MANILA, Philippines - To say that Rep. Rachel “Baby” Arenas is simply popular in the third district of Pangasinan, which she represents, is an understatement if we are to gauge it from the warmth and jubilation felt during her surprise thanksgiving and birthday celebration hosted by her indefatigable mother, socio-civic leader and philanthropist Rosemarie “Baby” Arenas.
Well-loved is the more accurate way of putting it based on the intense outpouring of affection, heartfelt good wishes and the huge adoring crowd that swelled as early as three in the morning when senior citizens started to flock to the Arenas Farm in Malasiqui, Pangasinan to serenade her with the time-honored local tradition mañanita.
More than 5,000 folks from all walks of life trooped to the farm, because the birthday of the youthful legislator is considered a red letter day by her constituents who visited her in the farm all day, many of them bringing in feasts from delicious kakanin to lechon, and all sorts of mementos.
Her mother, Baby Arenas, being the ultimate party planner and hostess, left no stone unturned in making sure that sumptuous and overflowing food was served all throughout the day to the gustatory delight and hearty fill of the thousands of guests.
Not one to miss out on details, mom Baby A spent a holy hour imploring for good weather, despite weather forecasts to the contrary, in the shrine of the Lady of Manaoag and the Monastery of the Poor Clares of St. James the Apostle which was built under the auspices of the Vatican in the midst of the Arenas Farm.
Scholars and educators from the different towns in Rep. Rachel’s district presented a heartwarming and touching tribute on the unparalleled work of the legislator capped by an exciting raffle of generous prizes for everyone. Baby A welcomed the guests with a very animated speech and Rep. Rachel had an emotional thank-you speech that moved her mother and many others to tears.
The celebration was graced by people from the entire province and other places in the country. Special guests drove, with some flying in, that mom Baby A had to ask the Malasiqui Central School to accommodate the parking of several choppers since they could not fit in the helipad situated in the Arenas Farm.
Personalities who attended the party were led by Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Alan Peter Cayetano who came in full force with his lovely wife, the feisty Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano, his drop-dead gorgeous brother, director Lino Cayetano, and his mother Sandra Schramm-Cayetano.
Also spotted were senatoriables led by Presidential cousin and Ten Outstanding Young People of the World awardee Bam Aquino, former Senate president Ernesto Maceda, former Sen. Migz Zubiri, Rep. Cynthia Villar, Rep. JV Ejercito and Rep. Mitos Magsaysay.
The other colleagues of Rep. Rachel who joined the party were Rep. Gina de Venecia, Rep. Girlie Villarosa, Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil and Rep. Marlyn Agabas, plus senior party-list representatives Greg Arquiza for senior citizens and Emmie de Jesus for Gabriela. Sen. Cayetano drew the grand raffle prize and Sen. Zubiri rendered an Ogie Alcasid song.
Even more interesting was the presence of opposing political personalities of Pangasinan who, despite the anticipated fiercely contested 2013 polls, were seen enjoying each other’s company, engaging in light banter and having friendly moments.
Rep. Rachel is running unopposed in the third district, the erswhile hotbed of Pangasinan politics, because she had brought in unprecedented peace, progress and prosperity during her two terms. She was able to unite the people, something that never happened in its history.