Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Wedding Anniversary...48 years

We first met in a classroom back in the late fifties. The school was called Far Eastern University. A remarkable feature of Manila in the late Fifties was the complete positive aura that prevaded the entire City, nay, country.

Stage presentations - both professionals and amateur, schools downtown stage shows, and even visiting classical performers - yes, including Shakepeare groups based in America and Europe treated Manila
aficionados with excellent shows. Even Hollywood movies were mostly musicals and little violence, nor gangster flicks.

She was a young 16 year old, slender, and somewhat resltess. I was teaching Speech I (subtitled Remedial English for Filipino college students). I had several sections to handle each day - and at the time with seven other fellow instuctors, we had our hands full for we had to serve all the institutes.

Thanks to our department Head, she won her battle with the school authorities to require all FEU students to pass at least one semester of Speech I prior to graduation.

Then, it happened.

While I was carefully handling the oral drills of the class, I spotted her at the very last row of a class of 25 students, busy doing something. I tried to continue but was unavoidably distracted that I had to stop my lecture completly.

"Mendoza" I gently called the student's attention. She was startled, stopped abruptly and looked up followed by an ambarrassed smile. That was the first element that attracted me...her beautiful youthful teenage smile."May I see you after class?" I suggested and then continued with my lecture.

Shortly after the bell ending our period, with the room emptied except for this young lady and me, I approached slowly and saw a half tied gym shoe on one foot and the other still unshod.

"Sir, I am sorry, see...I have to get ready or be late for my gym class after this one."

"Oh, you have to change shoes in my class to make your gym schedule in the next period?" I asked amused.

She then continued on with putting both shoes on while explaining that time was of the essence since the gym was across the wide campus and if she did not change shoes then, she would be late for that class following mine.

I soon realized her predicament and gave her a broad smile, and she did smile back. And she was out in a flash. I discovered later that her name was
Concepcion Mendoza, 16 years old and a niece of the school's founder.

Two years passed when one day as I was about to cash my monthly check I spotted a familiar face, well made up but in a demure manner. She was smiling at me. Yes, indeed, it was Ms. Mendoza, now employed in the Treasury Department of the university. That smile was there, more radiant.

After our hellos and once my check was cashed...I invited her for coffee...and as the saying goes ...the rest is history.

Forty Eight years have passed. Five children. Three grandsons. Now residing in Northern California, we find ourselves into our 48th year of marriage as solemnized in the Roman Catholic Faith and officiated by a dear friend, fellow artist, and director par excellence Rev. Fr. James B. Reuter, S.J.

Over the decades Fr. Reuter was to officiate in three more weddings in our family - that of our eldest son Bobby's and Marijean's, our second child Cristina's and Jowin's, and the most recent one in Jay's and Jenny's.

Admirable, might not come close to describing the man but Fr. Reuter with his "walker" and special sandals to cushion his sore feet was at San Agustin Church - Intramuros - one hour earlier than 7 am ready to bless our son's marriage to Jenny Blas.

During the ceremony with obvious difficulty, the dear father solemnized the wedding as if he had not been suffering from the aches and pains of an 88 year old arthritic Jesuit priest.

Today, as we receive wonderful greetings from our children and others who cherish our friendship with them, from across the globe, I gaze at my former student Concepcion Mendoza, now better known as Chita and ask her, "What can you say to this 48 year union?"

She smiles and looks away and says in a steady voice, "I would do it again if I had to..."


At August 11, 2007 at 12:51 AM , Anonymous SexyMom said...

happy 48th anniversary, to you Tony and Chita. every time i read such stories, i get emotional--for how can a relationship thrive that long? and i remind myself--yes, a loving relationship centered on the good Lord will never fail.

At August 18, 2007 at 6:17 AM , Blogger Gina said...

I hopped over from sexymom's blog and read your beautiful love story.....

At August 19, 2007 at 7:39 AM , Blogger Annamanila said...

Hi .. came here from sexy mom's place too. (though you have visited my place and i did visit you back). Happy anniversary, Tony and Chita! Wow, what a story! Many more years!!!!

At August 19, 2007 at 9:11 AM , Blogger Aileen Apolo said...

Awwwww! That was a beautiful love story. My parents have been married 47 years already and I get kilig everytime I bug them to tell me about their love story. I have my Dad's love letters to my Mom and wrote about it in my blog ( I will show your blog to my Dad to encourage him to write more! God bless po :)

At August 20, 2007 at 5:05 AM , Anonymous Jayme said...

Hi Sir, this is a truly inspiring post. I'm getting married in December and your story has reaffirmed my belief that true love does last forever.

All the best to you and your family. God bless you!


At January 24, 2009 at 10:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was inspiring reading your story, especially since I did not know that's how you and Chita got together!!
Stay well . . . and happy!


At June 1, 2009 at 6:12 PM , Blogger Joe said...

Try going to

At June 1, 2009 at 6:12 PM , Blogger Joe said...

Try going to wedding catering

At October 10, 2009 at 1:28 AM , Anonymous Rosan Bacayo said...

Good Day Mr. Joaquin! I am Rose Anne, a researcher for Maalaala Mo Kaya. I've read this blog and we are interested on how you met your wife. I am also an alumni of FEU. May I know if I can interview you regarding this blog? you can email me at Thank you very much.


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