KALIHI, Oahu (KHNL)- The mystery is solved! A follow up now to a story we first brought you in March, when we went to Guinsaugon, Philippines to document life after a killer mudslide.
We found an envelope addressed to a Hawaii man. Who is he? Who did he know in the Philippines? In our search for the answer- we got way more than we bargained for.
This landslide leveled a village of 900 people. In the debris, we found an envelope, addressed to 1425 Kaumuali'i Street in Kalihi, to Avelino Ragundiaz. When we returned home to Hawaii, we tracked him down.
When we showed him what we found, he was shocked. "I'm about to cry," says the soft spoken man. "Where is the content of this?"
We found no letter. But apparently there were others, which Ragundiaz brought out of his bedroom. They're all sent by Josephine Omela- his mistress of 18 years. "I'm lonely and I cannot go to sleep at night since this happened. I cannot go to sleep," sighs Ragundiaz.
That's right, we said mistress. And in the same room with us that day was his wife. Ragundiaz explains how the illicit affair began. "I kept it so secret so we didn't have a relationship until they found out and they traced the place where my second wife was located at."
First wife Conception Ragundiaz only smiles now, but recalls the early years. "At first I was angry. I told him to get out and go to his mistress. But then he did not want to go. So we still stayed together and I just endured the pain of being the wife knowing that he's got a mistress."
He had 4 children with Josephine. 2 died in the landslide. The two others the survived live with relatives in Manila. Ragundiaz says, "There were times I could not go to sleep. She was always on my mind, and still is. The 2 kids are the ones I'm concerned with."
He pulls a photo out of his wallet to show us his second family. They are never far from his thoughts. Little Jolina was his favorite.
Conception leans over to see the photos, and starts crying. She misses them, too. "I had struggled with my relationship with my husband. Through it all I still loved him and I had considered his children my children."
Why did Conception accept his second family? "I did not have hard feelings of her becoming the second love of my husband. I gave her money to come to Manila so we could have a reunion and see everybody. I thought there's nothing I can do but go on with my relationship with my husband."
For years, Conception raised children who weren't even her own, while Avelino juggled two relationships. All the children called her "Mother."
It's a story that sounds incredible to most. How could she do something so magnanimous? For the answer, Conception looks down at her wedding ring, scratched and faded from time. She says she took her vows for better or for worse, and she meant it.
Ragundiaz saw his mistress last year. And you may not know this, but mistresses are actually more socially acceptable in the Philippines than they are in America.
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