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Mayor Isko and Nanay Chayong

Isko Moreno
Mayor Isko and Nanay Chayong

THERE are no words enough to describe how saddened we are by the news on the recent passing of Mayor Isko Moreno’s mother, Rosario, better known as ‘Nanay Chayong.’ It came a day after Mayor Kois and his son Joaquin celebrated their birthdays, 46thand 19th, respectively. They were both born October 24.

On October 23 or Friday last week, Mayor Kois was very happy as he made the rounds of several welfare institutions taking care of neglected, unwanted, abandoned and homeless people, mostly children and elderly. It was his advanced birthday celebration and he was joined by his artist-son Joaquin, who also appeared to have enjoyed every moment of it, even gamely dancing with those who prepared dance numbers for him and his dad.

The two birthday celebrators were assisted by Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, social welfare department chief Re Fugoso and the mayor’s right-hand, Weng Santiago, in distributing food packs to the wards.

Before her passing, the mayor spent time with ‘Nanay Chayong’ and then went on an outing with his family for a simple, private, joint birthday celebration for him and Joaquin. The following day, Sunday, she was gone. She succumbed to a lingering illness at age 74.

Unknown to many, Mayor Kois is a doting son and is not ashamed to show his love for his mother. In the absence of cameras or prying eyes, we have seen how he expressed his love for Nanay Chayong.

At his age and stature, he still kisses his mom at every chance he could get and would always lock hands with her. This makes him a rare gem of a son, specially since men are known to be not too good at expressing love specially publicly and that these days, sons and daughters hardly kiss, hug or even bless the hands of their elders once they start approaching teens.

In his speeches, he would share how his mom was very strict as she raised him and pushed him into finishing his studies no matter what, specially when he began eking out a living at a young age to be able to raise money for the household. He never took that strictness against her and in fact, thanks her because otherwise, he may have not been as disciplined as he is today.

When he began scavenging for food at a Jollibee outlet near their makeshift home (they were informal settlers), his mom was not happy about it. Mayor Kois said it took some time before he was able to make his mom accept how decided he was at scavenging.

Mayor Kois prides and considers himself fortunate with the fact that even if they were informal settlers, his mother made him feel loved and guided him in every step of the way, never giving up at any point in their life, up to when they literally hit rock bottom.

Working as a laundrywoman, Mayor Kois narrated how his mother would nearly break her back doing other people’s laundry day in, day out, just to earn a little and buy some pork for him, since he was not fond of eating fish as a young boy.

One time, when he was a lot younger, Mayor Kois got sick of diarrhea. His mom brought him to a public hospital where he was made to share a bed with another patient and put on a dextrose.

Nanay Chayong pleaded with the one guarding the patient, with whom Mayor Kois shared the bed, to look after her son while she tries to produce money for his dextrose.

Mayor Kois said it was the scariest time of his life. As a young boy, he did not understand why his mother had to leave him and was afraid that she might not come back for him anymore.

For years before her demise, Nanay Chayong had been on medicine for an ailment which Mayor Kois kept from her, to keep her from worrying and stressing out about her condition which will not do her any good anyway.

On his inauguration as the 22nd and youngest Mayor of Manila, Moreno was seen holding his mother’s hand tightly, at times even locking hands with her. After being sworn into office, he turned to her and gave her a very tight and tearful hug.

And then in his speech, he again acknowledged the role that his mother played in his life and told her: “Mayor na ang anak mo!”

‘Til the very end, Nanay Chayong’s love for Mayor Kois was there. She waited for his birthday to pass before she finally went.

Though bereft of material wealth, Nanay Chayong raised her only son well and now, the city of Manila and its residents are reaping the benefits. That she saw her son fulfill his dream and become very good at it, Nanay Chayong had lived a full life and knows she can now rest in peace.

I know though, that her passing would leave an irreplaceable vacuum in the life of Mayor Kois as his words during a pre-pandemic tete-a-tete, stated with pouting lips, still ring in my ears— “Alam mo sis, pag nawala nanay ko, ulila na kong lubos.”

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Jokjok (from Georgina Alabastro of Sta. Cruz, Manila) — WIFE: Himala! Ang aga mong umuwi ngayon! Nagsawa ka na ba alak, babae at sugal kasama ng mga tropa mong kagaya mong walang direksyon sa buhay?/ HUSBAND:Sinunod ko lang naman ang utos ng boss ko/WIFE: Abah! Mabuti pa ang boss mo sinusunod mo!/HUSBAND: Oo naman! Sabi nya, “GO TO HELL!!” Kaya eto, umuwi agad ako!!!

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