Mario Estigoy believes that being a father is the best thing. Mario and Irene bore eight children in all-Ched, Mina, Marjun, Marlon, Marvin, Marinel, Goldie, and Maggie. The children remember that when they were small, their father would say that being with his family makes him the happiest man on earth.
They had many regular family events together like having picnics at Rizal Park under the moon and the stars. Being a mining engineer, Mario brought his family along with him in the mining fields. One particular tradition that everyone looks forward to is the family picture taking which happens every five years. The photo is framed nicely and hung on the wall of the Estigoy's residence. The photos tell the story about Estigoy's brood.
The first is a black and white photo. The kids were small and would meekly take their position. The photo taken in the '80s, shows his children, now mostly in their teens, wearing frizzy and spiked hair. Later, they are seen with toddlers on their laps.
Later, the family began to spice up their photo shoots with a theme-summer look, Filipiniana, and recently, a corporate look.
It's also Mario and Irene's 50th wedding anniversary family photo shoot. Now in their 70s, Mario and Irene are stationed at Tayug, Pangasinan where Mario serves as a Baptist minister. It was during a family crisis in the '80s, that Mario and Irene along with their children experienced renewed faith in the Lord.
Their shared personal faith in God bound them closer, supporting each other through the their life's journey. Six of their children are now married and they have 10 grandchildren in all. This time, it became a real challenge to gather the whole brood because Marlon works on Saipan and his wife, Florence, works in the States.
Marinel and her husband Jun work in Canada. The photo shoot became extra special because it was held in a stylishly furnished continental executive room of Linden Suites in Ortigas, Pasig City. The family felt like members of the buena familia of a telenovela. Well, they might not be actually rich and famous but they cannot ask for anything more in life. The overflowing love and joy they share in each other's presence indeed makes them a buena familia in every sense of the word.
Ched Estigoy Arzadon
U.P. Diliman, Philippines