Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Other Side of Pres. Carlos P. Garcia

Presidential Family Portrait
President Carlos P. Garcia with his family—daughter Linda Garcia-Campos, son-in-law Fernando Campos, and his wife Leonila cradling their first grandchild, Maria Carla G. Campos.

A lot has been said and written about the long and brilliant political career of Bohol's most illustrious son, Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, but only a few really knew his private persona especially as a husband, as father and as grandfather

FIRST LOVE. FIRST LADY.FIRST FAMILY 

affectionate kiss for the First Lady's cheeks
Leonila "Inday" Dimataga of Opon, Cebu (now Lapu-Lapu City) comes from a family of politicians. 

She finished with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from the University of Santo Tomas. While practicing her profession in Bohol, she met a young lawyer named Carlos P. Garcia.

They were married on May 24, 1933. She became his lucky star for when they married it was the start of his illustrious career as a leader and as statesman. 

Their marital union bore an only child that they named Linda Garcia.

Linda was a grounded and level- headed First Daughter who was close to the Malacanang staff and was accommodating to the Boholanos who always dropped by Malacanang

Linda Garcia & Reynald Gatal show some dance moves 
while the First Couple looks on
The only child of President CPG & First Lady Leonila eventually married Fernando Campos who later on became Undersecretary of Commerce.

They have three children: 

Maria Carla, Rosa Isabel and Jose Carlos.

Here are some of reminiscences on Pres. Garcia as shared by his only grandson, Jose Carlos Garcia Campos:

Did you know that the country's former leader was fond of gardening? “
When my lolo was already out of politics, he would often garden and take care of his wild dogs and pigs. While he went around our place every morning, I’d follow him,” Campos recalls. 
 “That’s why he loved the University of the Philippines in Diliman because of the trees and open spaces. For him, it was the best place to study.”

 “My lolo was a typical Filipino who believed that the best conversations happen over lunch or dinner.”


Playing chess was President Garcia's favorite leisure activity

Pres. Carlos P. Garcia almost always played 
chess with his professor- friends
But Garcia’s favorites were the chess set (which he played with professor friends every night) and the Yamaha grand piano given by the Embassy of Japan. 
“He didn’t play the piano but he would always request ‘Matud Nila’ from guests who knew how to play,” Campos says. 
Pres CPG & the First Lady return from Washington, DC 
via San Francisco & stops for a Honolulu visit
Hickam Air Force Base, 3
0 June 1958, 
INSEPARABLE COUPLE

Campos describes his grandparents as an “inseparable” couple. 

His lolo, Carlos said, was “calm and reserved” who did yoga, breathing and stretching as early as 5 a.m. 

His lola Leonila was the chikadora who ran all the events and parties in the house.

“I was 7 when my Lolo was the president of the Philippines but I didn’t know its significance,” Campos says.

THE POET

Garcia became famous for his poetry in Bohol, where he earned the distinction, “Prince of Visayan Poets” and the “Bard from Bohol.”

His framed masterpiece, “Ang Babayeng Pilipinhon” (The Filipino Woman) can be found at Penthouse A.

Note: Penthouse A at El Jardin del Presidente brings Carlos and Leonila “Inday” Garcia back to life. 

Showcasing the memorabilia of the eighth president of the Philippines and his family, the condominium in QC is the original house of the Garcias, built in 1955.

 It was renovated in 2002.

“He loved to write spiritual and sensual poems in Visayan,” Campos says. “Whenever he would attend a public event, he was always asked to recite a poem before his speech.”

At home, Garcia insisted the first language the young people should learn was Visayan.

“He would always say, ‘You’ll learn Tagalog and English in school but no one will teach you Visayan so I’ll teach you that,” Campos says.

But with visitors, Garcia spoke in English.

He was also fluent in Spanish and Latin.

Every night, he and daughter Linda would read lines from Spanish books or poems.

Garcia’s favorite was the Chilean writer and politician Pablo Neruda.

1960: US President receives then Sen. Marcos & wife Imelda


A Nacionalista, Garcia was close to former president Ferdinand Marcos. 

During the holidays, the Garcias would be invited to the Christmas party and New Year’s toast at Malacañang.

While they partied, my siblings and I would participate in the children’s activities led by the Marcos kids,” Campos says.

Mr. Campos mentioned about the The Carlos Garcia memorabilia which is a legacy for the next generation so that they will know how the former president lived and get a glimpse of his works.  
“Our long-term plan is to build his memorabilia in Bohol, his hometown.His beliefs& ideals came from this place where he grew up, became a teacher, mayor and governor.
The problem is raising the funds for the museum and getting more support from the local government.”  
The museum is slowly coming to life and in fact, it already had its soft opening. Hopefully,everything would be solved by the time we mark the 60th year when Pres. Garcia assumed the presidency and made every Boholano proud.

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Thanks to Rowena C. Burgos of Philippine Daily Inquirer October 12, 2008


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