Amigos de España en Cebu held a lively meeting over lunch at Salon Barcelona of Casino Español de Cebu. Guests of honor were former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Mike Arroyo.
Active member Carmen Campbell had been greatly instrumental in inviting Macapagal-Arroyo, who had scheduled a visit to Cebu to meet with old friends and supporters.
To welcome her were the officers of Amigos, like president Amparito Llamas Lhuillier, vice president Susan Montenegro Sala, secretary Myra Gonzalez y Osmeña and treasurer Julina Pando Muertegui.
Macapagal-Arroyo was asked to say a few words in Spanish, which she graciously did. It is well-known to their friends that Macapagal-Arroyo as well as her parents, former President Diosdado Macapagal and First Lady Eva Macaraeg Macapagal, spoke Spanish at home.
The purpose of the existence of Amigos is to promote the speaking of Spanish. The former president recalled her many visits to Cebu through the years, since her youth. She has many friends here.
Speaking of her mother, she recalled her student days at the prewar University of the Philippines Cebu College. Also, that she was crowned Carnival Queen in an event that is recalled in Cebu’s annals as one of the most brilliant.
This was not a political meeting, but Macapagal-Arroyo found a way to thank the one million Cebuano votes that helped catapult her to the presidency. She took her oath at the front parterre of the Cebu Provincial Capitol.
Stem cell treatment
She was looking fine on this occasion, and the buzz was that she had been to Germany for stem cell treatment. She did not wear a neck brace, but she does put it on when she has to ride for long distances, or in heavy traffic.
A random enumeration of those present gives us Paqui Aboitiz, Annie Osmeña Aboitiz, Marian Cabarrus Aboitiz, Cristina Ebrada with Ingrid Sala Santamaria, Quina Melendez, Pilar Cusi, Mitos Montilla, John Valencia, Julie Gandionco, Marichu Garcia, Marilou Bernardo and Merlie Zamora;
Tessie Javier, Mem La O, Tita Franco Huete, Choco Laplana seated with Margot and Manuel Larrañaga, Angie Mathieu, Kingsley Medalla with his mom Pacita Sode, Maruja Varela, Teresin Mendezona, Mariquita Yeung with Cora Schweimler, Dr. Lourdes Narcise, Marilou Ordoñez, Vilma Ouano;
Nena Montenegro, Honey Loop, Mayen Tan, Oche Pelaez who had expressly come from Cagayan de Oro, Rosebud Sala, Chinggay Utzurrum with her brother Manuel de Veyra Jr. who is quite close to Gloria, Alain Ponce, Margie Taylor and Janlord Orillosa.
Seated with Macapagal-Arroyo was former Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, now Deputy Speaker of the House. Also present were Mike Lopez, who had coordinated with Campbell the visit of Macapagal-Arroyo, and Felix Guanzon, during Gloria’s term the presidential assistant for the Visayas.
Casino Español de Cebu general manager May Ocaba was congratulated for the excellent buffet spread. This was supplemented by a simmering Favada Asturiana personally cooked by Campbell, who had also confected the ice cream cake served for dessert, among other specialties.
Next event for the Amigos will be a Christmas party with exchange of gifts. It always is hilarious.