When I turned 80 years in 2008, we distributed white T-shirts withÂ the blazing message in front:Â
â€œIf Things Get Better WithÂ Age
Then Iâ€™m approaching
Now Our 60th Wedding Anniversary!
This was on April 21, 2015: which was also my wifeâ€™s, Coringâ€™s, 83rd birthday anniversary. But we celebrated it on Sunday, April 18, when most of us, friends and relatives, were free to be together. [By the way, on May 25 I will observe my 87th birthday.] Very senior na kami!
Evidently to all gathered, Coring and I were the oldest relatives and friends around. We didnâ€™t just look it, we happily confirmed it. [As I have admitted in this column, we surviving Abueva brothers and sisters help maintain the Handurawan Balay Abueva ancestral home in Duero, Boholâ€”and we are now among the very few living ancestors.]
It is now also known, more or less, that we had been having our more or less normal turns in hospitalization. But just the same we were greatly enjoying the special occasion. For we never foresaw Godâ€™s blessing that we would live this long in what is also known as the pre-departure age.
Coring is still our home manager. And Iâ€™m still U.P. professor emeritus, President of Kalayaan College in Quezon City, a non-killing peace activist, and a political and constitutional reformerâ€”more often frustrated.
Our favorite venue. We gathered to enjoy our 60th Wedding anniversary in Crescent Moon CafÃ© in (East) Antipolo City. This is the popular restaurant of our eldest â€œchildâ€â€”Lanelle Abueva Fernando. It is cooled and beautified by her fish pond and waterfalls. The Japanese carp known as Koi present a colorful pageant in motion.
The CafÃ© is just next to her very busy Pottery Studio/ceramic workshop. Lanelle became a potter by her traditional apprenticeship with a Japanese master potter in Hachijojima (1977-80).
This time Coring and I took our turn to offer our now almost yearly Kapihan among the volunteer resident couples and singles in Beverly Hills Subdivision. Kapihan (coffee break kono) is actually a special, heavy Kainan! offered right after our Sunday mass.
Rose is Crescent Moon CafÃ©â€™s chef cum manager. The food she serves is well appreciated: her soup (often pumpkin soup with young coconut strips), her unique set of pickles to be chosen and wrapped in Alagao leaves (adapted from Thai Mieung Kun), her chosen meats, fish, and vegetable dishes. Uniquely, too, this time she served us paksiw from the lechon we got straight from Duero, Bohol just the day before!
Surprise program and musicale. Suddenly, daughters Lanelle and Rossana (our banker
daughter from Singapore (Standardâ€”Chartered Bank) announced a special program. Rossana emceed the event with a grateful reference to us as their loving parents. Our son, Jonas (child center teacher and artist), was with them; other son, Jobert (business executive), was the only one away in the U.S.
Rossana arranged a beautiful video presentation of our wedding anniversary made up of a full album of family photographs. We are assured that photographs so recorded donâ€™t fade away with time.
We quickly sensed that there was going to be a very special, indeed spectacular, concert. For one, they had a female and male singer who accompanied themselves. And loud speakers to amplify the music.
Most specially, our dear family friend, Monique Wilson, professional singer, actress, and tutorÂ was surely to offer all a celebrity musicale. She did sing some 15 songs, mostly foreign and a few Filipino favorites. Monique is now also global director of â€œOne Billion Women Risingâ€: a world campaign against the exploitation of women and girls widely held and recorded for very extensive viewing for the desired effect.
Boldly, I even arranged a presentation of some of my recorded songs (Bisayan, English, Spanish) on Harana/Karaoki ni PepeAbueva. I recorded them with my driver, Ruel, for my 50th Wedding Anniversary in 2005. We used minus-one discs from 12 mid-night to 5 A.M. I was 76 years old but, thank God, maayo pa man. To please me, some asked for a copy of the disc.
Revered reunion. Our 60th Wedding Anniversary gathered our own family as mentioned; Cherry Abueva and daughter, Amihan, joined us. Brother Napoleon [Billy] could not make it. Lanelleâ€™s special friends came. Most of our Beverly Hills Kapihan members were there. And some colleagues and staff of Kalayaan College as well.Â Our deepest thanks to all of them.