MANILA, Philippines -- Everyday is a perfect opportunity to celebrate life?s many experiences. Whether one is marking a milestone birthday or receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation or getting married, life is too short to let any occasion pass without having a simple gathering to celebrate.
Still walking in the clouds with glee is Charlie Rufino, who turned 60 and was given a surprise trilogy celebration by his lovely wife of 37 years, Chinit, and sons and daughters-in-law, JV, Raymond and Anna, and Carlo and Catherine.
The trilogy was a multimedia summary of all that Charlie has been and is to the people he has touched through the years.
The first part was an Album of Letters and Anecdotes from family, friends and business partners, including old classmates like Digoy Fernandez, Bertie Lim, Noli Gonzalez and Francis Estrada; family members like Arsenic Laurel, Marisun Uichico and Manny Tanjangco; business partners like Jacques Dupasquier and Anthony Golamco; Rotarians like Gigi Zulueta; and YPO-WPOers like Joey Yujuico, Basil Ong and Nonoy Colayco.
Raymond, who works with his dad, compared their relationship to a Kung Fu master and his student.
Eldest son JV, ever the editor, and Chinit authored the second part, ?Man of Vision,? a book about Charlie?s passion for real estate development. The third and final episode of the trilogy was a video, mastered by Charlie?s third boy, Carlo. Produced by Bobet Villanueva of Flying Colors, the four-minute clip presented Charlie the Speed Racer, noting his love of cars and family and dramatically ending with Alana, Charlie?s first grandchild.
The Manila Polo Club was beautifully decorated for the evening, and bossa nova queen Sitti accompanied by the Zwing Band from the University of the Philippines entertained the guests.
The highlight of the night was when Charlie wittily shared his memorable life lessons: from his mother, Meding Rufino, to do ?everything in moderation;? from his sister Ma. Paz, to ?buy everything in bulk, it?s cheaper!? and from his leadership roles in Rotary and YPO-WPO, to keep speeches short, as one only has ?three minutes as a window of opportunity.?
He then addressed his sons, advising ?passion and perseverance: one without the other doesn?t work.? And of course, finally, to Chinit, Charlie sang that ?Once you have found her, never let her go.? Clearly the romance has not dwindled in their 37 years of marriage.
Just starting off on their own journey through the years of marriage are Boey and Carla Cruz. Boey is the son of elegant lady Baby Cruz, and mom?s fine tastes sparkled brightly in their intimate and stylish wedding reception at Conway?s at Makati Shangri-La.
It was touching to hear Boey?s sister, Tisha, reminisce about their younger days.
Whenever I attend a wedding, I always think back to my own. All weddings are wonderful opportunities for family and friends to gather and to feel the love and passion of the newlyweds, always reigniting their own.
In my own case, my husband Dennis and I are celebrating our 15th anniversary this year. It seems like it was only yesterday when our medieval wedding was held!
Good friends Charlie Carmona and Leana Farrales will be tying the knot by yearend. The two are avid golfers and their passion for the fairways was the spark that got them together. Golf, despite its seemingly slow pace, is truly a sport for the passionate.
One thing I like about golf is that the tournaments benefit so many charities. The Louis Coson Friendship Cup is one such golfing event, raising funds for college scholarships for the children of caddies. The scholarships are run by the SM Foundation, headed by Louie?s widow, Tessie Sy-Coson.
Not many know this, but Louie Coson?s death anniversary, March 28, 2003, is the same day as another Louie?s, my brother who passed away 10 years before.
This year?s Louis Coson Friendship Cup was held at Tagaytay Midlands, with his best and brightest friends from the business world showing their support by taking the day off and hitting a few balls.
Among the many sponsors and attendees were Robert and Benedicto Coyiuto of Audi Philippines, Willie Ocier and Jerry Tiu of Belle Corporation, lifelong friend Manuel Chan, and of course, the many members of the Sy family?taipan Henry, Hans and his wife Carol, Herbert and Tessie.
Taipan Henry Sy was one of my ninongs when I got married, as my own father was ninong to him when he got married. The social fabric of our country is interwoven with these ninong-and-ninang strings.
I have four godchildren, just for confirmations alone. Recently my partner at Urban Spa, Irene Ibanez, asked me to be ninang to her daughter Bea. It was my first time to visit the Immaculate Conception Academy, better known as ICA. I was impressed to hear the singing in three languages!
My own son, Tyrone, was also recently confirmed with his cousin, Kai Yulo. Both study at Beacon School, which is decidedly smaller than the gargantuan ICA.
Nowadays, even funerals are social occasions. Although I desperately shy away from attending wakes, there are those I cannot miss.
Recently, two of my father?s cousins passed away, just one day apart?Uncle Leo Prieto Sr. and then his older brother Caruso. Their joint funeral services at the Santuario de San Antonio became a massive Prieto family reunion. Both lived full lives up to almost 90.
The experience made me think about whether I want to live to that age. I think as long as I am healthy and continue my active lifestyle, I am happy with whatever God will grant me.
I?ve been training and training lately, mostly in the early mornings. Suddenly I have discovered that breakfast is a meal also. I did interrupt my training for a special breakfast one day, though, when my mom, Marixi Prieto, and I were invited to visit the residence of United States Ambassador Kristie Kenney.
The ambassador is a fitness buff herself, and an excellent tennis player to boot. We had fun talking about her experiences in the country.
Life is clearly short, but it?s the precious memories we celebrate as we go through it that makes it timeless and unforgettable.
E-mail the author at email@example.com.