Remembering Josie Joya Baldovino
By JESSICA PAG-IWAYAN
THE BEST GRANDMOTHER Josie Joya Baldovino’s grandchildren will miss her homecooked delicious meals, late night calls with her, and the way she looked after every member of their family
For those who only knew her on the surface, Josie Joya Baldovino will always be known as the sister of National Artist Jose Joya. But for those who knew her well, she was a loving sister, a caring mother and grandmother, and a generous friend. In an intimate conversation with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, her grandchildren Alyssa Rose and Arianna Rita Baldovino shared wonderful memories of their lola.
Born on Dec. 1, 1929, Josie was the second child among four siblings in the Joya household. As her siblings decided to remain single, Josie was the only one who got married and eventually gave birth to three wonderful children. Despite having a family of her own, Josie was the one who looked after the welfare of her siblings.
“Lola is the one who took care of all of us, her siblings, her children, her grandchildren,” says Alyssa. Josie loved to cook. She made sure everyone got nutritious and delicious meals every day. “She made sure we had four variants of meal a day. We got used to having beef, chicken, fish, and vegetables daily,” adds Alyssa.
A lawyer by profession, Josie didn’t pursue a career in this field. Instead, she served as the right hand of her brother Jose Joya who later was declared a National Artist for Visual Arts. “She focused on handling my grandfather’s career, the National Artist Jose Joya.
She became the manager, the assistant,” Alyssa recounts. “Lola was the one who organized lolo’s exhibits, including those
outside the country. She was always by his side. She knew everything, even the materials used in a painting. She shopped for art materials abroad. With a look, lola could distinguish if a painting was authentic or not.”
Aside from helping her brother, Josie was also the vice-president of the V. Mapa High School Alumni Association (batch 1949) and the former president of the Association for the Philippine-China Understanding.
Growing up with her Lola Josie, Alyssa witnessed how generous she was to people around her, something she said she had proudly inherited. “She’s religious and generous. When I was young, we would go to the parlor, to the restaurants, and she would always give a generous tip,” she says.
“And that’s something I’m doing now that I am a grown up. Also, lola always helped those in need. Without a second thought, she would extend a helping hand to everyone.”
Aside from being generous and helpful, Alyssa also said that another great lesson her grandmother taught her was not to be materialistic. “She always taught me not to be greedy. Whenever someone came to us to have a painting authenticated, lola only asked for a small amount as payment,” she says. “She was not into money. She only wanted to help people. We could’ve made money from it, but she chose not to.”
This is something Arianna agrees with. “Lola taught me to always put your family first and be generous to other people,” she says.“She always taught us to help and to give, especially to those who didn’t do us any favors.”
ARTISTIC ENCOUNTER Josie (center) with Rachy Cuna, AA Patawaran, Alyssa, and Eloisa Bernabe
When asked about their fondest memories of Lola Josie, they both said it was the food she would cook and their late night conversations. “Never niya kaming pinakain ng hindi masarap.
Isang request mo lang kahit hirap
siyang magluto, magluluto siya (She never gave us food that wasn’t delicious. If we wanted a specific dish, even though it was already difficult for her to cook, she would still cook). In fact, she still cooked for all of us even at 89 years old,” Alyssa says.
“Every year, she would prepare all our favorite food for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve,” Arianna says. “I always requested for lasagna for my birthday and for Christmas. Therewere times I just craved for it. Hers was the best lasagna ever! Then last Christmas, she told me she wanted to teach me her recipe. I was very excited because I would be able to
make it for myself. At the same time, it also made me a bit sad because I wondered why all of a sudden she wanted to teach me her lasagna recipe. It was the first and last time we made lasagnas together.”
According to Alyssa, Josie’s deteriorating
health was the cause behind her death at
the age of 90. A few years ago, she already had a pace maker. Eventually, she was diagnosed with diabetes.
“When I confined her to the hospital two weeks ago, they found out that her kidney was already failing,” she says. “She needed to have dialysis but she didn’t want to do any procedure that would hurt her. She didn’t want to receive any medical treatment, so we just
brought her home. I will miss our late night calls. She didn’t have a cellphone, she would call me using her landline every night. I will definitely miss that.”