Thursday, August 21, 2008
Rehearsal for Heaven
by Elma Lou Arriola-Roda, M.D.
... The logo on the banner which was designed by Beryl (who could not join the reunion)... used the same colors assigned to the three families during the last reunion 9 years back: In addition to the white “r”, there’s the red “o”, yellow “d” and blue “a” – the last three letters were joined together like rings connected to each other, signifying the unity of the three Roda families of Alvaro, Antonino and Leon, respectively. The theme of the 2008 reunion “Rehearsal for Heaven” appeared on the logo. Betsy explained that she got this theme from one of her Dad’s letter to her...
[The Hospitality Suite Room 339 of the Best Western Seven Seas Hotel, San Diego, CA, was the first venue for the early comers on Thursday afternoon, 7 August 2008. The following day, vesper was held in the evening. Everyone present gathered Sabbath morning, afternoon, and evening at the FilAm Adventist Church in Chula Vista.- Lito]
[...] We went back to the church sanctuary for the afternoon program. After the musical parts, Betsy started with recollecting stories of the past and the story of the sack of rice was continued and finished by Manong Al, and Pros followed with the story of the 2 gallons of water. Thinking that Manang Esther was the oldest member present, she was given time to talk and recollect. Then the “In Remembrance Of” slide show of the departed members was presented: first was the group picture showing five brothers = Sergio, Leon, Alvaro, Antonino and Rosario; followed by pictures of Papang Alvaro & Mamang Memang, Tata Tony & Nana Mameng, Manang Ely & husband Walter Roeder, Manong David, Manong Calion Zarate, Manong Andrew Edwin, Manong Ben Sanidad, and Manong Johnny. Unintentionally, not shown in pictures were Manang Norma Tauro Roda, Sandra Roda Slayter, Tata Leon and Nana Maria..
“Lighting Generation Candles” followed. Alne had six white candles on a table at the front, to represent the six generations. She called Manang Esther to represent the first and second generations, thus lighting the first candle, then lighting the second candle. All the third generation (G-3) present were called to the front (Esther, Al, Charing, Cion, Pancing, Pros, Beb, Rodel, Charity, Turing, Kate represented Nong David and Ng Lydia represented Manong Poncing). Being the oldest, Ng Esther was also the one who lighted the candle representing the G-3 group.
Next, the G-4 group was called to the front and Cora as the oldest, lighted the candle representing the group. The Generation 5 (G-5) was led by Donn Torres as the oldest in the group, thus he lighted the candle representing the group. The Generation 6 had Zachary Ravadilla lighting the candle for their group. Then the Generations 5 and 6 were asked to line the middle aisle of the church while the rest of the family members stood on the sides along the inner ends of the pew, and they placed their hands on the shoulders of the Generations 5 and 6 members while prayer was offered by Alne blessing these younger generations. It was a solemn time and very touching.
From the church, we went back to the Fellowship Hall for the big buffet supper prepared mainly by Manang Cion, Manang Pancing and Rose with help of others. There was abundance of food with several kinds of “kakanins.” Each table for eating was covered with plastic red tablecloth with a smaller square tablecloth in blue or in yellow over the center, and there was a vase of flowers on each table too.
The 50th wedding anniversary of Manong Al and Ng Nellie was celebrated with thick layers of sampaguita leis for each of them as they went to the front, a wedding anniversary cake, and their granddaughter Ayla singing “Dahil Sa ‘Yo” accompanied by Alvin on the keyboard. Giant chocolate bars with special made to order Giant HERSHEY BAR covers created expressly for the 50th Anniversary occasion, were distributed to all, compliments of the Zamoras – the same ones they distributed at the real anniversary celebration last June 15 in Maryland.
The August birthday celebrants had also their own birthday cake and they were called to the front stating their ages: Kylo Cautivar, Paz Ravadilla, Wayne Corros, Eddie, and Carol. Going to be 85 years old in September 27, Manong Turing was included as a special birthday celebrant. We all sang the birthday song for the celebrants.
The Roda Family Celebration Time followed, starting with me explaining the Family Tree (on a white felt backdrop measuring 70 inches wide and 105 inches high). I made a similar one 9 years ago for the first reunion which was made of paper. This time I used felt for everything – thanks to an earlier suggestion from Calina. Within the last nine years, there were several additions to the family either by marriage or by birth (and a few deaths), so I had to update the tree. Names of divorced spouses were in brackets, plus an “S” for those Separated, and the letter “D” followed the names of deceased members. The main light brown trunk of the big tree represents the patriarch Juan Demaya Roda (G-1) and the twelve light brown big branches with red-numbered names represents his children (three from his first wife and 9 from his second wife) = these are the second generation. The 25 names of the third generation are on dark brown felt and the 68 fourth generations are on dark green felt. The 93 names of the fifth generation are on light green leaves and the 22 names of the sixth generation are on dark pink buds or fruits. The two set of twins (Sanidads and Bautistas) appears with two light green leaf attached at the base while 3 babies on the way had a picture of a baby on the light green leaf or on the dark pink bud for Baby Myers (Vanessa Corros & Arthur Myers), Baby Sinco (Ray Sinco & Beatrice Paterson), and Baby Girl Roda (Darrell & Shar). A 4th baby on the way is Baby Ravadilla (Alan Ravadilla & Kathy Miranda). There is a total of 221 names in the Tree. I also explained the connection of the family to the Edralins and to the former President Marcos.
113 were present at the reunion. Everyone participated on the next part, the “introductions time” – where families were called by Cheryl to the front, and each one introduced himself/herself, stating where they live and telling “something your parents don’t know about you.”
1. Betty & Edwin Rao and daughter Edwina
2. Cora & Lito Coo, daughter Cecile Cruz with children Sophia and Elisha
3. Tita’s family was complete, with husband Romie, sons Donn and Val, Val’s wife Andrea and their daughter Sydney Grace Torres
4. Fe & Fiel Poblete, their daughter Andrea and granddaughter Alexandra
5. Boy and Helen Arevalo
6. Emiline & Wilson Corros and son Wayne
7. Sylvia & Alex Ramirez, daughter Sharon and their son Allen
8. Annie Arevalo
NOTE THAT ALL THE SEVEN AREVALO CHILDREN WERE PRESENT!
9. Ng Lydia Roda, son Andy & wife Loree with their 3 children: Alfonso, Andrea & Ellysa; son Reginald & wife Michelle with their children Chloe & Sebastien.
BONG, MITCHI, CHLOE & SEBASTIEN WORE MATCHING OUTFITS OF BLUE FABRIC WITH THE SAME DESIGN.
10. Nong Turing & Manang Masing Roda, with children Carol and Eddie
11. Manang Kate & Werner Hildebrand, with three children and their families:
Betsy & Rodney Jabola, and their son Andrew
Greg & Franca Roda
Beverly & Mike Zumpano, with their 3 children = Michael, Meagan & Danielle
12. Ng Esther Sanidad with two children and their families:
Orly & Josie Sanidad
Paz & Ed Ravadilla, daughters Ria and Irene, Irene’s husband Apollo Semella and
Their sons Zachary and Trystan
Granddaughter Sheryl Macaraeg
13. Ng Charing Zerate with daughters Calina and Zally & husband Sam Schulstad
14. Manong Al & Ng Nellie Roda, Alne & Jose Hernandez, Alvin & Erika Roda and their daughters Ayla, Brielle and Celine. THEIR FAMILY WAS COMPLETE!
15. Ng Cion & Nong Tommy Mirasol = THEIR FAMILY WAS ALSO COMPLETE!
Art & Karen Mirasol and children Daniel and Aaron
Mike & Luella Mirasol and children Siena and Luke
16. Ng Pancing Idrisalman with daughters and families:
Erli & Orville Cautivar, children Kylo, Kenneth and Kalee
Leri and daughter Irel Idrisalman
THEIR FAMILY WAS ALSO COMPLETE AND THEY WERE ALL IN RED!
17. Pros & Lou Roda, with Cheryl Wu and her three sons = Kevin, Justin and Brian
(5 year old Justin and even 2-year old Brian introduced themselves!)
18. Beb Bautista and daughter Olive with two sons = Rico and Marco
19. Leon (Jojo) & Alisa Roda and their children Andrew and Kara
20. Rodel Meier
21. Charity Lim