Picnic in the Diaspora ca 2001

At Ng Jena's House on Octavia


Prof. Dominador Ibarra Ilio, Sr.

When my father, a retired professor at the University of the Philippines, a poet and writer, was still alive, he would visit me and my brother here in the US every other year, starting when I was in grad school in Urbana-Champaign and in Chicago where I moved for work. In 1988 or thereabouts, my brother, transfered from Sydney, Australia to New York, so my Tatay had to sometimes include New York City in his itinerary.

In 2001, our extended family numbered only three families here in Chicago. We decided to have a picnic at a cousin’s house (the Estrellados) in historic West Dundee, IL, up in the northern suburbs. The Estrellados, at that time, were recent immigrants, although, Rolly, the partriarch, had been here in the US for a number of years before he finally brought his family of 5 pretty daughters (Rinah, Richelle, Rosebelle, Ricah and Ranelle – and of course Ng Inday, his wife, who is my cousin). Another cousin’s family, the Molos (Jena, Glenn and Jarold), live inside the city limits, near O’Hare. I live in the Northside near the lake.

As in any Filipino diaspora gathering … food is the main ingredient of the party – so that’s why I had included this story in the Carinderia. Check out the food that Ng Inday prepared!

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