LIFE HISTORY OF ROMUALDO M. ALMEDA
My name is Romuualdo Morales Almeda. I was born in the town of Binan Laguna, Philippines in the year of our our Lord 7th February nineteen hundred and eighteen.
My father's name was Isabelo Ponce Almeda, a Policeman when I was born. My mother's name was Alejandra Bernarda Gerarda Guico Morales, was also a native of Binan Laguna. She's a plain housewife and raised me as their first born. When I was a year old my family left our hometown for Manila, 37 kilometers from our hometown to find a new horizon for the family.
In Tondo, a district in Manila we lived in a house owned by my Uncle who was the older brother of my father , and who owned horses and calesas (horse buggy) as their means of their livelihood. During that time calesas were the only means of transportation in the City. My father was a helper in his brother's business, and received monthly income. Years passed by, with the help of my mother's inheritance from her deceased parents, received a parcel of land and was able to mortgaged it, and were able to buy calesas and horses, our own business.
Years passed, my mother gave birth to a baby boy who died in his infancy. Then the third one also died in infancy, then Restituto who died during the war. Then came Gliceria and Celso.
During the thirties, I had my schooling and finished my elementary and intermediate in Tondo Manila. During those years I was a great help to the family business, because I helped my father in cleaning the horses and stables. Sometimes I have to drive those calesas to earned money for school. But bad luck strucked the family business. Horses died one after the other and lost everything. That tragedy strickened me that made me stop going to school. With this lost the family moved out of the area and lived in Grace Park in Caloocan, a City three kilometers from Tondo, Manila. At that time I was able to work at Ang Tibay, a shoe factory, receiving a daily wage of fifty centavos.
Years had passed, I was called for training in the Philippine Army for six months. I was twenty years old then. Three years after, I was enlisted in the American Army here at Fort William Mckinley, an American base located in Makati, Philippines. The war broke out on December 8th, 1941. All Military bases were bomb by the Japanese invading armies. From Mckinley, our forces retreated in the jungle of Bataan and Corrigidor. After four months of heavy fighting and lack of food, Bataan surrendered in April 9th, 1942. Next day our American Officers ordered us to surrender or escape if we can. I have decided to escape from the well known "Bataan Death March" and fortunately I was able to join the civilian population who retreated with the American Philippine Army in the jungle of Bataan during the fighting, until we reached the town of Orani, Bataan where the civilians were gathered together by the Japanese Army and at that time I was already in civilian clothes and able to flee and ride the Banca (small boat) crossing Manila Bay.
At that time we were able to reached the Barrio of San Agustin, Hagonoy Bulacan. People that lived there are very kind and good to us. They gave us food to eat.
The following day, I prepared to leave the place and traveled back to Manila to look for my family. I reached the house of my uncle in Tondo, where I have known that my parents evacuated during the early part of the war. I stayed in my uncles home for a few days to rest. Then I left the next day and proceed to find my family in Binan Laguna. It was a happy ending, my parents were very happy to see me alive. Then we all returned back to Manila after a few days.
Life was really hard during the Japanese occupation. In Manila, many people died in the streets for luck of food to eat.
In 1945 the Americans came headed by General McArthur and liberated the Philippines. I have to report to the Military Control and joined the Army until I was discharged on June 30. 1946 under the convenient of the Government of America.
When I was still in the Army during the Liberation, I met Bibiana Jarmin and married her on February14, 1946.
In my civilian life I was able to get my GI Bill of Rights, an educational benefit. So, I took up a vocational course only and became a taylor. With the pay that I received and the back pay from the Army, I was able to built our first house in Tondo, Manila.
With the money from the tailoring, I built a small shop in my house. On March 1, 1948 our first child was born. We named her Amelia. On April 17, 1949 our second daughter was born. We named her Iluminada. Then our third child was born on November 8, 1951. We were very happy and lucky to finally have a son. We named him Manuel. On August 19, 1953 we were blessed to have another daughter. We named her Natividad. Time passed by another blessing came to our life, another daughter. We named her Herminia.
In 1960, we sold our house and bought a piece of land in Makati a suburb of Manila. We built our second home and raised our children there. Through the money I earned from my tailoring and being a security guard I was able to send our children to school.
Life is like a big wheel, sometimes your at the top and sometimes you are at the bottom. All the hardship and trials that we have encountered were all gone, when one day in 1968 without my knowledge my wife (your mother) met two American missionaries. They have been coming back in our home twice, but was not able to see me. Then these two American set another appointment with my wife. So, this things were told to me later on by your mother when I got home from work. So the next day of the appointment, I waited for them and when they came they introduced themselves as Elder Ellgren and Elder Day missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We were very happy and excited to know that there is only one true church upon this earth today. For two months of teaching us and learning the gospel we were baptized on January 21, 1968, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, Makati Philippines.
On April 28th, 1969 we were blessed again with another daughter Imelda (named after Imelda Marcos, the wife of the President of the Philippines).
During our membership in this Church, an authority from the Church came to the Philippines. The Church offered college education to many Filipino members of the Church. They were given the privilege to study at the Church College of Hawaii (now Brigham Young University). Our son Manuel was one of the people that was fortunate to study abroad. Manuel was able to find good future and married to a wonderful girl named Sherrie Lynn Kofford. Manuel and Sherrie were married and were sealed in the Hawaii Temple. Later on, Manuel joined the US Airforce and served for 22 years and retired from there.
Then after seven years, my daughter Amelia married Ralph Ingalls on October 1977 and settled in Umatilla Oregon and they were sealed in Idaho Falls Temple.
On April 30, 1978, I retired from my work as a security guard in the Philippines. In July 1978 Manuel and Sherrie petitioned me as an immigrant to the promised land which is America.
Here in America I continued to work at JR Simplot Co. as a painter for 15 years and retired in 1995.
In 1984, my daughter Natividad married William Sherman at the Seattle Washington Temple.
In 2000, Imelda married Troy Haugen at the Portland Oregon Temple.
I am very grateful to the Lord for the blessings He bestowed to my family. Now my family has grown. I have eight grandchildren. To name them: Jeremy Almeda, Jon Almeda who married Heather Gilson, Kaniela Ingalls, James Ingalls who married Angela Marrocco, Matthew Sherman, Michael Sherman, Madisen Haugen and Hayden Haugen. The great grandchildren are Kaniela's son Nole, James son Coltyns and another one on the way.
There was a saying, if you encountered hardship in life from the past, there will also be happiness in the near future. I believed that promised as given to us by the Lord, mentioned in the Book of Mormon:
Alma 36: 3
And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their atrust in God shall be supported in their btrials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be clifted up at the last day.
Arrangements under the direction of Gateway Little Chapel of the Chimes, Portland, OR.