The influence of 3 mothers, part 2By Randell Tiongson on May 11th, 2010
To say that my maternal grandmother Paz Garcia Reyes was a strong woman is an understatement. Long before women were being empowered, my lola was doing many things women of her time would only dream of. Never graduating high school, my lola went on from an elementary teacher and onto a very successful businesswoman, and a giant of her time. Lola Paz’ strongest character is her entrepreneurial spirit.
From trading auto parts in Manila to establishing many other businesses like battery manufacturing, my grandparents help usher the economic renaissance the country was experience after the war. Through her efforts, she was able to help amass substantial wealth that made her financially independent to her very last breath. Another strong trait of my lola was a keen ability to train her children. Despite achieving business success, she did not raise inept and incompetent children like many of her contemporaries did. All her children would be involved in the family enterprise in one way or another and in different capacities. However, she did not restrict the growth of her children even if they were working for her. As soon as her kids are able, she let them go, bless them and watch them establish their own successes – some surpassing what my grandparents established. My grandfather was a politician back when a politico was honorable and the position carried with a lot of respect. Lola was a dutiful wife, never over-stepping her boundaries despite her strong entrepreneurial character and always in the shadows of my more public grandfather. She managed the pressures of being a public figure’s wife, a businesswoman running a huge enterprise and a mother of 7! My mother inherited her fiscal discipline from my grandmother – she frowned upon being in debt and understood that money is not an unlimited resource. She also did not choose to live an extravagant lifestyle like most women of her stature did.
My lola’s greatest legacy was helping her children become successes themselves. I remember her as the strong willed lady that loves her family dearly. I have very fond recollection of my discussions with my lola; she was very intelligent, sensible and despite her advance age, she was still very good with numbers. I lost my grandmother about 10 years after I lost my mother but the lessons I learned from her are still clear as water to me.
… to be continued