80-strong Padilla clan meets the Pope in Rome | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

MERLE (née Padilla) and Boy Cunanan, along with her sister Marietta Padilla Malinao, recently returned from Rome. They were 80 of them who went to the Eternal City to attend the golden jubilee of the ordination into the priesthood of their brother, Archbishop Osbaldo Padilla.


“You remember him?” Merle and Marietta asked me. How could one forget? We were together in elementary school first at St. Theresa’s College

(Cebu) and later at Colegio del Santo Niño de Cebu. He was the brightest in class and also the most humble.


We have also seen each other on various occasions. In 1969, it was in Rome a few years after his ordination when Cebu’s Archbishop Julio Rosales was made a Cardinal. There were other occasions in Cebu like family celebrations and religious festivities.


13 children


He was often in Cebu during the lifetime of his parents, Dr. Tiburcio Padilla and Concesa Montecillo Padilla. They raised a progency of 13 children—“the Magic 13,” said Merle.


Aside from Osbaldo, Merle and Marietta, we have Dr. Rosario Padilla Ceniza, Dr. Ernesto Padilla, Cristino Padilla, Aida Padilla, Carmelita Padilla Roa, Mercedita Padilla Madera, Archbishop Francisco Padilla (like his brother Osbaldo, a papal nuncio), Milagros Padilla Yu, Lorenzo Padilla and Jane Padilla Ayaay.


They all went to Rome with their spouses, children and grandchildren. “That’s why we were 80,” said Merle and Marietta. “Also with us were our cousins Anita, Fe and Lourdes Mangubat, Tita and Angie Bacalso, and Vita Cabatingan.”


The trip took one year to plan out, with Msgr. Osbaldo coordinating every detail and aspect of the one-in-a-lifetime observance. Aside from his 50 years in the priesthood, it was also the 25th anniversary of his investiture as archbishop and papal nuncio.



Archbishop Osbaldo Padilla has represented the Vatican in several nations with impressive diplomatic brilliance. He specifically wanted the celebration to be held in Rome where he finished his studies for the priesthood, and where he studied at the diplomatic academy for his career in the foreign service of the Holy See.


This was a good occasion to reunite not just with family but also with his many classmates, some of whom hold high positions in the Vatican hierarchy.




The highlight of the jubilee celebration was a special audience for the Padilla family with Pope Francis at the papal chambers. Merle says that the bait for the event among family was the line, “if you attend, you will surely meet the Pope.”


Merle became teary eyed when she recalled how Pope Francis blessed her 5-month-old grandchild Katie, daughter of John Paul and Aileen Cunanan.


The Padillas’ itinerary in Rome included multifarious family gatherings, a formal dinner and excursions to Loreto and Pompeii. Merle believed Divine Providence also played a part for the smoothness and efficiency of a trip that involved 80 people.


“And, of course, our parents were watching us at all times from somewhere up above,” she added.


This is not the end of the celebration yet, as Archbishop Osbaldo Padilla is expected to come to Cebu in May for another jubilee observance with many more family and close friends.


Al-fresco party


The Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu is hosting an al fresco cocktail party on April 30, 6 p.m., to welcome its new general manager Laurent Boisdron, and hotel manager Fabien Martinez.


It’s a Cinderella theme for the royal ball hosted by Dr. Jose Enrique and Jill delas Peñas to celebrate the 18th birthday of their pretty daughter Mary Angeli.


That will also be on Saturday, April 30, starting at 6 p.m. until midnight, at The Marquee of the Shangri-la’s Mactan Resort and Spa. Formal attire is requested.


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