Remembering My Father, NENE AMBOS

3:05 AM

Born on November 6, 1935 to Jose Valdezco Gaudinez Sr. and Antipaz de Leon, my father was christened Jose de Leon Gaudinez Jr. Deprived of his mother's care at a very young age due to her early demise, he grew up wise to the ways of the world like the typical "Batang Quiapo" yet maintained a semblance of aristocracy about him that probably came from the upbringing of his aunt, Anacleta.

He prefers quality in his clothes, shoes and other personal belongings, going for brand names such as Montagut, Bally and Rolex but is equally comfortable in "korto" which is very similar to the walking shorts and "bakya" or wooden clogs commonly used for marketing. Let us just say that he experienced the best of both worlds, just like the business that got permanently associated with him.

AMBOS MUNDOS RESTAURANT was established by the siblings of his mother. The name translates to Both Worlds or Two Worlds as represented by Spanish and Filipino cuisines. Having no children of their own, the business was passed on to my father and his brothers, Carlos and Luis.

My father got the main establishment directly from Felisa de Leon which was the one located at Estero Cegado Street while his two brothers got one branch each. His brothers eventually chose to close their respective branch restaurants and ventured into other fields. It was only my father who chose to continue. In due time, the name NENE AMBOS stuck to him like glue to paper.

NENE was my father's nickname while AMBOS was the first word of the business that he would treasure so much. His dedication to it was unassailable and used such dedication to provide for the needs of our family which included my mother, Maria and my siblings Emmanuel, Gregorio, Feliciano, Martina, myself and the only grandchild he saw, Daphne.

AMBOS MUNDOS RESTAURANT had to transfer in the 1980s to Pedro Paterno Street in Quiapo for reasons related to the construction of the Light Railway Transit. This is the last legally recognized AMBOS MUNDOS RESTAURANT. It has been passed on to me by my father in the hope that our generation can continue the tradition of passing it on to our own descendants. This part of our story however needs another article to be fully understood.

My father died before reaching the age of 53 due to kidney failure, a complication of his diabetes. By some twist of fate, he spent his dying days still operating AMBOS MUNDOS RESTAURANT but finally passed on quietly to the other life in a house near his youngest brother's. His brother Roberto came just in time.  Without need for words, my father leaned on my shoulders and breathed his last. It was April 20, 1988, the death anniversary of his father, Jose Sr., probably in answer to his pleadings to his Papa to take him and give him rest.

He would have been 75 years old if he was alive today. He was a tower of strength when he was alive. I'll always remember him that way as even in his weakest moments, he showed strength in accepting the inevitable.

My Say

We are who we are today because of our parents.  We seldom think of them as an individual apart from being a parent.  When we try to discover what lies beneath the parenting facet, we will be surprised to discover a human being who has his own thoughts and own feelings which are often relegated to the background for what they see as the higher good of serving the family interest first.

In our home, my father was the "bad cop" in the usual parenting ploy of "good cop - bad cop".  He was the strict one and the scary one but in the same breath, he was the one who attended school meetings, brought us to parties, and fetched us from our school activities while waiting patiently outside however long it took.  He was gone too soon that I wasn't able to say everything that I would have liked to tell him.

That said, I am dedicating this blog to my father, Jose de Leon Gaudinez Jr. in the hope that he can see from wherever he is that his efforts have not been in vain.  His death anniversary April 20, shall henceforth be considered this blog's anniversary.  This is to declare that Nene Ambos passed through this world once like all of us who are just passing thru.


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  1. Your father is indeed a man worth remembering. Reminds me of my father who went to the other life at age 57. Our fathers' memories will always be an inspiration.

  2. He died at a very young age...

  3. your tribute to your father is making me teary eyed here Teresa, having a blog dedicated solely for him shows how much you love and honor him, hope that through this blog, you will find a way to say whatever you may have not told him, I am sure where he is right now, he does read what you have to say. My mom passed away several years ago too, and somehow, whenever I feel sad or in a challenging situation, i would talk to her and it helps address my down emotion. their thoughts and the love they put in our hearts and minds I believe will continue to stay and inspire us, and move us.

    1. We need to appreciate our loved ones NOW. Tomorrow may be too late. Thanks for your comment.


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