(seated, from left) are Anne Murphy, Vicky Cuisia, Olivia Romulo, (standing, from left) are Judy Cormier Wisner and Joan Hubbard
Reunion of US ambassadors’ wives
FILIPINO WORLDVIEW - Roberto R. Romulo (The Philippine Star) - March 22, 2019 - 12:00am

As previously reported in an earlier column, the US-Philippines Society recently held its 7th Annual Meeting in Manila. Several social cum business events were arranged for them, including the welcome reception at the home of Ambassador Babe Romualdez, the cocktails hosted by Manuel V. Pangilinan in Old Manila at the Manila Peninsula, and the lunches held with Cabinet and Congressional officials.  But in my opinion, the highlight was the presence of the wives of the former ambassadors.

My wife Olivia and I were fortunate to host a small dinner for them at the Romulo Café on Jupiter Street. Yes, the husbands were also there: Richard Murphy (1978-1981) with Anne; Frank Wisner (1991-1992) with Judy and Tom Hubbard (1996-2000) with Joan. Unfortunately, John Negroponte (1993-1996) was not accompanied by Diane because he had to fly to another country for a business event.

In photo (clockwise) are Bobby Romulo, Anne Murphy, Vicky Cuisia, Tom Hubbard, Joey Cuisia, Joan Hubbard, Olivia Romulo, Richard Murphy, Frank Wisner, John Negroponte, Sung Kim (standing) and Judy Cormier Wisner

I have known many ambassadors and their wives for the last 30 years. It is only the Americans who return, like balikbayans to enjoy the Philippines, whether in Manila, the suburbs or their favorite beach resort. I can only assume they feel at home with us as we do with them.

Joining us also for dinner were the incumbent American Ambassador Sung Y. Kim and former Ambassador to the US Joey and Vicky Cuisia.

Tradition

I am a regular customer of Last Chukker and Nanten, which are the concessionaires at my favorite club (of which I have been a member for 50 years now). The food is done well and service is efficient. More importantly, I find the company of my friends makes the difference to the dining ambiance regardless of the level of formality. But occasionally, I long for the fine dining of old to mark significant occasions. In fact, the concessionaire misses too the old days of a formal dining room where coat and tie or barong was customary. New Year’s Eve was a special event when the ladies were dressed in long gowns and the men wore white dinner jackets and black tie. He laments that those days are gone, as have other traditions which do not seem to hold any appeal for the young people of today. Many of us senior citizens strongly believe that there are traditions and values which should be passed on from one generation to the other.

For example, a Christmas tree and Belen (Nativity scene) is a tradition which should not be discarded and replaced by a tree full of gift boxes. That is just too commercial. We are after all celebrating the birth of Christ. Although times have changed with holiday celebrations less pomp and formality, still many prefer what I just described. For us seniors especially, the passage of time is worthwhile devoting some formal celebration.

BABE ROMUALDEZ MANUEL V. PANGILINAN
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