Birthday Celebration


     We spent the weekend last April 6-7 in Club Balai Isabel at Talisay, Batangas for the birthday celebration of my wife, China, and son, Osmund.

     It was more than an hour drive from Bacoor. I decided to take the longer but safer route via south superhighway. This is longer by 20 kilometers and 30 minutes, but, I did not want to burden Agustin Popen for the shorter but stiffer route to drive. What was supposed to be a 2-hour drive ended up 3 hours when Agustin missed the Tanauan exit and had to make a U-turn from Lipa exit. I suggested we eat at Chowking and was happy to discover that they are serving the braise beef again after almost a decade of absence. 

     We took two separate rooms and since there was no elevator, the athletic couple, Osmund and Erika, never missed the gym for a week to and from their room on the fourth floor.

     The place was almost 100 percent occupied but we were blessed to have been booked by a friend weeks back. While the rates are high, your stay is worth the price.

     After checking out of Club Balai Isabel on the 7th of April, we went to have lunch at El Cuartel, 20 minutes enroute to Tagaytay. The meal was not good and the price sure was expensive. We were even supposed to be charged for corkage on the leftover cake from last night’s dinner. They were kind to give us a free slice of cake. We all went our ways, Osmund going straight to Tagaytay and us going to Tanauan, Batangas to visit my late father in-law’s younger sister.

     We arrived at the residence of Tita Ida but it seemed that no one was home. I told Agustin to inquire from the house next door, and soon enough, a househelp from inside the house came out to open the gates for our car to park inside. Tita Ida was sure surprised to see my mother-in-law. Her son, Marte, came out as well as Ate Marie, Ate May, and Tito Meme joined us for coffee. Ate Marie came with some chocolate chips and ham sandwich.

     Anton, Ate Marie’s son, is currently in Europe taking up internal medicine and will be back by September. Her daughter is in Australia as an immigrant and has left her huge dog for her parents to care. She is a veterinarian by profession but opted to migrate to Australia. Ate May’s son is also in Canada and probably, her other children will migrate soon to other countries.

     All their children, except Mendy, who resides in San Pablo, lived adjacent to their hectare-wide ancestral home which they acquired through inheritance from Tito Meme’s parents. The house they built was modern, with Ate Marie supervising the construction with precision. She and her husband, an engineering professor from UP Biñan, Laguna, were the only ones staying in the house as their children are abroad as of this time.

     My late father-in-law, Marino Servañez, was second among 10 siblings and grew up in San Pablo, Laguna. He was a bank employee but opted to pursue his love of music by joining Coca Cola’s band that performed all over the country in the late 60’s. It was through this that he met his wife, Lucia, since the band frequented the restaurant owned by her family. They had three children, Chito, Othello and China Marie, my wife. Chito and Othello are both gifted as musicians, but my wife took a different path as a teacher and eventually, as school owner of Marie Osmund.

     The late Marino died when China and Osmund celebrated their birthdays in 1990 due to complications of diabetes. Chito passed on in 2015 from lung cancer and left behind his three children Jusef, Czarina and Lizette. He could have got it from the packs of cigarettes he smoked during performance. Othello had three children as well, Orvin, Cart and Via all living in Bacolod, while China has only one son, Osmund.

     We are looking forward to more unplanned mini reunions in the future and hope other siblings could join as well. ||