Consuelo “Nana O’o'” Castillo – Awardee 2008
Incredibly strong and alert at age 94, it is easy to discern that Consuelo T. Castillo is a private person who would rather go about her chores than talking about herself but breaks into a laughter when she explains how she got her name O’o’.
As a young girl she was a nanny to a toddler who was learning to talk. As she could not pronounce her name the baby girl endearingly started calling her O’o’. Since then she was fondly called O’o’ by everyone.
Born on April 19, 1914, in Barangay 14, Villanueva St. Laoag City, she is a well known member of the community. At age seven, she attended the Holy Spirit Academy, which was then called Holy Ghost Academy, where she finished the fourth grade and did not continue her schooling after that. In those days formal schooling among girls was not as important as staying home to learn housekeeping skills – cooking, sewing, crocheting, weaving, in preparation for becoming a housewife, and a parent. She was married before he outbreak of World War II so she and her family experienced
the hardships and struggles for survival during the Japanese occupation in the Philippines. They had four children but one boy died. To this day she performs house chores with the energy of a younger person equipped with basic tools doing repairs around the house. Yes, would you believe that today she is still handy with the hammer, saw and bolo!
She does not realize the indelible imprint her contribution is to our Ilocos Norte traditions. The community has some reverence for her for being a spiritual guru who preserved the sacred rituals observed when a member of the community dies. The ancient rituals, practices, prayers, lamentations were passed on to her by her aunt whom she faithfully followed and learned from as a young girl. As soon as a man dies, Nana O’o’ is there starting the rituals, continues to the nineth day after the burial, then into the 6th month until the first year anniversary. Aside from burial rituals she also leads prayers at inaugurations and house blessings. Nana O’o’ preserved this valued tradition memorializing the dead.
With all her dedication in praying for the dead, do you wonder how many souls she helped get through the Pearly Gates!