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A birthday during pandemic

What a wonderful birthday gift from all my friends and family for sending me more than 800 virtual greetings on social media and emails. It’s almost a week and I still haven’t finished thanking everyone. You can’t imagine the swell of emotions from my heart reading each cheer, prayer, and communications. Having missed a milestone celebration last year, I thought I could just lay back and enjoy the day.

Much to my surprise, my breakfast table brought a precious bouquet from my household staff. Then, like a little boy, I received my first colorful basket of balloons and chocolates from their children which instantly brightened up the cloudy day. A trickle of gifts then came from my closest of friends which I really appreciated because they were all meaningful. I gave a sigh of relief and thought I would enjoy the day in bed until I opened my computer. My Facebook page just didn’t stop ringing and after answering the first 200 greetings, I gave up because of my fingers getting numb.

I woke up to a beautiful bouquet of gardenias, roses, and mini croutons done by my staff; middle, it was my first time to receive a balloon full of chocolates – a gift from the children of my majordomo and cook; right, a crispy succulent piglet from Carmel, Bacolod*
The most airy and moist mocha cake from the Carmelites; right, my impromptu guests for merienda cena (l-r) Chita Reyes, Adjie Lizares, Miren and Bomber Zayco*
A birthday cake sent by Monte Carlo banker Nene Lacson by Stephanie Lacson; right, blowout lunch by Big Bro Philip and Tina Garcia, with (l-r) Larry Lacson, Miren and Bomber Zayco, Chita Reyes and Obee Canlas*

Then panic ensued when the good nuns of Carmel sent a readymade merienda cena complete with a cochinillo that was too big to share with just my household. Fortunately, I have understanding friends who didn’t blink an eyelash when I asked them to come for an impromptu dinner in half an hour’s notice and gamely partook of the crispy, crackling skin and tender meat of the piglet besides the other dishes with a huge, creamiest mocha bday cake that my beloved Carmel community prepared for me.

Tears flowed as I read Mother May’s endearing note that assured me of daily prayers, scapulars, pamphlets of prayers and devotionals to St. Joseph, who has helped me through obstacles in life and reassures me with the Holy Family’s presence in my final hours on earth. How blessed can one get?

The next day, I was treated by Big Bro Philip and wifey Tina G to an intimate Chinese lunch which assured our party of a private room and exclusive servers. I’ve been longing for a good Chinese meal complete with my all-time favorite sweet and sour pork but needed more company so that I could have my other fav dishes like Peking duck, salted fish fried rice, crispy fried Hong Kong noodles, soy steamed giant grouper, the mixed platter of Chinese cold cuts with my favorite seaweed and the seasonal angel wing clams steamed in garlic sauce.

Everyone enjoyed the Peking Duck; middle, crispy fried Hong Kong noodles for long life; right, a must have sweet and sour pork completes the Chinese menu*
Garlic steamed angel wings wowed the intimate groupie; middle, a personalized sourdough bread from Vicky, Cardo and Javie Garcia – the world’s best!; right, a Grazetronomy Bacolod deli signature box from Ikoy Golez’s family specially picked by best truffle rissotto cook Little Miss Truffle’s Isabel Legarde Golez*

Monte Carlo private banker sent me a huge French themed birthday cake of the gooiest, thickest, and super delicious chocolate cake made by his niece, Stephanie, with fondant icing. Everyone took their time enjoying the delicious meal.

Well, I arrived home full and contented but not before I was surprised by a freshly-baked personally decorated loaf of the world’s best sourdough break by Vicky Garcia.

I’m now on a diet of host cuttings from the nuns of Carmel but you can see I’m still happy from this most delicious birthday during this pandemic. Rest assured, I will throw the biggest party you’ve ever experienced when this damn Kung Flu is through!

My prayer: How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. Isaiah 52:7-8, NIV*

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