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Health And Family

Memoirs from a sunny place

Neny Regino - The Philippine Star
Memoirs from a sunny place
Writers who attended the launch: (Seated, from left) Mariquit Reventar, Catherine Chua, Dina Lucinario, Dada Trillo, Dolly Matias, (standing) Susie Yap, author Neny Regino, Mario Torrento Jr., Linda Atayde, and Flora Sebastian.

MANILA, Philippines — Remembering is regal, putting it down on paper is divine.”  Thus said Krip Yuson, Carlos Palanca Hall of Fame awardee and Philippine STAR columnist.

Memoirs in the form of 57 essays and 14 poems are contained in the anthology Reflections in Light and Shadow launched at Sunshine Place Senior Recreation Center recently.

The pieces were penned by 18 participants of the Sunshine Place Memoir Writing Group, Batch 1 and 2 for 2021-2022 under Professor Oscar Peñaranda. Classes were held via Zoom with the professor in the USA and participants in Iloilo, Baguio, Bulacan, Laguna, Tagaytay and Manila.

Peñaranda, a US -based writer who hails from Leyte, has lectured across the USA on literature, writing and history. In the Philippines, he is a recipient of the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas award. He is a visiting lecturer of Siliman University and in programs of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Most of the authors are neophyte writers and in their retirement age. They have discovered that they can develop new skills with retirement as the best time to pursue these interests.

“A memoir is a window to the writer’s world,” said Peñaranda.  “The aim of the memoir writing workshop is to hone the skills of the students so that they will be confident enough in the greatest story ever told: their story.”

The book-launch program started with an invocation and welcome remarks by Sunshine Place marketing manager Yla dela Rosa. Sunshine Place president Lizanne Uychaco delivered the keynote message and led the book unveiling, after which a video message from Professor Peñaranda, who is currently in San Francisco, California, was presented.

Dada Trillo with Chesca Trillo-Van Ormer and Rissa Mananquil-Trillo.

The authors recited excerpts from their essays.  Among them were Flora Timoteo Sebastian from her piece “Mother and Son;” Catherine Mijares Chua from “It’s not you, it’s Life;” Mariquit Reventar from “My Home Quarantine;” Linda Atayde from “Educating Nanay;” Dolores Matias, who was teary-eyed as she read from “Balangiga;” Dada Trillo, who paid tribute to her mother in “A woman of Substance;” Mario Torrento Jr., who is based in Iloilo but flew to Manila with his family for the launching event, read from his piece “Someday I Will Come to Love My Name;” and Neny Regino with her romantic essay “Friendship from the Heart.”

The essays of two of the authors who have passed on — Suzie Benitez and Winifred Samson — were included in the anthology. Samson’s poem “Here I Am” was read by her granddaughter.

The book was dedicated to Felicidad Sy, who founded Sunshine Place, a place where seniors can pursue their interests in their retirement years.  However, the Place has also become a place where children and non-seniors do painting, writing, singing and dance lessons.

Winnie Samson’s granddaughter Alex Nica Samson reads a poem by her grandma, while Winnie’s son Kim Erick Samson stands behind.

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