Filipinos abroad

KABABAYANS make all the difference when one goes a-visiting abroad. They are always so welcoming, so ready to roll out the red carpet and so eager to hear about what's happening back home.

When I was in Toronto some weeks ago, I got a chance to meet with Philippine Ambassador to Canada Petronila Garcia who is also the Permanent Representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization. She happily shared that one of her pet projects is organizing tours to the Philippines during the winter months in Canada. And very much part of this undertaking is Philippine Airlines area manager in Toronto Monet Trespeses and her team.

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We also got a chance to see our longtime friends Jess and Linda Suico who have been living in the Toronto belt for decades now. I met up with them at the popular Yorkville Mall for lunch and then we had an afternoon of chitchat and shopping. Two days later they saw me off at the airport for my flight to New York.

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I love New York and nearby New Jersey where my sister Dr. Zenda Garcia-Lat and husband Dr. Emmanuel Lat live. So proud of sis who was given a 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award by the University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Society in America (Upmasa). She was cited as a founding member of Upmasa's NY-NJ CT Chapter where she eventually became national president.

She was also recognized for coordinating several medical missions to our country, and commended for her involvement in community service like the "Handog Ngiti" Gift of Smile Foundation and the Phi House Foundation.

For the record, it was her husband Dr. Iman Lat who moved mountains to build the Phi House, a dormitory project primarily financed by donations from the UP College of Medicine's Phi Kappa Mu and Phi Lambda Delta organizations. The dorm has now been donated to UP.

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Among the doctor-friends we saw in New Jersey were Dr. Bim Dolorico and wife Gela who treated us to a Korean dinner; the ever gracious Dr. Ramon and Dr. Nancy Alcala; and Dr. Nestor and Dr. Celia Sagullo who invited us to their lovely home on her birthday for a yummy seafood dinner.

We also took time to meet up with our relatives, Raffy and Celia (Ouano) Angulo over a sumptuous Chinese buffet in South Jersey; and school friend Sonia Zosa Bowler over lunch in Philadelphia. And yes, we didn't forget to visit our uncle, Dr. Pedro Adriano, the widower of our aunt, Dr. Merla (Ouano) Adriano.

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It was a romantic wedding by the sea in Sea Ranch Petaluna, California, for Christopher Gardella and Lily Piyathaisere. He is half-Cebuano, the only son of Cebuana Belen Guerrero and American national Robert Gardella.
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