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Bittersweet Memories of 2018


By: Veronica Leighton


The year 2018 that started out quite not that good for us seems to be turning out A-OK as this special year rolls by and coming to its final phase of the year Looking back at the beginning of the year, Joe (now my husband) and I encountered some health issues from influenza to pneumonia, sepsis, heart & lung problems, particularly Joe. Some of our friends were also down with their own illnesses/physical ailments just like us (yes, there was flu epidemic last year), and some healthy friends were away to escape Chicago’s brrrr-cold winter. What a feeling to be sick and alone. No energy to work, to do anything. No stamina to enjoy life. Despite it all, we persevered, followed doctors’ orders, watched our health more carefully, and worked harder on our jobs, not even missing a beat in meeting our VT/CPRTV deadlines.

To top all the bad news, the devastating news involving some friends (medical missioners) who met a horrible van crash accident in Cebu resulting in deaths of seven people and only three surviving victims, added so much grief to our depressed situation. Thank God, the three friends that survived are now doing very well, and with us in our midst and enjoying the pink of health. On page 19 pictorial feature, survivors Fred and Nora Tsai are shown treating their friends to a great Thanksgiving party and renewal of marriage vows last November 24. And, we will be seeing another survivor friend, Dr. Elenita Rubio, who has recuperated quite well after her multiple surgeries. Oh, What a feeling to be alive!

The rest of the year has turned out quite rosy, happy and glowing.

Last May 31, on my birthday, Joe and I decided to tie the knots (after many years of blissful couple togetherness) in a simple civil ceremony attended by about sixty friends. A very happy and intimate occasion, and I was told I carried the look of a blushing bride. More exciting was in gracing the VT cover as the June issue’s Bride and Groom of the Month. Ahem!

Most importantly, our annual pet project, the Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Fame 2018, proved to be a huge success on its 24th annual gala event last November 10, 2018, in recognizing and awarding the 20 most outstanding individuals from our community. We sincerely thank our recipients, sponsors and guests who came, enjoyed, and gave us words of compliments, and thumbs up. Watch out for our Silver Anniversary Awards and Reunion of our past Hall of Famers to be held on November 9, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. More announcement to follow later. Lest we forget, thank you so much to our VT Columnists who regularly treat our readers with their wonderful columns enlightening, educating and entertaining with their expressions of thoughts and ideas every month, and warm congratulations to the following columnists for exciting passages in their personal lives. Congratulations to our Senior Editor Elsie Sy-Niebar who turned 80 last August and was VT’s featured cover in September; to Prof. Robert Boyer, for receiving our Hall of Fame award as Friend of the Filipino; Maria Girlie Pascual in welcoming her first grandson, Kenzo; Louella Cabalona for having Baby Reign, a little ham, who has been entertaining a lot of people on FB and in person; Attorney Janice Dantes, for another addition of another boy in the family; Ryan Tejero, for his regular features of the club presidents and as a grooming dad to very talented Kayla; to Victoria Smith, for the recent move to a dream idyllic island in the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound; Melody Dizon, a new solo entrepreneur, who’s busily attending to both her new business and young growing family as a super-mom; to Pastor Nancy Abiera, for her thriving religious ministry that take her all over for her religious words of wisdom.

Welcome to our new Columnists debuting in this issue, Dominick Gerace on page 7, in his “Real Deal in Real Estate,” great tips in real estate investments here and in the Philippines; Elaine Lehman’s deep and thought-provoking column “Water and Fire,” page 10, an excerpt from Dr. Jose Rizal’s “El Filibusterismo.” Elaine is the current executive director of the Filipino American Council of Greater Chicago (FACGC).

Isn’t it great to be alive? Thank God for all the graces and blessings, and have a joyful holidays to all our readers, advertisers and friends! VVL

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