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Gloria Cadaon Gomez, 93, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother passed away on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 alongside her family in Oakland, CA. Gloria was born in Barrio Esperanza, Umingan, Pangasinan, Philippines on December 24, 1929, and she was the 2nd child of Tranquilino Cadaon and Manuela Fabro Cadaon.
Gloria is survived by her daughter, Myrna Gomez-Stewart. She also had three other children with Bienvenido Gomez (deceased) – a son, Eduardo Gomez Sr. (deceased), daughter Belinda (deceased), and son Percival (stillborn).
Gloria is also survived by her grandchildren, who deeply love and remember her. In the United States, 3 grandchildren: Andrew, Jennifer and Michael, and 5 great-grandchildren (Josiephine, Isabelle, Angelica, Joel/Kipper, and Angelo). Outside the United States, she has 5 grandchildren: Eduardo Jr., May Ann, Mharycar, Edna and Marian and 9 great-grandchildren (Karl Marcus, Alyshia Maxine, Carlyle Zedree, Chaudry Blu, Carhylle Edrilyn, John Carlo, Beluna, Jamille Carleanne, and Janus).
In the Philippines, she is also survived by her youngest sibling Milagros Cadaon Soriao, and her cousins, Zenaida Badua Jardinez and Delia Badua Marzo, loving niece Lillian Cadaon Kwong-Nisperos, nephews Armando and Ruben Saranquin, niece Violy Saranguin-Garcia. Special appreciations to those who took care of her when she would visit the Philippines - Donna Saranquin, Tita “Tating” Soriao, and Josie Kwong.
Nanay (translates as mother in Filipino) grew up in the northern province of Pangasinan, Philippines. The outbreak of war prevented her from finishing school but she loved American movies and thus was able to become fluent in English (read and write) all on her own. As a young woman, she migrated to the capital city of Manila where she met Bienvenido Gomez, whom she had 4 children with. Although times were tough, she was very resourceful and found ways to sustain her family by selling produce at the local market and washing and ironing clothes for the wealthier families, enduring a lot of sacrifices. She turned nights into days ensuring that their basic needs were met, making sure that her son and daughter did not neglect their studies.
Nanay was a hard worker and always wanted to contribute in some way. In the late 1970’s and 1980’s, she found meaning in caring for her grandchildren. She had a little home market to help with expenses. She was very systematic and organized, which showed in how she cared for her grandchildren. She would lay their ironed uniforms out the day before, wake up before daylight to prepare their breakfast, and walk them to school with umbrellas in tow to shelter them from the scorching heat. Even though money was scarce, she would make sure each grandkid’s birthday was celebrated festively.
When her daughter Myrna immigrated to the United States to work, she became the lone caregiver for Andrew, Jennifer and Michael. When the three children left for the United States to be with their mother, Nanay was heartbroken as these kids were all she knew. But Nanay was everyone’s grandma and she would care for her other grandchildren; including the neighbors’ children.
Nanay would later join her daughter and three grandchildren in the United States in 1990, where she would continue her life-long servitude duties. As the grandchildren grew up, she took on jobs as a caregiver for the elderly. She never forgot about the Philippines. She would send money, birthday cards and letters to all of her relatives and friends, letting them know what her life was like in the U.S. That was no small feat since she had so many relatives and friends. She would also visit the Philippines regularly to see them.
In the early 2000’s, she again would care for two more great-grandchildren, Jennifer’s children, Isabelle, and Kipper so that Jennifer could work. She told her great-grandchildren stories of her unique life in the Philippines. She would wake up early, prepare breakfast, and when they returned, she would be preparing a delicious and very salty Filipino dinner. Kipper was intensely fond of her adobo and menudo.
Nanay was old-school wherein she loved her makeup, hats, and bling (jewelry). She cared for the simple things like making a home-cooked meal and eating together as a family. She loved to cook all of the traditional Filipino dishes and always made sure she cooked pancit (noodles) on birthdays to represent long life. Her signature egg rolls were always in high demand at parties and gatherings such as the church food events. Nanay loved her KFC, especially if there was a coupon. Nanay was very caring and thoughtful. It brought her joy to overfeed you; she was ready to pile on the seconds and thirds. She made sure you had a to-go box as well! Nanay was a devout Catholic and prayer warrior who attended Saint Paschal Baylon in Oakland, CA from 1991-2022. On the flip side, she was also an avid gambler and would have weekly trips to the Indian casinos. She loved the Farmer’s Market in Downtown Oakland on early Friday mornings to shop for fresh vegetables and socialize with friends. At home, she loved to garden, harvest flowers for her altar, and do her puzzle books.
Although we are grieving, let’s find solace in knowing that Nanay lived a long, healthy, and vibrant life. Let’s remember her cooking, singing, laughing, joking, and telling stories, so that her memory can live on forever in our hearts.