Saturday, October 27, 2007


While Poling was in high school, his elder brother Abundio, Sr., decided to try his luck in Manila where he studied law at the University of the Philippines while working. Because of the meager income their father earns from farming and his low salary, Abundio Sr., cannot afford to buy law books. His classmates, however, lent him books and even raised funds to help him in his studies until he graduated Bachelor of Laws in UP. After passing the Bar, Abundio Sr., migrated to Negros Occidental upon the prodding of his friend and classmate, Roberto Benedicto, where they formed a law office.

Subsequently, Abundio, Sr., served the provincial government of Negros Occidental where he met Lydia Paculan Rodrigazo in Murcia during the town’s fiesta where Lydia was crowned as Miss Murcia. It was Abundio, Sr., who first danced Lydia. The rest is history. Abundio, Sr. and Lydia got married and it was in Bacolod where their eldest son, Atty. Abundio R. Arrieta Jr., nicknamed “Bunz”, who we used to call Manong Jr., was born. Lydia's father, Agapito Gatuslao Rodrigazo died. Being the eldest brother-in-law of the Rodrigazo sisters, Abundio, Sr. became a big brother to them. When the war broke out in 1942, Elizalde Rodrigazo, the only boy in the Rodrigazo was called to served the Army in Bataan. Without nobody to turn to, the Rodrigazo sisters evacuated to Julita in Libacao, Aklan, where Franklin Arrieta, Abundio Sr.’s second child was born. Poling was again, re-united with his elder brother Abundio Sr., now with the Rodrigazo sisters, among them was Elpha, the younger sister of Lydia.

The Arrieta brothers were the ones who looked after the Rodrigazo sisters during the war.The brothers take turn as watchmen over tree tops watching Japanese forces' movements to warn everybody whenever Japanese soldiers is about to enter Julita. There were times when Poling, who was fond of reading, was so engrossed with what he was reading not knowing that Japanese soldiers already passed-by beneath him. There were also instances when Poling with his elder brother Sulping sneaked into Japanese temporary camps to steal canned goods.

After the liberation, Abundio Sr. and Lydia went back to Bacolod with the Rodrigazo sisters namely: Elma, Nellie, Estella, Elpha, Zenaida and Riza. After graduating from High School, Elma went to Manila to continue her studies where she met Filemon Palero, a native of Quezon. Meanwhile, Lydia gave birth in Bacolod, she was named "Ingrid", the youngest among the siblings of Abundio Z. Arrieta Sr., and Lydia P. Rodrigazo. While Nelie, who was then in college, went to San Carlos, Negros Occidental, to study. Artemio, the elder brother of Poling, on the other hand, enrolled in Silliman University to study law. He later became a University scholar. Artemio and Nelie meet at times and not known to others, Artemio started courting Nelie. While, Estella and Elpha studied in Occidental Negros Institute (ONI). Zenaida and Riza, the youngest of the Rodrigazo sisters, studied in Manila.

After graduating from College, Elpha went to Manila to take-up her masteral degree, where she and Poling, who then was taking-up law at the Far Eastern University, meet once again.

(Inset pictures [from the uppermost]: Lydia Paculan Rodrigazo as Miss Murcia. Abundio Z. Arrieta Sr., and Lydia's marriage. Abundio, Jr. and Franklin Arrieta at Julita, Libacao, Aklan. Franklin Arrieta at the same spot where he and his brother took their picture more than fifty years ago.)

To be continued . . .

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