Auntie Cecile-A A +A
Saturday, June 16, 2012
BAGUIO mourns the passing of Cecile C. Afable, who died last Tuesday night. That night, I got three texts. The first said that a Facebook page announced her death, the second that she was still alive but unconscious, the definitive third that she had indeed died at 10:40 p.m. Truth be told, I thought and said after the second text that she was going to get up at any moment and ask for a cigarette.
Aside from those taken in family gatherings, an early picture I have of Auntie Cecile is, precisely, one with a cigarette held between her fingers, smoking at a desk. No, not at the Midland, but at the Ato, a bookstore she kept on Session Road in the 60s, 70s, and the 80s.
If I remember correctly, the Ato was also once host to a dress shop called The Pied Piper, which had a select choice of prêt a porter that my mother favored. I do know that a number my siblings’ childhood outfits came from The Pied Piper.
It must have been in before my last year of college that the Ato turned for a while into the office of Admix, an advertising agency that Yongyong Afable started up, with Joji Cariño manning the helm. Admix also published a monthly magazine called The Northern Edition, which was all about Baguio, and which did quite well for its time.
I remember having a summer job with Admix – courting the Hyatt Baguio for advertisements, coordinating with an artist for a beautiful pencil rendition of the Hyatt façade, going back and forth between it and the Ato, writing a piece for the Northern Edition, too. That summer, Auntie Cecile would occasionally sweep in, pile us all into a car, and take us on a picnic.
One picnic, we drove down the rather desolate trail to Atok, beyond Loakan, to a pond that she had said would be beautiful, but we discovered when we got there, was no longer pristine, as she had known it to be. Still, we picnicked, finding fun in each other’s company.
Auntie Cecile was Auntie Cecile to entire generations of Baguio city-zens. We each have our memories of her, and we toast her in all of them, as we see her off to Mount Pulag, where she rides off to next week, where her generation of family await.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 16, 2012.