THESE past few weeks had been an endless celebration of birthday parties and reunions. There was the 77th birthday of a very dear friend and cousin, Edgar Alunan. Familial relations trace us to my paternal great grandmother, Enrica Alunan Lizares, who was the grand aunt of Edgar. However, the friendship that blossomed between us is more than familial but friendly.

Edgar is an endearing person that’s why his family in the Ramos and Alunan side as well as the staff of the Rolling Hills Memorial Chapel came to be with him on his special day. I love the conversations we exchanged with his cousins who are more than just familiar faces or acquaintances. Sister Patching and her family plus apos were all there. Despite his hectic schedule, Mayor Newks made it a point to come even latish. It was a lively dinner and everyone went home with a great time, most especially Edgar.

We make it a point with my Legion of Mary family, particularly our Preasidium Mary Help of Christians, to make birthday celebrations special. We have arranged partnerships in these celebrations so for this time around, the double treat was hosted by Celing Lopez and Rose Ramos. I have treasured my friendships with these women as we journey together in our spiritual apostolates for more than 25 years.

Another birthday get-together with a great group was with the previous PALS Board. We were all parents at the time when our children were still students in La Salle and we were quite active in helping Brother Gus who was the president of La Salle then at that time. We were tagged as “Gussy Angels.” Our children have long graduated from La Salle, in fact, we are now mostly grandmothers to these La Salle graduates but the friendship has remained strong and alive. With Margie Abello who is in town as well as Mei Angodung, the call for a reunion seemed more imperative.

When family and friends come visiting, it is part of our innate culture to come together. For cousins, Lizette and Cristiana Pribus, it was a dinner after dinner here in Bacolod, which stretched to Manila. With another cousin, MaryAnn who flew in from Las Vegas, a big family get-together in her parents’ home Tito Meling and Tita Teresing Lizares’ was a reason to be reunited. Mary Ann looks like she never aged and is pretty as ever. It was great catching up stories with her.

For Lizette and Cristiana, it was another dinner hosted in Manila by Mariles Gustilo in one of the function rooms at the Ritz Towers. Here we have the whole Gustilo family as well as only apo in the clan, Indy, present. Joachim Sarrosa who is now in college in De La Salle Taft, and has qualified as a varsity football player, was likewise present. He will play as a rookie when the UAAP season opens. Congratulations! It was a fun evening.

Classmates in St. Scholastica wanted an immediate lunch when Linggay Coscolluela Magalona arrived in Bacolod. Another Las Vegas resident, Linggay is here for a short holiday but her days and nights seem to be quite occupied as cousins and friends want to be calendared in her activities. We did not avail of a private function room and the din of laughter seemed to have echoed throughout the whole Bob’s Restaurant. But the other clients seemed to have been most understanding seeing the joy in everyone’s face.

Birthdays and reunions… we can’t seem to get enough of them. Why? Because they are causes to celebrate friendships and more so, thanksgivings of life! Thank you Lord!