I’M SHARING the first part of the write-up on my grandaughter Isabel’s 18th birthday which didn’t see print in Mila Espina’s column two weeks ago because of a production boo-boo. What came out were only the pictures and the second part of the text. Here’s the missing text...

“The debut party of Isabel Neri, daughter of Jed Neri and the late Ana Escalante was touching from “start to finish” because of the love and cooperation of everyone in the family. Venue was The Glass House of Montebello Villa Hotel which Pinky Chang’s Pink Flora transformed into a fairyland.

Young and pretty Isabel beamed with grace in a beautiful gown by Jul Oliva who fashioned a hand-woven top in beige with pink flower appliques to match the bouffant pink skirt in sheer material. She was a picture of happiness with her Dad Jed, and the entire Neri and Garcia families, friends from school and other guests.

The evening started off with a piano number from the debutante who took on a Chopin piece. Highlights of the evening included the short talk of proud Dad Jed and doting Grandma Nelia; the ceremony of the 18 candles where cousins and friends spoke about Isabel; the gift-giving of Uncle Jovi Neri who presented a labor of love—a beautiful painting of Isa he painstakingly worked on; the turning over of her Mom’s collection of books to her by Vince Gaton (who was entrusted with the books); and musical numbers from family and friends.”


At 96 years old, Arlinda Paras (Tia Arling to us) is sharp and fully aware of the happenings around her. Oh yes, she still has beautiful skin like the way we remember when she was our neighbor and a young wife, and we were kids playing with her kids. We always looked forward to the merienda she prepared with goodies from the family’s Shamrock Bakery.

On her birthday, her devoted children, led by Mae, Rosie, Johnny and Noel, honored her with a Hawaiian-themed birthday dinner at the Glass House of Montebello Villa Hotel. It was an intimate party with relatives and close friends in attendance. US-based son Alan was absent and so was daughter Evelyn who had a commitment out of town. Lovingly missed was eldest son Tony who has passed on to eternal life.


It was an advanced birthday celebration for Dr. Zenda Garcia Lat when she and husband Dr. Emmanuel Lat were in town after a medical mission in Cavite. Former St. Theresa’s College classmates came to the dinner party held at the Neri home in Bauhinia Drive. The US-based Lats were in between medical missions because two days later they were on their way to a second medical mission in Pangasinan.


Canada-based Freddie and Tita Sidebottom Gimenez had not been back in the country for quite sometime. It was a sad homecoming for them this time because Freddie’s Manila-based brother passed away. After the burial, they came to dear old Cebu to visit with relatives and friends. Tita’s STC schoolmates lost no time in organizing a dinner get-together at the seaside Parilya. Also in town at that time were US-based classmate Dr. Erlinda Gambito, and Metro Manila resident Nilda Lucero Tempongko. A fun and happy reunion of old friends!


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