweetheart
I’m in love with you

It is a very ancient song and  he used to sing it to my grandma Francing. Grandma was Francisca, Pacquing, Quicay, Kikay, Iska, Frances, and Frannie. I believe I got the curse of having many nicknames from my Lola. Grandpa Noy would sing this to Grandma Quicay, then he would kiss her goodnight and if I ever was in their room~ I was frequently in their room actually~ he would say, " and goodnight to you as well, sweetheart." You can imagine how this ritual thrilled me very much. My grandpa was very handsome. It’s his fault that I like tall, very dark and handsome boys. With very charming and easy smiles. Although, I tend to like just very dark and not so tall, but also very handsome. Not all the time. It’s my father’s fault that I sometimes go for the fair skinned ones and except for the one time that

I was attached to someone not dark, not tall, not handsome, not thin, and not fair~ basically~ you would have to picture me ending up with a man like my grandfather.


I’m sentimental at the moment, that’s why I’m writing this. I’m very sad since I suddenly remembered Manong Paolo ( one of the janitors in the very private graduate school that I’m currently enrolled in , the one that I’ll have to come back to this November) asking me before I went on vacation after the summer term:" don’t you have a boyfriend yet, Francis?" The thing with being Filipino is, you tend to have your name sound like a boy’s name if the one saying your name is Visayan.

I wanted to tell Mang Paolo that his question wasn’t a very nice question. But then, this is an old maid’s opinion, so I just replied like this: " Manong naman. I’m in-love with someone I shouldn’t be in-love with. Besides, as the adage goes, can’t buy me love."

Rather, this post is for my grandpa. I feel he isn’t very happy about how his sweetheart doesn’t have a love of her own up to now. Grandpa, they don’t make them like they used to. Not like you.

My grandma was eight years older that grandpa Nic. She used to see him at a jeepney stop. It so happened that Paraluman/Luming, my grandfather’s niece was my grandmother’s student, and he used to borrow Luming’s textbook in order to insert his letters to Quicay inside. Quicay just read the letters but never answered them until one day Noy didn’t appear in the jeepney stop. He didn’t show himself to Quicay for a year, and Quicay fell ill because of this. Grandma prayed to God during that Christmas to show Noy to her again, because she loved him already. After one week, Noy was at the jeepney stop!

One month after, he asked Quicay out to dinner, and Quicay accepted his invitation. But, Tiano~ Quicay’s brother in law~ chose that night to punish Quicay for not making it to her 12:00 midnight curfew. It was raining and Quicay knocked and knocked and knocked on Tiano and Paning’s gate and Tiano just listened to her knocking. During those days, if you didn’t meet your curfew and you were lady, you and the fellow you were out with were good as married.

Grandma found herself accidentally married that night. And Grandma was even the one who asked for Grandpa’s hand in marriage from Lola Raymunda ( Grandpa’s mother ) That night was Feb 22. They didn’t have proper church rights until the birth of their youngest son. I wonder why.

Grandma loved Grandpa very much and she was the one who paid for his tuition when he decided to take up Law. Grandpa’s name will always be in our Supreme Court’s database, along with his Roll number and the date of his Oath Taking. So will my dad’s name~ but that’s another love story.

I like my grandparents love story best of the lot. And I have my grandma’s diary from that year when she didn’t see Grandpa at the jeepney stop. I also have my Mum’s diary from when my father was courting her.

And what of my diary?

I bought one, many years ago. I was 21 and I saw this diary with a lock in delicate pink leather with very white pages. There’s only one entry and I’ve lost it’s key, which is not to say that it hasn’t been left open.

What’s the entry?

Just one line, really. He doesn’t love me anymore.



here’s our other favorite song, grandpa:

bagbagtu, bagbagtu, bagbag-tulambik

tulambawikan, bawikan

bawi kalanay


kalanay, punay.

( malay ko, Lolo. Kung ano ang ibig sabihin ng kanta natin na ito, pero hindi ko ito nililimot)


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