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Counting life’s blessings


By Deedee M. Siytangco



“O Thou who has given us so much, mercifully grant us one more thing; a grateful heart!” —George Herbert


Today is a revered feast of the Catholic Church. It is the feast of Christ the King!

Let us give Him, King of Kings the proper tribute all the time!

Centenarian Nelly Intengan Jhocson (Paz Weigand)

Centenarian Nelly Intengan Jhocson (Paz Weigand)

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Tree lighting ceremonies are everywhere and I love them. Last week it was the turn of Taal Vista Hotel in windy Tagaytay City.

It was graced by Elizabeth Sy, president of SM hotel and other officials. What was heartwarming was the choir of the Virlanie Voices and the gift -giving of the hotel executives to children in nearby barangays. The hotel also sponsored a parol contest among its staff with emphasis on creativity in using recyclable materials. And yes, the buffet was good!

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In commemoration of the 85th birth anniversary of our hero Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr tomorrow, there will be no entrance fee at the Aquino Museum in San Miguel, Tarlac. At 10 a.m., there will be a free film showing and visitors can get a free NLEX-SCTEX RFID sticker.

To get your free sticker, call 04 598 0968 for available time and register your vehicle number. Bring your vehicle to the Aquino center for installation one hour before your schedule installation. You can load a minimum P500 with the Easytrip team.

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We really ought to be thankful every day, not just on Thanksgiving Day, but as often as we can. Especially upon waking up, we must be thankful for having been given another day.  As Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD likes to remind his flock, “You are alive today because God still has a mission for you to help others.”

At Taal Vista Hotel, GM Richard Gamlin, with SM Hotel chair Elizabeth Sy, and EVP Peggy Angeles, and the children of Barangay Sambong and Sitio Bitin.

At Taal Vista Hotel, GM Richard Gamlin, with SM Hotel chair Elizabeth Sy, and EVP Peggy Angeles, and the children of Barangay Sambong and Sitio Bitin.

So through all vexations in life, unpleasant people around you, financial, health, family problems, let us remember to say “Thank you, Lord, you brought us through another day!” when we are about to close our eyes and sleep.

My family had a chance to gather together to be grateful for having had a most wonderful gift of a father and grandfather and my partner last Saturday. This will be the 13th year that Sonny is gone and he is but a glorious loving memory for us.  But we still feel so grateful that we had him in our lives for 67 years, loving us, showing God’s love through his life to people he met on his earthly journey.

Earlier in the week, last Wednesday evening, our clan—composed Intengan, Jhocson, Paguia, Ocampo, Galang, Rojas families, and scores of “adopted” scholars of my aunt Lourdes “Nelly” Jhocson—got together, some from Australia and the United States to wish her a happy 100th birthday!

Our Tita Nelly is my mother Paz Intengan Munson’s younger sister. Their parents were Dr. Gabriel Intengan and Consuelo Asuncion. She was married to the late Teodoro Jhocson of the family that founded and nurtured the National University (now owned by the Henry Sy family), had no biological children of her own. But she had dozens of dogs and dozens of “wards,” whom she sent to school, sometimes housed them in her home, and fussed over their achievements and families throughout these years. Some of her grateful wards were there that night, most of them professionals already with families of their own. A few are now citizens of the countries they settled in, thanks to their “dangko.” (Kapampangan for godmother).

Our cousins, Budi and Gabby, Danny and Susan, children of the celebrant’s late brother Flavio Intengan and his wife Baby Poblador, organized the dinner and it was really a thanksgiving for a beloved centennial aunt. She was queen of the “Bursar” at the National University where she worked faithfully for years and the uncrowned champion of the mind game Scrabble. No one could beat her vast vocabulary even in her old age. An outspoken disciplinarian, she was generous with a wicked sense of humor. She was also, in her younger days, a champion golfer at Wack Wack.

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More good news to be thankful for. According to Interaksyon, middle school and high school students from Miriam College (my alma mater when it was still Maryknoll College) bagged the World Scholar’s Cup Tournament of Champions hosted by the Yale International Relations Association Yale University held from Nov. 10 to 14.

The Miriam champion team in the debate, collaborative writing, and a group quiz bee event and other  students from other Filipino schools earned 29 gold medals, 21 silver for the senior division, ages 15 years old and above. The debate team students were Mary Katherine DJ San Miguel, Aleeza M. Tiongson, and Alyssa Santana. They were declared No. 1 in the Southeast competition.

There were over 2,000 scholars from 50 countries. Nine other Filipino schools competed and Immaculate Conception Academy got the top 10 slot. The competition is unlike other academic tournaments as it aims to create “something different” a celebration of the joy of learning and makes even those coming in last as happy as those who came in first.

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