It was my sister Elena who went first to the United States when she married Daniel Chase, an electrical engineer like her. The two met at the Mount Apo Geothermal Plant some decades ago; he as a consultant and my sister as an employee. The two has two children: Erik and Philip.
My sister Marilou followed when she tied the nuptial knot with David Eplite, an Italian-American. Both have one thing in common: they are into computer programming. I had the pleasure of meeting David when he visited my sister before they got married. I saw him again when I visited the couple some years back in the United States.
Almost two years ago, the two sisters returned to the Philippines. It was our first family reunion with the two of them – although we always celebrate family reunion during Christmas season.
Elena and Marilou were in time for our father’s birthday, Generoso Sr. It was a memorable day for our father since June is also celebrated as Father’s Day (which falls on every third Sunday of the month).
This year, the two came back again. Elena came first – on May 2. Marilou arrived on May 7. Elena missed celebrating her husband’s birthday and son’s school recognition but the reunion was already scheduled ahead of time.
Someone once said: “Family is like branches on a tree; we all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.”
This is the reason why even if you are living somewhere and far from your family, you always long to be back from where you have started. It is especially true when it comes to family. “The only thing sweeter than union is reunion,” Kathleen McGowan pointed out.
In a way, it was. The recent family reunion happened to be on Mother’s Day. A fitting tribute to our mother, Saturnina, who has helped sustain the family through the years. She was able to take care of her nine children – and even grandchildren.
Noted American humorist and novelist hit the nail when he wrote: “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”
The family reunion was memorable since all the children were present. As the eldest son, I was tapped to do the nitty-gritty, to see to it that all things were right and that no one was being left out.
Before the dinner, we had the usual picture taking per family. Evangeline and her two sons (Jims Vincent and Joshua Kyle) were around; the father, Elmer, wasn’t able to make it since he was in Digos City. Jims’s wife, Cheryln Joy, and son CJ, also came.
The family of Gerry Sr. were also around: Sarah (wife) Meryl Louise (daughter), and Lean (grandson). Absent were Justin and Gerry Jr. (both in Manila) and Normel Lapinig, the husband of Meryl who is a seaman.
All the members of Avednigo were present: his wife Bebing and two children: Dave Lester and Meg.
Likewise, the family members of the Arriaga were all present: Jeannyline, Rene, Ashley and Cole.
Our youngest, Arman Sr., also brought his whole family: wife An-an, daughters Audrey and Cassie and son Arman, Jr.
The sons and husband of Elena didn’t attend the reunion as they were in the United States. So was the husband of Marilou.
Aunt Lydia Tacio also helped in the program.
After picture taking, all the family members had a sumptuous dinner prepared by Ophelia Santiago, owner of the Betz Café where the reunion was held.
“I sustain myself with the love of family,” said prize-winning writer Maya Angelou. But it was the late Princess Diana who said it best: “Family is the most important thing in the world.