Remembering Cory: She gave of herself

PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez - The Philippine Star

Sometime in 2004, during his first term as Quezon City councilor, Joseph Juico got a request from former President Cory Aquino, his mom Margie’s direct boss at Malacañang.

“I got a call from Tita Cory. She asked me where the senior citizen’s office was. I told her, ‘Tita, I can get you a form and I will facilitate it for you.’ To this, she replied, ‘No Joseph, just tell me where to go and I’ll be the one to do it myself’.”

Joseph assured the former President he could send the form to her house on Times Street, and she could send the accomplished form back to him with her photo.

Then she told him, “Are you sure? I know you are very busy.” Joseph replied, “Tita, it would be my pleasure to do this for you.” After she got her senior citizen’s card, she called  Joseph again to say “Thank you.” ?The day after, she sent him a gift. A painting she did herself, and it spoke a thousand grateful words to Joseph.

“That is how I remember her. Humble. Never wanting to trouble anybody. ?Never without a thank you or a gesture of kindness,” recalls Joseph.

Swatch lady boss Virgie Ramos also remembers how, on a certain flight she took with Cory, Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 1986 would not recline her seat on the plane so as not to inconvenience the person behind her.

And when former President Cory wanted to pay a visit to my house, she asked me first, “May I be invited?” We were then in the home of Chris Carrion in Ayala Alabang and she asked me if my home in Parañaque was close by. Then she really dropped by when I said, “Of course, Mrs. President, I would be honored!”


Kris Aquino shared with writer Neni Sta. Romana Cruz how Cory doted over her grandson Joshua, Kris’ firstborn.

“I guess the one who is the most needy is the one you’d want to take care of,” Kris told Neni. Lola Cory never missed Josh’s school programs and was a familiar face to the teachers and students at his school, The Multiple Intelligence School in Katipunan, Quezon City.

The day before Cory passed away, the students at Joshua’s school went to their teacher and told her that they had seen the woman whom they had written get-well cards to. According to Neni, “That is the only reported Cory sighting, and it is attributed to Cory’s solicitousness over Josh —  just a final check to make sure he was doing well.”

* * *

Cory had a unique way of showing her appreciation. One of the most prized possessions I have now is a book of 50 Biblical verses, each handwritten by Cory Aquino on a blank notebook with a hardcover of her painting, Special Blue Flowers. Though the cover is a print of an original, each of the passages she wrote herself, page by page. I am humbled to have received this, because I know she created the gift, word by word.

Thank you, Tita Cory, for the privilege of having known you. I am humbled that you showed me much appreciation in your lifetime. You are profoundly missed.



‘Make Things Happen’

If there is anything that  members of Batch ‘66 of Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity and Sigma Delta Phi sorority of the University of the Philippines are proud of, it is the fact that they still have time to enjoy the company of friends and loved ones.

With nothing else to prove at this stage in their lives, these Upsilonians and Sigma Deltans see to it that they have their share in giving something back to the community, most of all the UP community, which has nurtured their potentials for leadership and excellence.

Batch ‘66, through individual contributions of members here and abroad, has sponsored worthy projects for the university and other areas. Some of them are actively involved in NGO work. Others are still very much into running  companies, or still working for some government agencies and corporations. The word retirement seems to be far from their minds. Like what each member is wont to say, “Make things happen.” More so if it’s for the common good.

Leading the list of totally involved members of the batch are the two Ramons — former DBP chair and PNCC president Mon Abad and Mon Maronilla, who is the president of the UP Alumni Association; cultural and culinary writer Felice Prudente-Sta. Maria with  husband Andy, a successful lawyer;  former  OPS  Assistant Secretary Mila Alora and now chairman of APO Production Unit, a government-controlled corporation in charge of printing the Philippine e-passport; and former ambassador to Singapore Jess Yabes, who is an undersecretary at DFA.

“We want this particular event to be a memorable one for all of us and the rest of the Upsilonians and Sigma Deltans who have given so much to the community,” says Abad, who is ably supported by  Mian Gancayco (event chair of  Batch ‘66 Sigma Deltans), Narcy David, Marilyn Paje-Rodriguez and Lena Lubi.

“Of course, credit also goes to the other brods who have been tasked to do several things in making our anniversary meaningful and fun. These are Serge NaguiatBlamar Gonzales, Tuy Palarca, among others,” adds Abad.

As the group turns 50 this year, it will have a big thanksgiving and fellowship party called “A Celebration of Life” on Feb. 6 at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club. All Upsilonians and Sigma Deltans are invited.

Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity is the oldest fraternity in UP and in Asia. Though coming from different political persuasions, each one sets aside the differences to care for everyone in need as voiced by younger brod, Rep. Martin Romualdez, Batch ‘85.

Prominent Upsilonians are former Senators Ninoy Aquino and Gerry Roxas, former President Ferdinand Marcos, former Vice President Doy Laurel, former solicitor-general Estelito Mendoza, former Comelec chair Christian Monsod, former Senators Joker Arroyo and Kiko Pangilinan, Ambassador Willie Gaa, news anchor Angelo Castro Jr., among others.

Among the famous Sigma Deltans are Philippine STAR founding chairman Betty Go-Belmonte, painter Araceli Dans, Montesorri educator Carina Lebron, TV personality and Broadway actress Dee Marquez and businesswoman Mercedes Gotianun.

(For more information,  call committee chairpersons Mon Abad (0917-5345340) for Upsilon Sigma Phi  and Mian Gancayco (0917-8331216) for Sigma Delta Phi.) (You may e-mail me at [email protected].)












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