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Turning 94

He’s done the complete trek in Compostela’s Camino de Santiago, being a full-fledged Brit, when he was in his 80s, survived a summer fire that ravaged his vineyard in Italy where he lords over a five-bedroom villa, gone through the whole banking route from the Arabian Peninsula to Barbados, enjoyed a most profitable New York sojourn where he met his lifetime partner, Larry Lacson, and is stuck here in Bacolod due to the pandemic yet, enjoying the comforts of home in Palmas del Mar’s gated community.

Well, us Lacsons are well known to be exemplary hubbies that we take care of our beloveds until way past their prime years and usher them graciously into the sunset of their lives, full of love and devotion that there’s no room for regrets or second chances. Once with a Lacson, your life will be a deluxe sports car ride down the Riviera, dahlinks.

90 years forth for Derrik Bage and (l-r) Larry Lacson, Rene Hinojales, ELG, Marivic and Teddy Lacson*
An original birthday greeting done in banana leaf*

And so, we celebrated dear Derik Bage’s recent birthday with a most intimate lunch at eco-resort Baluarte. Strictly adhering to a limited guest list, we were actually just a tight bubble of six when we set forth for a quick ride up to the hills of Murcia where this green paradise is situated. I enjoy driving up to this natural retreat built by Carcar Lizares. It’s really what you call a breather!

She prepared a Filipino lunch menu that started with fried lumpia rolls, followed by my favourite pasta tinapa, pork barbecue in special peanut sauce with saffron rice, a crunchy salad of julienned carrots, cabbage, crunchy green mango and white radish all inside a huge bowl of organic lettuce. I had my fill of cassava alupi wrapped delicately in banana leaves that went perfectly well with freshly brewed native coffee for dessert of chocolate cake. The celebrator enjoyed his wine and genial host Larry Lacson made family members Marivic and Teddy Lacson, Genesius Guild alumni’s Rene Hinojales and myself included feeling giddy with the fresh cool air of Baluarte generated by towering narra trees that stretch out to more than 30 meters up in the sky.

We thoroughly enjoyed discovering new nooks and sparkling brooks within the safety of the compound, far from the hoi-polloi that somehow risk their lives not wearing face masks and shields while trying hard to be included in our properly protocolled parallel peers. We definitely enjoyed that one day when dear Derik turned 94!

My favorite Baluarte treat, Pasta Tinapa Pilipino; middle, alupi wrapped in leaves for snacks; right, a new addition to Baluarte’s natural haven is their waterfall brook: (l-r) Rene Hinojales with Marivic and Teddy Lacson*
These ginger plants by the pool always amaze me; middle, flowing fresh spring water pool is an asset; right, black giant bamboo shoots abound in the sprawling eco-park*

These last couple of days, I’ve been stuck in front of my TV screen enjoying the Tokyo Olympics, especially the new sport of skateboarding which tackled obstacles like stairs, handrails and tittering cement blocks that were constant threat to life and limb! Oh yes, watching these young athletes going through this new discipline does wonders to life’s amazement. Another favourite was the highly tense competition in volleyball between France and Tunisia. I grew up in Silay watching this game being played in the plaza, the schools, and beaches. The game fascinates me to no end, watching the ball being tossed up to the sky and the players practically flying trying to catch the ball. Considering the breaking news of Tunisia going into political turmoil at the same time and its colonial past with the French, my heart went thumping over the sight of my handsome compatriots beating the daylights out of the burly Tunisians. I still have to discover this area of North Africa where the men have blue eyes and the houses painted Marian white and blue. I just adore this part of the world! Tunisia is definitely in my bucket list.

Did I hear right during the march of the athletes on opening day that the Philippines hold so many Olympian medals but never a gold? Well, this time, we were gifted with a gold medal for the women’s weightlifting competition by our amazon Hidilyn Diaz! This elusive medal is finally ours, after 97 years.

My prayer: Now we find that the Law keeps slipping into the picture to point the vast extent of sin. Yet, though sin is shown to be wide and deep, thank God his grace is wider and deeper still! Romans 5:20, Phillips*

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