My grandmother’s obituary: the tiger from Aringay

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Pacita Dulay Sipin, mother of eleven children, dies at 91

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LOS ANGELES— Pacita “Pacing” Dulay Sipin, mother of 11 children, 37 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren, died on Tuesday, September 11, 2012, at Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center in Harbor City, California. She was 91.

The cause was respiratory failure, her son, Rafael Dulay Sipin, said.

Born on June 14, 1921, in Aringay, La Union, Philippines, to Isidro Dulay and Laureana Pajarillo, Pacita attended the Philippine Normal College in Manila and became a teacher from 1939 to 1941. She was a highly regarded pianist. Even at age 91, she could play Csárdás by Vittorio Monti from memory, which was the first violinist duet she played at a fiesta when she was 16 years old. Her mother and father regarded Pacita as their “lucky charm” after they visited a village fortuneteller, who said she would bring the family much prosperity.

However, after the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in December 1941, her life drastically shifted.

On April 19, 1943, Pacita married Maj. Diego Agbulos Sipin (2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry/Ilocos Regiment) of the US Forces in the Philippines-Northern Luzon (USFIP-NL), and her marriage protected her family during the turbulent years of World War II. Pacita’s relentless and vigilant spirit tied her family together, even when she was captured and tortured by the Imperial Japanese Army while she was pregnant with her first child, Lourdes Sipin Williams. When her husband Diego became a guerilla after the American forces surrendered, Pacita and her family became high targets, and her father, Isidro, was strung to a tree three times to reveal Major Sipin’s whereabouts. Pacita and her father never relented, allowing Major Sipin to capture Bassang Pass from the Japanese forces on June 14, 1945, the day of Pacita gave birth to their first child, Lourdes.

Pacita and her family immigrated to America in 1974–1977 during the fourth and largest Filipino immigration wave thanks to the family reunification preferences of the 1965 Immigration & Nationality Act. Her strength and perseverance is evident during her 38 years of living in the States, where she worked as a teacher, volunteered at many churches, and mothered her growing family. Pacita enjoyed every aspect of life, and her hobbies were diverse and filled with amusement and lightheartedness—she loved singing and teaching praise songs to playing the piano and mahjong.

She is survived by six out of nine siblings and seven out of eleven children, as well as many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren, all of whom live throughout the United States, from California to Nevada to Alabama and Virginia. She was loved by many, and her generosity and love for God increased her burgeoning, extended family. Pacita once told her granddaughter, Melissa, “I am from many and must give to many. The only way I know how to love is to give.”

The following is important memorial information: the Viewing/Funeral Visitation is on Thursday, September 13, 2012, at 3pm–8pm; the Memorial Service is on Friday, September 14, 2012, at 5–9pm; and the Funeral Service is on Saturday, September 15, 2012, at 11am in the Green Hills Mortuary and Memorial Chapel (27501 South Western Avenue, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275), where her husband, brother, daughters, and son are laid to rest.


My family wanted a shorter version for the newspaper… but for my family and friends, I wanted to share this important history on my grandmother. Her life was beautiful, courageous, and she will forever be my muse, my mama, my everything.

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