Francia Holgado De Vera, MD: What is a Woman’s Worth
It is a usual success story of a humble beginning, that she was born to a big family and raised in a small unknown town of Pooc, Taal, Batangas. “When I look back, my life has been a simple journey, from grade school to high school, to college and medical school, migrated to America and became a doctor, got married and raised children.” This is the usual thread, but the experiences in between that she made different to be her as Dr. Francia De Vera, a woman of worth. She is simply a good person that her husband, Fausto De Vera, could have sensed or could it be that both are “made for each other” by destiny. They married three times, the first was a civil wedding that cost Fausto (Tito) some ten dollars to get a marriage license, then a church wedding for a private family celebration. The third time was the elegant church ceremony at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City to celebrate their thirty-two years of marriage. They had an entourage of fourteen principal sponsors and fourteen pairs of lovely bridesmaids, led by daughter Richarleen as the Maid of Honor, joined by their families and friends that will be forever remembered as they lined up the steps of the iconic cathedral. They donated all gifts and funds to the Filipino Apostolate, through Fr. Joseph Marabe as he said, "This is a great symbol of giving and selfless love. God will always provide." The celebration culminated a cultural program featuring a tableau, “The Court of Rajah Humabon”, depicting a pre-colonial native people without a name, led by Rajah Humabon. It’s a role tailored for them, as husband and wife onstage. She is a life-long performance artist who played Hara Humani, wife of Rajah Humabon in a zarzuela, “Ang Pagdating ng Krus at Espada,” under the Purple Pillars Production of Las Islas Filipinas. She will be remembered as the “Singing Doctor” of the Filipino American community. Her signature version of the song “Ikaw,” is especially dedicated “to all the people who supported me in this journey”. Her passion to sing came as natural as her simple path. “Singing gives me so much pleasure and enjoyment, especially when I see people who are enjoying the experience of my singing. It also brings me back to my younger days in grade school when I was part of all school programs, theater drama, and plays. I was an intern when they awarded me the “Best Actress” in the play, “Paraisong Parisukat,” presented at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center.” She is the Grand Marshall for the Philippine Independence Day Council in NYC for three consecutive years, 2020 – 2022.
What is a woman’s worth as she is a role model wife and mother, has a full pledged medical practice, successful children, and meaningful community service as the Executive Director of Philippine Community Center Services for Aging? Her personal and professional lives are very much fulfilled. “I would not change anything in my past. There were valuable lessons learned even in bad memories. The good memories are there to cherish.” While life is a serious matter, she has learned how to live and let go, change the things that she can change and leave the things she can’t. To her, there is no complicated life to anyone, it is how they manage their challenges. She keeps a jolly disposition, even when she's alone or in the company of so many. When everything else is done, as she has reached her peak as humanly possible, is to leave a legacy of humility and kindness. That is the worth of a woman, priceless.
This is A Portrait and Tribute to a Woman of Worth, from Personal Reflections in an Interview with Ludy M. Resurreccion, 2021/ By Myrna D. Santos
Mike Jampayas: Mano Po, Brother Mike!
In the serendipitous flow of life, Mike and Josie found themselves as friends, business partners, lovers, and then married couple, living with faith, love, and laughter, constantly streaming through community socials for causes they believe in and support, as they enjoy their golden years. On one occasion, when Mike received the Outstanding Father Award, seeing that all awardees were accompanied by their families on stage and Mike would be all alone, she quickly called all her friends present to come up to the stage to join him. It was a gesture that impressed Mike as Josie being “resourceful” and he felt so gratified with her spontaneous act of thoughtfulness and kindness. Yes, there are differences between them, such as the 22-year gap in their ages, differences in careers and family, but isn’t love a wonderful thing that knows no bounds and excuses? During their life together, each has come to love, admire, and value certain qualities about the other. Mike found Josie to be very caring, loving, young and energetic, with “strong convincing power.” For Josie, Mike is “good looking, kind-hearted, thoughtful, supportive and successful.” The rapport and chemistry between them are palpable, real, and funny. Mike calls her “Sweetheart” and Josie calls him “Brother Mike.” Mike is the contented spouse as he listens to his favorite praise songs while Josie is the energetic, loving wife, a real partner with unconditional love. When queried about what advice they would offer to people who find themselves in a similar situation as theirs, Mike quickly replies, “Ask God for guidance.” To which Josie says, “Age doesn’t matter so long as you get along and love each other.” This brings the priceless peace and contentment they have found in each other’s love. From his prestigious years as researcher and professor in Clinical Pathology at both Columbia University and Long Island University, Mike has concluded that, "Most illnesses are out of loneliness."
As Ambassador for Peace by the global organization, Universal Peace Foundation – Office of Asian Affairs, in March 2015: “To me, being an ambassador for peace means being able to achieve my own personal peace and harmony. I live a life of kindness and understanding within myself, my wife, family, neighbors, and work environment. Being an ambassador for peace means also being facilitative in open dialogue in community of organizations to create a more supportive environment for our youth and older citizens.”
To such profound wisdom we say, “Mano Po, Brother Mike!”
Ludy Resurreccion, 09/23/2018
Nurses Behind the Frontlines
The year is 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse. Incidentally, an unprecedented year of Covid 19 pandemic. Never is a time nurses are called to this mission, greater than wars but from an unseen enemy, a virus. Nurses are caught off-guard, same as the world. Chaos world-wide claiming lives is overwhelming. As the world stopped, nurses continued to respond to the challenge beyond their expectation that put their dedication to the test. Their extraordinary sacrifices as they take care of their patients, their families and themselves are commendable. In this Pandemic Era, the government leaders are called to protect its people, from the highest laws of the land, not to instill fear but convince the millions to comply and do their individual share of survival. As the world keep on standstill and lockdown, people of all faith keep their Trust and Hope in God for Divine Intervention.
This is my opportunity to salute and hail my colleagues, the nurses for their dedication, courage, and service as they put themselves to the frontline without conditions. To those who cared and succumbed, and left their families and young ones. Let us pray that they will continue to respond to this global challenge we never had ever before. The legend of Florence Nightingale as the lady with a lamp rose again. I held that lamp before and I always will.
~Myrna D. Santos
Venilda G. Jaynal: A Leader of Leaders
Nilda was already an active leader in the FilAm community and one of the original leaders who organized the Philippine Independence Day celebration in New York City when I met her in the early 90’s. She was the second overall Chair in1991 PIDC parade, with Grand Marshal Lilia Clemente, a Wall Street executive. She was the first woman president of Philippine American Community Executive Council (PACEC, Inc), the largest umbrella organization of Fil-Ams in Northeastern USA, and an enduring pillar of the New York Fil-Am community from the 70’s to the 90’s, who made it the cornerstone of her advocacy. And that was just one of the so many activities that Nilda actively got involved in. Travelling to and from her residence in White Plains, NY to New York City was never a problem to attend meetings, special events be it at daytime or nighttime gatherings to benefit the community and unconditionally to assist kababayans in time of need, that she became known as the “Social Worker for the Filipinos”, collaborating with the Philippine Consulate of NY.
She was and still is effective in terms of leadership and at the same time, as a follower for the success of a project. At one point, a civic organization of which I was the president, was denied of membership in an umbrella organization in the 90’s for no reason at all. When she learned about it, she quickly defended us resulting to our organization’s acceptance to be a member. She made sure that our group’s community services in NY/NJ were recognized during the process. And am very proud to say that is Nilda G. Jaynal to me. I am honored and grateful to have known her as my mentor and a true friend in the community. To the many Filipino Americans who joined hands in weaving the Fil-Am Community in the East Coast, you will always be remembered.
I am honored to become a part of this community to meet leaders of the Church of Christ.
Thanks to our community photographer, Wally Pacumio, who patiently took the shots while we practiced capturing Irene from our inexperienced amateur photography and how he narrowed the choice from almost a hundred photos to this beautiful cover page that portrays Irene’s class, emanating a character of peace, kindness, intelligence, and authority.
It was a pleasure driving you, Ms. Irene. My old car is no comparison to your times’ Berlina, but surely, I cared for the most important cargo, as you are. My final cuts in the form of questions addressed to the readers make this story telling interactive so they may become the judge themselves especially on issues of spirituality and higher consciousness as you have exemplified. While your mission is to save me from hell " dagat-dagatang apoy", mine is to keep you company and make you comfortable in your aging years, when like a child you will become and learn again.
Our greatest appreciation to Lutgarda "Ludy" M. Resurreccion, our Program Director, for giving me a critique and feedback on my delivery of language and style. She has given a brief intellectual perspective on the historic philosophy of Felix Y. Manalo on a movement that is known as Iglesia ni Cristo.
Welcome back to our talented graphic designer Criselda Cac Escalante for the beautiful cover and creative layout of the book, adding value to this collectible masterpiece.
We are seeking all opportunities to maximize what we can do out of this printed medium to reach out in any way to teach and inspire, from marketing, fundraising, entrepreneurship, and spiritual ministry as we are all affected by this unprecedented pandemic of our times. As live events are regulated, we take this book as our main event as virtual and yet so alive, tangible and lasting.Together, we will celebrate a leader in her own right, a teacher of life and a legend rising!
~Myrna D. Santos/Co-Author
Friends, Families, Supporters, Donors, Sponsors
Aka & Francia DeVera
Blessie & Delfin Buison & Family
Catherine & Paolo Lumbrera
Cindy Margalit & Family
Danielle Ongsohu, "The Litte Girl I Carried"
Dina & Ongsohu
Dr. and Mrs. Tony & Nita Toledo
Dr. Jackie and Care City Physical Therapy
Dr. Josie & Pepito Hipolito
Dr. Josie Velez / In Memoriam Dr. Gonzalo "Zal" Velez
Dr. Sherwin Batoon & Staff, Nina, Nora
Elvira & Jacel Galang
Ferdie & Eloisa Aguinaldo
Fernando "Boggs" & Susan Vergara
Frederick & Jane Perez & Children
Jane & Mike Davis & Children
Jasmin Espanol & Manhattan Home Care
John Joseph Thater
Julia Reid Adelan
Juliet "Gigie" & Rico Adelan
Ka JR Resurreccion
Ka Lito Banana
Ka Rico del Rosario & Family
Lourdes "Lulu" Rodriguez
Lourdes & Jimmy Sales
Ludy & Hektor Resurreccion
Marcos "Ping" Panlilio
Mario & Fely Pera & Family, Timmy, Jocel and Boknoy
Mary Santos, Azeez & Lana
My great grandchildren
Peter Paul, Katherine, & KarvinLumbrera
Princely I “ Butsoy”, Glecery & Timmy Lumbrera
Princely II "Bunsoy" Lumbrera
Roberto G. Santos
Robert Anthony Santos
Romer & Catherine Suba
Ryan & Richarleen Walsh
Susan D. Thater
Thelma & Cesar Andaya
Violy Serrano Ibarra