Manang Conchang (Conception Valera) was like my older sister. She is Fina’s mother. At an early age of 5, I used to sleep with her, take a bath with her, sit side by side with her in their two-holed toilet, and ate with her almost daily. She was around ten years older than me. Her house was just across the street and her window overlooked the window of our house, which looked like a nipa compared to her house, which was a MANSION!
All dances for famous persons coming from Manila were held in her house, the largest and most beautiful house in Bangued at that time, from the 1920’s to the 1940’s.
Manang Conchang had a younger brother, Manong Sidro (Isidro Valera), who used to ride me on his bicycle around the town plaza. He died young of pneumonia contracted when he went inside their very deep well while it was being cleaned by laborers.
Whenever Mg. Conchang wanted me to escort her, especially when she already had a car, she would just call me up from her window, and I would be running to her house.
During the preparation for a dance in honor of a high government dignitary or VIP in her house, I was there to grind the ice cream. Just to be able to lick some of the leftovers clinging to the ribs of the ice cream mixer, that was enough compensation for me.
Mg. Conchang and Mg. Trining were very close friends. They both went to the Girls High School Department of the Colegio del Segredo Corazon High School. There my other friends were the Vasquez sisters, Bañez sisters, de Leon sisters, and the Valera sisters, our neighbors.
It was in the house of Mg. Conchang where I read magazines like TRUE CONFESSIONS, TRUE ROMANCE, etc. I learned how to play on her piano before I left Bangued.