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Remembering some enchanted evening


BRIDE gets a kiss.

(Editor’s Note: This story on the 40th wedding anniversary celebration of Oca and Bootsie Violago was written by Oca’s classmate, comedian Gary Lising, to mark the happy event last November 2012. Bootsie passed away on March 11. Interment will be today at the Heritage Park.)

A philosopher said marriage is a process of learning what kind of a man your wife wanted to marry. But to wed again, to the same wife, for a special wedding anniversary… you need more than a philosopher to explain. Maybe, a shrink?

My classmate Oca Violago committed the same mistake— twice. He married Olympia “Bootsie” Cruz on Oct. 8, 1972 and lived happily ever after. Forty years later, he married her again at the Chapel of Sto. Niño de Violago. That must be because Oca likes the kind of man his wife Bootsie wants him to be.

OCA and Bootsie Violago

Oca was not the brightest in our class. (He used to copy wrong answers from me.) When we asked why he was very successful in business, he explained, “I buy at 20 and sell at 60. That way, I make 20 percent profit.”

Oca is so big time now that for the surprise 40th-wedding anniversary he had Bishop Teodoro C. Bacani and Bishop Raul Martirez concelebrating together with five other priests. (Walang kawala!)


And he invited the Who’s Who among our classmates. (Nearly 50 years after college, we could not tell Who is Who.) Those with nameplates I recognized (also the wives, if they remained the same ones).

Oscar’s classmates from St. Joseph’s High School in San Jose, Nueva Ecija, were also there dressed to the nines together with their better halves.

CLASSMATES Nonoy Reyes, Ernie Fajardo, Bert Fenix, Levi Hizon, Jodie de Asis, Arjan Ramani, Willy Vergara, Romy Rojas, Toto Zaide and “groom” Oca Violago


The bridal couple’s son, Anthony Jude, explained to guests that to celebrate their anniversary, his parents were making a gift of P1 million each to two institutions: The first check was received by Conrado Escudero for the Cofradia de la Inmaculada Concepcion; a second check was turned over to Rev. Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ, president of the Ateneo de Mania University. Anthony explained that because his father Oscar was a probinsiyano who entered the Ateneo only in college, the check for the Ateneo was only a “down payment”—and that his father was leaving it to his classmates, “especially the dyed-in-the-wool True Blues to cover the balance and to sustain support for their alma mater!”

CLASSMATES Ben Barot, Pancho Salvador, Toto Zaide, the groom, Ber Fenix, Jodie de Asis, Willy Vergara, Arjan Ramnani, Ernie Fjardo, Romy Rojas, Jojo Bunag, Nonoy Reyes and Levy Hizon

On cue, our class president of Eagles HS ’60/College ’64, Lawyer Jose Mario Buñag, presented to Fr. Villarin the Now & Then homecoming yearbook to keep track of class members who are up-to-date or delinquent.  Walang kawala!


Musical evening

The evening was alive with the Spirit of ’67 band. By midnight, Jodie de Asis and Pancho Salvador took the mic from the band and sang “Honey Don’t” and “Jodie Be Good.” Pancho asked for a third number, “Hahabol-Halbol,” but the band apologized for not knowing the chords because they are “Spirit of ’67,” not “Spirit of ’57.”

We also realized that we are not as young as we thought when reminded that our high school graduation, 1960, was the year Fr. Villarin was born.

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Tags: 40th Wedding Anniversary , Gary Lising , Oca and Bootsie Violago , wedding

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