Natal Soiree: Adding another milestone

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

DURING my recent birthday, I did three things which I didn’t do before.

First, I did a countdown on the coming of my natal day. A day before Christmas, I wrote in my facebook account: “Twelve days more to go.” On the day the world celebrated New Year’s Eve, I scribed: “Five more days.” A day before the actual date: “One more sleep.”

So, much so that when I posted this message: “To those who greeted me on my birthday, which is tomorrow, I want to thank you.” My fellow journalist, Lovely Carillo, who never knew what the countdown was all about, commented: “Birthday mo pala!”


The second thing I did was to have a pre-birthday party. I invited some of my closest friends to celebrate with me. Unfortunately, singer Wency Cornejo couldn’t come since he had a previous schedule to be in Boracay. Another singer, Aries Sales, wasn’t able to come also as he was spending his holiday vacation with his family in Cagayan de Oro City. Guitar whiz and singer Lj Manzano also didn’t make it; he was in Manila.

Although Bonz Militar, TV’s Eat Bulaga’s Mr. Pogi, confirmed he would be attending, he texted a few hours before the party that he couldn’t come as he was with his family. My friend, Dr. Dante Comedido was supposed to come but due to fever, he wasn’t able to do so. It was his first time not to be around on my birthday celebration.

But other friends did come. First to arrive was Armando Mortejo, who is a sales manager at Playa Azalea of Landco Pacific Corporation. Next was Cromwell Bonghanoy, the city information officer of Tagum City. Wilfredo Rodolfo III, of Aboitiz Power Corporation, came next followed by Rudolph Ian Alama, a fellow columnist at Sun.Star Davao and a noted photographer.

The last three were all lawyers. There was Atty. Kelvin Lee, another columnist at Sunstar Davao, who writes about legalities. Atty. Israelito Torreon (my kababayan from Bansalan, Davao del Sur) and his partner came late but I was happy to see both of them.

Frankly speaking, I had fun with them. Through this write-up, I want to thank Atty. Torreon and his partner and Willie for doing what I didn’t expect them do so. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!

The following day, I went home earlier. The reason: I was invited by my friend, Leila Rispens-Noel to attend the 60th birthday of her husband, Wim Rispens, a Dutch national. Actually, his birthday was a day earlier but the couple decided to have a post-birthday celebration.

Fifteen minutes before 3 p.m., I was already at the Noel residence. Wim welcomed me and introduced me to Manuel Roldan, the labor attaché in Hong Kong. Together with him was his wife Arlene.

Other personalities who attended include Ron Checa and his family (from Australia), Wennie Taylor (from Hong Kong), Jean Metilla-Walter (who just arrived from Germany), and Charlie Nique (the father of Ann Sabio and Jeffrey Nique, who are both based in New York).

I thought I was there just to attend the party and have fun. But I was flabbergasted when Jean told me that I would be her co-host. Since it was still thirty minutes before the program proper, I talked with Jean as to what we would do during the “show.” Lalay (that’s the nickname of Mrs. Rispens-Noel) joined us in our conversation and told us that the party also served as Wim’s retirement soiree.

The words of Stephen Leacock came to mind: “Have you ever been out for a late autumn walk in the closing part of the afternoon, and suddenly looked up to realize that the leaves have practically all gone? You hadn’t realized it. And you notice that the sun has set already, the day gone before you knew it — and with that a cold wind blows across the landscape. That’s retirement.”

It was a lively program. There were songs and dances. Kim Checa, the daughter of Ron and Gremma, rendered a very haunting song. There were also those who delivered some words for Wim.

In his response speech, Wim said that age is a state of mind. He went on to explain why he wanted to settle in the Philippines for his retirement instead of his native land. Jean, who gave him a necklace declaring that he is already 60 years old, said: “Now, you have three citizenship: Dutch, Filipino and senior citizen.”

I may not be a senior citizen yet, but another year has been added to my age. I need not worry though. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (too bad, we can’t call him “Long” for short), puts it: “Age is opportunity no less, than youth itself, though in another dress. And as the evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.”

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 20, 2014.


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