MUCH like the unwavering Disney character Moana, Shiloh Rae Digal is fondly described by her loved ones as a risk taker, imaginative, and headstrong.
Born prematurely at seven months old, Shiloh came to the lives of her dear parents Jun and Lorna “Yaya Lorn” Digal after ten years of marriage. “Seven years ago, we lost hope of having a child. My husband and I went through a lot of difficulties. Every time the work-up was unsuccessful, we ended up frustrated”, Yaya Lorn recalls in the vernacular.
Then, one day, as Yaya Lorn was riding a jeepney, she saw a kid with special needs. She silently prayed to God that if it was His will, to bless her and Jun with a child. The well-loved longtime household manager promised that whatever the child’s condition would be, she would wholeheartedly accept it. After a month, Yaya Lorn had a pleasant surprise -- she was six weeks pregnant. Indeed, by faith all things were possible!
Shiloh, the Digals’ most awaited blessing, recently celebrated her 7th birthday with a Moana-themed party adoringly organized by her multi-talented Davao Christian High School teacher Lyn Constantino at the Bonhomie Leisure and Resort in Mabini, Davao Oriental.
“We chose this venue because it resembled the scenery in Moana’s ‘Motunui’ and had a very relaxing island vibe”, explains the energetic Teacher Lyn.
With only two weeks to prepare for the affair, Teacher Lyn collaborated with equally artistic church workers from the Panabo Christian Community Church headed by Malachie Dela Rosa and Nova Leopardas, and her fellow DCHS co-worker Edgar Verano who did the impressive life-sized styrofoam Moana characters of Maui, Hei Hei and Pua.
Shiloh even had a captivating Moana-inspired birthday photo shoot with ‘Maui’ (a.k.a. Ryan James Nagayo) in full-body faux tribal tattoo and armed with a magical fish hook stunningly captured by Marlon Guillano Photography.
The production team’s combined resourcefulness and creativity wonderfully resulted to an intimate and entertaining celebration that the Digal family and their guests would never forget.
The ocean is calling
Aside from being the busy hands-on event and photo shoot planner, Teacher Lyn acted as the vibrant party host and hilarious game master who brought the house down with her amusing games which included the ‘Island Dance’ and ‘Bring It to Te Fiti’.
Meanwhile, Kenneth Jei Digal bagged the best costume (male category) for his ingenious “Hei Hei” costume while Juliet Digal Won was the female winner for her ethereal “Te Fiti” get-up. A special award was likewise received by Cherry Digal for the “Sina: Moana’s Mom Look-Alike” contest.
For the giveaways, Yaya Lorn, who has traveled to different countries with the Ong family through the years, shared her vast collection of hotel slippers and toiletry sets gorgeously wrapped in colorful packaging. In addition, the Digal family innovatively turned shells handpicked from Digos into welcome leis for the attendees.
When the cheerful celebrant blew the candles on her three-dimensional Moana birthday cake beautifully created by Daisy Jane Cimafranca, Teacher Lyn asked what her birthday wish was; to which the adventurous Shiloh swiftly exclaimed, “I wish I can go wherever I want!”.
Undeniably, in signature Moana fashion, Shiloh has set sail for life’s exciting adventures at 7!
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on October 21, 2017.
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