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.