Thursday, December 31, 2015

In the autumn of our years

In the autumn of these Paulinians' years, they, we still behave like the school children we were within the walls of a convent school.

Without an authority figure to oversee us, the giggles are unrestrained, the guffaws almost unlady-like, the humor enough to make the most macho of our husbands blush a rose pink.

Thank you, Elizabeth "Bibit" Esteva Llamas for being the tireless organizer of reunions not only during the Christmas season but throughout the year whenever there's former classmate flies from overseas into town. I may have missed most of those get-togethers, but the Christmas thing, I can't forego, for as long as my arthritic knees can haul me from place to place.

Once again, I took pictures to sweeten the remembering.

The first arrivals Vicki Narciso Valero and Corazon "Punay" Gonzales Gayola have time to put up their feet and chat.

In the invite we were asked to come in either green or red. Red dominated the afternoon. Here are Bibit (seated) and Pam Bañez Gonzalez in wine red.

I can't think of a more festive house to hold our party in than Marissa Ileto's (M is at the head of the table in a green sleeveless blouse). Clockwise: Marianne Martin Soriano, Vicki, Bibit, Marissa, Lyn Sanchez Garcia, Ana Marie Earnshaw Rigor, Punay and Aurora Umali who answers to two nicknames: Princess and Jing. I'm partial to Princess because she behaves like one.

Lovelier even when facing the other way: Bibit, Pam, Vicki and Grace Palma Tiongco

And then it was time for a simple game of chance called LCR (for Left, Center, Right). Out with the 20-peso bills as we took turns rolling the dice. More teasings, more laughter aimed at Marianne who was last year's winner in case Lady Luck was on her side again.

A flushed Victoria is the victor. Someone ribbed her, "O, ayan, may pamasahe ka na pauwi sa Bulacan." That's where she is spending the New Year holidays with her sons.

Parlor games that challenged our ability to bend, balance, run a short distance

Class picture of St. Paul College Quezon City High School Batch '73 as we look today. Tallest girl on the second row (fourth from left) is Socorro Tecson Mangahas who also answers to the nickname Babeth. All photos, except the last, by Babeth Lolarga

Merry me, marry me

"We come from the earth, we return to the earth and in between we garden." - Anonymous

Or in between we gather, we sup, we make merry, we even marry when the occasion demands it. I have been silent on this space for many many days. That means I'm either backsliding and losing it or the season's requirements pushed blogging aside. A combination of both, I must say, with that in between sloth overcoming me during the lull between Christmas and New Year.

But not today. I assembled some pictures that I was resourceful enough to capture to help my memory along. From late November to December I've been to a total of six reunions, all indicative of a successful conquering of that anti-social streak in my personality. The temptation to remain a recluse and do my "socializing" through the comfort of the home and from the Internet remains ever-present, but let me not be the Grinch that spoils anyone's Christmas.

Here's to all of you, you who smiled for my camera, sang and put a lilt in my heart, you who reunited and married, you the dearly departed whose absence this season is a palpable stinging pinch on the flesh, you who I may have crossed or hurt. A cousin (thank you, Eileen Lolarga) reminded me to be less Babeth and more Christlike so love love love to all!

After I thanked Dr. Boots Camagay (center) and Jenny Juan (right) for coming to the intimate reunion lunch for my balikbayan cousin and their college buddy Rosemarie Romero, Boots replied, "It is a privilege that comes with genuine friendship." Jenny recalled the several "tender moments" we had laughing about relationships, laughing in the face of death and mourning (Boots is a new widow), in the face of setbacks financial and psychic.

Rose's reason for coming home after 12 long years of residence in Windsor, Canada, is the wedding of her only son Yonni Habulan (about to march down the middle of the aisle) to Lady Ngo.

The bride dramatically silhouetted against the open doors of the San Antonio de Padua Church in Silang, Cavite

Why the tears, beautiful bride? I wanted to ask Lady as she marched down the aisle. Her and Yonni's love and back story covers nearly two decades before it was blessed at the altar--from college sweethearts to new graduates to young architect and designer building up their own business to winning awards for their works before deciding to be man and wife.

The wedding was occasion for an impromptu Lolarga-Romero-Delos Reyes reunion as my sisters, cousins and niece tried to catch up on one another's lives. Seated at the Ville Sommet events place are Rose Romero, Suzy Lolarga and Eileen. Standing are my sister Pinky Lolarga Susi, a for-once-decently-dressed blogger and niece Regina de los Reyes.

Yonni serenades the lady of his heart and soul. I'm a sucker for gestures like this one. I teared up one too many times that evening. Good thing there was lechon and roast beef to distract me. Most photos by Babeth Lolarga

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Brought to you by Kai

Yes, a four-year-old child took this shot with a point and shoot adjusted to do closeups. Yes, you can!

A little blurry, as she would say, she being the best judge of her own work. But proud lola says they make for nice abstract patterns.

Side view of a poinsettia, an angle I wouldn't have thought of, but she did because she was just slightly taller than the flower bush. The flower stood right by her side.

With the setting set to infinity, the photographer is able to capture the morning sun falling on her Baguio landscape, including the twin radars on Mt. Santo Tomas in the distance. These shots are the products of a short morning walk in Green Valley, Baguio. All photos by Kai Fernandez

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A promotion

These two works done in '08 now hang in the master bedroom of my cousins Enri and Pem Romero in their new home outside downtown Los Angeles, California. He and his wife emailed recently to announce the good news of their daughter Rica's wedding to Shannon Toribio (it happened at this spot of paradise called Houdini Mansion, yes, named after the great magician and escape artist). The cousins from other parts of Northern America flew there to be present for the newlyweds. I would've wanted to be there. They need not ask what I will give Rica and Shannon to feather their nest further. I have rolled up a painting for the couple.

Enri used to hang my works in his Los Feliz Blvd. apartment's kitchen. He kidded that he would promote them to the living room once I am declared a National Artist. And it came to pass that the works were upgraded to his and Pem's bedroom. Who wants to be in the living room when I've taken space in the most comfy room in the house? Thanks 'Ri! You're a true cousin and friend.