April 2010

Steering Committee Daisy Barawidan Lala David Sherry David Marita Legaspi Cecile Lowlicht Sol Oca Mike Palileo Emma Villa-Real VICTIMAE PASCHALI LAUDES
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large. On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, „He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.‟” (Mark 16:1-7) ALUMNA PROFILE NENI STA ROMANA-CRUZ
In photo: L to R: Neni Cruz standing in middle with Sr Concepcion (seated), Sr Asuncion, and Daisy Barawidan

Pergola Contributors (this issue) Sr Irene Dabalus Elsa Lava-Mapua Pauline Paguia Eleanor Topacio Vicky Sevilla Maruch Maralit Ondes Sianghio Daisy Barawidan Letti Villar

Anyone who knows Neni Cruz is left with the feeling that one has met a human being fully alive. It is because Neni genuinely shows interest in you as a person and makes the moment about you, not her. To someone who has grown up with her since fifth grade at SSC (she was a student at St. Theresa‘s College until grade four) and continues to share her life more than five decades later, her friendship is one of God‘s many gifts and blessings. Together with other precious classmates, I watched Neni grow and bloom into an awesome woman who loves life and perfects it by finding the beautiful and carrying it within her. Neni has an exemplary list of accomplishments: she graduated cum laude in 1967 with a BA degree major in English; earned a Master‘s degree in English Literature from Ateneo; took postgraduate courses in children‘s literature from Michigan State University; served as educator at International School in Manila for thirty years and as head of its Children‘s Media Center; authored ten award-winning books; worked as freelance journalist for various periodicals; served as board member of Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation and as chair of the Philippine Board on Books for Young People; and is a member of the Society of Children‘s Book Writers and Illustrators, a US-based organization. She co-edited Daughters True: 100 Years of Scholastican Education and was chosen one of One Hundred Outstanding Scholasticans. While she has excelled in every area of her chosen field of work, Neni continues to pursue her passion for literacy and reading through her volunteer work for the Department of Education, where she runs weekend training programs for librarians and teachers and through her other voluntary endeavors in foundations and organizations dedicated to literacy and education. Her classmates admire and respect her for her leadership, service, and ability to maintain balance in her personal life, but we are proudest of Neni for being a role model to people of all ages. Most of all, we love her as a friend and as a person who truly lives for God‘s greater glory. by Daisy Barawidan

Editors Mike Palileo Yvette Jarencio

THE REAL MESSAGE OF EASTER Faith in the resurrection of Jesus says that there is a future for every human being; the cry for unending life which is a part of the person is indeed answered. Through Jesus we do know ―the room where exiled love lays down its victory.‖ He himself is this place, and he calls us to be with him and in dependence on him. He calls us to keep this place open within the world so that he, the exiled love, may reappear over and over in the world . . . God exists: that is the real message of Easter. Anyone who even begins to grasp what this means also knows what it means to be redeemed.‖ [Pope Benedict XVI]


April 2010

a Focolare Center. One feeding day the sisters gave the kids a spaghetti treat with bread sticks to go with it. The kids ate the spaghetti with gusto but some of them did not eat their bread sticks. One bright kid was asked, ―Don‘t you like your bread sticks? Why don‘t you eat them?‖ He said, ―I like them very much, but I will bring them home to my mother and little sister.‖ He said this with shining eyes – with joy over the bread sticks which his mother and sister would be able to taste, too. Shining eyes – sparkling love – to be able to share, to not forget others, to remember the needy. I feel that against the stark reality of our anxieties and concerns – automated election failure, earthquake and volcanic threats, uncertainty in our world, church and country – the joy of Easter is present. Alive, inexorably on the march, unstoppable and victorious into the future. Gripped by Easter Joy It is not mere conditioning that makes us wish one another the joys of Easter but a faith in that which the angel of the resurrection announced to the disciples: The Lord is truly risen! Alleluia! (cf. Mt. 28:7; Mk 16:6; Lk 24:5) Where we are now Into our modern life of high tension, frayed nerves, and ego-driven days, the feast of Easter comes around again this year. Joy is its purest reality. Yet, we can hardly feel it in our cocoon of more pressing needs from day to day. Joy in the Risen Christ! Is it there? Is it not there? More likely we are frustrated by our expectations of that ―high‖ which Easter does not deliver. And yet, if we sharpen our sense of faith, we can discover that Easter is indeed real and not just a make-believe repetition of a story which is replayed year after year. Indeed, when we use our eyes of faith to see, there are myriads of chances to let Easter joy touch us in our lives. During Lent this year our community in Tagaytay prepared itself for Easter by giving breakfast to some 30 poor kids at a weekly feeding program at

When we sing our joy in the Easter alleluias this year, this is not to block out of our consciousness the grim realities that are happening in our world. Nor is this to anaesthetize the fear and anxiety we all feel about our safety on our planet which is under threat both from natural and man-made disasters beyond our control. Let us take the Gospel accounts and dwell on them again. What really happened at Easter? We do not know what actually happened at the moment of the Resurrection. The historical details in the accounts are elusive. But what we do know is that there was an empty tomb and there was the faith of the first witnesses that started the revolution in faith of the whole world. After the down and utter hopelessness of Good Friday the full consciousness of the disciples is pierced by a tremendous light. It was the exploding dynamism of a new reality in their life, a totally new reality. Peter says, ―We have seen the Lord. He is not dead! He is risen!‖

What can we believers glean from the account? – Three movements: all exploding like dynamite from this faith. First, there is a centering in the Lord. The Lord becomes the focus of all life. He is a uniting force. The disciples who were scattered by their fear and suspicion were drawn together to Him like a magnet. There is no doubt but that in the Gospels a fearful band of men becomes the most fearless of men after the Resurrection. Unity, peace, reconciliation and joy are the first experiences of these first Easter believers. They are the Easter fruits. We believers in the 21st century salute these first witnesses for our own faith in the Risen Lord. We must be wary if our faith does not unite and reconcile us with one another. Second, there is a birth of community among the disciples. The movement now goes out from the Lord in their midst to one another. The new life draws them to one another as they share in the joy of the new existence of the Lord. The Risen Life is a life of community with Him as the Son. Easter constitutes us into sons and daughters of God in the one Son who is risen. Son and daughter! This piercing reality is ultimately the only light that can scatter our darkness and bring joy into our gloom. If only we could embrace this gift with our heart – totally, wholly, ardently. What a potent force for our group of Scholasticans who struggle to live, love, trust and cooperate with one another in a country so far from ―home.‖ What an inner conviction based not on human faith but on the fact that as children of God we can share one another‘s joys and burdens as friends. Third, the new life of the Risen Lord launches another movement. ―As the Father sent me, I also send you.‖ The community of the Resurrected Lord is a missionary community. The dynamism of Easter is now cosmic, to the ends of the world and through the centuries of time. The Lord claims believers in Him for His service and His mission. ―Go and preach the Good News!‖ The storyline of the Easter missionary has caught up with us today. The Resurrection has to be preached. The message of salvation is not for a few. It is for all. Love is all embracing. The wonderful deeds of God must be preached – the ―Mirabilia Dei!‖ Being new-made in the Risen Christ – what does this mean in the concrete? Being new-made in Christ, Easter will always be the anchor of our joy. In Jesus we are guaranteed

that GOD LOVES US. Easter is the victory of LOVE over egoism, falsehood and violence. We who experience this LOVE are called to celebrate it. We are indeed urged to make a feast, to sing our songs, to hold our liturgies in word, deed and sacrament in honor of Christ‘s triumph over sin and death. Paul enjoins us in his letter to the Ephesians: ―Sing the words and tunes of the psalms and hymns when you are together, and go on singing and chanting to the Lord in your hearts so that always and everywhere you are giving thanks to God who is our Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ‖ (Eph 5:19-20). New life, new joy in creation is happening all around us - the fruit of his Cross. Therefore, let us open up our minds and hearts to the power of the Easter life. Let us celebrate our liturgy where we can draw new life from him under the sacred Eucharistic signs he left us. However, let us not just stop with a beautiful liturgy. Because of Easter we have joy which makes us most active to care for others. Our own witness of being newmade in Christ will give credence to the presence of our hope here and now. Precisely in the darkness of our times, we can effect signs of hope where we take up our own suffering and pain in the spirit of the Suffering Servant who was strongest when he was weakest. This means discipleship, following Jesus in his mission, bringing about the liberation for which he died – the liberation from our human selfishness and egoism. Let this Easter hope – in its upsurge of joy and beauty - be re-born wherever we are: in our individual lives, in the community, in the workplace, in the Church, and in society corrupted by the materialistic and individualistic values of globalization. Let it fill us with energy and courage to effect change and transformation where people suffer pain, injustice and oppression in any form. We can bring this hope into our daily duties, contributing our share to the work of our group for its welfare. We can dispense the love and compassion of the Risen Lord to those around us in acts of reconciliation and communion. Above all, we can be alert to the many small and big things we can do to alleviate the lot of the poor, to defend the rights of women and children, to preserve the beauty of our environment and to bring about peace wherever we go. Of course, I wish you-before all this—your own inner apparition of Easter, because unless this happens, you will not experience what the joy of the Resurrection is all about.


April 2010


The activities started in January, when some fourteen classmates, including earlybird Balikbayans Vicki Altavas Arcega and Emy Fuentes Torres, seriously tried to learn the dance steps for our presentation number. We practiced for two hours every Friday and Saturday in January. In February classmates from abroad arrived and joined us. You can imagine the commotion—all the hellos, the hugging, the shrieking—before we got to start rehearsing.

we hired a bus to take all 25 classmates and some husbands. Our first stop was at Ugu Bigyan's pottery factory and garden in Tiaong, Quezon. We were treated to a special demo by the artist himself after which the girls happily shopped in his store. We "inspected" a residential resort in Pagbilao, Quezon, called Pueblo por la Playa. After some picture-taking we proceeded to lunch at Kamayan sa Palaisdaan in Tayabas, Quezon. As soon as we arrived we immediately sat down to EAT! Everything was pre-arranged by Jazmin. Since it was almost 1:30 pm there was quiet for a change, everyone was busy with the sinigang ng sugpo, sisig, barbecued pork, pancit, fresh buco...ummm, unbelievably yummy! Next stop was the Kamay ni Hesus shrine in Lucban, Quezon. The outdoor Stations of the Cross led up a hill to where a large statue of Christ stood. We just admired the shrine from the foot of the hill because no one dared (and there was not enough time) to go up the 250 steps. We also drove around another resort place called Graceland Resort in Lucena City.

For our luncheon at the Szechuan House on Roxas Boulevard, thirty-four of us enjoyed the Chinese food that Linda Siy-Yao had ordered. With all the banter and chatter and other noise, it was good that we were given a private room! The whole group then proceeded to St. Cecilia's for the general rehearsal. We were really serious this time. Nina Romualdez Colayco remarked that we were counting so loudly it could be heard from the floor. But of course, nobody likes to make a mistake, right? Finally: D-Day! February 7, 2010. Everyone came in gold satin and lace outfits. Most came in gowns while others opted for pants and blouse. I tell you, we were the grand ladies of the day and night! It made us recall our softball victory song, "Seniors, the bida of all the years...‖ Holy Mass was held in the chapel at 3 pm. The grand performance started at 5 pm. As expected, HS '60 rendered an almost perfect dance number - no instances of senior moments! We were very impressed with the seven Balikbayans who joined the dance presentation and learned the steps so quickly. The performance was followed by an al fresco buffet dinner in the schoolgrounds. After dinner more dance music was played over the sound system and many of us joined in the line dancing (a la Mamma Mia). Even our own Sr. Lydia (Gaudelia Villegas) swayed with us. Oh, what a great time to be with forty classmates, all smiling and having fun! Then came the Quezon Tour on February 9 organized and sponsored by Jazmin Enverga. Again with the help of Linda, 4

Jazmin took us to a handicraft factory in Tayabas, Quezon. As expected, more shopping took place here. Next on the itinerary was the drive through Enverga University. Jazmin fed us again, dinner was served at the Enverga residence. As we said thank you and goodbye to Jazmin, each one received a pabaon of suman and budin (cassava cake). By the way, let me tell you that during the whole tour we were accompanied by a videographer (!!!) recording all the activities. Hey Jazmin, MANY, MANY thanks to you! We all had a great time! What a superb hostess you are! On the last day, February 10, our farewell "jam session" started at 7 pm. Dinner was catered by ElarZ. We had lechon, steak, grilled prawns and blue marlin fillets, pasta and salad, and halo-halo for dessert. There were three dance instructors to lead us through more dancing. So for another two hours, the girls danced, chatted, laughed, shed tears, posed for pictures, hugged, and prayed - for each other, for those who couldn't attend, and especially for those who had passed on. What a night! What a week! How could anyone of us forget this joyous occasion, our golden jubilee! To Vicki, Emy, Merle Arceo-Ynfante, Emy Bailon-Guzman, Lita Canuel-Yanouf, Gwen Flor, Tess Gamboa-Mawhinney, Mayette MalolesRavasco, Amy Sales-Sanson, Juliet Tamayo-Militante and Cora Villegas-Rosario, thank you, thank you, thank you for coming back home to be with us here! We hope everything made your trip worthwhile and we hope to see you all at our Emerald (55 years) and Diamond Jubilees (60 years)! by Lourdes (Ondes) Hernandez-Sianghio

April 2010


First row: Emy Bailon-de Guzman, Gwen Flor, Ditas Rivera-Oca, Emy Fuentes-Torres, Bong Mirasol-Orbon, Daisy Castill-Magnaye; Jazmin Enverga-Villanueva, Louie Carpio-Ledesma, Connie Operaiano-Baylon, Ondes Hernandez-Sianghio, Serry Benedicto-Rufin, Linda Siy-Yao, Cora Villegas-Rosario, Sonnie Tensuan, Cely Cruz-Luz, Norma Recio-Gimenez, and Lulu Cuenca-Orig. Second row: Sr. Lydia VIllegas, OSB, Lita Canuel-Yanof, Mayette Maloles-Ravasco, Julie Tamayo-Militante, Amy Sales-Sanson, Tita de Ocampo-Elegado, Vicki Altavas-Arcega, Nieves Serra, Kit Macuja-Ladrido, Bebeloi Araneta-Huni and Tess Gamboa-Mawhinney.


April 2010


ABOVE PHOTO, L TO R: First row: Munte del Rosario, Letti Paguia Villar, Didit Araneta, Joann Lara, Mayette Pacis Merin. Second row (seated): Becky Villegas, Patty Villanueva LeMay, Lorna Bautista Hizon, Eleanor Topacio Long, Eva Pascual Cullen. Third row (standing): Luisa Fernando Gan, Bella Galang Cabrera, Tita Simon Hipolito, Judy Lou Lim, Marite Arellano Kooijman, Vicky Sevilla Navratil, Didi Villegas, Marita Arceo Zamora, Nene Recio, Ditas Reyes Riad, Gita Mallilin, Chona Prudente Gonzalez, Simonette de los Reyes Feraren.


April 2010

My father passed away at the young age of 41 in 1956. My mother (Teodora Guison Paguia) was a few days shy of 39. I was six years old, the fourth of six daughters. It was the time shortly after my father died that I came to have a special bond with my mother. I did not understand everything then. It is only now that I can put it in perspective: My mother was broken-hearted. I only had half day of school. My mother would take me wherever she wanted to go in the afternoons. First, she took me to the movies at Odeon or Scala, where we had a season‘s pass. Scala had double feature films so that would take us a good part of the afternoon. We watched a lot of movies, my mother‘s way of dealing with the pain of my dad‘s loss. I know she crocheted a lot of bedspreads at home, at least ten of them after my dad died. I counted them but the movies helped a lot too. We also went shopping in Echague and Carriedo for Christmas gifts and food items for noche buena. With less means, she would bargain down the prices, choose less premium cuts of ham. We still had a merry Christmas, thanks to Ma. Eventually our afternoons included shopping for textile in Divisoria so she could sew all our clothes, including uniforms. She started coming to terms with her life as a single mother, and I as her new best friend. Once, as we walked home from our jeepney ride carrying our plastic bags of goodies, she asked, will I be around to take care of her when she grows old? I said yes, a promise that kept me making sure of her well being all these years. Surely, the efforts are never enough, and so I have had to rely on my sisters Bing and Letty and especially Tonette in these recent years. In 1970 my mother helped me enroll in AIM to take up my MBA. She put up with the late hours and when it came time for my thesis, she allowed me to use the dining table as my worktable after dinner. Nearing deadline time, she typed several drafts of my thesis, and of course the final one. She used the antique typewriter, the type Angela Lansbury used in ―Murder She Wrote.‖ I saw a smile on her face when she saw the dedication page—I dedicated my thesis to her. I got a good grade for it! If you‘re wondering what happened, yes, Mama and I got a good grade for it! We lived together in Mandaluyong starting in 1983. I enjoyed long conversations over breakfast, lunch, or dinner with her. Those are moments I will treasure most. She was a great storyteller. She shared stories of her youth, stories of war, bravery and adventure, her romance with my father. I came to know of my mother‘s romantic heart, of my parents‘ love for each other and how that love sustained her spirit for over 53 years. Yes, from my mother I learned the power of love. She showed me her strength and perserverance, the value of hard work, frugality, the great power of a mother‘s love. She left her imprint on me and my sisters, and their imprint on their children. Bing has her astute mind and continues to balance a career and home life. Letty has her gift of music, her artistry, and like her is a most loving mother. Jojo has her gift of grace and reserved ways, inspiring others around her, and is a most loving mother as well. Ditas has her accounting skills, her traits of frugality, generosity, and concern for younger siblings. Tonette has her religious fervor and moral authority, her strong faith in God, commanding respect by sheer example. And like Ma, she is now the one that holds us together in this journey.


April 2010

Introduction to Neni Sta Romana Cruz – 2010 PAX Awardee
by Paulynn Paredes Sicam
It is my honor to introduce our guest speaker, Flor Marie Sta. Romana Cruz -- teacher, writer, an outstanding Scholastican, my classmate and friend. She may sound imposing to young graduates but she is only Neni to the sisters and to generations of Scholasticans to whom she has always been an approachable and reliable leader and a trusted friend. Neni thrived in the rigor of our Scholastican upbringing. She recalls that the sisters never praised or told her that she did a good job. This had such an effect on her that until today, she never thinks that what she has accomplished is good enough, and so she continues to push herself. Which is why when she was told that she was the recipient of this year‘s PAX award, she was very surprised. One exception was the late Sr. Mary Sylvester who when we were in high school, recognized Neni‘s "golden pen" and gave her an unprecedented A++ for the autobiography we were required to write. It was no surprise then that Neni became an English major, one of ten who belonged to the class of 1967 (and the second to receive the PAX Award, the first being Chita Vallejo Pijano who was honored in 2003). A campus leader, Neni was always up to something. She was student council president, wrote for *The Scholastican,* organized school fairs, got involved in community service through Junior Operations Brotherhood and in student politics through the National Union of Students, raised our political consciousness, and once even led us on a march to Malacanang. Neni was tireless, working with a sense of responsibility and purpose, for the glory of the school and for the greater glory of God -- not herself. But she was not all *Ora et Labora*. Neni attended a lot of parties, had an enviable social life, and upon graduation managed to graduate cum laude, garner the Mother Birgitta award for leadership and give the valedictory speech on our behalf! While many of our classmates went abroad after graduation, Neni stayed in the Philippines, earning her masters in English Literature at the Ateneo de Manila in 1975. In 1969, she joined the faculty of the International School Manila where she blossomed as a teacher in the elementary department and a reading advocate who ran the Children‘s Media Center which planned and promoted reading programs for the elementary grades. She also handled ISM‘s Mentorship Program for Young Writers, an advanced program for verbally gifted children. She helped organize the SAGER Learning Institute, a group of educators committed to excellence in education through teacher training, curriculum development and mentorship. She also holds private classes and small-group workshops in English, reading and writing for elementary and high school students. Upon her retirement in 2006 after 37 years at ISM, Neni dreamed of a leisurely schedule. But that was not meant to

be. She has, after all, much expertise and talent to share in promoting literacy among young Filipinos, especially in our public schools -- not to mention the inescapable Benedictine ethic of *Ora et Labora* that makes it very difficult for a Scholastican to ever retire. Neni is also a prolific writer. Her essays, originally published in magazines and newspapers, have been anthologized in over 20 books, and collected in three volumes. She also writes children‘s books. The story, *Why the Piña Has a Hundred Eyes and Other Classic Philippine Folktales about Fruits* won the 1994 National Book Award for Children‘s Literature. Her three small books on Pinoy pop culture have become bestsellers, especially among balikbayans. Neni shepherded the writing, editing and publication of *Daughters True: 100 Years of Scholastican Education 1906-2006*, the definitive history of St. Scholastica‘s College and the Benedictine sisters in the Philippines, which we both co-edited with two other alumnae, Karina Africa Bolasco and Ma. Ceres P. Doyo, both of whom are PAX Awardees. This proud volume won the 2007 National Book Award for Education. For a lifetime of being a true Benedictine child, Neni was declared one of the 100 Outstanding Scholasticans during the school‘s centennial in 2006. My sister, who is not a Scholastican but has two Scholastican siblings and many Scholastican friends, once observed that when something has to be done and no one else is doing it, a Scholastican will stand up and do it. When something has to be said and no one is saying it, a Scholastican will come up and say it. Such is the leadership that Neni has exhibited here in school and in the larger world outside. The education sector is indeed fortunate that Neni became a teacher and an advocate of reading and good writing. And she isn‘t about to stop -- Ok, maybe for a couple of weeks in June and July, to welcome her first grandchild. But expect her to return to her passions with a vengeance because to Neni, *Ora et Labora* and *Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam* are a way of life. For all her leadership qualities and her stellar achievements, her classmates know Neni to be extremely thoughtful, humble and low-key, a quiet worker who gives credit where it is due and never edges out others to be in the limelight. She pursues her passions without much fanfare but with her trademark humor and an admirable zest for life. I know I speak for my classmates when I say that she is truly deserving of the highest honor that our school gives only to its most exemplary alumnae. I end with a quote from our classmate Daisy Barawidan who wrote in our class egroup: ―Neni, we congratulate and celebrate you! We are so honored that you belong to Grade School ‗59/High School ‗63 and College ‗67.‖

April 2010

Travel News: ILOCOS goes Bongga ’65
Ten of us ladies [from HS ‗65] were at PAL airport one early morning in February to depart for Laoag, Ilocos Norte. Our classmate Mayette Pacis Merin had made great arrangements for us to enjoy a well-planned and varied tour of Ilocos for four days. Arriving at Laoag at 11:15, the immediate priority was lunch and thus began a series of eating sessions and culinary experience so unique to our palettes. In Ilocos we tried pinakbet pizza, diniguan pizza, bagnet, pinakbet, and longganisa. Ilocano food is bombarded with cholesterol, fat, and salt. In between eating sessions, we toured museums and historic homes of Philippine legends, Juan Luna the painter, Elpidio Quirino and Ferdinand Marcos (presidents). We visited numerous churches, lighted candles, and made three wishes for every church we visited for the first time. Most impressive was Paoay Church, a Unesco World Heritage site. Its architecture is similar to those temples found in Ankor Wat, Cambodia. We climbed Cape Bojeador Lighthouse close to sunset. Our 60-some-year-old knees managed to make it to the top. Our van driver looked at Lorna Bautista Hizon, all bejeweled and the most bongga dressed senior citizen, and commented he didn‘t think we could make it to the top. We were challenged to disprove him. In spite of Lorna‘s arthritic knee, she conquered our Everest! Maruch was enthralled with the tale about the lighthouse ghosts and quizzed the lighthouse keeper about them. The keeper confirmed proof of their existence because of plates and cutlery sounds they had heard. People were also seen at the top of the lighthouse who never come down. We were relieved the ghosts chose not to appear that day or the Bongga Ladies would have lost their cool! We also admired the Windmills in Banqui. It is the first wind powered energy source in Asia. Ilocos Norte is Marcos country so we could not avoid visiting Marcos‘ home–Malacanang of the North, hearing about the extravagance of Imee‘s wedding in Sarrat and visiting Marcos‘ remains in Batac. His body is embalmed and on display. Ilocos is beautiful, the people warm and friendly, the food delicious, the beaches, especially Pagudpud on the northern most tip of Luzon gorgeous, and historic Vigan impressive. But the best part of the trip was the camaraderie the ten of us had. We spent three nights together laughing, giggling at silly jokes, sharing our lives, breaking into song if a word was dropped related to a song we knew, and taking millions of pictures. The ten of us are so different in personalities and lives: Vicky Sevilla lives in Switzerland, Jo Ann Lara and Maruch Maralit in New York, (the latter just retired and now residing in Tagaytay), Patty Villanueva in San Francisco, Eleanor Topacio in Washington State, and the rest, Mayette Pacis, Nene Recio, Becky Villegas, Didi Villegas, and Lorna Bautista live in Manila. Yet during our Ilocos tour, we were no longer the housewife, career woman, retiree, or senior citizen of today but the Scholastican child of long ago. We had no worries; we got along so well and had the best time together. We had such fun together that we are already looking forward to our FIFTIETH golden jubilee and another road trip together. Maybe Bohol, Batanes, Palawan, Sorsogon - the place has not been decided but we are all signing on [by Eleanor Topacio-Long, Vicki Sevilla Navratil, and Maruch Maralit]

In photo, l t o r: Nene Recio, Maruch Maralit, Patty Villanueva LeMay, Lorna Bautista Hizon, Didi Villegas, Mayette Pacis Merin, Vicky Sevilla Navratil, Becky Villegas, Eleanor Topacio-Long


April 2010

Cooking and Eating in America
FISH DELMONICO* This recipe has fish and eggs, and makes a very delicious dish for special occasions like Easter. You will need: Stove, oven, frying pan, a baking pan (about 9‖ x 9‖ or slightly larger), 3 mixing bowls, paper towels, and a saucepot. Ingredients 16 pcs medium potatoes, peeled 2 pcs or 500g maya-maya (or other white fish, like dory) fillets 1 cup all purpose flour 3 eggs, beaten 1 cup bread crumbs Oil for frying 1-1/2 cup all purpose cream or whipping cream Salt to taste Pepper to taste 6 pcs eggs, hard boiled, then sliced into rounds 1/4 cup green peas 3/4 cup all purpose cream or whipping cream Procedure 1. Put potatoes in saucepan, cover with water, and boil till tender. Mash potatoes, mix with 1-1/2 cup of cream. Season with salt and pepper. 2. Prepare 3 bowls. In bowl #1, put in the flour. In bowl # 2, put in the beaten eggs. In bowl #3, put in the bread crumbs. 3. Season the maya-maya (or other fish) fillets with salt and pepper, then dip each fillet (one at a time) first in bowl #1, then in bowl #2, then in bowl #3. 4. Heat some oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Fry the fillets in the oil until golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain oil from fillets. Set aside. 5. Heat oven to 350 F. 6. Place half of the mashed potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish, then on top, place the fish fillets. Cover fillets with peas and sliced hard boiled eggs. 7. Pour the 3/4 cup of the all-purpose cream on top of the fillets-peas-hard boiled egg layer, then cover with the remaining mashed potatoes. 8. Put in pre-heated oven and bake until slightly brown on top. Take out of oven, let cool slightly (but not too cool), and serve warm. This dish serves 6-8 persons.
*from Inday Genius 2, co-authored by Obi and Waco Mapua,
husband and son of Elsa Lava-Mapua GS59/HS63/Coll67, and father and brother of Yasmin Mapua-Tang GS87/HS91.

CANONIGO I had never heard or eaten this dessert called Canonigo, the Filipino version of the French dessert ile flottante or oeufs à la neige, and had no clue where in the Philippines the dessert originated. The Spanish word “canonigo” means parish priest and so I am guessing the dessert, as the name implies, is a recipe from a priest,or from the cook in a priest's household, or from a Filipino family whose name is Canonigo. The Filipino Canonigo is cooked just like leche flan. The meringue is spooned into a bowl or loaf pan coated with caramelized sugar and baked in a bain marie. The baked meringue is then inverted on a platter with the caramel on top, then sliced into portions and served "floating" on custard sauce. The guidebook suggests serving this delicious light-as-a-feather and melt-in-your mouth dessert with balls of ripe mango. Heavenly is the only word to describe it. Ingredients 1½ cups sugar 8 egg whites 8 egg yolks ½ cup sugar 1 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Fresh mango balls for garnish Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt 1 cup sugar in a skillet until golden brown. Pour caramel into a loaf pan,* coat the bottom of the loaf pan completely. Set aside. In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining half cup of sugar and beat continuously until stiff but not dry. Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Bake in a bain marie for 30 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and from bain marie and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Invert the meringue onto a serving platter, letting the caramelized syrup coat the meringue. Let cool before slicing. Prepare the custard sauce: Beat the egg yolk slightly. In a double boiler, combine the egg yolks, sugar, and milk, and with a heat proof spatula, cook while stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. To serve: Spoon some warm custard sauce on a plate, put a slice of meringue in the middle, garnish with mango balls.
[Note: It is not recommended to bake the canonigo in stainless steel bowls because it is very difficult to coat the bowls with caramelized sugar, which slides down, stays at the bottom of the bowls, and instantly hardens. Baking the meringue in a loaf pan is more practical and uncomplicated for the home cook. Use just half a cup of sugar for caramel and coat only the bottom of the loaf pan.]