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