Paloma Urquijo Zobel on Lolo Jaime and Lola Bea: ‘They are my constant’

Published September 9, 2018, 8:04 AM

by Patrick Garcia

I know that change is inevitable in life and I think I’ve learned to embrace it as I’ve grown up.

Paloma with her Lolo and her mother Bea Jr.
Paloma with her Lolo and her mother Bea Jr.

We sometimes find ourselves in pockets where we question our pur­pose, our friends, our job and whether our best days are behind us or ahead of us. We go to sleep leaving a day of adventures behind and waking up to face a brand new set of obstacles and challenges, however big or small but never exactly the same. Life is full of change and when it’s good, it’s great, but when life doesn’t cooperate, it’s nice to be able to rely on a constant.

My grandparents have always been my constant. Throughout all the dif­ferent stages of my life, they’ve been there for me. My grandmother taught me about empathy and selflessness from a young age. She would take my cousins and me on her travels around the Philippines to visit the different communities she devoted so much of her life. She helped and empowered communities like the Mangyans of Mindoro, who I have seen treat her like family, as one of their own.

She taught me about courage and resiliency by fighting for every and any cause she believed in. She left her home country when she was young to move to the Philippines for love and adventure.

Paloma and her Lola visited the Mangyans
Paloma and her Lola visited the Mangyans

That love and adventure would lead to more than 60 years of strong marriage, seven children and 24 grand­children. Despite the growing family, Lola was there for me after every eye operation (I’ve had a lot), for every graduation. She is the voice of reason when my mum wouldn’t budge on ex­tending my curfew. By her side is the man who taught me to appreciate and respect tradition, a man who never seizes to inject humor to lighten even the toughest of situations. My Lolo, who has taught me time and time again what it is to be humble, what it is to lead by example and to work hard. A grand­father who makes us appreciate the beauty that surrounds us through his art and the importance of giving back to the country we owe so much to.

Yes, change is inevitable but I feel confident that I can surpass these ob­stacles and challenges by the lessons my grandparents have taught me. I would be lucky if I can grow up to embody even a portion of the character and values my grandparents exemplify. I hope to honor their example in every way that I can.