ZHC Spring Dance
Hermosa Canada’s Spring Dance will be held on April 5 at the
South Common Community Centre on 2233 South Millway, in
Mississauga, at 7 p.m.
According to ZHC
president Aida D’Orazio, the semi-formal dinner-dance is for
the benefit of its Medical Mission to impoverished barrios in
Basilan and Zamboanga. Past
president Art de Vera and adviser Ramon Barrios, co-chair of the
Medical Mission, plan to leave for Zamboanga shortly after the
event to deliver the $20,000 worth of medicines, vaccines and
medical supplies to the health centres there.
Highlight of the
dinner-dance will be the selection of the Spring Princess from
the young beauties present.
The winner will be crowned the new Spring Princess by
Michelle Miguel, ZHC’s
’91 Spring Princess.
There will be attractive
door prizes and raffle prizes, donated by Eastview Travel
Agency, Compact Technologies (Ed Rueda) and NuSkin (Cris
entertainment, there will be a dance presentation and song
Co-chairing the event are Art de Vera and Connie
committees formed are: Ticket
Control – Pilar de Vera, Vilma Clemente, Greg Verar, Cris
Guimba, Perla Reyes and Marie James; Reception – Connie
Schwartz, Art de Vera, Cecile Kolmegies, Maribel Azcarraga,
Chong Saavedra; Decoration – Bebet Saavedra, Ben Bernardo;
Tony Miguel; Entertainment – Aida D’Orazio, Cris Aberilla,
Cecile Kolmegies; Door Prizes – Sylvia Tallud, Perla Reyes,
Nenita Lavina; Bar – Herb Kolmegies, Dolf Pinlac; Dinner Stubs
– Lelet Bernardo, Gia Schuck, Violeta Fernandez;; Raffles –
Art de Vera, Dick Fernandez; Ben Bernardo, Maribel Azcarraga,
May Ruiz; Program and Publicity – Aida D’Orazio; Emcee –
Ben Bernardo and Marie James.
we shivered in the frigid temperatures in Canada, vacationer Celina Marcos
Dizon was enjoying the balmy weather in Zamboanga City at Christmas time,
partying with relatives and friends and gallivanting around the
beautifully lit city festooned with colourful festive lanterns.
her return to Edmonton, Alberta, Celina scanned and e-mailed to El
Mensajero the photos published below.
She had this to say about her vacation:
pictures of our Christmas in Zamboanga. These pictures were taken
Christmas day during the Atilano get-together and at the same time it was
Glory’s (Atilano) b-day, held at her place. The children enjoyed the
musical numbers presented by the different families. Titang Araneta was
doing an almost Hula number with the rest of the Aranetas but the pic
turned out too dark. Everyone had a wonderful time especially the children
as the Santa Clauses were quite generous especially Vinnie (Atilano).
Zamboanga City was quiet. No bombings or even a threat. The whole city
even the barrios were all lighted up. The city hall building, Plaza
Pershing, Pasonanca Park and just about all the houses had Christmas
lights. The whole city celebrated the spirit of Christmas.”
you wish you were also back home spending Christmas with friends and
Celina Dizon, left, enjoys the company of Mrs.
Leonila Uro Climaco, Fely Tee King Silang, Nelida Fernandez Atilano, Ping Saavedra, Nena
Saavedra, Gloria Atilano (birthday celebrant) and Chita Feliciano.
Former City Mayor Vinnie Atilano (standing) chats with Sonie Bucoy, Tessie
Atilano, Celina Marcos, Dr. Ronnie Bucoy, Edgar and Jean Atilano.
Vincent and Betty Elago (seated) are shown with two visiting daughters,
Angel Teodoro and Margie Pamaran, son Mathew and niece Chona
Llenado and their grandkids. Also in the picture is Melly Necesito (centre).
student marks 18th birthday
Celeste Diamos, shown with
her parents, Rey and Helen (Chan) Diamos, of Brampton, Ontario, celebrated
her 18th birthday last January 18 with a formal dinner-dance at the
Shawnee Room in the Stage West Hotel in Mississauga.
Celeste was the recipient of the “Outstanding Student Award”
from the Zamboanga Hermosa Canada at its Fiesta Pilar celebration last
A Las Vegas reunion
for ZGHSN Class '62
Class ’62 of the Zamboanga General Hospital School of Nursing held a
rollicking reunion party at the residence of Dr. and Mrs. Rene Vicente
(nee Ditas Intig) in Las Vegas, last October 19.
Twenty-five members from different parts of North America were present
with their spouses and friends in tow. With paid entertainers to help
liven up the party, the group enjoyed the moonlit evening dancing on the
Vicentes’ spacious terrace overlooking the glittering cityscape of Las
Vegas, eating a sumptuous buffet dinner and chatting non-stop with former
classmates, some of whom had not seen each other for forty years. A
surprise number was the Muslim dance performed by the charming hostess,
Ditas Intig, who was costumed as a Tausug Princess. Irrepressible Linda
Fernandez Skinner drew cheers from the crowd as she performed a striptease
dance with flashing lights on her breasts.
Elnora de Vera Timpauer, organizer of the event, sums up their reunion
with this statement: "A very memorable and heart-warming get-together
for a special and the best class of ZGH. Twenty-two classmates flew in
from Canada and the U.S. to recollect fond memories of forty years past.
It was a fantastic time for all; food was superb; entertainment excellent.
We rejoined the next day for brunch at Dr. and Mrs. Rene Vicente - more
delectable dishes and joke swapping to culminate a perfect class reunion.
We plan to meet again in 2004, God willing."
ZGHSN Class ’62 members present were: Bernardita
Intig Vicente, Delfin and Violeta Fernandez, Floridel Arañez Manuel;
Perla T. Reyes, Cecilia Jimenea Kolmegies, Sarah Baconga Casiple, Eulampia
Halasan Knoblach, Aida Enriquez Nano, Rosalinda Fernandez Skinner,
Florinda Falcasantos Gloss, Gloria Javier Guerrero, Aurelia Macrohon
Paladio, Fredeswinda Gonzales Duntugan, Teresita Evangelista, Violeta
Maglangit Joki, Felicidad Nisperos Puno, Ester Ko, Rosemarie Zamorano,
Elnora de Vera Timpauer and Elisa Bucoy Wight.
The Peppy Class '62 of
Part of the happy Class ’62 of the
ZGHSN: (standing, left to right) Sarah Banconga Cuciple, Visminda Gonzales
Duntugan, Olimpia Halasan, Floridel Aranez Manuel, Violeta Arat Fernandez,
Delfin Ferandez, Teresita Evangelista, Perla Reyes, Violeta Maglangit Joki.,
(seated) Rosalinda Fernandez Skinner, Rosemary Zamorano, Cecilia Jimenea
Kolmegies and Elnora de Vera Timpauer,.
residents of Margosatubig, Zamboanga del Sur, got together for this photo.
They are Dr. Rene Vicente and his wife, the former Ditas Intig , who hosted
the reunion, Victoria Bucoy Johnson, Elisa Bucoy Wight, Aida Enriquez Nado,
Violeta Arat Fernandez, Nenang Intig Rubio, Cely Bucoy Campbell, Aida
Elago D’Orazio and Rafael Rubio.
Ditas Intig Vicente entertains former classmates with a charming Muslim dance.
Canada celebrates Fiesta Pilar
Zamboangueños and their friends celebrated Zamboanga City’s
"Fiesta Pilar" last October 12th with an enjoyable
dinner-dance held at the EMBERS banquet hall in Scarborough. The occasion
was also a celebration of Zamboanga Hermosa Canada’s 16th
Before the sit-down dinner, Deacon Cesar Sahagun delivered the
Invocation followed by the Welcome Address by Cecile Jimenea Kolmegies,
chairperson of the event. For entertainment, two well-known singers, Ely
Torrenueva and Crystal Sahagun, thrilled the audience with captivating
songs. Emcees were Ben Bernardo, ZHC vice-president for Hamilton, and
Maricor Barrios Nery.
Highlight of the evening was the awarding of plaques to deserving
members of the association by former Mayor Barbara Hall and assisted by
the ZHC president, Aida Elago D’Orazio. Those awarded were: Celeste
Diamos, for "Outstanding Student". She also received a cash
prize of $200. Voltaire de Leon received the plaque for "Meritorious
Award" for his contribution in the field of drama and literature,
while Carlos Cabrera received the plaque for "Meritorious Award"
for contribution in the field of music. Appreciation awards were given to
Pilar Miguel and Ramon Barrios, for their dedication and service to the
Former ZHC president, Art de Vera, and his committee, Dick Fernandez,
Mike Saavedra, Julie Rodriguez and Perla Reyes, did a good job in selling
raffle tickets as fund-raising for six scholars in Zamboanga City. The
three top prizes claimed were: 25" Prima colour stereo TV, lst prize;
KOSS DVD-karaoke, 2nd prize, donated by Ramon Barrios; DANVY
microwave oven, 3rd prize, donated by Eastview Travel Agency.
There were also door prizes that were given away to lucky ticket holders.
Earlier in the day, the last day novena for Our Lady of the Pillar,
followed with a Mass by Father Rudy were said at the parish church of
Blessed John XXIII on Gateway Blvd. in Don Mills. The religious
celebration was chaired by Marie Zamorano James.
The association will hold a spring dance, a fund-raising event for its
Medical Mission to Basilan City, on April 5th next
Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall, second from right, presented plaques to
(from left) Voltaire de Leon for his contribution in the field of drama
and literature; Ramon Barrios for appreciation; Celeste Diamos,
outstanding student; Pilar Miguel for appreciation. On the right is
Zamboanga Hermosa Canada president, Aida D'Orazio. Not in the picture is
Carlos Cabrera who received an award for his contribution in the field of
Play in Two Acts
Voltaire R. de Leon, a Zamboangueño
with many talents, is inviting everyone to come and see his brainchild –
a play entitled Fort
Santiago – at Theatre Passe Mureille, 16 Ryerson Ave., Toronto, on June 20th
to 30th, 2002 (Tuesday – Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday – 2
p.m. & 8 p.m.).
Cost of ticket is $15. Box Office: 416-504-7529.
According to De Leon, the prison
which held many Filipino patriots before being led to their execution,
including the nationalist writer Rizal, Is Fort Santiago.
It is the central metaphor in this play’s study of power: how we
become subject to it and the ways we recover freedom.
He further explains that “the play
tells the story of four people from the Marcos fascist era and the
quasi-democratic rule that followed his overthrow.
To the political speechwriter, the truck driver, the arachist and
the houseservant in prison and out of it is posed the overriding question
as they seek escape:’What does it mean to be free?’ “
De Leon is a playwright and fiction
writer and creative director of Diwata Works, a theatre, literary and arts company.
He has written various journalistic, literary and dramatic pieces
since the 1980s.
More recent scriptwriting credits include plays: Fort
on prisoners, 1998; Newcomers,
on refugees and immigrants, 1997; Sarah’s
Story, Alos 2, 1995; Fair is
(collective) on barriers to equity, 1992; Alos, on immigrant union activist/writer Carlos Bulosan, 1991.
His short story The
Woman Everyone Liked won
the 1993 Toronto Star Short Story Contest.
He is a Job Developer and ESL Instructor with the Toronto District
ex-GI’s search for a Pinoy family
Harpen finds his friend in Virginia
Alberto M. Alfaro
D.C. - This is the remarkable story of an American World War II veteran
who had sought for years to contact a family who have been very hospitable
and friendly to him when he was with the American liberation forces in the
Philippines in 1945.
a long search for a family 10,000 miles away, in the other side of the
world, this American veteran found the sole surviving member of that
family not in the Philippines, but in the United States.
American is Walter “Wally” Harpen, of Wilmington, Ohio and the family
he was looking for was my family, the Alfaros of Tetuan, Zamboanga city.
After 57 years, Wally, who is now 77 years old and a businessman in the
Midwest, was able - via the
Internet -- to trace our family, or whatever is left of that family.
is very remarkable about his search is that despite all these years, Wally
still remembers all the names
of my brothers and a sister, all of whom are now deceased. He remembers
the name of the street where our old house was located and cites the names
of several of my first cousins, also surnamed Alfaro. And he has a picture
of our old house in Tetuan, Zamboanga city and a collection of letters
written to him by my sister, Amelia.
revisited the Philippines in 1994 but skipped Zamboanga city because of
the US State Department warning against travel to the area.
Internet was the handy tool that Wally used to track me down. Late last
year, he spotted the website of the Ateneo de Zamboanga’s alumni
association led by Ms. Baybee Macasinag. He immediately contacted her via
e-mail as well as Zamboanguenos now residing in the West Coast.
He asked Ms. Macasinag for the name of the Tetuan Catholic Church
where he used to go church under then Fr. Rello and about the Alfaro
family in that town.
his e-mail to Ms Macasinag, Wally wanted to know the whereabouts of my
brothers Armando and Nickie (Benigno) and my sister Amelia. And my cousins Alicia,
Pat etc. “The girls were beautiful...
Baybee (Macasinag) I really appreciate your help.... I have already talked
with the Zamboanga people in California...Mr. Joey Lu was most helpful...I
hope the new Americans in Zambo (the American soldiers participating in
Balikatan 2002) behave better than their grandfathers...Zambo and Basilan
are on our TV quite a lot of late. I wish there was more coverage of Zambo.”
explained to Ms. Macasinag that during World War II, he was an American
soldier whose tent was facing Fort Pilar. “I was enthralled with the
beautiful people of Zambo and
became friends with many, among them the Alfaro family of Tetuan whose
home was on Falcatun (Falcatan)
St ( hope my spelling is OK ).
any rate I have many fond memories of your great place. For your info my
daughter‑in‑law is from Quezon City, a grad of UST, I have six
grandsons who are Filipino‑Americans, so I'm proud to say I am still
connected with the Philippines.
I would love to communicate with the Alfaro family. I remember sons
Armando, Benigno (Nickie we called him),daughter Amelia, if still alive
they would be elderly (like me). I lost track of them late in the war...a
great family.I would appreciate any ideas‑. Thanks again for the
reply, Ms. Macasinag promised to help look for the Alfaro clan, adding
that Tetuan in Zamboanga city is a small place.
several exchanges, Ms. Macasinag gave Wally the name of my niece, Annibel
Alfaro who works in a government office in Zamboanga city. Then Annibel
in February, Wally contacted me by e-mail. I was impressed because he
remembered all the names of my brothers and sister and cousins but I
wasn’t sure because he did not mention my name and I don’t remember
having met him.
my niece Annibel assured me that Wally was indeed referring to my family.
She said she gave Wally my name, e-mail and postal address in Virginia.
then sent me this e-mail: “During WW2 I became friends with your family
in Tetuan, as I was an American soldier in Zamboanga at that time. I have
been in contact with the Ateneo and they have been kind enough put me in
touch with Mary Annabelle your niece.
wished to find out what had become of my dear friends, Amelia (Mellie),
Armando and Nickie, your sister and brothers I believe....Annie told me
that they were all deceased. How sad, please accept my sympathies. I was
befriended by your father, a fine gentleman. I spent many pleasant days at
son Martin is a doctor of medicine down in Suffolk, Va, his wife my
daughter‑in‑law was the former Charity Elenita Ferreol of
Manila, so I have five grandsons who are Filipino‑ Americans. so I
do have a Philippine connection, I am happy to say.
have never forgotten my days in Zamboanga, and hope to hear from you about
your family....I visited the Philippines in October 1994, spending most
time on Leyte , Manila and in Pampanga. I couldn't visit Zambo as we were
discouraged to do so by our Dept of State. I hope things will change.”
apologizing for my lack of recollection, I started communicating with
Wally. One of the reasons he did not mention me was that I probably did
not have a chance to meet him. Besides,
I was the only one in our family who did not play the piano, an instrument
that Wally likes.
told him I would publish in the “Manila Mail” about his search for my
family. Asked why he did not stop looking for my family, Wally said:
“The whole story hinges on my intense desire to discover what had
happened to your family and to Zamboanga as well. You know I loved the
people there, and never lost interest in their fortunes. I was always
frustrated by lack of information on Zamboanga until the computer made it
Wally promised to send me some
of his old mementos, including a picture of our house in Tetuan, letters
from Amelia and other treasures he had kept.
closing, he said “Amelia, Armando and Benigno and your father and mother
were wonderful people. Your's was a great family. Your dad told me one
time that his high school diploma was handed to him by General John
Pershing, he was very proud of it.”
Bert Alfaro is the editor-in-chief of The Manila Mail, a
fortnightly Filipino newspaper published in Washington, D.C.
He left Zamboanga in 1955, came to the U.S. with his family of six
children in 1975 as Philippine News Agency bureau chief in Washington,
D.C. His wife, the former
Mila Reyes, passed away last July 2001.
He has 11 grandchildren.)
Sounds from Toronto
By Aida Elago-D'Orazio
April 3, 2002 - What a welcome! Arriving at 6:05 this morning
from Los Angeles, I simply couldn't believe it: seeing this city covered
with snow after three winter months of record-breaking mild weather! We've
had the warmest winter on record. Golf courses were open, and people
went around in their light jackets and sneakers. But, today, the
second week into spring, there's nothing here to indicate that spring has
I found my two-week sojourn in California a fun-filled reunion with
three groups of people close to my heart: my Philets pals from U.S.T. (one
has arrived from the Philippines, one lives in Santa Barbara and the other
in San Jose); my two bridesmaids at my wedding (Sonia Salvador Jekums and
Marielou Ledesma Meierhofer, visiting from Zurich with her husband August)
and my sister Celly and brother-in-law Rene Fuentes and their family, who
live in L.A.
How time flies when friends get together! Travelling
together in a van for a day's tour of San Francisco... posing for
pictures... watching the dolphins romp in the ocean and the sea
lions loll lazily on the rocks in Monterey... enjoying the scenic
ride along Big Sur - a seemingly endless panorama of blue skies and
waves lapping against craggy rocks... while endlessly gabbing about silly
stories and giggling over them. Ah, precious moments that will
always be remembered!!
I learned from Sonie Jekums that Zamboanga Hermosa of Southern
California will now have its own Website constructed by Jun Illustrisimo
with the help of Jung Aberilla. She and its president Elvin
Smoyer will also have a hand in it. That's wonderful! Let's hope
that other Zamboanga organizations in the U.S. and other parts of the
world will follow suit so we can all link up. With just a
click of the mouse, one will be able to visit other sites as well.
Fear of flying as a result of September 11 hasn't the least affected
the wanderlust in many of our compoblanos. To mention a few:
In Hamilton, Floridel and Oscar Manuel with a group of eight other
Zamboangueñas will be leaving on a pilgrimage to Lourdes and Fatima in
May; In L.A., Ritchie and Ted Jekums, who have just returned from a trip
to Tahiti, will leave for the Philippines; Farnie and Pat Luistro, who
were stranded in London on 9/11, plan to take the Panama Canal cruise;
Bella Agustin wants to visit the Canadian Rockies; Celly and Rene Fuentes
are going to China to get a glimpse of the Yangtze River before it's
closed to tourists and in Edmonton, Celina Marcos Dizon has left for
Zamboanga to visit her ailing mom.
Zamboanga Hermosa Canada will open its arms to welcome newly arrived
Zamboangueños at its picnic on July 27. It is planning some special
activities for them. Greg Verar and Ben Bernardo, who are in charge
of the potluck picnic, have announced that the community's directory,
which has been finally updated, will be distributed to the members on that
day. Chairman of the Fiesta Pilar celebration, Cecile Jimenea
Kolmegies, also announced that the dinner dance on October 12th will be
held at the Embers in Scarborough. Aside from its ongoing project of
providing bursaries to six college students in Zamboanga City, the ZHC,
starting this year, will award outstanding children of Zamboangueños in
Ontario, who excel in their high school and college studies.
Meanwhile, ZHC secretary Vilma Arquiza Clemente is busy preparing the
letters to be sent to all the members of the organization to make sure
that they know that their attendance is very much appreciated in these
Hopefully, now that Jung Aberilla has patiently shown me how to enter
the El Mensajero Website, I'll be able to update this page regularly.
To you, readers, please get in touch. Manda noticias de cosa man
camo ta hace entre maga Zamboangueño alli.
At Peralta Hills, Orange County
A busy realtor wherever she goes, Sonia
Salvador Jekums answers the cell phone while in the company of friends,
Arlene Bryan Valdes, Marielou and August Meierhofer. The Meierhofers
live in Zurich, Switzerland.
Reunion with a Sister
We enjoyed sunny California in the
company of sister, Celly Fuentes, her twin daughters Celeslie Crane and
Celeste Sanders, and daughter-in-law Julie Fuentes.
At Le Biftheque House
Julie Quintas Rodriguez (front, left), visiting from
Palawan, was feted at downtown Toronto's Le Biftheque House
on the occasion of her birthday by friends, Perla Reyes, Cecile Kolmegies,
Maria Clara James, Nenita Laviña and Sylvia Tallud last February.
Art de Vera accepts the award for
Outstanding Service to the Community from Zamboanga Hermosa Canada
president, Aida Elago D'Orazio, at last year's celebration of Fiesta Pilar
at the Holiday Inn Select. Art was past president for four
Vamos a Zamboanga
Dr. Rosemarie Climaco, as guest speaker,
extols the city of Zamboanga in her powerful speech at the induction of
the newly elected officers of Zamboanga Hermosa Canada.
Other Zamboanga and Mindanao Links