Tuesday, August 6, 2013


What the four of us remember were the carefree days we shared at St. Theresa's College in San Marcelino Street in Manila, right across the Adamson University, and a stone's throw from the San Miguel Brewery that would give off the strong scent of the potent beer.

We were very young and the Belgian and Filipino nuns (Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) who tried to shape us into upright women had their challenges. I'm certain we were no more than naughty, but the standards of the nuns were high. Aside from teaching us the basic subjects of English, math, science, and so on, the nuns instilled in us the need to give back to society.  This I remember well, because they did not mince words in telling us that since we were privileged we were obliged to use our brains, our connections, all our gifts to serve those who had less.

This was the environment that the four of us were in when we attended high school in St. Theresa's College. The nuns and teachers were strict, but they also nurtured us. We in turn learned to nurture one another and to make fast friends, friendship that has lasted for years.

We sat in the back row of the small classroom, and to be truthful we weren't always good. We wrote silly notes and passed them around; we whispered and giggled during class hours; we sometimes defied authority so much so that we made our History of Art teacher cry.  (I recall when she was weeping, she muttered, "I don't care if you don't love me, my husband loves me.")

But this friendship, this beautiful friendship of those girls in the back row not only survived, but blossomed through time. This trip that we did to Canada tested once more this friendship. Before we had left our homes, we had wondered if there might bickering, if we still knew one another as we did. We had all sorts of trepidations before we left the Philippines, Los Angeles, Connecticut, and Montreal to see one another once more in Toronto.  Our arrival was synchronized within two hours of one another, and when we met it was as if no time had passed, and we hugged one another and talked and laughed.  It was a gift to pick up conversations that had been dropped years ago, just like that.

There was no tension, no conflict whatsoever. We only had good times hunting for a fine restaurant in Chinatown or in Vieux Cite, or trying on clothes during our madcap shopping sprees. There were the lively evening banter over French wine and the early morning chatter as we had our coffee.

It couldn't have been better.

We admired Evelyn's generous hospitality, her endless entertaining and fabulous cuisine; we are grateful to Chit and her husband Albert for driving us around; and to the countless teachers and nuns who gifted us with the beginnings of this lasting friendship, we also thank them.

And Canada -- thank you !!!

As Guia Lim said: Together Again, Together Forever!


For your enjoyment,  Here are all the links to the Canada blog entries:












photos by STC Mother Redempta Alumnus, Albert Acayan
top photo l-r: Guia Lim, Cecilia Brainard, Evelyn Del Rosario, Maria Acayan
 tags: Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Philippines, STC San Marcelino, friendship, travel, Cecilia Brainard

1 comment:

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard said...

From August Villalon:

I followed your Canada trip vicariously, remembering my own Quebec City trip a few years ago where I was surprised to learn that Quebecois French is a whole language apart from the French I learned. Anyway I loved New World Quebec and would return in an instant, even curious enough to try a few weeks of Quebec winter.

Also I'm taking tips on how to write a novel from you.

Until I see you next,