Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dr. Asela B. Franco

I had not thought about my grand-aunt Dr. Asela B. Franco in a long time. I must admit that my interest in finding out more about her was sparked only because I became curious about my ancestry after seeing some episodes of “Who Do You Think You Are?” an American genealogy documentary series that features a celebrity on a quest to trace his or her family tree.

I checked out but got discouraged by the fees (I’m a work-from-home mom on a budget) so I decided to search using Google and started with the names of relatives on the family plot at the cemetery in Cebu. I came up blank except for one.

Dr. Asela B. Franco is the older, half-sister of Edergisto “Eder” Teafilo Rodriguez, my grandfather on my mother’s side. I do not know her middle name. I do not recall having any interaction with her, but maybe that was because I was too young. I don’t even know when she died.

My mother, Evelyn Rodriguez Luab, says Asela or Lola (grandmother) Ilang was a rural doctor practicing pediatrics in Lapu-Lapu City, although she was more widely known for her interest in and expertise on shells. “She would go to Japan to buy shells,” my mom recalls.

This would explain why I grew up knowing her only as the owner of the shell collection that Socorro Rodriguez or Lola Bebing, my grandfather’s sister, housed in her basement.  I particularly remember the heart-shaped ones (Corculum cardissa or the heart cockle) that Lola Bebing matched and tied with twine and the one I called “angel wings” because they were white and shaped like, yes, angel wings.

My mom says that Lola Ilang and Lola Bebing were very close, which would probably explain why the shell collection was with Lola Bebing