Thursday, December 31, 2009

Colorful Life Of Marilin Fernandez Arellano

(1960) PWU H.S.
I spent my kindergarten years all the way to 3rd year high school at Maryknoll College. I probably stuck out like a sore thumb when I moved to PWU in my senior year. The move was instigated by my parents and was not my choice. They thought that if I could get accepted into the Bayanihan Dance Troupe, it was a way of keeping me apart from my then-boyfriend. The plan backfired and simply hastened my marriage to Chuckie in Aug.'59. We eloped which was the reason I disappeared from school for awhile. That explains why I remember so little about our senior year. My head was totally up in the clouds and it was difficult to focus. In Nov.'59, I discovered I was pregnant. I recall feeling nauseous during our senior prom and graduation rites.
I had my 1st child, a boy, at age 16, followed by another boy and a girl. However, my oldest son passed away at the age of 6. Raising my 2 other children, Noel and Cherry, took up most of my time. But when Cherry turned 3, I decided to go back to school. I finished my degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Interior Design at UST. I immediately proceeded to set up my own private practice and did residential, commercial, restaurants, hotels, condominiums, offices and other projects. Apart from this, I taught in several Phil. schools- School of Interior Design, Assumption Convent, Maryknoll College and Karilagan School of Interior Design. I attempted to take a master's course at Ateneo - but could not finish it due to the many pressures of work. Occasionally, I served as juror for thesis deliberations at College of the Holy Spirit and La Consolacion College- Bacolod.
My 2 older children, Noel, finished architecture at UP and has an MBA in Construction Mgmnt. from Golden Gate
University. He is married to Loida Lopez and they have a 19 year old son, Budz, currently in his 2nd year at Ateneo taking up Chemistry with Materials Science & Engineering. My daughter, Cherry took up Behavioral Science at Maryknoll and then proceeded to take up Veterinary Medicine at UP. During a sabbatical in Europe, she met her husband Sylvain Mignon in Paris and has lived there since. They have a 4 year old daughter, Samantha who is now in pre-school.
However, my marriage to Chuckie broke up in 1980. I decided to move to the USA in 1983, specifically the Bay Area- San Francisco, Daly City, Pacifica, San Bruno and South San Francisco. I bought a business and at the same time attended classes at San Francisco Academy of Art. I was also a licensed California real estate broker. In 1988, I sold the business and decide to work as a designer for J.C. Penney. I remarried in 1990 and had a "miracle baby" at the ripe young age of 48- a daughter we named Megan Marie. But that marriage didn't work out either. I then decided to come back home for good in 1993 to raise Megan as a single Mom.Upon my return from the USA, I was hired by Rustan's Commercial Corp. as Merchandise Mgr. for its Home Division. Simultaneously, I was appointed to serve the Professional Regulation Commission as Board Examiner for the Board ot Interior Design. I served in that capacity for 8 years. I am still an active member of the Phil. Institute of Interior Designers and a life-time member of the Professional Assn. of Board Examiners.

Megan is on her 2nd year at the University of St. La Salle taking up Hospitality Mgmnt. I have kept busy by involving myself in school activities since Grade 1 to the present. I am currently Vice-Chair of the Parent Teacher Council. I belong to a prayer community and am a member of a Carmelite community group called Lover's of St. Therese. I still do design projects pro-bono. I get invitations to speak on interior design and other related topics before select groups. Gardening is another creative outlet for me. Travelling is something I enjoy which I do when able. Tai-chi is my way of keeping fit.
When we returned from the US, purely out of the goodness and generosity of his heart, Chuckie took it upon himself to care for us. He took Megan in as if she were his own.
It has not been the fairy-tale life I envisioned at 15, but on the whole, life has been good, inspite of the roller coaster ride. The experiences have made me stronger and hopefully a better person. At this stage of my life, my greatest realization is that family is the most important. There is nothing I would take back or change in my life.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009



By Rose Lani Blancaflor Mariano
One of my very good friend from high school is Carole Horilleno. In our group of “lakwatseras” there were five of us, Tessie (Girlie) Rivera, Carole, Belinda Carino, Louella Duran (now deceased), and myself. As Girlie puts it, we have it all in our group. Girlie remaines single, Carole a divorcee, Belinda a single mother, Louella a widower, and I, the happily married one.
My quiet and very private friend Carole got married right after high school graduation, and had a daughter at age 16. Carole married her childhood sweetheart, Egay (Ricardo Crespo) and together they have six children, four daughters and two sons. When Egay decided to leave for the United States to seek greener pasture, Carole was left alone with six very young children to care for. It was a very difficult situation for a young mother. I was one of the very few people who witnessed how Carole hanged on to a ship that was floating in turbulent waters. Amidst all the trials and tribulations, Carole’s strong faith and trust in God was her mighty weapon to overcome them all.
After many years of long separation, Carole and Egay’s long distance relationship ended in a divorce. However, Carole and Egay remained good friends. Their children are all accomplished in their own careers. Three kids are in the United States, and three daughters are in Metro Manila. Carole has 15 grandchildren, the eldest being 30 years old, and she also 3 great grandkids.

Carole is now known as Carole Rasco. To honor her mother, she dropped her last given name and changed it into Rasco, her mother’s surname. Carole is retired, however, she is currently working as a Consultant at the Blaine Elementary School in Chicago.
Carole, Belinda, Girlie, and I continue to be close despite our geographical distances. The four of us have a kind of friendship that will go on forever. Once a friend, always a friend. Carole taught me how to go through life with less anxiety. She is a friend that you could always count on, one who would listen with such care and concern. With Carole there is no holding back. Whether I am up or down or somewhere in between, Carole is one person that I can always relate to. I thank God for my wonderful and beautiful high school friends.

Renita Abary de Gorostiza

Renita Abary of Pagsanjan, Laguna married Mario de Gorostiza of San Pablo City. Her life was irrevocably changed with the untimely deaths of Mario died in 1996 and their son, Virgilio Ariel II, in 1998. Their daughter, Michelle, lifted some of the gloom and made her family proud - she attended Assumption College. Renee graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Nursing from UST and took an MS Nursing degree (candidate) at La Concordia College, majoring in Psychiatric Nursing. She held various and notable positions as:
Human Resource Director of Ambulatory Health Care Services in Skokie, IL.
Nurse Supervisor/Trainor, Makati Health Department
Assistant Dean, Director of Nursing and Charge Nurse at a prestigious hospital in Manila.
Reviewer for the Nursing and Mid-wifery Board Examinations.

Renee committed herself fully to the Nursing profession and that commitment was duly recognized with several local and national awards. In 2006, the Philippine government presented her with Manuel Luis Quezon Lifetime Achievement Award for her selfless dedication and contributions to the Health sector! What a well deserved honor for her, her family, the schools she attended and the organizations she worked with. In addition to her clinical, teaching and administrative posts, she lent her precious time and energy to lead, participate and enliven her Nursing class activities. Renee resides in the outskirts of Chicago, IL.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Friends and Frienship 3rd Series - Lita Ramos

E-TALK FROM EBB: I enjoyed doing this post because I admired Lita Ramos ever since I met her in high school. I was one of her admirers back then. I admired her Filipina beauty and not a "mestiza" type of complexion. I could never forget her expressive eyes and winning smile. Although I haven't seen her since high school, I am happy to know her life through Sari. Sari's frienship with Lita is very inspiring. No one is more qualified to write Lita's bio but her. Sari e-mailed me this...."I would like to include the HS, 1984 and now pictures para makita ang progression ng aging process. In my eyes she still looks pretty - doing better than some of us. "
Carmelita Ramos Katigbak, now Lita Ramos (DOB 11-17-1943) was one of those whose beauty was most admired in HS along with her cousins Hortense Ramos and Betsy Romualdez. She was unaffected then and remains unaffected till now. We used to see Lita practice on campus, where she amassed many “tanga-hanga” by her beauty and graceful dance. Lita and Hana were exceptional dancers, thus chosen to join the first international tour of the Bayanihan Dance Troupe to the Brussels World’s Fair in 1959. Lita was one of the stars and rose to stardom from Slave to Princess in the Singkil dance, a half-time finale in the Bayanihan presentation. Lita also had the lead role in the grand finale, Tinikling.
Lita was at my 18th birthday party and at our town’s Club dance in 1962. Lita could have been the “first daughter-in-law”. Arthur Macapagal, son of then president, was Lita’s date. Around 1964, Lita transferred to UP, was college scholar and completed an AA degree. Not long after, Lita married her lucky beau, Teodoro (Dory) Katigbak in 1965. They produced 4 offspring – Pia, Rissa, Cecile and Giles, who in turn gave them 6 grandchildren. Lita could have remained a home-bound Mom, but did not. She had a business career – started as a sub-contractor for making baby clothes for export by an international clothing company; she later set up and managed Nicolai Stoodley, a clothing store for men and women; and then decided to venture into travel business and managed Jet Tours Travel agency, a joint undertaking with a Japanese firm. It was at that time when Lita was diagnosed with breast cancer and brought closure to her business ventures. Lita survived her breast cancer and is proud to say she is a 28 year cancer survivor.
MONACO (Left photo) VENICE (Right photo)

I was away and living in the US those years, thus had lost touch of Lita till Fall 1984. I found her when she was undergoing treatment in NYC in 1984. It was a timely “discovery” because Lita was recuperating and needed TLC –tender loving care. That was what Fe Ilagan, Lani V Enriquez and I gave her – we all stayed in my West Orange, NJ pad. We went shopping, apple picking, visited Nueva Ecijan friends of Fe, etc. It was during one of those visits that I found out Lita’s Mom was the Belle of the Ball in Gapan (Duke’s Club) & San Antonio, NE. – We believe we were partly responsible for Lita’s recovery – she went home nearly as good as her old self.
Lita is a good mother to her kids. This deep affection is best illustrated in the recent medical affliction of her oldest daughter, Pia. Lita never left Pia’s side through-out the course of treatment. Lita is an exceptional mother, cousin and friend. She would give her time and energy to any family and friend in need. She cared for Betsy, her cousin, who had a debilitating brain tumor during Betsy’s last years in life. Lita volunteered to take care of another cousin, Hortense, here in the U.S. She gave time to Soroptomist upon Fe’s urging. It is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to the needy and underprivileged. She serves as an officer of PWUAA to be supportive of classmates and friends. - Ms Mad Maxx, as Lani & Fe call her, would even find time to take you anywhere you wish to be including the challenging shopping area (168) in Divisoria. I feel very blessed and privileged to be considered a friend of Lita - a kind, very special and selfless person.
PURI'S PERSPECTIVE ON LITA: Lita Ramos is as special to me as she is to Sari and others. she is just a special person. We were classmates from JASMS thru High School with Hana and Cherrie and we travelled together in the 1961 and 1964 world tours and other short tours with the Bayanihan. We are like sisters. We grew up together from kindergarten to Lolahood.She and Cheche are the Ninangs of my firstborn Yvonne. When she's in SFO or San Jose, she and her family stays with me and likewise, whenever I'm in Manila, she's there wherever I am. Loves to drive me around incl Rue de la Div (Divisoria) even though I have access to drivers. She's one of the kindest and tenderest people I know with no enemies. Free spirited, w/ joie de la vivre outlook, she enjoys and savors each moment of each day. Every eligible bachelors were after her. she had a wide variety to pick from. From the richest to the handsomest to the kindest. She had all the options for her picking. Lita is as beautiful inside as she is beautiful outside. A book you can judge by its cover. She is loved by all.

Monday, December 7, 2009


During my session with our Guidance Counselor, I told her I wanted to be a doctor, not out of a long held dream or ardent interest, but because I had an uncle who was one; and since he graduated from UST, I just quite naturally enrolled there, too. Pre-Med which I did in 3 instead of 4 years was generic, except of course for all Math related subjects! Medicine Proper had it's own challenges too. After graduation in 1968, I practised as a Civilian M.D. at Fort Bonifacio Army Station Hosp. and tended to a small clinic at home. I met Romulo of Moncada, Tarlac through his Med.Tech. cousin at the hospital, we married in 1970 and had my daughter Madelene in 1971.

I arrived in Ohio in 1972 under the Exchange Visitors Program, for Internship and 1 year of Gen. Practice Residency. In 1974 I had a stint as a House Physician in the same hospital after the program folded, I passed the Licensing Boards; and had my son Mel. I did a few months of Psychiatric Res. in Michigan, then packed up and moved to Chicago in 1976. I started my 25 years plus career at Elgin Mental Health Center in 1977. During the intervening years I became a Diplomate of the American Board of Family Practice in 1978-1985; had moved to 2 houses, saw my 2 children graduate from college and start their careers and families. I took early retirement in 2002 but worked for additional months at the same hospital on contractual basis. A few months later, I became antsy, did not want to go back to Medicine so I did something utterly different. I worked at Panera---what an eye opening and enlightening experience that was. Romy and I also baby-sat our infant grand-daughter full-time for almost a year. We moved to our present house almost 5 years ago, our 3rd in Bartlett since 1978 and plan to spend the rest of our days here so we can stay close to relatives and friends. The community suits us, Chicago's amenities are only an hour drive away and we love the beauty of the 4 seasons. I am out of the paying workplace for several years now, but remain on call for, "hey Ma , can you watch the kids; hey Ma, can you pick up Lia" etc. I enjoy gardening and the activities of my Garden Club, volunteer once a week at the local library and check out loads of reading materials and DVDs with subtitle due to my severe hearing loss; participate in parish activities and some Pilipino events in the immediate area. We have traveled some and hope to do more as circumstances allow. My family have grown now to include 4 adorable grand children, with Romy and I enjoying our golden years with them.. This is my life in a nutshell, not very exciting but satisfying enough. I have many things to be thankful for and to look forward to, one of those is to remain in touch with you!

Tessie LM

Sunday, December 6, 2009


"HAPPY 66TH BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY TO PURI" Written by Puri: "Hushhhhhhhhhhhhushhh………… she’s only sixty five !!!!!!! They were planning & plotting together to take me by surprise !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes…several months of phone avoidance and quick hang ups on my phone calls dreading for slip ups especially from tattletales. Their nervous link was Yvonne who opposed all my plans to accommodate what was to transpire.
Never in my life did I aspire nor expect such lavish manifestations of affection stemming from great sacrifices of dropping everything off to hop on the plane to greet me by SURPRISE !!!!!!!
Quel& Carlos from Madrid, Mel from Manila, Nati from Chicago including all her children and their significant others. My brother Nato& Chiqui from Half Moon Bay, Another brother Lel from Mundelein, Ill and Dr. Nina Baker of NYC with her girls.
Day 1 was Dec 6th, Sat, 2 days before my birthday. Sammy asked me to order food for 30 and I said, did Dad invite the neighbors? Darn...I was in the middle of hanging Christmas garlands and wreaths in every door entry & salons inside 875 Plaza Drive, San Jose. There was a knock on the door, oh..I thought it was a Fedex delivery…but the noise was familiar. Then in tiptoed Nats gingerly then all the rest followed. It was like a magician's hat with rabbits jumping out of the hat in two’s and three’s and four’s ! What a RIOT!
Sunday Dec 8th was the planned luncheon at Alido’s Filipino Restaurant in South San Francisco.Marzipan Cake from Pilar and floral bouquets from Tina marked joint milestones for Nats and I. Her being 60 (ssshhh) on Dec. 13th. Our laughter and noise reached high decibels we had to leave the place. We moved on to Nato & Chiqui’s B&B in Half Moon Bay. We barely caught our breath when still another surprise unfolded,a movie documentary titled “ Ate and Nats..This is For You”, produced by our sailor brother Nato…..which we viewed in his wide screen TV. It was a collection of photos along memory lane when we were just kids who became teens, on to parenthood and now to grandparenthood. It was a trip from our early beginnings that transported us to where we are now. He even remembered our favorite songs for background music, the pensive,”Send In The Clowns” for me and the festive“ Dancing Queen “ for Nats. All that was capped with another birthday cake from Yvonne & Sophie & Lisa.
On my real bday Dec 8th Monday, we invaded Santana Row in San Jose then all went for dimsum at SINO. Now everyone wants to go back there for more….and hopefully there will be more. This enormous surprise giftbox bestowed upon me had no price tag, a carte blanche that no bailout can afford to redeem……its a wondrous gift of love and devotion instilled in us by our beloved parents Inay and Tatay. We all thank them everyday.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


By Cherrie McSorley

Rose and I kept in touch for a few years after graduation. We (other Philwomenians and I) were around when she married Romy whose devotion to Roselani was very evident through our young eyes and most of us were still in touch when she first experienced motherhood – which was very exciting for us, her friends that were still single. For whatever reason, I heard very little from Roselani until she sought me out because one of our mutual college friend (Zaida Mabugat) was in town visiting her. And that is just how Rose is - once a friend, forever a friend. She continuously seeks old friends and remains very loyal and devoted to them. In fact, she is in constant touch with Carole, Belinda and Girlie. She was also very close to Louella Duran and Georgina Hernandez until their untimely death.
When Rose was going to write her bio, the only thing she really wanted to say was “I am happily married to the one and only love of my life for the past 45 years, and still going strong. We have 5 children, 4 daughters and a son, and a total of 6 grandchildren. ”As the picture shows, her family is her greatest passion. Her devotion to them and their devotion to her is truly heartwarming.
Roselani’s working career was very interesting and varied. After 6 years of being a stay-at-home Mom, she ”joined the sales force of a travel agency, learned the trade fast enough and became a travel agent for fourteen years. In 1985, my husband and I decided to join his family in the United States. My work in San Francisco, CA mainly entailed providing secretarial/administrative support to various bank executives for 12 years.” From her stories, the jobs were very demanding and therefore stressful yet she was commended for her job performance on several occasions. A few years back, she got tired of the 9 to 5 schedule and decided to go back to work as a licensed Life Agent with New York Life.

Rose writes, “ I am now enjoying the perks of a senior citizen and enjoying the camaraderie with old friends. In between visiting dear friends, I spend as much time as I can with my grandchildren who are all in the East Coast.” Rose main task right now is taking care of her ailing Mom and relocating to Sacramento, which are both monumental tasks. She is stressed out but her caring attitude and sense of humor is still evident.


Reflections From Senior Week by:

Roselani Blancaflor Mariano
Senior Class Photo
PWU High School 1960

Shared by Roselani Blancaflor Mariano: Hi guys, these pictures were taken on one of our trips during Senior week. Didn't we go to Pat Arroyo's place? Is this Pat's place or Forest Hills? I can't remember but I do remember that we had two weeks of fun, and wonderful camaraderie. SENIOR'S WEEK! I skated at Forest Hills and fell on my butt. That was a bad fall.
Picture named Mom and friends. From left to Right:
Erlinda Chacon, Susan Vergaa, Teresita Platon, Louella Duran, Teresita (Girlie) Rivera, Joselita Agustin, Violeta Durban, Carole Horrilleno, Yolanda Bello. Front: Susan de Santos, Rose Lani, and Belinda Carino (WOW, KATAWAN!)

1st picture Left to Right:
Lani Villa-Real, Louella Duran (deceased), Rose Lani Blancaflor, Susan de Santos, Carole Horrilleno, Teresita (Girlie) Rivera, Sonia Alvarez, Joselita Agustin (deceased), Violeta Durban, and Belinda Carino..

2nd picture: Left to Right
Erlinda Chacon, Louella Duran, Rose Lani Blancaflor, Susan de Santos, Carole Horrilleno, Teresita (Girlie) Rivera, Sonia Alvarez, Joselita Agustin, Violeta Durban, and Belinda Carino

Thursday, November 26, 2009


2nd submission in my Friends and Friendship Sequel: Ang Makulay na Buhay ni Lani -Written by Sari
Thelma Melania Villa-Real Enriquez (DOB 12-31-1944) came to PWU when we were Juniors, 1958-59. She was kind of demure but not for long. She became rugged, especially when she began playing basketball with us (even trying hard lang siya). By the Senior year, Lani learned all the tricks on how to beat classes. Nonetheless, Lani graduated with HS Class 1960 and went on to study in UP. As Cora Fausto remembers, she and Lani were in the same “block” and Lani continued on with her easy going fun loving way. I found Lani taking Clothing Textile & Related Arts (CTRA), which like Nutrition, was in the College of Home Economics. There was no escaping Lani. We were even classmates in Food & Nutrition I, along with Cora FG and Gloria Villareal Boren, who were in the Nutrition program. Our Professor had to keep her cool with us who were rowdy students. I nearly failed that course. College progressed, Lani spent more time with CTRA friends & projects, Boots, & boyfriend, who I thought Lani would marry before finishing college.
Then Lani disappeared. She was sent to a Finishing School in Madrid, where Lani nearly “finished” MD (marriage degree) with a handsome Black American officer who was stationed in Spain. This relationship ended abruptly when her Dad came to Spain and took Lani home. Lani worked in a bank, but not for long. In 1966, she got married to Tito Eddie (Eduardo Enriquez of Enriquez Securities), her Dad’s good friend. Eddie was a widower with 8 offspring so Lani not only had an instant made, but also a BIG family. Lani had 3 kids of her own: Jujut, Jodie & Betbet. She did not have to learn how to take care of her kids; they all had yayas. Lani had a leisure, but very restricted life. Eddie had specific expectations of “feminine” behavior that Lani had difficulty adhering to. In 1983, Lani was at my doorsteps in West Orange, NJ. We became roommates perhaps for more than a year (I refuse to remember those blue days of my life. Ha! Ha! Ha!). Lani took up temp jobs – office runner, secretary and any odd jobs to make a living. She took breaks on weekends visiting her cousin, Boots, who was in Washington, D.C. area. At some point, Fe Ilagan, Lani and Lita Ramos were staying with me in West Orange. Despite the fact that I worked, I still had to cook dinner for none of them knew how to cook (Lita was not in the best of health at that time). We had lots of fun on those days – Fe did lots of shopping, Lita some & Lani none. Boots empathized with me for having to put up with her cousin & used to tell me that Lani was my ticket to heaven. Roselani along with 2 of her older daughters were also in the NY area. As a matter of fact, they had the same Job Agency that offered them jobs. Gerry was also living in Jersey City at that time so Lani was a frequent “bwisitor” of the Tiongsons. – There was something consistent when Lani was around – there was fun and laughter. Most of the time, Lani was the target or cause of those boisterous laughs. When Lani had enough of life without direction in the US, she returned home and settled at her parents’ compound. She was a mother again to her kids whom she had no choice but to leave behind. Lani settled for a simple routine life– wake up late, play ma-jong, listen to live music some nights, dine out, spend time with friends and 8 grandchildren, etc. Lani re-visited the US in 2001. She joined in my trip to Europe with some friends like Lita. It was a trip that somewhat traumatized Lita in Barcelona. Then back in NYC, both Lani and Lita witnessed the trauma NY City experienced when the Twin Towers collapsed on 9/11.– Though Lani & I sound like fighting dogs when we are together – that’s our natural expression of how we care for each other - carino brutal. Deep in our respective hearts, we are good friends. I need Lani in my life to assure my place in heaven. Lani, likewise, needs me as her ticket to heaven. How delightful it is to have a friend one can abuse, but rely on at the same time.

Addendum: Lani & her Gucci Bags. I cannot remember the year this happened, but possibly in 1983 when Lani was still on “full scholarship” from Eddie, her ex (but not divorced from) husband. Lani bought 2 Gucci bags from a Gucci Outlet in Secaucus, NJ. I won’t say the price, but Gucci bags were Lani’s weakness then…1st Gucci incident: One beautiful Summer day in New York City Times Square area, Lani was having lunch by herself without any care in the world. She was so engrossed in her surroundings, likely day dreaming too. All of a sudden a man stood in front of her, blocked her view and dangled a Gucci bag that looked like hers. Lani looked for her purse that she placed on her feet. Alas, it was not there! It turned out the man was an undercover police who with his partner were conducting a surveillance of a known “pick-pocketer”. This guy was so smooth; Lani did not even realize her purse was taken. If not for the alert NYPD undercover, Lani would have lost her Gucci forever. The 2nd Gucci incident:. Lani was with Fe Ilagan walking towards the parking lot of Baguio’s Pines Hotel. It was after midnight and they were going “home” after winning Baccarat at the hotel casino. All of a sudden, a guy wrapped his arm around Lani and pointed a knife at her. Lani at first thought it was her son Jodie who was playing a trick on her and asked him to stop. A few feet away, Fe was having a tug-of-war of her handbag against the other mugger; the bag contained Fe’s Baccarat winnings. Although Lani had given her Gucci to the man holding her with a knife, he would not release Lani. Fe was still holding on to her loot. Lani shouted and told Fe “Ibigay mo na?” Fe responded, “Alin?” After some more tug-of-war, Fe surrendered her bag to the muggers who immediately fled. This was a great display of friendship, but only after some deliberation. It was not easy to give up something like P12,000 winnings – even for a good friend (ha ha ha). After this incident, Lani had sworn off Gucci bags; never again did she buy any…. There was a sub-story made up by so called good friends in the exchange between Lani & Fe – “Ibigay mo na!” “Alin?” It is funny if you get it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


"The key to happiness is having dreams. The key to success is making your dreams come true."Anonymous

EBB"S E-TALK: Since I started doing our blog, I am very happy and proud to discover that many classmates from our high school class 1960 had succeeded in their chosen career. One of them is the popular Yoly Bello. When I first met her in h.s. I was immmediately drawn to her beautiful, round and expressive eyes. She used those eyes so well in her acting roles and declamation contest. She is one classmates that I was lucky to see and connect after high school graduation. We both took Fine Arts at U.P.. We only had a small class about 10 I remember her pretty well. But later after 3 years, she shifted to Speech and Drama and never heard from her since then. Last August we exchanged few e-mails and I was glad she still remembered me. She told me ... "I wished I became an artist like you." Although she's a successful business woman she didn't design her famous shoes from Via Venetto. Cinderella became famous for the shoes she left behind for her future Prince Charming. Yoly like Cinderella also became famous for her shoes. She owns more than 2,000 shoes. She surpassed Imelda Marcos who became famous for her 2,000 pairs of shoes displayed at the Malacanang Palace. Here's Yoly's fairy-like story.
Name: Yolanda Bello Pajaro
Date of Birth: April 28, 1945
Civil Status: Married, annulled
Home Address: 102 Gen Ordonez St., Marikina Heights, Concepcion, Marikina City
Business Address: VIA VENETTO, 1st Fl. Makati Tuscany Condominiums, Ayala Ave. Makati City
Home Phone: 941-78-45, 941-59-61
Business Phone: 892-63-34
Business Fax: 843-27-25
Education and Special Training:
Elementary, Philippine Women’s University
Secondary, Philippine Women’s University
Bachelor of Arts, Speech and Drama and 3 yrs in Fine Arts
University of the Philippines
Work Experience:
Faculty Member, Dept of Speech and Drama, University of the Philippines, 1966-1973

Children: Jennifer P. Santiago,Yolanda Cecilia Pajaro,Emilio Francisco Pajaro; Vicente Emmanuel Pajaro, Ma. Tsarina P. Inocian
1.President, VIA VENETTO SHOES, 1973 to the present
2.President, FRANCESCO, 1993 to the present
3.President, SUNDANCE, 2000 to the present
4.Board Member, Putik Pottery Foundation
5.Proprietor, Creative Pottery, hand built and thrown ceramics store, 2001- 03

Honors, Awards and Recognitions:
1. Finalists, Search for Entrepreneur
of the Year, Ernst and Young and SGV, 2005
2.Outstanding Professional Award , Business Administration, U of the Philippines, June 23, 2007
3.Mariang Maya Award for 4.Outstanding Achiever in Business and Entrepreneurship. Sigma Delta Phi, U of the Philippines, 2003
5.Certificate of Recognition, June 2003. “For generous support to the Free-feeding program and continuing contribution towards generating employment….” Markina Heights, Marikina City
6. Gabriela Silang Award Life achievement Award, May 1990. “For her invaluable services and profound interest for the promotion of the well-being of this municipality…”Santa, Ilocos Sur
7. Gawad-Pasasalamat,” Sa pakikiisa at pagbahagi ng kanyang mga kaalaman at karanasan….” Marikina Footwear and Leatherwoods Manufacturers Cooperative, Marikina City, March 2001
7. Certificate of Recognition,” In sincere recognition and profound gratitude for her invaluable support to the Ministries…”Covenant Children Fellowship, August 2005 Contribution to Advancement of Profession:
More About Via Venetto:
“Via Venetto is the acknowledged market leader in the industry. The leadership of Via Venetto is not limited to mere market shares, which are defined by figures and statistics that are meaningless to the consumer. Instead, Via Venetto, out of total respect for its consumers, provides the industry with a standard against which excellence is measured”.
“Via Venetto is not just the market leader. Its very name spells the highest standard of excellence in the industry.”
"WHAT MAKES A SUCESSFUL ENTERPRENEUR" by Fay Garcillano and Mike D. Leda. MBM ‘93, La Salle University.
…With an eye for beauty, comfort and strict workmanship, she has enhanced the competitiveness of Philippine shoes in the world market, at the same time reviving Marikina’s fame as the country’s shoe capital. 2007 ALUMNI YEARBOOK, UP General-Alumni Homecoming reunion.
Special Interests: · Pottery. Have been attending for three years hand built and thrown pottery workshops, glazing and firing techniques and methods conducted by Mr. and Mrs. Jon Pettyjohn · Collects art works of Filipino contemporary artists and art works from the Philippine period of realism
· Painting from life and still life.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Written by Puri Capistrano Laconico : "SENATOR HELENA Z.BENITEZ"

In any arena there is a void waiting to be filled by someone with vision to share……
A visionary in our midst whom we fondly call Tita Helen, a name we utter in awe, admiration, respect and endearment filled that void to the brim.
We may never fathom the depth of her influence in our lives here in our homeland and abroad.
We each have a story to tell the way I have mine.
We both have the distinct pleasure of calling ourselves pure Philwomenians from elementary,high school through college.From a timid, shy and scared student, JASMS under the reins of Mrs Gamboa the family oriented atmosphere pulled me out of my uncertainties through progressive learning methods .As a product of that experiment, a sense of confidence grew to surmount fears that trampled nagging anxieties in years to come.In High School, the mere campus presence of Mama B, Daddy B, Tito Tom and Tita Helen permeated a loving family style culture enhancing education with ample doses of emotional stability and a sense of belonging.
Her most legendary legacy was the founding of the Bayanihan Dance Company that catapulted Philippine culture to the world stage. To this day 50 years later, it continues to collect accolades and kudos in the international scene. Back then we naïve high school students became recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay Peace Award, for Goodwill. Its the Asian equivalence of the Nobel Peace Prize.We were on the world map while having the funnest times of our lives, admired by foreign dignitaries,celebrities and the press. A new persona evolved that dramatically changed our lives.A new perspective in world vista and a discovery that we are all as different as we are alike.Through Tita Helen, we experienced the richness of becoming world citizens .Through her we stretched our limits from the campus green benches to the vast expanse of the horizon.

Her frequent travels abroad to receive conferrments and honors are always capped by the thrill of alumni gatherings she attends around the globe. Mayor Willie Brown proclaimed a Helena Z. Benitez Day at City Hall in San Francisco but her heart throbs for the next Philwomenian she will encounter. Seeing them, breaking bread with them, relishing their successes and stations in life ,touching the downtrodden, cheering and egging on in the fulfillment of our whims and dreams, truly all these are the treasured rewards of her lifeswork.Engaged and buzzing with the frantic swarm of life like fireflies in a jar.Telling snippets of an entire milieu hints beyond the glimmering tales of her entire following like fireflies who flew from the jar to the skies.

With gratitude we embrace her steadfast devotion, loyalty and inescapable grasp.To lock ourselves in that embrace is consummate comfort.
She is the iconic institution who will live forever in people’s hearts and from whom we are heir to. Being 95 is a milestone we all strive to reach.
May the years ahead continue to bless you with the full harvest of your bounty. Happy Birthday dear Tita Helen !

Puri Capistrano Laconicoi Capistrano Laconico

Sunday, November 8, 2009



Friends and Friendship by Sari:
I have been threatening to write about friends who have been quiet….and I really mean it. So here goes…… ·Aurora Villanueva Agellon – Rory (Kulasa, as I call her). She took up Nutrition at University of Sto. Tomas (UST); a “celebrity” classmate who considered Rory a close friend was Cynthia. I cannot remember how Rory and I kept in touch, but we did. She came to visit me in Detroit in 1967 when I was a dietetic intern at Henry Ford Hospital, while she was working as a dietitian in Toronto. Rory later met her better half (I really mean better) , Noli Agellon, who hails from Cavite and is related to Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. They married in 1973 and later produced a son & a daughter – Noel (33, a finance expert who works in Toronto area) and Chari (31 a graphic artist who moved to Vancouver). Like most of our classmates, Rory was a super woman. She managed to raise well behaved goal oriented kids and at the same time build her career. She was a Manager, Nutrition Dept., Health Promotion till she retired in 2008. I re-connected with Rory in early 1990s; visited them in Oakville, Ontario at least 3 times (that’s how I know who the better half is).

It is amazing how kids influence their parents’ interest. Rory got into serious jogging because of her kids. I imagine jogging the path along Lake Ontario would be quite motivating. Rory later took up biking and continues to do so plus skiing during the winter. Rory is now “retarded” and has been giving back to the community. She teaches catechism to SK to third graders, visits a nursing home and has been making “rounds” of different parishes. This is how she re-bonded with Tessie OG. While praying the rosary, Rory recognized the familiar voice of the person leading the rosary – it was the deep full bodied voice of Tessie OG. Rory feels fulfilled – physically and spiritually. Without any doubt, Rory will continue the life she is living! When I, Bruha (a name Rory calls me) retire, I could only wish I’d have even half of Kulasa’s energy - both physically and spiritually.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


"Create the tomorrow you really want to have.....dream a dream and chase after it. but most of all...have fun doing it.....and enjoy the trip....''- Anonymous
Cherrie is 65 !
I have known Cherrie from childhood. We went to JASMS together, and on to PWU across the street for High School and college.We both majored on Psychology. We were neighbors in Malate and in Bel Air Village in Makati. We danced and travelled together with the Bayanihan around the Philippines. We grew up like sisters. The night before my wedding she slept in my bed with me to share my last day of single blessedness. She is godmother of our son
Nikki. Having her celebrate her 65th B-day with me meant a lot.
Sari is 65 too !

Although I was not a green bencher, I became close to Sari in High School. We belonged to a club called the Beatnik Clan. The clan saw me sail off aboard SS Orcades for the 1961 Bayanihan World Tour. They gave me a 2 inch thick diary with Sari’s handwritten dedication from the B-clan. I still have it but I’m not sure if I will let her read it. As a young bride thrown in Morolandia, she visited me in Basilan in 1966. I frequented the Manila Yacht Club while she managed it. She has visited me several times here in San Jose and have seen my kids grow up. She is also godmother of our son Nikki. Having her celebrate her 65th B-day with me meant a lot.
We had a weeklong celebration full of thrills and lots of non-stop laughter. From the San Jose to the Napa Wine Country and on to 7000 feet elevation at Tahoe, Sari was our brave driver. We spent the night at Tahoe. Last Friday we were back at our pied a terre at Hyde SFO, which was our hide-away. Gu, Roselani, Vicky, Pech and 2 other friends brought us a feast so it was non stop eating and merrymaking til the crack of dawn. Very little sleep indeed. On Saturday we went to Intramuros for lunch and dessert at Lucky Chances Casino where we had genuine Pancit Malabon and Halohalo with pinipig and ube ice cream a la mode. We had Dimsum at Yank Sing and dungenes crabs and peking duck at R&G in SFO. For days and days all we thought was what or where to eat next. It was an exhilarating reunion, like how we were 50 years ago but better. Because we have seen life and are no longer innocent and carefree but more insightful, appreciative and have aged like wine. Here’s a toast to the celebrants !! Cheers, Puri
PAHABOL FROM SARI: May evidence ng katakawan namin, though tila empty na yong table kasi we finished eating all the foods served to us.There are 2 in the grp photos na you do not know - Tess Achacoso & Linda Saddam (UP friends ko; Cora and Bong know them though) PWU friends include Gu (Segundina) de Jesus Saavedra, Roselani Blancaflor Mariano, Ana Fe Donato Lumba, Puri, Cherrie & Vicky.

By process of elimination, you should be able to identify who is who.I hope no one is getting turned off sa mga photos I'm sharing. Just want you to see how we look now.

Also, am hoping that I can entice you to send your bios and now photos. We have less than 3 months left before our reunion in Feb. - I know Sylvia is working on one; I believe Marilin is finished with hers. Maganda sana all of us who are in this e-grp have updates about ourselves. Cherrie & I can help put it together if you need help.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day.Dalai Lama quotes (Head of the Dge-lugs-pa order of Tibetan Buddhists, 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, b.1935)
E-TALK BY EBB: It's amazing how fast the days rolled by when one is extremely busy. Soon it will be another Halloween this coming Saturday. Here at the U.S. it's a big events w/ young and old putting on their best or scary costumes. It was 39 Halloween's ago when I met my husband, so we always celebrate it. We plan to dine outside and not give away to trick or treaters. Instead of buying bags of expensive candies, we will buy movie tickets. We will relax and enjoy a new romantic movie like "Amelia." I like Hilary Swank and Richard Gere and surely they will add sparks to old flames. My husband and I are inseparable.
Our blog this week is also about inseparable sisters- Nati and Tessie Ocampo. I am delighted to know that Tessie and Nati are still very close after all these years. When I first met them in high school I thought they were unique sisters. I don't know any sisters who went to school same year, same class , who are as close as them. Good to know of their separate and successful careers. I am impressed also w/ Tessie's artistic talent. We have the same creative minds and hopefully someday she will be willing to assist me to make our blog more imaginative. Medyo hesitant siya. She thinks blogging is like doing math.
After months of waiting for their bios and one grand kid photo here they are. Sorry, that I could no longer wait for some photos to come because I plan to post today. I will be away from my computer starting this Wednesday and will NOT be back till Sunday night. Those who have something to share please send me your bios and photos very soon. Our file is almost empty. Of course I could always fill the gaps with photos and stories about myself but I don't like to be selfish. I'd like everybody to be in our PWU blog.
FROM NATI OCAMPO (H.S. Photo 1960-right top): Glad to see you're back. I just read our BLOG, it is so entertaining and refreshing as always. Ebb, for all it's worth, here's my short Bio.
I took up a year of Fine Arts with my sister, Tessie, at UST after high school, but found out that although I loved art, it didn't love me back. In other words, it was a one-way love affair. I don't know why, because there were a few artists in our family - an uncle who was a sculptor, a brother who was a comic illustrator, a cousin who was an advertising artist who now does serious painting, and of course, my sister Tessie who, as you know, has a keen sense and taste for art.
I finished a secretarial course at the Holy Ghost College where I met a new set
of friends, and I liked the idea of landing a job immediately after graduation. My first job was as a medical secretary, followed by other jobs as executive secretary for American companies, the last one being the executive secretary to the Director of Southeast Asia, Evenflo Philippines Inc., before immigrating to Canada.
In Canada I worked for the President of Burndy Inc, a job I enjoyed very much. When my boss retired, I decided to make a change and worked for the Toronto Police Service until my retirement in 2007. I had the greatest honor of working with "Toronto's Finest" - the detectives at 42 Division, one of the largest within Metro Toronto. I was one of the support staff for the criminal investigative bureau and was assigned to the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse section. It was a job I cherished with all my heart, having learned the discipline and hard work of the detectives I worked with in order to solve a case. I helped in the preparation and movement of their cases in court, even liaising with court officers and the Attorney Generals office. All the hard work paid off I guess, because I received an award for "Teamwork Commendation".
After all said and done, I think the best job for me is still being the mother of my two sons, Phil and Marlon. Both finished their university education and are both leaders in their field. I am now retired and certainly enjoy doting on my two grandchildren, Gabrielle and Justin
- from my oldest son, Phil. In December, there will be another grandchild, this time from my youngest son, Marlon. I can hardly wait for this one.
My other interests: Yoga, reading books of Dr. Daniel Amen and Nicholas Kristoff, gardening, visiting friends.

Favorite movie: Love is a Many Splendored
Favorite song: A Certain Smile
SHORT AUTO+BIO I completed an Associate of Fine arts degree at the College of the Holy Spirit,and went to work for an uncle who had a blouse and embroidery factory in Manila. After that I worked for textile companies as a textile designer , first was Central Textiles , then General Textiles Inc. where I met Greg, who was a Chemical Engineering graduate heading the Quality Control and where I worked with Lindus Carreon Arambulo, also from PWU but 2 years ahead of us I think. She and I really became good friends until now - after the kids came I became a wallpaper designer for Wallcrown , Sunworthy and finally F.Schumacher & Co. in New York for 4 years as a designer and stylist of the Village lines, next to their Waverly lines.This is where the book I designed , patterns and fabrics won an award for the company- the Estar Awards. If I had known Sari was in N.Y. I would have stayed- I felt alone there ( I lived with the nuns on 24th street ),as the kids were in university( my son by the way made it as an Architect ( working now in N.Y.)and my daughter is an IT) and Greg was working in New Brunswick ( eastern Canada ). As it went I resigned before my green card was started.It still is a long story and really checkered with different career experiences as an Interior Decorator and Product Designer for homes. I relish the experiences and travels, to the most parts of the U.S. and Europe, and I guess my abhorrence of Mathematics was somewhat on the sidelines during that time. I did not course the graphics area, Ebb, until now I am still a handpainter and just an old fashioned artist.I bet you are a savy computer designer, which is why I may not be able to do the blog as good as you can. I have to confess Computer is like Math to me. There you are Ebb, in a capsule, it is still just plain me- just loving my FAMILYand FRIENDS (like you guys) ! I adore my grandkids- Anastasia ( my daughter's ), Aidan and Zack ( from my son) and enjoy my walks with my senior doggies Life goes on, the simpler the better. It felt nice to share with you - Ebb and friends. More power to us and all !!

Ebb ,
For your blog:
I just got this photo of my granddaughter - Anastasia ( 3 yrs & 8 months ) She will be featured in the Greater Toronto Calendar 2010. I will send my 2 grandsons photos soon.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


"How does one keep from "growing old inside"? Surely only in community. The only way to make friends with time is to stay friends with people…. Taking community seriously not only gives us the companionship we need, it also relieves us of the notion that we are indispensable. "-Robert McAfee Brown
EBB'S E-TALK: Hello every one from Chula Vista, San Diego (California, U.S.A.). I am back and glad to be electronically connected again. There were many trials and errors. Some computer files and photos disappeared. I have to find out how to recover them. The good news, my e-mail address is unchanged.
For me moving to a new city is overwhelming especially during our golden years. It's not a piece of cake but it's an exciting experience. When I wake up in the morning, I feel so fresh and alive. Sleeping in a new bedroom and using a different bathroom is nice although sometimes very confusing. Many of my things are no longer in the same spot. Life is funny because right now, I have 3 toothbrushes. One on my travel bag, one on the bedroom drawer and one in the bathroom. It's good to have extras when I couldn't remember where I place my favorite toothbrush.
When I opened my inbox yesterday it was overwhelming too. Life is truly full of lights and shadows. I agree that real life is mixed with happy and sad events. Many times bad events come in bunches or waves. I am sorry to hear about the death of a past classmate and some natural disasters in the Philippines. Here in San Diego we are also coping with the sudden death of a good and long time friend (Dr. Riz Oades) who was a prominent figure among the Filipino-American community here in San Diego. He died from complications from colon cancer. He co-founded the Kalusugan Community Services with my sister Dr. Ofelia Dirige. Yesterday we attended his funeral. Over the years when we come to San Diego we had many unforgettable dinners with him and my sister. Our move here to S.D. was so timely at this sad and stressful times. We are living with my sister and providing comfort and company. We are also doing voluntary work at the KCS Center, sorting out tons of paper works and writings left by the deceased. Speaking of double sorrow, I am saddened to hear about Precy. I will always remember her as a good seatmate and classmate. In high school class we were often arranged alphabetically- Conde, Dirige and then Dizon. During our senior year she gave me a sophisticated (ma-arte na) photo of herself. I still have it attached to my old h.s. autograph. I will share it once I found the box in the storage. Those of us who are blessed with longer lives should continue to move forward despite of many obstacles along the way. Many thanks to classmates who called, e-mailed news, sent flowers, greetings and gave moral support to Precy & family. I admire the cooperative, caring and loving spirits of our class 1960.
On the brighter side, there are happy events like birthdays. Belated "Happy Birthdays" to Esther and Gerry. Coming up are photos from Esther's birthday celebration at the Mandarin Restaurant in Canada. This blog space is dedicated to Esther Lejano for her untiring efforts in scanning our senior class photos which we enjoyed looking back. Thanks again Esther for a well done job. On the other hand, although Esther remained single, she's happy with her many nieces and nephews as shown below. "Happy birthday' also to our latest celebrants-Cherrie and Tessie CP. Advance b-day greeting to Sari on Oct. 3oth.
SHARING BY SARI'S: Hi Evelyne, I know you will not read any e-mail while you up there vacationing in Colorado. However, I want to make sure I send you Esther's bio. We must congratulate Esther. Paki include a not acknowledging that Esther was responsible for scanning our HS pictures; thanks to her we all have a before picture.

Forwarding a photo that Esther sent showing how Precy looked as a grown woman. Precy was the one wearing a
white blouse sitting next to Esther. We will surely miss her come reunion time on February 20, 2010.

Till next blog!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


PURI'S PERSPECTIVE:Hi All, Yesterday Sept 8th, a lazy day after the long frenetic Labor Day weekend, I was taking it easy. Then while I was beginning to read Ebb's new email and usual call for the new blog post at 4:15pm, the phone rang. It was Evelyn NZ asking me if she can pick me up after getting off work in 15 minutes to go see Vicky. I said what???right now??? Does Vicky know???She said I will call her after I hang up with you. Although we had planned this before with no particular date or time, it was indeed spontaneous and instantaneous ! Before getting dressed to go, I called Roselani who was still with her Mom doing dialysis at a hospital but said she will get Gu to get her and follow us wherever it may be as we did not know where to go yet. So at exactly 6pm, Vicky eagerly awaited our visit and we found her in good spirits. Last time I saw her was 20 years ago when I was 20 lbs less so she admitted she did not recognize me??!! While waiting for Roselani and Gu, we socialized with Vicky's family who I knew when they were in their teens. Her only daughter Jenny just got married and her son Mike are now both running their business and she is fully retired. She looked at peace and relaxed not like the way we were , so busy minding the stores at Ghirardelli Square of long ago.
Finally, Roselani recommended that we go to Intramuros, a fairly new restaurant in South San Francisco, just 15 minutes away from Vicky's house. Its a tastefully appointed place for fine dining. Simple elegance with 5 giant sized bevelled glass mirrors on the wall. A grand piano lighted from the ceiling by a huge capiz chandelier. They have a big function room for
private parties and the bar area has music with DJ on MonTueWed and a band on ThursFriSatSun. I highly recommend esp for foreign friends to introduce them to our dishes in a classy ambiance. It was Nouvelle Cuisine at best.Their version of kare-kare, although too much heavy annatto color, had thick orange peanut butter sauce.They grilled the eggplants and used it as topping along with other vegtables. Their pork sisig was crispy topped with fried egg. Reminds me of Korean Bibimbap. The cuhol, our escargot was shelled and served with gata. A favorite was Manila Bistek, with thinly sliced deep fried potato chips. Their famous dessert was the Bibingka Souffle. Took 20 minutes to make but melts in your mouth, served on the side with goat cheese and slices of salted red eggs. Fluffiest Bibingka I ever had. Like a meringue souffle but with coconut milk poured in its center to give it that Pinoy taste. It was indeed a gustatory adventure with dear friends and wonderful recollections of yesteryears. Halika na kayo dito.
FROM ROSELANI: Hi Puri, thanks again for dinner last night. It was nice to see you again, and especially Evelyn whom I have not seen for almost 50 years. I was also glad to have found Vicky again. We lost touch when she moved out of her Plymouth house in SF maybe 10 years ago. How time flies, really. Its nice to be connected again.
Enjoyed the "chikahan" and the delicious pork sisig and bistek Manila. And because its free dinner, double enjoyment! Looking forward to another get together. Call me when you hear from Linda. Sana hindi naman ura urada, nakakahingal kasi.
From Evelyn N. - Can you imagine 5 women (some seniors) whooping it up at the restaurant from 7-11 pm? It's good they weren't very busy, or else they may have booted us out. Topics included Vicky's and Linda Chacon's heavily starched uniforms, which classmates/teachers have died, picking things up with your toes, passing between two people talking, retired husbands, etc. I tell you, no topic was off limits. I can just imagine the noise level at the PJ Party during the reunion.

Vicky and husband Carlos Gruela,

(81 yrs old) and daughter Jenny and her husband.
Taken Sept 8,2009 in Vicky's sala

Sunday, September 27, 2009


''If memories are riches"
I'll always have my memories,
When I am old and gray,
And they at least are something
No one can take away
I could not ask for greater wealth.
Because they are so dear
And I will never wish for more
As long as I am here.
For if they measure riches by
Memories here on earth,
I'll surely be a millionaire-
So great would be their worth.
Harold F. Mohn
EBB'S E-TALK: September is my birthday month and I am a Libra. My 66th birthday is coming up about 2 days. Tonight, I just came back from an intimate birthday celebration with my two sons, husband, Joy and John (bf). They treated me to a sumptuous seafood and prime rib buffet at the famous Cafe Sierra in Hilton Universal, Los Angeles. Had a wonderful time. I am loaded with oysters, jumbo shrimps, lobster, crab legs, ginger crabs, etc. etc. I also came home with bunches of fresh yellow lilies, sunflowers and pink roses. This is an advance celebration w/ my family. Actually, I have a different idea of celebrating my birthday this year. I wish a quiet celebration with just my husband and I. We are taking more than a week trip to Colorado and will visit Aspen, Breckenridge and Beaver Creek. I look forward to the myriads of awesome autumn colors on the state of Colorado.
After months of hard work- packing, sorting our things, fixing and repainting the interior of our house, this is a much deserved vacation. We needed this rest to energize and prepare us for our move and transition to the San Diego area. We thought this is a beautiful way to start a new beginning in a new place. Something happens when you leave routines and responsibilities behind, when you wake up and see beautiful mountains and different landscapes instead of the same old clock and bedspread.
My 65th birthday celebration last year (September 29, 2008) is but a memory. Before I leave for our trip, I'd like to share some photos. Although I lost my hearing at mid-life, like the poem above, no one can take my memories away. Memories linger on. The first photo above (right side) - the harpist and me. She played a beautiful piece and dedicated it to me.
My goal for my 65th birthday was to celebrate it with my first solo art show. I had joined and exhibited in many art shows in the past but never had my own solo art show before.
ABOUT MY PAINTINGS: Most of my new paintings are vibrantly drawn and beautifully inspired by actual events that happened in my life and with my family in the United States and beyond, with bits of nostalgia from my former homeland, the Philippines. The focus of my paintings is mainly on the meaningful and heartful events that have impacted and inspired me over the years. Each painting is infused with a mural-like, storytelling quality. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” I’d like to share my experiences through visual art. The distinct images are densely ornamented with foods that are rich with bold colors and filled with visual aromas. The coconut trees are dominant images too. I am fascinated with them. They were part of my childhood and I grew up with them. The coconut trees are very graceful, playful and beautiful. We don’t need to hear the noise around us. The more we look at art, the more we see the beautiful world around us.

ABOUT THE ART SHOW: I exhibited 13 huge brand new oil paintings during this special event. Here are some of the oil paintings displayed at the Northbridge Clubhouse in Valencia, Sta. Clarita (California). The theme color was impressionistic to coordinate with my colorful oil paintings. Paintings shown are: First- "Thanksgiving In America-Pinoy Style." Second-"Cheerful Christmas Eve." Third-"Christmas In California." Fourth-"New Year's Eve And New Beginning."

Here's a close-up of one of my oil paintings exhibited:
SIZE: 48” x 30”
Birthday celebrations are very important event among Filipinos.They always have a big parties and fiestas for birthday milestones especially the “First Birthday, Eighteenth, Fiftieth, Sixty-fifth, Ninetieth and Hundred Years.” They celebrate with many delicious food not just cake and ice cream. In Filipino tradition, the birthday celebrant treats the guest to a big “blow-out.” American style, is the opposite. Friends treat the celebrant.

Filipino birthday celebration is NOT complete without the favorite lechon (whole roasted pork). This delicious lechon was depicted many times on my latest oil paintings.
Right photo:The huge blue palette was the welcome sign for my art show. The painting on the left is entitled "Sharing Traditions And Enriching Friendship."

Left photo: Ebb posing with her birthday cake and other delicious desserts. I am also wishing "Belated Happy Birthday" to those who turned 65 years old recently and advance birthday greetings to those who are turning 65 this year and next year. "Happy 65th Birthday To All Of You!"