Tony & Mely Garcia's 55th Wedding Anniversary and the Bicolandia Association, Inc. of Eastern Seaboard 43rd Anniversary

Man, by nature, is sociable. His sociable nature is emphasized with the constant changes in the community which are congruous to his ever evolving preferences.
Filipinos, for one, always take every milestone in their life so seriously that they tend to celebrate its significance pompously. They celebrate in any possibly affordable way they could just to enjoy or relive the moment. We have a roster of events to celebrate: baby showers, birthdays, baptisms, confirmations, graduations, debuts, engagements, weddings, month-saries, successful achievements, and even death.
Tony and Mely Garcia’s 55th Wedding Anniversary
Last Saturday, January 19, through the cordial invitation of the children of Tony and Mely Garcia, we witnessed, once more, how a strong conjugal relationship defied all odds, dodged every single challenge, and overcame trials of all sorts.
True romance serendipitously comes into being even in some coincidental dates. Kuya Tony and Ate Mely first exchanged “I Dos” on Saturday, January 19, 1958. After living in blissful togetherness with three children, they renewed their vows to mark their golden anniversary (50 years) on Saturday, January 19, 2008. And as if to disprove that the dates were merely coincidental, it was also a Saturday (January 19, 2013) when they gentrified the same ritual five years later to celebrate their 55th year anniversary.
Vow-renewing Garcia couple, Kuya Tony (86) and Mely (78), entertained their more than hundred family members, friends and guests at the combined Dresden and Lenox rooms of the Crystal Ballroom. With tables dressed in champagne damask tablecloths, aqua blue coral napkins and towering clear glass centerpiece with elegantly mounted white gladioli, the aimed high-spirited mood was perfectly captured amid dashes of sentimental ambiance.
Emerald green is a fitting color for fifty-five years of togetherness since it gives a rejuvenating effect and a renewed sense of commitment. The modern equivalent of the traditional emerald green color is turquoise. Alexandrite, a very rare gemstone named after the Russian tsar Alexander II, becomes the gemstone of the double five celebrators.
Officiated by Rev. Fr. Donato Cabardo, Jr., the Garcia couple’s renewal of vows was simple but touching and deeply sentimental, with the grand entrance of the groom in a wheel chair who was just issued a clean bill of health in time for his special day.
The couple’s children, together with their respective families, who were all agog and indomitably supportive of their parents are: Jean, a finance officer, and hubby Jaime Zaragoza; Josephine, a nurse, and better half Dan Maramba; and Tony Garcia, Jr., a businessman-entrepreneur.
Grandchildren include: beauteous Rutgers cosmetology student Lauren Maramba; her 18-year-old potential model bro Brandon, a senior highschooler from Rutgers; high school sophomore Rachel Zaragoza; and Rutgers high school senior Christopher Zaragoza.
The following friends and relatives stood as witnesses during the renewal rites: Mr. and Mrs. Armand Campos, Mr. and Mrs. Boyet Cardenas, Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Reyes, Mr. and Mrs. Suriya Samanyaphon, and Dr. and Mrs. Jon Sicat.
Before the cake ceremony, the couple wowed their guests with a vocal duet via their own interpretation of “Maala-ala Mo Kaya,” a lilting love song of the 40s (composed by Constancio de Guzman) that was emotionally capped with a kiss. And it was not just the kiss you might imagine, but a truly passionate mutual lip service much to the delight of the audience.
Coloratura soprano Lani Mesina rendered the same melodious kundiman and enticed Kuya Tony to sing with her, in which he gamely obliged. Despite being in a state of recuperation and occasionally catching his breath, Kuya Tony tried to muster considerable courage to pit vocal talent against Lani. It was one emotionally laden moment knowing quite well that Kuya Tony poured out whatever strength was left in him just to profess his undiminished affection after all these years to the only woman he has ever loved, Ate Mely.
Just a couple of hours from her official business sojourn in Las Vegas, chanteuse Maureen Varco performed a duet with her equally talented daughter Alyssa Shoemaker, who, earlier, already did a solo spot number via “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Social gatherings, especially among Filipinos, won’t be considered successful without dancing, really long hours of strenuous dancing. Last Saturday’s event has met the standard and even more with a lot of line dancing music and instructional sessions provided by energetic and amiable Ed O’Donnell of Magic DJ Entertainment. Numerous still shots of guests were flashed on the screen while the party was going on.
Buffet dinner was served at 8:00 pm that consisted of: caesar salad, fruits and berries display, rice pilaf, medley of fresh vegetables, juicy chicken francais, insatiably delicious sea new berg, freshly baked rolls and butter, and choices of coffee, tea, and soda. A mini cocktail bar was set with sangria, wine, and spring rolls.
It was always a relief to have an emcee who keeps the program smooth-sailing and constantly entertaining. Thoroughly prepared, well-informed, and in control of the entire proceeding, Ogie Afable was just the perfect choice as Master of Ceremonies. Ogie, being a seasoned all-around host, even rendered the timeless ditty “Ikaw” and “I’ll Take Care of You.” But what really earned deafening plaudits and applause was his own rendition of a George Canseco 1977 hit “Walang Hanggan,” a telenovela theme song with the same title. A super montage video presentation made the number even more haunting when female celebrities Dawn Zulueta and Julia Montes’ faces were super-imposed with Ate Mely’s while Kuya Tony’s face was mounted unto the male lead stars Richard Gomez and Coco Martin.
True-to-life long-lasting love like Kuya Tony and Ate Mely is more than just a lifetime commitment that inspires us to no end. Whether in silence or through a song, their affection for each other speaks more eloquently sending a strong message like the lyrics in this song:
I’ll take care of you…
Don’t be sad, don’t be blue…
Just count on me your whole life through
And I’ll take care of you.
To Kuya Tony and Ate Mely: May you continue to inspire us with your devoted affection for each other. We know what you’ve achieved is a feat hard to duplicate but nothing is impossible when faith rules supreme. So, we’re expecting to receive another invite for the 60th or so wedding anniversary. How’s that for another record-breaker?
Bicolandia Association, Inc. of Eastern Seaboard 43rd Installation of Officers
In terms of dedicated service to the community, unabated aid to the beneficiaries back home, and its longevity of existence, the Bicolandia Association, Inc. of Eastern Seaboard could unquestionably claim to be one of the top Filipino-American service-oriented organizations.
Now on its 43rd year, the association has nothing more to do just to prove its innumerable accomplishments, thus it merely continues propagating the fundamental capacity of providing social, cultural, and community services to benefit more from their well-mobilized resources and efficiently systematized programs.
Last Sunday, January 20, at the posh Fiesta Banquet along State Route 17, a new set of officers was ceremoniously inducted to office with the aim of sustaining the association’s integrity and maintaining full force capacity in its continuing effort to lead, provide, and guide.
Sworn to office before Mr. Robert C. Rivas, ESQ were: Buddy Deauna, President; LJ Pilar, Executive Vice-President; Fiorello Salvo, Vice-President, Internal Affairs; Dante Nacion, Vice President, External Affairs; Cely Deauna, Secretary; Numfa Du-Tinana, Asst. Secretary; Medy Solero Taeza, Treasurer; Evelyn Scott, Asst. Treasurer; Doem Los Banos, Public Relations Officer; Carmen Rances, Auditor; Gilda Salvo, Asst. Auditor; and Estrella Nacion, Business Manager.
Rivas, who incidentally is the founder of Filipino American Legal Defense Education Fund (FALDEF) aside from being the mayor of Bergenfield from 1998 to 2003, is an eloquent speaker with a commanding presence which was innately emanating when he addressed the body before he inducted the incoming officers.

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