Thanks to my Maryknoll upbringing, its teachings, and the values inculcated by the nuns that remain a part of me, my school days in Maryknoll from grade school to college offered me a lot of learning experiences and opportunities to develop and cultivate valuable skills and talents. Those days served as training ground for my future professional life and for personal choices that have led to my being a well-rounded person with a strong Catholic faith.
Graduating in 1970 with an AB Economics degree, I found myself working with Citibank for 17 years and retiring in 2006 as a Senior Vice President of the Bank of the Philippine Islands. While happy memories and deep friendships continue to warm my heart, it is to the Maryknoll nuns and teachers that I owe my achievements in my work and a strong sense of responsibility as an adult in our society.
When VP Leni Robredo decided to run and declare her candidacy for the highest elective position that is the presidency on October 5, 2021, it brought me much happiness and hope. After 6 years of senseless killings, a national debt that had ballooned to a humongous PHP 13 trillion, and unforgiveable injustices committed primarily by powerful leaders, traitors, and both the old and new oligarchs, I found myself wanting to act not just out of a sense of responsibility but in fulfillment of my Maryknoll upbringing.
Five days later, October 10, I took the initiative of spearheading a fund-raising project for VP Leni’s campaign by selling pink lanterns or parol, fans, and tote bags. This was the start of the Pink Parol phenomenon in which Filipino Christmas lanterns in VP Leni's trademark pink served as Christmas décor hung outside homes, schools, and business establishments not just in Metro Manila but outside of it, too.
Together with four of my classmates – Adele Olives, Annette Aguado, Polly Garilao, and Rory Tolentino – we started our project empty-handed. But our objective was clear – to help VP Leni win. Using our own personal funds, having zero knowledge on how to source and market the pink parol, and relying merely on hard work and determination, the five of us were able to raise PHP 1.5 million within 3 months. But we were not alone in achieving this. Maryknoll Batch 1970, together with their enthusiastic support of the Pink Parol project, purchase and promotion of the product, handling and delivery of orders, and collection of payments, did not just contribute in raising funds for the Leni campaign but also found in themselves a fervor in bringing her compassion, her honesty and sense of justice, and her work ethic to all they knew and met.
At the end of this seemingly quixotic endeavor, not just the 5 of us but our entire batch realized that living out the teachings and values of our Maryknoll education does bring much good to our people and country. 🌷