May-June 2009

Twenty-Two Years, and Counting!
Steering Committee Daisy Barawidan Lala David Sherry David Marita Legaspi Cecile Lowlicht Sol Oca Mike Palileo Emma Villa-Real

In July 2009 it will have been 22 years since the birth of St Scholastica’s Alumnae Association East Coast. With the leadership of presidents Daisy Barawidan (1988-1994), Maria Clarissa ”Mike” Palileo (19941998), Cecile “Babes” Mandanas-Enrile (1998-1999), Emma Fernandez Villa-Real (2000-2002), Rosario “May” Mayor (2002-2004), Cecile Ungco Sheuerman (2004-2006), and the Steering Committee (2007present), SSAANA East Coast has worked hard to fulfill its three objectives, namely, renewal of ties with Scholastican classmates, networking and exchange of ideas to benefit the Scholastican communities in the United States and the Philippines, and sponsorship and participation in charitable, social, cultural, and educational activities. SSAANA East Coast has also been instrumental in establishing alumnae chapters in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Some of the projects that the East Coast chapter has sponsored and supported through the years include financial assistance to St Agnes Academy (SSC branch in Albay) whose gymnasium and library were destroyed by a typhoon (1988); financial assistance for income-generating activities of the Sikap Tulong Project of the Social Action Center in SSC Manila; contributions to the scholarship funds of St Scholastica’s Research and Development Foundation which benefit deserving low-income students (19891999); contributions to the Lifeline Team Project of SSAA Manila; donations to the Institute of Women’s Studies in SSC Manila of reference books published by the United Nations (1990); sponsorship of a Women’s Movement lecture in the United Nations; donations to Holy Angel Academy (SSC branch in Pampanga) damaged by the eruption of Mt Pinatubo (1994-1995); fundraising to benefit A Chair for St Cecilia (1997-1998); sponsorship of Ma-Yi Productions in New York including Flipzoids and Nick Joaquin’s Portrait of the Artist as Filipino (1997-1998); sponsorship of golf tournament and dinner dance to benefit APICHA, the Filipino Children’s Fund, and SSAA East Coast Scholarship Fund (2000); sponsorship of the Quadrille Concert at New York’s Philippine Center featuring SSC alumnae Della Besa, Ana Maria de Guzman, MaryAnn Armovit, and Dean Raul Sunico (2000); sponsorship of the book launch of Myths and Legends of the Philippines at the Philippine Center (2001), co-sponsorship of SSAA Las Vegas Grand Reunion (2002) with SSAA Ontario and SSAA West Coast; and a New York concert SSAANA Strikes a Chord (2008), with proceeds given to the SSAANA Scholarship Fund administered by SSAFI Manila. 1


Sr Jonep Nepomuceno, OSB Celebrates Golden Jubilee of Her Profession

Sr Jonep with Neni Cruz, Daisy Lizaso, Jojo Sangalang On May 4, 2009, Sr Josefina Nepomuceno, Directress of Holy Family Academy (our SSC branch in Angeles City, Pampanga), celebrated the Golden Jubilee of her profession as Missionary Benedictine Sister of Tutzing with a Solemn Mass at Holy Rosary Parish Church in Angeles City. Hundreds of Sr Jonep’s family, friends, and religious from different SSC branches in the Philippines as well as other religious communities attended the Eucharistic celebration. The Most Reverend Paciano B. Aniceto, Archbishop of Pampanga, celebrated the Solemn Mass. Agape at the GS covered court of Holy Family Academy followed the Eucharistic celebration. Sr Jonep treated her guests to a sumptuous lunch at Holy Family followed by song and dance tributes from Holy Family Academy students, and Powerpoint presentations on her private and community life created by faculty and staff at Holy Angel University (Sr Jonep was President of HAU for ten years). The Powerpoint video can be googled by typing “Dr Josefina Nepomuceno YouTube” and clicking on the first link. Scholastican alumnae who graduated from SSC Manila in the 60s and 70s remember Sr Josefina (then Sr Lourdes) as their class teacher, mentor, and high school principal. In previous years she had served as Directress of SSC, President of SSC, and Dean of the College at SSC Manila. At the request of the Las Vegas host committee, Sr Jonep was chosen by the Manila Priory as guest speaker at the Second Las Vegas Grand Reunion in July 2009. Warmest KUDOS to Sr Jonep on a great achievement, the fiftieth anniversary of her profession.

Communications Committee Rose Constantino Gilda Fule-Prael Sylvia C.Leonard Salve Neelankavil Ronie Nieva Giocky Oca Lulut Valte

Editors Mike Palileo Yvette Jarencio

May-June 2009

Waxing Nostalgic: SSAA North America
Looking forward to July 2009 Cecile Mandanas-Enrile, president of SSAANA in 1998-1999 and today a Las Vegas resident, writes: The Las Vegas Host Committee was formed to ensure the success of the gala reunion in July. They are all working very hard, beyond expectations, blending camaraderie, good spirit, and unselfish time and effort with the planning of this reunion. Members are: MONA MISA CLADIS, HS '71 ORCHID CRISOLOGO SIDECO, HS '68 TERE GUANZON BORJA, HS '64 PRICILLA CRUZ ALMONTE, HS '59 ELVIRA REYES DE GUZMAN, HS '59 Looking back to 1988 The First SSC Reunion in New York City. Daisy Barawidan (HS 63) is the woman behind the establishment of the USA Alumnae Association of St. Scholastica’s College in New York. Cofounders were the UN network and alumnae residents of NY and neighboring states. They planned the first ever SSC reunion abroad. The first get-together – Barbizon Hotel in Manhattan was getting to finally meet as Scholasticans abroad. At this first reunion, there was exhilaration at the idea of a "homecoming" for the first time outside Manila. The event peaked with the first strains of "Let's Cheer for St. Scholastica." We were at a homecoming abroad! From then on official SSAANA yearly-or-so elections of officers and get-togethers were held, SSC being the tie that binds. Yes, too, activities included fundraisers for pet projects (see page 1). The 1988 mailing list (no emails then) grew to some 350 names all former students, graduates, teachers, and members of the SSC Community who reside in America and who wished to renew ties. The following year alumnae turned up at a buffet dinner at the Nusantara for a reprise. By the third year a theme was developed, Homecoming in Manila. Alumnae brought in memorabilia from school days. Two years later ballroom dancing aficionados came for a dinner-dance in Meadowlands, New Jersey, and the next year a cozier gathering with dancing and a deejay at the Yankee Clipper in South Street Seaport. Yearly events have varied over the years including family picnics, golf tournaments, concerts, and retreats. Aside from New York, the community of alumnae has gone regional, in the Bay Area in 1985, and in Ontario in 1991. The groups have continued to grow in their various initiatives and activities. By 2002 all chapters joined forces in an SSC Grand Alumnae Reunion held in Ballys, Las Vegas. The theme was “Unity and Outreach.” Guest speaker Sr. Fe Andrea Collantes (Sr. Andy to her students) said in the Sisters' Priory Bulletin: “Wish you were in Bally’s Hotel to see Scholasticans of different ages, shapes and sizes, and professions… See how they have grown… See how they have matured … to hear their laughter and girlish shrieks which brought a hotel security officer standing in red alert before Jo Ann Lara’s suite where the hellos and how-are-you sessions lasted from early evening to almost midnight!” **** Las Vegas in 2002 In 2002, then SSC College President Sr. Josefina (Jonep) Nepomuceno’s opening greeting to this “incomparable, memorable and unpredictable grand reunion” bespeaks her joy and admiration of SSC’s expat alumnae. Erstwhile mother hen Daisy Barawidan couldn’t help but declare that these “phenomenal women” plan to continue to expand the unity and outreach vision. Today it’s time for the 2009 grand reunion and …

Las Vegas, here they come!!!

Planning Vegas 2002





Plen’y o’Fun

July 9-12, 2009 Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Spa Registration/payment deadline: Extended to JUNE 10, 2009. For details, please go to

May-June 2009

“I wake up early in the morning to realize that it is not the usual day. I am retired. I don’t know how to spend the day. I pass some time with the newspaper and rest watching TV. By then my grandkids come back from school. I plan to go out with the family but everyone is tired and they all have their own set of work to do. I have no other place to go but to dig myself into those philosophical books. The day is over and I am back to my bed to welcome another day of loneliness, loss, frustration and grief. Retired is being twice tired, I thought: First tired of working, then tired of not.” [Richard Armour, This is the Life after Retirement] • Work as a volunteer with social, health, and other philanthropic groups and agencies. • Above all, keep your faith to be filled with His grace all the time. Geo Paul retired as Director, Jute Research, Kolkata, India: During the time I worked (35 years), apart from professional and social engagements there was no time for anything else. Once I retired and was assured of a pension which covered our basic needs, there was no need to work for money any more. This was a time for me to sit back and relax, to count my blessings and thank God for them, to forgive those who have hurt me and pray for them, to re-establish lost contacts with friends from times past, to participate in distance education programs, to read books on various topics, to listen to music, to meditate and pray, and to stay active physically, walking and engaging in other forms of exercise. One has to take care of one’s body with regular checkups, treatments, and procedures as needed. One does not need to be anxious about the future, God will take care of it. You can get involved in the church and participate in service activities, visit the sick, especially people who are bed-ridden and confined to the house, hospitals, and senior citizen communities. Possibly there was not much time while working to spend with one's children—one can compensate that with grandparenting, watching sports together, reading with and to your grandchildren, being available whenever help and support is needed. Initiate them into a wide variety of activities, refine their value system, sow seeds of creativity, share in their joys and sorrows, be a safety net when they fall, tend to their bruised feelings as you do to their scraped knees. To grow old is a privilege, and grandparenting is a blessing! Rosely Plumhoff retired as Director, Red Cross, Gembke, Germany. I had made up my mind to retire at the age of 58 (in 2002). In Germany one retires at the age of 65. Even though I liked the work of caring for the sick (my lifelong profession), lately the responsibilities had begun to weigh me down. I was so exhausted physically and mentally. Early retirement meant receiving less pension; I wondered if I could live on “less.” I wanted to have more time to live and I was cognizant that I wouldn’t be happy just sitting at home. I didn’t know what it meant to just enjoy your time or relax. Even before I stopped working, I conceptualized a project which I had wanted to develop after my retirement. I wanted to set up a “Hospice,” the first in Gembke, Germany. I was involved in the planning, hiring, fund raising, and managing of its operation. I worked tirelessly on this project, working pro bono for 7 years. Despite the politics involved and carrying heavier responsibilities, I received a lot of satisfaction because it allowed me to be with people during their last days of life and to comfort their relatives to make their loss less painful and anxious. I fostered the atmosphere of love and concern. Now I am slowly reducing my long days since this project is doing well. I am disentangling myself from the active, busy working life. I have come to realize that I was tired of the intrigues and that I needed more rest and more time to pursue my interests, to spend more time with my three grandchildren. I am not scared that I won’t have enough to do to keep myself busy. I will try to enjoy my life and live a fulfilled life. 3

The accomplished Neelankavils (2009) According to three retirees that I interviewed during my trip to India in February 2009, there is so much more to retired life than that described by Richard Armour. Below is a summary of my interviewees’ reflections. Archie McMullen retired as Senior Administrator, New Delhi, India: I was born up in the Himalayan Hills, surrounded by lush green forests of oak and evergreen pine and firs. I spent my childhood in the majestic snow-covered Chokhamba, Bandarpoonch, Neelkanth, and a whole range of Himalayan peaks. I retired in a crowded city in Delhi, North India. Living in a flat land surrounded by a concrete jungle falls short of life in the open country. I often wandered before retirement what I would be doing. I had no pension plan and neither did India provide for social security. The Lord has blessed my life with good things. Being involved at home and at church helps me maintain a healthy body, alert mind, and soul. Retired life is bliss! This is the time to reflect, relax, refresh, recharge, revive, renew, and rediscover oneself. One has to create a beautiful life around it. There is no set guideline to follow, only you can shape your “new life”. You will be fully occupied with no idle time. Someone said, “When a man is alone with his own soul, undisturbed by the excitement of external things, his thoughts, unless he is beset by some violent passion, will lead him back to God.” Statistics show that a great number of retirees die within the first year of their retired life as they do not follow their bliss to keep them occupied. Therefore as a retiree: • • • Engage your gifts, talents and skills. Do all those things you love. Spend time visiting people and places you have dreamed of.

• Enjoy the company of those you love. • Utilize and put into practice your hobbies, viz., cooking, painting, gardening, golf, swimming, bridge.

May-June 2009

Mothers, Mothers, Mothers Scholastican Mothers’ Day
By Daisy Barawidan

From Scholastican/Theresian Cynthia de Guzman-Ragasa, an idea: Why not share your loved ones with us who only have memories to live on, on a special day we can call our own, like every last Sunday of May, the 31st for 2009? SHOW OFF YOUR MOMS/DADS DAY! We can show them off via our emails, maybe with photos of the latest reunion. We know that trips to Manila are triggered with these Mommy visits. Some of us don't have moms to talk to, and yes, "borrowing" from our friends is great. I believe we already have in one way or another. Former East Coast now Tucson resident Erllinda GondaRaezer showed off her pipe-carrying Don Aniceto Gonda, her 90-some year old father during a sweet sixty bash in 2006. Tita Pinay Verzosa-Ocampo who got married at 16 (imagine eloping with Ferdie Marcos as your driver!!! apocryphal but we choose to believe) had classmate Monina Ocampo (HS 63) at 18. She was the spiffiest among us, with her electric blue spaghetti outfit in one of our "Blue" theme parties in Kanlaon. We were with her when we turned fifty and then begged her to adopt us, hoping to inherit her lovely multi-carat solitaire!!! She's "Mommy" to us now, with Cool daddy, enjoying his children and grandchildren's annual February visit from all over the world!!! Tita Alice Calleja-Castro (the grand dame of the Castros) reminds us of our very volatile youth and our past, enjoying our company at every opportunity / reunion. Tita Delia Alava-del Rosario (of the del Rosario ladies), the very coiffed mother of six (yes, six) females!!! for having delivered SSC six most exciting women - until today.... Know that Philadelphian Mila Castro's mom is enjoying her long life with her clan in the US with us knowing she went through a traumatic summer intrusion in her family past when we were still in high school, when she lost her loving husband. They are our pillars. What an interesting take on our living moms and dads! Because of their sacrifices, we enjoyed a Benedictine education and a lifelong friendship with one another that continues to enrich our lives. Scholastican readers, you’re invited to share your moms and dads with Pergola. Send us your articles and photos, and we promise to publish in the next issues.

Remy Palileo and family (2007) Requiescat in Pacem Remy Agra Palileo (HS 39) died peacefully in her sleep on Sunday morning, 26 April 2009, 9:20 am Manila time. Wake was held at Magallanes chapel. Interment took place on 1 May 2009 at Manila Memorial. She is survived by her husband Atty Eugenio Palileo, four Scholastican daughters Cristy PalileoTuazon, Jojo Palileo-Sangalang, Mike Palileo, and Chit Palileodela Rama, son Dr. Bobby Palileo, only sister Lulu Agra Manalang, 16 grandchildren Eric, Bambi, Annie, Tricie, Boyblue, Lia, Bilbo, Anya, Mia, Iggy, Mia, Nicole, Gino, Carlo, Abby, Rocky, and 9 great grandchildren Ben, David, Marty, Dylan, Lily, Jack, Enzo, Sebastian, and Arwen Gabrielle. Let us include Tita Remy and the Palileo family in our prayers. Mrs. Elena V. Reyes passed away on Sunday, April 19, 2009 at the age of 89. She was born in Albay, Philippines on August 18, 1919 and was the daughter of the late Ceferino Villareal and Josefina Lopez. A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated on Wednesday, April 22 at 10 am at the Our Lady Star of the Sea in Stamford, CT. She was buried at Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens, New York. She is survived by sisters Sister Aida Villareal, O.S.B. and Lilia Villareal Bitler; son Ramon (Butch) Reyes; daughters Melba Reyes-Talbot and Milen Reyes-Bly; and grandchildren Jonathan, Nicole, Ryan, Vanessa, Victoria, and Olivia. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.


May-June 2009

What Did Jesus Eat? brain of veal in chardonnay sauce, but I doubt Jesus ate brain or other offal in His time. So what did Jesus eat? Almost certainly He ate lots of vegetables like beans and lentils, and fish with wheat bread, fruit and red wine. Perhaps He had meat every other week or on special occasion. With fish and bread, it sounds like Jesus ate a poor man’s Mediterranean Diet, which makes sense. Jesus was a poor man after all. Believe it or not there are some diet programs that prescribe this Biblical food regimen. I actually think we could all benefit from a “Jesus Diet.” We’ve been eating way too much pork.

By Leo Legaspi

To my knowledge, Jewish food has never been associated with gourmet cuisine. To my mind, Michelin has never awarded five stars to any Israeli restaurant or deli in New York. I imagine Katz Deli in NYC (or maybe also Carnegie Deli) may have been awarded five spoons for Best Pastrami Sandwich but that’s about all. I have not heard of a New York Restaurant serving the Best Matzoh Ball Soup, the Best Gefilte Fish, or the Best Bagel with Lox and Cream Cheese. Of course I’m also not Jewish, which accounts for a lot.


Things Tilapia
Roast Tilapia 4 (6 oz) tilapia fillets ¼ tsp salt ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper cooking spray 1 c cherry tomatoes, halved 3 garlic cloves, minced ¾ c pitted green olives, coarsely chopped 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley Preheat oven to 375. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Arrange fish in a single layer in the center of a jelly roll pan lightly coated with cooking spray. Combine tomatoes and remaining ingredients; toss gently. Arrange tomato mixture around fish on baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of of doneness. Place 1 fillet on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with about ¼ cup of tomato mixture. Pan Fried Tilapia 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 cup bread crumbs or use fine dry bread crumbs 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground paprika 1/4 teaspoon onion powder dash thyme dash ground pepper 1 teaspoon parsley flakes 6 to 8 tilapia fillets 1/3 cup spicy brown mustard 1/3 cup light mayonnaise Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. In a food processor, combine bread crumbs and seasonings; pulse several times or until bread crumbs are fine. Combine mustard and mayonnaise; coat tilapia fillets with the mixture, then coat with bread crumbs. Fry the coated tilapia fillet in a single layer, turning carefully after about 3 to 4 minutes. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes longer or until cooked through and lightly browned. Serves 4 to 6.

So when Marita and I spent a week in Jerusalem, we were not expecting much. What a surprise we got! The food there is pretty darn good. During a walking tour of the old city, we had freshly baked sesame bread and pomegranate and orange juice. A stone’s throw from the famous Wailing Wall, at an old restaurant run by Christians in Bethlehem, we were served a traditional mezze with hummus, kibbeh, and the best roasted lamb we’ve ever had. The wine was made in the Golan Heights area, definitely nothing like the overly sweet Manischewitz wine we tend to associate with Jewish alcohol. We were also brought to a restaurant popular with Muslims, where we had Denise fish and St. Peter’s fish (tilapia – see recipes below) and some excellent Israeli beer. Did Jesus enjoy this level of gastronomic excellence when He lived on earth? What did He eat on a daily basis? Since He was, in fact, a Jew, we can certainly rule out a couple of things. Definitely he did not eat pork or rabbit. He may have eaten crab or shrimp, but he did not eat sea creatures that did not have scales. So, as far as lechon kawali, chicharon bulaklak, or soft shell crab, there is not a chance Jesus ate those in His time. When we were at King David Hotel, we ate really good 5

May-June 2009

Travel News from Scholasticans

Reaching out to overseas Pinoys through books
By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Excerpts from the Philippine Daily Inquirer First Posted 04/25/2009

having lived in the Philippines when he taught at Brent International School in Bataan. Consul Macatangay suggested that we network with other FilAm groups, like the large nurses’ associations for future events. And as I was leaving Florida, a Miami group wanted to know if I could go there, too. It is the culture of reading impressed since early childhood that again surfaced. The Fil-Am children were begging their parents to buy the books for them, a decision that needed to be mulled over. The American fathers thought nothing of buying complete sets of books right away.
Neni Sta. Romana Cruz is member of the Philippine Board on Books for Young People, the Foundation for Worldwide People Power, and trustee of the Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation. Email:

Books are yet another way to reconnect with Filipinos living abroad, and should be part of Philippine fiestas and festivals, too. It did sound like a ridiculous and reckless thing to do in the face of the recession climate in the United States – to do a book tour and promote my books on Philippine pop culture to Filipinos living overseas, this time to communities in Palm Beach, Florida. But we had been planning this for two years. My Scholastican college classmate, Cristina Estacio Regino [formerly based in New York], board member of the Philippine-American Society of Palm Beach County (PAS), wanted to offer something not tried before, something that the youth would enjoy and relate to, together with the usual cultural fare of food, music, and dance in Philippine fiestas. I had already made presentations in San Francisco, the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. and the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh. We arranged it to coincide with the swearing-in ceremony for dual citizenship at the Centre Court of the Wellington Mall owned by a Filipino tycoon in Florida, Jess Santamaria. It was not easy to compete with passport and document concerns, but the genuine interest of overseas Filipinos was palpable and reassuring. The ones in rapt attention were the teenagers, along with their parents longing for home and eager to make connections. One jovial Filipino father introduced me to his chum and teasing me about one of the books said, “Meet my kumpare. You know you’re a Filipino if you have a kumpare.” One Filipina nanny bought books for the children she was caring for, a family based in New Jersey who had taken her along to their spring holiday in Florida. Edwin, a young artist was wearing a striking T-shirt with Rizal’s face and the word “Malaya” emblazoned on it – something he proudly designed. Butch and Binky Abesamis brought their young daughter to meet me as she already had some of my books in their library and wanted more titles. Jeanne Isberto wanted book copies to sell to her friends in Cape Coral, her part of Florida. Joe Walpole, a writer married to a Filipina with a keen young reader of a daughter in tow, was familiar with Philippine titles,


Run across the USA
From Scholastican Inge del Rosario comes the news: Joy Rojas, SSC-HS 1983, left Manila for Los Angeles to begin preparations for her trans-USA. Joy will run an average of 5060 kilometers a day over 120 days from California to New York. Joy will be the first Southeast Asian woman to run across the USA this May. Let's cheer her on!

Registration payment deadline has been extended to JUNE 10, 2009
Send your check payable to SSAA Eva Cullen 425 Almanor Avenue South San Francisco, CA 94080 Ballys's Hotel Reservations MAKE YOUR OWN RESERVATIONS NOW. GO ONLINE OR CALL 1-800-3578-8787 (NO NEED TO MENTION SSC REUNION) EMAIL GLORIA CAOILE at after making your reservations to make sure it counts towards our SSAA allotment. Include your date of arrival and departure. THREE CHEERS FOR ST SCHOLASTICA!

Pergola e-Dyaryo is a publication of St. Scholastica’s Alumnae Association – East Coast