Luis Jr. and Carolita Daclan, loving parents who worked through many hardships, were able to raise their nine children successfully while instilling in them core values. Eight out of nine children served full-time missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the seven who are now married have been sealed in the temple.
Michael Daclan wanted to share a tribute to his parents during this National Family Week in honor of their successfully raising nine children on a very limited income, providing them with education and a strong work ethic and giving them the principles on which to build their lives, remaining close to their Heavenly Father and being true to themselves and their families. The following is his story together with quotes from two of his siblings:
"During my childhood years, Christmas and New Year’s Eve were the days we looked forward to every year. The main reason was the Christmas and New Year's
Eve meal. Life was so difficult; food on the table at any meal was a miracle. As a child I envied other children who could eat food with chicken or pork in it, who could eat spaghetti or have dessert after a meal, because we could only eat those delicious foods during Christmas and New Year's Eve. Usually, when we asked our mother to buy those foods, she would tell us that we would have those on those two special days and that is why those holidays were the days each of us looked forward to every year. We would often imagine what the food would be.
There was this one Christmas Eve that I will never forget. The morning before Christmas, my mother prepared "champorado,” a kind of porridge made of rice mixed with cocoa powder, for our breakfast. Our mother told us to have a little patience as we were going to have the best food on Christmas Eve.
For our lunch and dinner that day, mother prepared simple food. Finally,Christmas Eve arrived and mother and father placed all the food on the table. We children gathered around the table looking eagerly at all the delicious food placed before our eyes. When 12:00 midnight came, meaning it's already Christmas, we all shouted "Merry Christmas" and then we all bowed our heads as father said the prayer before the meal.
During the prayer we were all holding each of our plates. When my father said “Amen,” and our mother said, “You can now eat,” you can just imagine what the scene was like! We ate as if we had not eaten before; we ate as if there were no tomorrow; our mother ate with us as she was feeding the small ones. We were so happy enjoying the food; we were laughing and joking with each other. Our father was looking at all his children with a smile on his face. I can still feel how happy he was looking at all of us enjoying the food. He made sure that we were all eating and enjoying ourselves. He laughed with us and joked with us.
When my father finally went to the table to eat, there was no food left. I noticed it and was shocked that we had eaten all the food. My father said nothing and went quietly to the kitchen and opened up the rice from the day before. I knew he was looking for food, and all he could find was the left over "champorado" we had had at breakfast that day. He did not complain; he just acted normally like how he always did. He brought his plate with champorado and joined us in the festivities.
Every time Christmas is mentioned, I cannot forget that meal. And every time I remember it, I cannot help but cry."
All of the nine Daclan children have received good educations, are working in good jobs and those who are married are raising wonderful families of their own. Seven have either received Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees. One is currently studying in a college and one is on a mission and will continue studying afterwards. The full time missionary will be studying for a Bachelor of Arts in English at the completion of her mission. Her older brother is studying for his degree at the same time he is teaching violin at the Asian Academy of Music. (Since this article was first published, Marluie has married Jerose Pollicar Espi in the Manila Temple.)
Minerva is the sixth child and served her mission in Hawaii. She related the following:“I still have a vivid memory of when I was in primary and how my father would tell us stories while walking to church every Sunday, because we didn't have money to ride a tricycle. The distance seemed near because of father's stories. I'm grateful for that experience. It was a sacrifice that turned out to be a blessing to us all. It made us humble."
Continuing she said, “One day in 1994, I learned that dreams do come true. I saw two jars full of coins and I knew then why our parents had worked so hard to save those coins; it was so we could afford boat tickets to travel to Manila and there be sealed as a family forever in the temple. Later, Marco, 8 years of age, asked our mother if he was dreaming about riding in a boat going to Manila. Our mother needed to pinch him on the cheek to convince him that we were actually on a ship going to Manila to fulfill our dream -- to be sealed as a family for time and all eternity. As we surrounded the altar in the sealing room in our white clothes, the Spirit was so strong. It was one of the happiest days of my life because I knew that my family would be forever if we remained righteous all the days of our lives. It was also the first time I saw my father cry.”
Michael continues the tribute to his parents with his “little” sister’s experience. Mary Kris, the youngest of the nine children, entered the Missionary Training
Center July 30, 2011 to serve a full time mission for the Church. She will be finished March 4, 2013 and at that time she will return to Cebu to continue her studies (and probably get married as she has a boyfriend waiting for her return).
“I am very blessed to be part of a great family; to have a loving Father and Mother who really did their best to nurture and to provide for both the temporal and spiritual needs of our family, and to have brothers and sisters who really did a great job in being examples to me. Growing up as the youngest in the family, I looked up to my parents and my brothers and sisters and saw them living the gospel. I've seen my parents sacrifice for the family and experienced the blessings we received as they tried to obey and live the gospel. They always reminded us to have family prayers every night and morning and to have family scripture study and attend church as a family.
As our family gets bigger and I have seen my nieces and nephews arriving, I have this feeling of responsibility that I too, must be a good example to these precious children. My desire to go on a mission, however, is not because my brothers and sisters served their missions. I am serving a mission here in Quezon City because I love the Lord and my family, and I have seen the blessings of the gospel and what it brings into our lives, and I want to share this knowledge with those families who need it but don't know where to find it.”
Finally, Michael concluded: "Now that seven of the children are already living on their own with their families, at college and serving a full time mission, the once noisy, messy, topsy-turvy house is very quiet and well arranged. My parents just keep themselves busy. Mother works as a real estate agent and father accepts air-conditioning, refrigerator, and electric fan repair work.
My parents really miss the times when all the children were still in the house; that is why they look forward to the visit of the children and grandchildren every Sunday night. We still continue to have these dinners together, and this may be the legacy that we will be sharing with our future generations-- having a Sunday dinner with mother and father in our old house. All of us children want to continue this tradition so we can reminisce about the old times, the times when we were growing up. We share these stories with our children, but most of the time it is Mother and Father who tell us and our children the stories of our childhood days."