Nanay’s full name is Tarcila Bohol Llevado and Tatay is Loreto Esquierdo Llevado, both of whom have many generations of ancestors in Samar.  We lived in the house in Guinob-an that my mother grew up in, which was the house of her mother, my grandmother, Sylvestra, whom we call Inay Sylvestra.

Guinob-an is a coastal village (we call it barangay but sometimes also use the Spanish word barrio, or the English word village) that lies within the municipality of Lawaan in Eastern Samar — directly on the Leyte Gulf.  Bt as soon as you go a few hundred yards from the water there are steep hills covered in coconut trees and thick vegetation which quickly becomes the Philippines’ largest true rainforest — a place of dense vegetation, waterfalls, huge limestone caves, and exotic animals including the Philippine eagle, monkeys, wild hogs, tarsiers, lemurs, flying foxes, and snakes — especially Asian cobras and king cobras.  Ours is a large island surrounded by sparkling waters that teem with marine life, and a vast, largely unpopulated  mountainous, rain forested interior.