Hidalgo: Celebrating God's gift of life on my 86th birthday

NOVEMBER 24, 2016. I celebrated my 86th birthday in my home in Davao with my only son, Francis and my daughter-in-law, Cecile Dioquino. The fourth member of my small family is Noe, my loved grandchild who is in far off UP Los Baños is studying her dream career, Veterinary Medicine, as freshman of the six-year course.

She sent me a heartfelt greeting: “Happy, happy birthday, Lola Fe ! I miss you so much. Hope you have a great a great day today. I love you and have more birthdays to come. A nice pic of us was posted, too.” Another pic was that of my complete family of 11 members.

Francis and Cecile manage their Hidalgo Architects firm and Cecile has her Ballet Dance School and theatre arts at Mac Pod, Matina, Davao.

My only daughter, Hattie, is married to Noli Pili. Hattie has a Mass Communication degree and Noli has Human Kinetics and Sports both from UP (University of Philippines) Diliman. Noli manages his corporate group of DLTB, busses run the route from Aurora Blvd, Quezon City to Daet, Camarines Norte. Hattie is with the Licensed Real Estate Sales groups in the Quezon City District.

They have five children. Nico is a graduate of UST Sports coaching and therapeutic medicine. Paco is a Business Management graduate from San Beda. He is well known here and internationally with his unique Up Grading of Thrash to useful furnishings and gadgets. Quito is a Civil Engineering graduate of UST. Ana Marie is a Fine Arts and Advertisements student of St. Benilde of De La Salle. Manu is in his K to 12 course at Diliman Prep School.

My birthday started with a Holy Mass at 6 a.m. at the Assumption Parish Church in Torres St. There was a concelebrated mass with three priests. Fr. Randy Vergara, the Parish Priest, is my nephew from San Jose, Batangas. I felt so happy to have this special mass.

We had some socializing after mass. Pics are posted in my FB (facebook) time line. Francis and Cecile treated me at a luncheon in Lachi's, my favorite eatery. We had our favorite dishes and the owners, our friends, gifted us with our favorite desserts. Mine was of course, Sans Rival.

I remember my past birthday celebrations. At age 75 we had a party in Bacaca, Davao with Archbishop Fernando Capalla, Fr. Bert Alejo, and my Amuma and Cenacle groups. At age, 80,I had my grand celebration tendered by my children at Jade Palace in Pasig Blvd, Kapitolio. We had about 200 guests from here and abroad. My Apo, Ana Marie, made a power house presentation of the highlights of my life.

I was born in Rotonda, Pasig. I studied from elementary to high school at CBC. I graduated as valedictorian of Class 1948. I went to college at UST (University of Sto. Tomas) from 1948 to 1952. I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Education, cum laude. I went for post graduate studies at St. Louis University in Baguio City where I got my Master's Degree in Education and Environment, cum laude, in 1965.

I had my 46 years of teaching in Pasig Catholic College, St Louis University, and at St Scholastica's College where I retired in 1995. At this same period, I wrote my 18 published textbooks of Science for high school and college and inspirational books all published by Rex. I earned my royalties given quarterly which I did not expect. My salary in teaching was 38k a month at St. Scho. But my most memorable are former students who remained as friends until now. I receive letters of endearments from here and the world. I was widowed in 1999 and had to relocate from my Marikina home to Davao.

I humbly thank God for the talent He had given me. With this I got honors and citations to my surprise. I was given by the Minerva Association of Pasig professionals as outstanding Educator and Environmentalist in 1965. I was awarded Outstanding Citizen of Pasig City as educator and environmentalist in year 2000. CBC gave me the millennium award as Outstanding Alumna same year.

My friend told me that I was awarded by Google in the Internet. I asked my son to look for it. I had the greatest surprise when I saw the news release. Google is awarding the Best environmental and conservation book to Author Fe San Juan Hidalgo for year 2000 for my book, Sustainable Development- Every Filipno's Concern Let's Help Save the Earth. The whole book of 368 pages was reprinted verbatim from the front cover to the end cover by Google. An e-book edition was suggested. I also read the same citation by Amazon's Books.

In my 15 years residency in Baguio city from 1960 to 1975, I had my unique birthday celebrations. It usually coincides with the Thanksgiving Day of the Americans. We celebrated my birthday parties at Camp John Hay. The banquet hall is filled with buffet style Filipino, American and Japanese dishes. The centerpiece is the huge roasted turkey with ready slices for us to share. Eat as much as you can. Circa 60's 1 dollar was equivalent to 2 pesos. Imagine now, 2016 I heard 1 dollar is equivalent to almost 50 pesos.

So much for these let me go back to my present birthday celebration. Not much really, I was busy with my iPad reading all the posts and notifications reaching to hundreds, I think. I answered each of them and my heart is swelling with happiness. Some greetings came with prose or poetry. Another big surprise came from my son. He installed a complete set of apparatuses including three huge solar panels on our roof and the control center inside our house. The work was tedious. I was busy praying in my room to keep him safe reaching the roof with an extendable iron stair case. Our yayas assisted him. He had to bore holes through the cement and wooden walls from the roof to the control center.

In my science classes, I teach the vast advantages of solar power source. It is non polluting for the atmosphere. It is free, inexhaustible, and clean. Fossil fuels as coal contribute to air pollution resulting in global climate changes which heat the atmosphere. Solar energy has expenses only when stalled. There are no bills to pay monthly. Solar energy can be stored in batteries to be used at nighttime.

I conclude this article with a quotation from my favorite book given to me on my birthday last year, Chicken Soup for the Soul- Inspiration for Writers. " The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been." Love, praise, and thanksgiving to God, the Giver of all my blessings.

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