It’s beginning to look a lot like…

It’s the month of reunions and birthdays


Angel Thoughts

It’s the month of reunions and birthdays. And for many of us, it’s “beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” and so out with the decorations and lights while celebrating a birthday!

”Sept. 13 was the birthday of the late, respected, and well-loved Inquirer editor (also much feared by corrupt politicians), Letty Jimenez Magsanoc, co-founder of our Bulong Pulungan media group in 1986. Full Circle communications group of the late Milen de Quiros was also born on Sept. 13, and so is Elizabeth “Beth” Sison Tagle, popular civic leader and art enthusiast and dealer. Beth celebrated her “second life” on her day, too. And on the 13th of this month, The Diarist founder, Thelma Sioson will celebrate her natal day as well. Thelma was the former Philippine Daily Inquirer Lifestyle editor. She was also a member of our Bulong Pulungan as were Milen and Beth Tagle.

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Mina Gabor and her well-wishers from the Bulong Pulungan group at XO Heritage Bistro. Top row from left to right: Mandy Navasero, Pete Dacuycuy, Joanne Ramirez, Bob Zozobrado, Joy Fong, Chay Santiago (Rudy Liwanag), and the author (Deedee Siytangco), Jullie Yap Daza, Mina and Joanne Ramirez

Former Tourism boss Dr. Mina Gabor gathered the Bulong Pulungan media group for  a cozy pre-birthday lunch at the posh executive suite of the XO Bstro in S'Maison. Mina was very supportive of the weekly media forum which started in 1986 after the EDSA People Power, and met every Tuesday at noon time in Sofitel until the pandemic years.

These days, the core group met when needed, like when a newsworthy personality reaches out. And, last Tuesday, it was Mina's pre-birthday and advanced Christmas gathering of best friends. As co-founder and head of the International Institute of Sustainable Tourism based in Silang, Cavite, Mina is still deep into tourism matters and projects. These she does with local government units and  people from abroad who want to learn the institute's methods in sustainable tourism.

Many local officials send their tourism staffers to the Institute's live-in programs and to learn from experts all over the world and bring their knowledge back to their regions. They also get to share their experiences with other “students” and their mentors. Mina recently flew to Bicol to confer with the LGU  (Local Government Unit) there for an international sustainable tourism meet early next year.  The response was very positive, Mina told the Bulong Pulungan members. She is now forming, with the help of Bicol officials, a multi-sectoral private and government committee to handle the project.” Count me in!” was the response of Bob who is president of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines.

Mina's guests at XO included Manila Bulletin's Associate Editor and columnist, Jullie Yap Daza, who asked Mina what a Manila Tour would and should entail; PhilStar columnist and People's editor,  Joanne Rae Ramirez, sporting a shorter haircut prettily: Chay Santiago and Ed who edit the three online media outlets of Bro. Bo Sanchez; Standard's tourism columnist and President of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines Bob Zozobrado; Pete Dacuycuy who is the public relations adviser to top local tourism sports; Joy Fong, a columnist of the international magazine Manila UP; former Manila Bulletin photo chief now top freelance photographer Rudy Liwanag; former Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist and photographer Mandy Navasero.

After the delicious lunch , the question was “When do we meet again?” And clutching their homebaked fruit cake and shellcraft containers, it was unanimous, “Early December!”


The next day. Mina was feted by her niece who is in New York now, Claudette Baltazar. She arranged for her Tita Mina's former tourism colleagues and staff to come for lunch at Barbara's in Intramuros grounds. Former Tourism boss Dick Gordon came to join the party to the delight of the celebrant and the guests.


Beth's former classmates pose with ths Christmas tree

Classmates from St Paul's College of Beth Sison Tagle came to greet her on her birthday in her new home in BF Homes. Beth lived for many years in Quezon city and had recently moved to a lovely bungalow, refurbished by her son George. This talented young man is founder of the group Angelos and was president of the Rotary Archangels Club. He is a consummate painter and artist, and used his skills for their awesome new home. The house is now fully festooned with Christmas decorations complete with a towering tree! ( I was green with envy... inggit ako!) Georgie's décor is simply swoon stuff! Lucky mommy!

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Beth and Ellie bonding

“Lola Beautiful” as she is called by her only “apo” Ellie was also greeted by her parents Irwin and Sara. Irwin is a master in various martial arts and has many men training with him to become stuntmen in local movies.

Top row from left to right: the author (Deedee Siytangco), Beth, Frs. Romer and Randy, sons Ernest, and George

Thank you, Frs. Romer and Randy of the MMPF congregation of the late healer, Fr Fernando Suarez, for offering the mass. Happy “second life” birthday, dear Beth!