Save October 11, Saturday, for our all-day (8 AM - 8 PM) One-STC R&R (Reunion and Recollection).
St. Bernard Parish Hall
2500 West Avenue 33
Los Angeles, CA 90065
The recollection director will be Bishop Oscar Solis of Los Angeles. In keeping with our motto of "Let your light shine," we are opening this activity to all Theresian families and friends. Please invite everyone interested to this grand STC event.
See you all there!
by Lorna Kalaw Tirol
The two women could not have been more different from each other. One was demure and soft-spoken; the other, ebullient and irrepressible. But Tess Esposo Moreno and Marily Ysip Orosa had one thing in common: they have experienced tragedy but have faced it with remarkable courage, unwavering faith and an unfailing sense of humor.
The two women spoke at the forum on “Coping with Loneliness in the Senior Years” last Saturday, June 28. They were joined by a psychiatrist, Dr. Benny Vicente, who heads the National Center for Mental Health.
Seventy-two-year-old Tess is best-known as the charming Lola Techie of the Bayantel TV commercials and print ads, the senior citizen who refuses to be daunted by the latest communication gadgets. She talked candidly about the early breakup of her marriage, how she raised her three children as a working solo parent, and how she filled up “the spaces in her loneliness” and in the process discovered her weaknesses and her strengths.
Blessed with a never-say-die spirit, she welcomed all work opportunities that came her way. She managed export and dive businesses, produced a semi-scientific magazine and a book on Philippine shells and edited another book, Pearls and Pearl Oysters of the World. She also served as auctioneer during events of the Shell Collectors Club. In the course of working in shell and dive enterprises, she learned to scuba-dive and do underwater photography.
For many years now, Tess has been an active volunteer at her parish in Parañaque. She is a lector/commentator at the church and vice president and formation head of the Apostleship of Prayer, for which she has produced eight books. As a church volunteer, she has gone to the grassroots, an experience that she considers “the happiest times of my life.”
“Kaya ko! I can do it!” she said she would tell herself when challenged to learn a new skill. “Go out of your comfort zone,” she advised her audience. Her list of passions reflects the wide range of her interests: plants and flowers, birds, marine life, ballroom dancing, reading, and setting up Bible cell groups.
She drew laughter from her audience with her advice to fellow senior citizens: “We should be rock-and-roll lolas, not rocking-chair lolas.”
Marily ‘s journey
Marily Orosa is a worldly-wise woman who refuses to be daunted by tragedy and unspeakable loss. Widowed twice and the mother of five children, she lost her first husband in a motorcycle accident when she was 40, and her second to cancer six years ago. Each time she picked herself up with grit and aplomb.
One of the country’s pioneers in the graphic design industry, Marily counts the top 100 corporations among her clients. Some years ago she ventured into the publication of beautiful coffee-table books on Philippine arts and culture and history, and has been winning awards for them. She also writes creative nonfiction and has published several anthologies that have likewise garnered awards. Most recently, to mark the golden jubilee of her high school batch (1964), she edited and published Reverie, a collection of some of her classmates’ personal essays.
To hear Marily speak, with wit and humor, of how she has dealt with loss twice, was to be assured that one can move on, given a positive spirit and a deep faith in God. She is unafraid to love again and is open to a third and “best” marriage, after having had “good” and “better.”
The psychiatrist’s turn
When his turn to speak came, Dr. Vicente said amusedly that Tess and Marily had already said all that he himself had set out to say. But he discussed the clinical aspects of loneliness —its symptoms, its causes, its consequences ̶ and suggested ways to deal with it. He also matched the two ladies’ candor by sharing his own experiences of loneliness, particularly after the death of his first wife, leaving him a widower with young children.
The morning’s lesson
If there was one thing the audience at the Wellness forum learned, it was that loneliness is an inevitable, inescapable reality, but it is not a dead end. Rather than giving in to despair, one must, like Tess Moreno, Marily Orosa and Benny Vicente, steel oneself to confront loneliness with faith, determination, courage, AND a sense of humor.
Diwa ni Teresa. The seed of this unique Theresian sharing started in the mind of Lorna Kalaw-Tirol. It was brought into fruition through the heart of the present STCQCAA Chair, Dr. Chit Reodica, whose call to Journey in Looking Out for Others gave it fertile ground to be realized.
Diwa ni Teresa brings together Theresians in various professional and civic pursuits to share their experiences in those fields where they have shown the most impact in communities and, specifically, in the lives of others, to make it better.
At the maiden gathering of Diwa ni Teresa, three media practitioners were the featured panelists for the morning. Jing Castañeda-Velasco of ABS-CBN, Nikko Dizon of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Lia Mañalac-del Castillo of GMA-7 sat down with some 30 other Theresian alumnae and shared how their Theresian education has given them the aspiration to be relevant in their chosen careers not only as news conveyers but as vessels to help uplift the lives of so many of our destitute countrymen.
Their Theresian education has given them various awards for what they have done in their careers. It is also their Theresian education that has given them the most fulfillment in their lives when they used their positions to elevate the standard of life of so many others.
Lia Mañalac-del Castillo has emphasized the values of simplicity and humility that had helped her in her career. Those, and the constant reminders by her STC mentors to compete only with herself. These things, she believes, helped her to constantly strive to give her best in everything. Her light shines in her news articles that try to keep the balance; without taking sides, just clear, concise and true.
But her light shines brightest with her work in the NGO, DiksyunaryoAtbp, which, in a way, is an offshoot of the work she had done under the PALIHAN exercises she went through in STC.
Jing Castañeda-Velasco was faced with the opportunity to try her luck at broadcasting in another country. But an internal reflection led to the question of her greater relevance in the field of journalism. And so she chose to come back to the Philippines and write and deliver news that hold more importance to her as a Filipino. She showed how a Theresian in media endeavors to shine her light – by being relevant, to have integrity, to always strive for excellence and to always strive to make a difference in the lives of others, to love our country.
Her light shines brightest with the extra effort she gives to make “each story, each report … be a means to an end … the end being TO SERVE.” She uses her position in media to educate and to communicate hope, give inspiration and love and to empower others to teach them to dream.
Nikko Dizon shared that because of her PALIHAN experience in STC as a high schooler, mingling with people from different walks of life was easy to do. As a Navy Reservist with rank of Commander (she graduated Valedictorian of her class at the National Defense College), it was natural for her to be assigned to the Defense Beat of the PDI. She has covered POTUS, the ASEAN Summit, Korean Armistice, Typhoon Yolanda, the Zamboanga Crisis but her most recent and most challenging to date is covering the Ayungin Shoal issue (it is also her favorite coverage).
For Nikko, the motto “Let Your Light Shine” doesn’t lose its essence. Story after story in disaster and perilous situations, the Theresian’s simplicity and humility will shine through. In her case, it is simply living the reporter’s tenet, “Hindi ikaw and istorya.”
After revealing at separate times how they found the academics in STC rigorous, Sr. Jo Nebres ICM disclosed that among private Catholic schools, Theresians have shown to have a very high Adversity Quotient (AQ). This simply means that Theresians have strong human resilience when faced with harsh conditions. She applauded their work in helping build the Filipino nation.
At the end of the “kapihan” gathering, Dr. Chit Reodica praised the featured panelists because “whatever they do, they do well”; for making a difference in people’s lives; and, that no matter how small their foundations, they remember their humble beginnings. She spoke of how the civic advocacies of the panelists are very much in line with the current STAA motto of Looking Out for Others.
Dr. Reodica reminded the panelists, and the alumnae present, “that, as Theresians, we serve our family, communities and all the people out there who need our help and care.”
TIME 7:00 in the morning
WHERE Corridor outside the STAA Office, STCQC Campus
by Peachi SV Gaston
Two separate invitations from a couple of of Theresians in April gave me opportunities to learn about their activities and how they’re keeping their light burning.
The first invitation came from Lala Jara–Tuazon, HS’00. She asked me to attend the First Education Summit organized by her friend and batchmate, Councilor Lena Marie “Mayen” Juico of District 1, Quezon City, on April 11. The summit was in line with a promise Mayen had made during her campaign, that she would work for the improvement of public school education for her constituents.
The summit was attended by parents, teachers, and barangay leaders in the first district. Councilor Mayen presented the plight of the public schools in her district. Of particular interest to me was the revelation that 72 percent of the district’s 500,000 students do not understand what they are being taught, resulting in poor performance in all their subjects.
At a workshop facilitated by Dr. Milwida M. Guevarra, who heads Synergeia Foundation, the participants identified the reasons for the students’ low academic performance and discussed possible solutions to the problem.
Mayen and another Theresian councilor of Quezon City, Alice Medalla, HS’__, were commended by Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte for outstanding public service.
The other invitation came from Ching Verzosa Gerlock, HS’56, and her husband, Ed, who are both actively involved in various outreach projects. For many years until recently, they had been at the forefront of programs to promote the rights and welfare of the elderly.
Ed and Ching have now turned their attention to the homeless. At a briefing held at their home on April 25 for close friends and coworkers, Ed spoke of his dream project for the homeless as a place where not only food and shelter would be given them but more important, opportunities for genuine human interactions with volunteers, both lay and religious. The concept is still being refined, but the Gerlocks and their supportive friends are already exploring a number of venues for their pilot project.
Mayen and Ching are two of the numerous Theresians who work silently to push others to reach greater heights and we are certainly proud of them.
Peachi SV Gaston
And my thanks to Lorna K. Tirol