THROWBACK 1956, the film King and I was shown on the big screen with Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr, and garnered Academy Awards nominations and winners.

In the late ‘60’s, the movie was reproduced on stage in Bacolod City with Peque Gallaga directing, and with Nena Varela Sicangco as Anna.

Therefore, it was most fitting for Peque to give a most touching speech to honor Tita Nena during her 90th birthday and ending it with the line: “Shall we dance?”

Gloria Varela Sicangco or Tita Nena to everyone is a most loving person with a great big heart. Most loved for being a doting mother to her five children Junjun, Inday, Toto, Cecile, and Gina, with her many grandchildren as well as siblings and in-laws.

Tita Nena had a passion for music so she enjoyed singing and teaching how to play the piano. Even to this day, at 90, the retired music educator still gives lessons on the keyboard to her apos. A fantastic cook, and one who loves to devour great food, there is never a Varela gathering without lechon.

She can be a perfect model for ads on grandmothers using the internet. A nonagenarian millennial, she is active on Facebook and sleeps late following all her favorite teleseryes.

Widowed for twenty something years from her lawyer-husband Pepito Sicangco, life has not been empty for Tita Nena. Family, friends, and music fill her life. But most importantly, she is the matriarch of the Bukas Loob sa Diyos especially the Single Parent Division. Her home is open for events and celebration of the BLD.

Leo Valdez came all the way from New York to be a special guest during the celebration. And what song did he sing? Anna, of course.

Tita Nena is an inspiration to her family, her peers, and her friends. Her ready smile, her forever joyful approach, her love for God, and all things good and beautiful (delicious as well) excites her zest for living, giving and loving with every encounter. What an amazing lady!

Happy Birthday, Tita Nena! May you have more wonderful years and memories to come!