March is Women’s Month, so we celebrate remarkable women in different fields. Here is a starter, a senior with love flecks in her eyes and pen!
Meet Cristina Monro, a woman who inspires young lovers to express their love sincerely and passionately through her mini novels published in Singapore.
Behind this penname is Marietta “Yett” Montalvan Aguado. A great grandmother and a former corporate employee and editor at Shell and San Miguel Corporation, Yett was married to a shipping executive who had his own company aside from being a popular commercial model and dabbling in a few films. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack in New York in 1999.
Cristina is her second name and Monro is a combination of her parents’ surnames—Montalván and Roa. She still looks youngish and enjoys being a grandmother to seven “apos” and great-grand mom to two “apo sa tuhod.” To friends and ex-officemates and classmates, she is simply Yett.
Her hobbies now are oil and acrylic painting and mosaic art, patchwork quilt, and learning languages.
“Writing can be an afición (hobby or interest) done for enjoyment, or it can be a real calling,” she says. “It can take root in childhood on through adulthood. My love for writing manifested itself early in my childhood. The love for writing normally develops through reading as we get introduced to written words, which expand our world and enhance the expression of our thoughts and inner feelings. It is said that once you start to write, you cannot stop writing.”
Right after her studies, Yett joined the corporate world.
“When I was ripe for retirement in that setting, I still received an offer to edit and write for Accenture, a top IT company,” she recounts. “When you are doing something you love, it does not count as work. Writing as a profession has no age limit or expiry date, so I was writing way beyond my senior years and enjoying it. Today’s work environment is also geared toward the work-from-home setup, which is conducive to writers.”
In her spare time, Yett decided to write her first fiction novel, followed up later by two more.
Her books have varied subjects. Published by Giraffe Books, Understanding Filipinos is a mini book on the penchants and peculiarities of Filipinos. She has also written teaching books for high school Communication Arts. As for romance, she has written many under her pen name, including Beyond Forever, published by Partridge Publishing and available on Amazon.com.
Yett admits she is an incurable romantic. “I favor only what I call ‘clean’ romance, so I do not dwell on live-in arrangements or premarital sex because I want our young people to realize that love can exist without resorting to such scenarios,” she says.
E. J. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey propelled a tsunami of sexual novels, but it pales in comparison with today’s romance genre, which is peppered with explicit and descriptive sex in all aspects of reading, observes Yett. “In this age of outright permissiveness, gone is the wholesome and legitimate relationship between a man and a woman, so we can say that my books are relegated to the old-fashioned and old-school classification. I am not going to change my tune and go with the tide because I believe in the values I uphold,” she says. “My third novel Beyond Forever is about royalty, a current fascination among many, celebrating the late onset of love in a utopian environment. It tells of the blending together of two separate worlds when a Filipina gets thrust into the realm of royalty with a monarch of a kingdom in the second prime of their life. As a writer, I feel elated when someone tells me, ‘I read your book and I like it.’ Talk of small blessings!”
Yett has a post graduate diploma in English and Literacy from the University of the Philippines and a degree in English from Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan. She is also an associate in Secretarial arts at Maryknoll College and holds a certificate in teaching English from De La Salle University.