Thursday, March 28, 2013

Funerals, Expositions, Weddings, and Reunions

Every year there are major events that I am scheduled to attend. I usually start the year by attending the International CES, the largest consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, Nevada; followed by the MACWORD/iWorld in San Francisco, California; then, the FOSE, Government-related IT conferences such as Cyber Security, Mobile Government, Cloud and Virtualization, Big Data and Business Intelligence and the GV (Government Video) Expo; Health Summit; and  Book Expo.

Of course, family regular events such as, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year are included in the pre-scheduled calendar of events for me.

In between the regular events are usually birthdays of friends and other relatives, weddings, wedding anniversaries and unexpected funeral of relatives or friends.

This year, I was able to attend the International CES. Prior to that I also attended the Storage Visions Conference for the first time. The latter was being held also in Las Vegas immediately before the CES expo. I have written several columns on these two conferences in this column.

Unfortunately, I failed to attend the MACWORLD/iWorld this year. My high school class was also celebrating its 50th Anniversary but I also failed to attend the event. My brother-in-law suddenly died but, again, I could not attend the funeral.  All these events were happening within weeks and all held out of town or abroad.  I would have wanted to be present in those events.  Health and other unavoidable circumstances prevented me from doing so.

My physical absence, however, did not prevent me from establishing a virtual presence. In the case of MACWORLD, I encouraged the Press Agents of exhibitors to send me Press Releases and sample products for review. Many of them did. I have been able to write about the products launched and displayed at the event. Furthermore, many of them were also at the International CES just days before.

In the case of our 50th Anniversary High School Reunion, my presence was still felt because prior to the event I filled up a whole Balikbayan box with sample products, bags, pens and other items that I accumulated attending conferences over the years and sent them to my classmates for distribution during the reunion.  My souvenirs became theirs.

Failing to attend the funeral of my brother-in-law, I wrote a condolence letter to his children and a tribute to him which were published online – Google BlogSpot, Asian Journal USA, and Facebook. It was accessible to most of our relatives worldwide via the Internet.  The Asian Journal USA also has an offline/paper edition, copies of which were distributed during the wake and funeral.  Virtually and spiritually, I was as present as my late beloved sister, Perla (his wife) was.

The truth is, there is nothing better than being physically present in any or all of the events. Physical presence represents vitality – demonstration of one’s use of all the sensual organs such as sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste. You get reunited with friends and relatives by seeing them, touching them, smelling them, hearing them and tasting the food and drinks with them. Feeling with them is also a necessary consequence. It could be sadness during the funeral, or upon hearing some bad news, but it is really more joy and fun just by being together sharing stories, laughing, dancing and doing other crazy activities.

Last weekend, my niece, Claudia Maynigo Denton married Greg Rockwood.  It was held in San Diego, California. I described it as a union of two U.S. Air Force Majors – Major Denton and Major Rockwood – survivors of major wars.

I am reminded about the Miss Universe contest about two and half years ago. Miss Philippines failed to become Miss Universe. It is attributed to the fact that when someone asked her about mistakes she had made.  She responded that “you know what sir, in my 22 years of existence, there is nothing major, major, any problem, that I have done in my life, because I am very confident with my family with the love that they are giving to me.”

That answer was considered a major, major mistake.

I always planned to attend Claudia’s wedding. There was a health threat on my part that almost prevented me from going a few days before. A quick action of my wife Tina, and assistance by my primary doctor and cardiologist, immediately removed all threats.

I could not afford NOT to attend Claudia’s wedding. Tina and I were wedding sponsors (Godmother and Godfather). I always admired Claudia who is the only daughter of my youngest sister, Mila Maynigo Denton Goldberg. Claudia is endowed with beauty and brains – traits that caught the attention of two famous Rauls in Philippine political history (Raul Manglapus and Raul Roco) when she was in her teens. Her mother hosted and supported both Rauls’ political campaigns.

Claudia’s father, Claude Denton was a handsome, humble, and soft-spoken Computer and Electronics Engineer. She also studied Computer and Electronics Engineering and joined the U.S. Air Force. She became an Air Force Captain at the age of 28 and has just been promoted to Major. She has been to Iraq twice, was stationed in Germany and Japan, and taught ROTC at UCLA.

Many of us have been dubbed as heroes just for being Overseas Filipino Workers. Claudia actually served during the Iraq wars, risking her life in defense of freedom, our lives, and our right to pursue happiness. My pride and admiration go to her.

As expected, Claudia’s wedding was officiated by my first cousin, Fr. Vic Arenas Maynigo. He also officiated our wedding over 40 years ago, my sister Mila’s, my daughter Tanya’s, and countless other relatives. Like Papabili Cardinal Tagle, Fr. Vic was also a scholar who studied in Rome and in the United States and a former Seminary Rector. He is currently a Parish Priest at Staten Island in New York City. As far as I know, none of the marriages he officiated ended in separation or divorce. Isn’t that nice?

Indeed, the wedding was full of fun and entertainment. The reunion of relatives from several generations certainly made it a very memorable event! 
Funeral of Demy Torres




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