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That’s What Friends Are For


By: Maria Girlie Pascual


And so goes the line to Dione Warwick’s Grammy award winning tune written by 80’s icon Burt Bacharach with Carole Bayer Sager. As life takes us through mountains and valleys, beautiful sunsets and magnificent sunrises, one thing I have learned in my continuing journey is that this ride, this trip or however else you may want to call it, I never could have done it without friends. Friendship is a term we often take for granted, maybe even expect to have from relationships forged growing up, but a bond we need as human beings to thrive, even prosper in our own communities. Filipinos are well known for our hospitality but being nice to our neighbors do not necessarily make us good friends.

I have come to learn the hard way that it’s easy enough to make friends, but to make this special bond last, like marriage, will take some work, give and take, compromise, and yes, love. Underneath the general term, being a friend takes more than just the rudimentary social activities, the seasonal and personal greetings, maybe a reunion or two, and it goes well beyond the sentimental platitudes that we, as a society, have come to associate with being a good friend. In fact, on the whole, a true kind of friendship will transcend these niceties where a true ally will be there for all those other times when you don’t even want anyone near you, much less be near anyone close enough to know what challenges you are facing, what sorrows you are trying to bear, hiding the pain you don’t want to burden anyone with. This is the time that a true friend will step up rather than shy away, will check on you to see if you’re ok, to see if they can offer help, a shoulder, a hand, even a look to say “I am here for you, you’re not alone”.

Love is a powerful thing, an emotion which can be expressed in a million different ways, but when shared with a spouse, a sibling, a partner or a friend, it comes with a certain responsibility that is not imposed, but given freely and without any expectation of return, maybe just a reciprocity of care, understanding and even loyalty. Yes, friendship has many faces indeed, but to have a friend, you need to be a friend.

Thanksgiving is upon us again, and maybe I do get reflective this time of the year, but if I may, I would like to use this time to thank my family for always being there for me no matter what, my small circle of golfing pals who keep me engaged in a sport that allows me to de-stress and decompress with every whack of that driver, my classmates from the College of the Holy Spirit and the University of the Philippines in Diliman who keeps me grounded and focused on positivity and prayer, and my Chicago friends who have seen me at my best and worst, my wackiest and quietest, my angriest, and saddest. It may sound like a lot, but all told, I may be able to count my closest friends with just two hands, the people that I know will have my back and will always choose my side, even when I am not being my best self. Surprisingly enough, a few of these individuals have not been time tested like the rest, but my oh my, have they sat shoulder to shoulder with me in my most trying moments, ready to listen, to help, even to lead me to a comforting space where prayers have proved to be a great source for miracles, and a place of hope when I felt like I was choking with stress and anguish over challenges that I needed to face. To all of you, and I hope I have always made it clear that you are in that small circle of mine, and to all of you I say THANK YOU!

Yes, these are trying times, maybe confusing and certainly agitating. Sometimes I just skip the news channel and go to the old black and white movies when life seemed much simpler, the world smaller and more manageable at least from Hollywood’s point of view. Through all these, the only constant for me is my love of family here and in the Philippines, the balance of work through my real estate career, and play with the Asian American Golfers of Illinois or AAGI, giving back to the community through Viatimes , CPRTV and the Philippine American Cultural Foundation or PACF, and ultimately, my relationship with God who makes all things possible.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers and viewers of VIATIMES and the CHICAGO PHILIPPINE REPORTS TV, to all my real estate clients, past, present and future, and to all of us who come from our Motherland the PHILIPPINES, Mabuhay tayong lahat! To my family, friends, my longtime partner, classmates and fellow AAGI CLUB golfers, thank you for another memorable, wonderful, stimulating, frustrating, challenging, nerve wracking, That’s What Friends Are For tiring, unforgettable year, and here’s to another year of looking for things to be thankful for, and realizing that there are indeed more of them than we had hoped for.


A family that plays together… the Pascuals in Universal Studio LA


California Dreaming with classmatesvMarissa Oca, Kitos Abad Olano withvhubby Boyet and Papi James


BFF’s Daniel Gawat and Solaire

Resort Boss Lady Jingay Kaimo


I love my job! With Inigo Pascual at Piyesta Pinoy last June


Myrtle Beach with AAGI and friends


My Golfing buddies from AAGI -Fore!


My Golfing Family (L-R)My brothers Bently, Docboy, Brent Pascual and my son Kristoffer Wildoer


My new company Realty Executives Advance with broker owner to my left Hank, and my colleague Aurelia and friend


Our new family with the Sisaleums – Frank, Svienna’s Dad with his sisters


Gang’s All Here ! Family and friends gather at Chef Denlim’s Gourmet Bistro in Pampanga


College of the Holy Spirit Batch ‘76 Classmates in Manila


Happy for their blessing of life, lifetime friends Fred and Nora Tsai w my family Docboy and Annika Pascual


Gift of Love with my son Kristoffer, wife Svienna and his dad Wolfgang Wildoer


Chilling with Ces Caguiat and Grace Dysico


Childhood friends Mitet and Pot Asistio


Looking forward to more friendship moments


Those were the days .. with my son Kristoffer and his dad Wolfgang in happier times .. family is forever.


Friends since 1986 Vero and Me

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