GALS is Graciano Altre Lopez Sr. He is the husband of Diding (Mang). He is the father of Vic, Jun, Belle, Miriam, Madge, Angie & Jim. He is the grandfather of Miguel Franco, Maria Kathrina, Jonathan Mark, Cristopher Jason, Ana Celina, Mark Anthony, Valerie Ann, Talitha Karisse, Viella Mae, Paul Michael, Paula Therese, Holy Ann, Janna Mariz, Allen David, Juan Mikhail +, Chrissie Ann, Patricia Nicole, Kiefer Jan, Maro Luiz, Jesper Ryan and Atom.
He died on February 14, 2000 due to heart ailment. We call him PAPA or Papa Lolo and everyone else called him Noning.
Papa Noning is G.A.L.S. and it is not mere acronym of his name for us, but happiness, love and togetherness because that is what he shared and taught when he was still with us.
Almost all of my happy childhood memories were spent with my cousins from the maternal side, and all gratitude I give to our lolo Papa. “Basta bigyan niyo ako ng maraming apo,” those were Papa’s words as he blessed the weddings of all his children.
I remember having many overnight stays with my cousins at my grandparents’ house in Mandaluyong. Good thing our home is just a few blocks away but my cousins who live in Navotas, Muntinlupa, Makati, Pasig, and Cainta were all personally fetched by Papa. How fond of and loving he was to us.
During summer, the whole family traveled to Aloleng in Agno, Pangasinan to stay at our Papa and Mang’s vacation house. We frolicked in the beach, ran around the grassland, climbed up the tree house Papa made for us, picked mangoes and chicos, and made campfires. Because of these bonding moments, my cousins and I have been like siblings who are really close to each other, up until now.
Papa was a survivor. He faced a lot of accidents, from minor accidents like falling down the ladder, to major ones like a vehicular accident, and serious burns from a fire accident; but he bravely overcame all these and continued on with his life. Now that I think about it, it was through Papa where I witnessed the real meaning of the quote “Life must go on”.