SHE was a teacher, a strict one at that, a jeweler, one of the pioneers in the city, and most of all, a mother, who singlehandedly raised her three children to the successful persons they are now.

Turning 80 is a milestone and Emilia Sitjar deserves the big celebration fitting for a loving mother, a caring sister, a good friend and fellow devotee to the Divine Mercy.

Yes, they were all there filling every inch of the venue turned into a rose-filled garden in pink, the celebrator’s favored color, to pay tribute to the lady of the hour.

But what do you give to the woman who seems to have everything?

The gift of presence. To be surrounded by people who love and appreciate you is precious.

The gift of song. To be serenaded by your granddaughters before a large audience is priceless.

The words of love. To be acknowledged by your children before the public is poetry.

The gift of dance. For your dear friends and only grandson to perform in your honor is just adorable.

But in her true charitable form, Emilia presented her own gifts to her guests via the “How do you know Emilia Sitjar” question and answer game.

The top prize - a pair of ruby earrings (ruby is the celebrant’s birth stone) to whoever who can state the year Emilia’s Jewelry opened its first shop and which parts of the city the jewelry stores set shop.

I gave it a shot but was one branch short. Kenneth, on the other hand, managed to answer all the questions correctly.

Just as I thought it was going to be an early night, I was mistaken. We stayed and danced (well, I watched my friends dance) until the last tune was played.

Happy 80th birthday, Tita Emilia. May you continue to add sparkle to the lives of the people you touch.

Email me at jinggoysalvador@yahoo.com. For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit www.ofapplesandlemons.com&www.jeepneyjinggoy.com