Two Negrenses Meet In Manila - A Love Story from the 1960s


I never really knew how my parents met until I was 17 years old.  I was in the UP College of Architecture when I had a classmate who said she also grew up in Bacolod, though I could not remember seeing her in the early years, given that Bacolod was a small town and that people would usually bump into each other in church or at birthday parties.

One time, I asked my mom if she had known this family name of my classmate and she quickly said without batting an eyelash, "Yes, she's the daughter of your Tita Manon, the one who introduced me to your dad".

I was thinking to myself, "How small could the world be?". 

My mom, loved to write things.  But I hardly came across this note she made about meeting my dad in 1965.   She wrote, "Our first meeting was at the office of Robert Borja, where Manon Campos and I were working in his furniture business as interior designers.   That evening Manon and I went with Larry to see Billy Abueva's latest works in sculpture at his home in Diliman, Quezon City.  Also there were Jerry and Virgie Navarro, Robert Borja and of course, the host and hostess, Mr. & Mrs. Abueva".


Billy Abueva as we know became National Artist for sculpture many years after, while Jerry Navarro became National Artist for painting.

Art was the invisible yet highly palpable bond between my mom and dad.  My mom was an interior designer who went to school at the New York School of Interior Design with Tita Manon.  That was after Tita Manon had studied under my dad at the University of Santo Tomas College of Fine Arts.


Mom and Tita Manon in the US


My dad, well, he was this art professor by day but ad agency creature by night.  He lived and breathed art.  He was a scholar of the Spanish government in the early 1950s to Spain together with two other National Artists in the making, Cesar Legaspi and Arturo Luz, to study at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid.


My Dad worked as one of those original advertising guys of the 1950s and 1960s


Interestingly, my mom's family name, Ramos, was also my dad's middle name.  Though both had come from Negros, the Ramos of my mom from Bacolod are hardly related to the Ramoses of the south (Kabankalan and Himamaylan). 

I look at their courtship as an interesting one.  On one side was the small town boy coming from Kabankalan, who was very practical in every sense, having seen World War II as a teenager and stood as an elder among his kin when they were orphaned at the onset of the war.

On the other side was this petite lady who grew up in a more ideal environment when compared side by side to my dad's hardships. My dad finished high school in Kabankalan, while my mom was schooled in Assumption in Herran St.  Both were from Negros.  Both had spent time studying abroad.  But destiny had led them to meet in the melting pot of Manila.


They married in 1967 at the St. Peter and Paul Parish in Makati, lived nearby until 1975 and in that year, made a monumental move to relocate to Negros despite my dad's flourishing career in art and advertising in Manila.


Billy Abueva, Jess Aiko, and my dad, Larry Tronco


Through the time they stayed in Negros, many other artist friends came by to see them in their abode.  Billy Abueva came by again, Cesar Legaspi stayed, Malang came by, and my dad's tukayo and compadre, Larry Alcala, eventually settled in Bacolod.  National Artists all.

Their earthly union lasted for 18 years until 1985 when my dad contracted amyloidosis, a rare disease which to date has no cure apart from treatment options focused on relieving symptoms and prolonging life.

My mom,  Joan Ramos Tronco went on to live life as a widow in Bacolod for a good 29 years, looking forward to the day she would be reunited with her love, Larry Tronco.  And in the early morning of February 9, 2014, she left this earth in time for her heavenly Valentine date with Larry, eager to tell him all the stories of their children Joyce, Lloyd, and their spouses and their grandchildren.







The blogger, Lloyd Tronco, is an Artist, Writer, Entrepreneur and Designer.  He is a Negrense based in Metro Manila.






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