An Unforgettable Quarantine Debut Bash

Published November 22, 2020, 1:47 PM

by Deedee Siytangco


Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. 

—Dr. Seuss

Meet Jhuliana Marie L. Tupaz or Jhuls, who turned 18 in the middle of the pandemic. A 12th-grader St. Mary’s College of Meycauayan, she dreams to enter her dream college, De La Salle University.

Jhuls also dreams to be a successful journalist and to be able to finally provide for my family “in return for all the things they have done for me.”

She had a memorable debut bash, despite all the restrictions, but before that, let’s get to know Jhuls a bit more in her own words: “My hobbies include reading numerous books, mostly fictional and even fan fiction. One of my all-time favorites is Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. One of my other hobbies would be watching films, and a favorite would be Me Before You based on the novel by Jojo Moyes. I also love writing short stories and fangirling on boybands or boy groups. My baby brother is only five years old. I’d been wishing to have him since I was younger. I had always wanted to have someone to play with and sometimes annoy because I was an only child for a long time. My mother’s name is Rosalina Legaspi, and my father is Joel Felipe. Though they tend to annoy each other a lot, they never fail to go back to being the sweet teen couple they were back in college. If I could describe my family in one word, it would be silly. I have always felt like we are in a sitcom, where there would always be an audience laughing in the background to our ridiculous antics and puns. We’re a friendly, kind, generous, outgoing, and welcoming family.”

Recalling how she and her mom, who raised her as a single mom, survived the ups and downs of life, Jhuls shared the story of how her mama met her dada, her stepfather, and together had a baby boy, her dream brother.

When prodded to tell us about her debut, Jhuls said, “I wanted everything to be simple, just me, my baby brother, my mom, and my dad. I also told my mom I wanted to go to church and drive-thru, and then go home and sleep.”

Her mama agreed with the “simple, church, and eat part,” but not with the sleeping bit. “A few more weeks before the day, I told my mom about the food I wanted to give out and prepare on the table while she thought about the giveaways,” Jhuls recounted. “The night before my birthday, at exactly midnight, my family burst into my room, singing happy birthday, while I was busy doing my school modules. I was caught by surprise.”

Turning 18, Jhuls recalled, made her contemplative. “Turning 18 was like a dream I needed to wake up from,” she said. “I honestly wished I could go back to being 16, but I was thankful to the Lord that I was able to live this long with such a loving family.”

On her birthday, coming home from church, she was surprised by balloons and a video of family and friends greeting her. “It just made me want to stare at everything and everyone and not say anything at all because I did not know how to react,” said Jhuls. “Heck, I hardly ate anything or take any photos. I felt like a deer caught in headlights. When I watched the video they prepared, I did not know if I should cry or laugh. The video had my family, friends, who were nuts to help my mom out, my ates who work at our house, teachers, and even famous news anchors and journalists like Zen HernandezAlvin ElchicoMJ Felipe, and more, who gave me advice about journalism and the broadcasting industry.”

It was simple, just the way Jhuls liked it. She gave her parents all the plaudits for the success of the party. “I felt so happy and loved during that time,” gushed the glowing debutante. “I just want to thank my family. My dad, who sometimes drives me crazy, but he is always there when I need him. My baby brother, whom I love with all my heart, even though he is very naughty and noisy. He loves me too. And my mom, who will always be my partner in crime, my greatest friend!”

On Wednesday, Nov. 25, my darling sweetheart Sonny would be marking his 15th year in Heaven. Yes, I am certain he is with his Maker and Mama Mary as he lived a life of pure dedication to His Creator. And he was assisted by Mary who intercedes for all of us even now when we ask him to pray for us. Do I miss him still? Of course, I do. Always.