|Driveway to the Entrance Gate|
|Formerly the front of the house; currently the right side and rear of house|
|Currently the left side and rear of house|
|Driveway to front of house|
|Front of House|
The wooden facade is flanked by the entrance staircase
and the ground floor and second floor kitchen.
Today, we visit Rancho Caridad to enjoy the outdoors and the peace and quiet of a rural setting. Here, we are close to Lolo Ego and Lola Ego, whose remains are in the family chapel.
|The resting place of Lolo Ego and Lola Ego|
My grandmother (Caridad Ongsiaco Gallego or Lola Ego) inherited a modest hacienda of about 600 hectares, which was a combination of second growth forest and swamp land. It was raw and it needed work. As was the custom of the era, men--not women--managed farms in those days. So, Lola Ego may have owned it but Lolo Ego developed and took care of it.
In light of the hard-working reputation of the Ilocanos (who were hauled by the American's to Hawaii to plant pineapple in the 1900's), Lolo Ego (through his brother-in-law, Isidoro Del Prado, who was hired as the encargado or manager of the hacienda) enticed Ilocanos from the Ilocos region (along the typhoon belt and having stony unfertile soil) to plant rice on the farm, which had far superior climatic and soil conditions. According to Dad, Isidoro would bring trucks to the Ilocos region to haul and settle batches upon batches of Ilocanos in Nampicuan. This transpired over a period of 3 to 4 years.
In the late 1940's, Lolo Ego purchased the only high school in town (L. C. Gonzales Memorial High School), which was owned by then incumbent Mayor of Nampicuan, Dr. Jose Baguisi, and, harnessing his extensive experience in the education sector (having been a Secretary of Public Instruction), reinvigorated the same under the banner of Gallego Institute of Agriculture and Industry or GIAI, which served the community of Nampicuan for over 60 years (from the late 1940's to 2011) until Dad donated the school to the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija. The school is now known as St. Pius X Institute of Nampicuan.
Not long after Lolo Ego's pioneering development work at the farm began to bear fruit, institutionalized land-grabbing by government known ostensibly as agrarian reform gained momentum. Henceforth, the rice land owner was doomed. Unlike landowners of export crops (i.e., foreign exchange earners) like coconut, sugar and tobacco, who had larger tracts of land, were generally much wealthier and, not surprisingly, politically too powerful to be touched, the rice land owner produced and sold just that--rice, the most basic commodity and staple crop for local consumption. Rice land was not a source of wealth but a source of livelihood for an agricultural middle-class that was systematically destroyed for refraining to exert their political clout.