Jean’s 18th Birthday

Jean's 18th Birthday

My daughter Jean turned 18  on December 9,2008.  But we celebrated her coming of age two days before, on December 7, a Sunday. The following day, December 8, was a Monday which was a no class day for UP, and was also the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a no class day for Catholic schools.  It was a convenient day for Jean’s friends to attend  a party without worrying about school.

The party was held at Max’s Restaurant, Marquinton, Marikina.  Our family had always  enjoyed  Max’s fried chicken.   When Jean and her sister Tish received the sacrament of Confirmation, we ate at Max’s.  When the two graduated from high school. we ate at Max’s.  When my parents came home from California ( and there were several homecomings through the years), we ate at Max’s.  Bienvenidas or despedidas, family gatherings or simply plain spur of the moment pigging-out, Max’s would be the dining place everyone would agree to dine.  So we decided quite easily to hold Jean’s 18th birthday party at Max’s. The food was good.  Aside from the fried chicken, we ordered boneless bangus, kare-kare, sinigang na hipon, and lechon kawali.  We offered buko pandan and roast nuts for dessert, and bottomless tea and cola for drinks.  The price was reasonable enough for the service de luxe that we had.  Thanks to my brother Lupo who footed the bill.

Family and friends were invited. And they came in style.  Jean requested everyone to come in semi-formal attire, in any color except red which was her favorite and thereby the color of her Efren Ocampo’s halter-necked, knee-length debutante’s dress.  Jean was a picture to behold that night, with a simple make-up and hairstyle and a pair of snap earrings she thought she would lose before the night was over.  Jean’s ears had never been pierced.

The program started with the introduction of the debutante by Brian, the emcee Max’s provided.  It was followed by an invocation entitled “Pastoral” which Jean sang herself accompanied on  the piano by Tish.  The singing of the Happy Birthday and the blowing of the 18 candle birthday cake came next.  The guests were treated with a video presentation  of photographs from the time Jean was a toddler to the present as a college student. And then the hearty dinner was served.

Tish acted as co-emcee and called on littlest cousins Master RD Escalona, 2 years old, Misses Audrey Claire and Julia Isabelle Escalona, 5 and 2, to offer Jean the 18 Roses.  RD hesitated not knowing why the heck was he carrying a bouquet and he had to hand it to Ate Jean.  Audrey was regal in delivering the two baskets of roses. Julia was nowhere to be found, and we learned later on that she chose that very moment to pee in the bathroom.  By the way, Jean omitted the dancing for lack of good male friends, but the ones she has are  thus by far the best – Gian Talplacido, Carlo Timbol, Daryl Requiso.  Rather, in lieu of the  traditional cotillon de honor, Jean opted to present her family and friends in the 18 Treasures and 18 Talents.

In the 18 Treasures, chummiest friends Rienna Opong, Kris Garcia, Joanne Chua, Aika Shiamoto, Patricia Marcelo, Daniella Chua, Germa Ngo, Regine Matic, Hydee Carag, Gian ( the only boy), and closest family Tita Angel (Consul Angelica Escalona), Tita Malou Escalona, Tita Judy Escalona, piano teacher Minette Ladines, and adopted aunt Tita Winnie Arcilla presented their gifts and explained why they chose to give Jean the gift. There was a variety of items, ballpens for Jean being a writer, kikay kits and bags for Jean being a fashionista, a book for Jean being a reader, and a guitar for Jean being a musician.  But the heartwarming part of it  was when many of them related how Jean touched their lives especially at the time when they needed the company most, when they were alone and Jean walked with them and they felt a little less alone, and when she naturally hugged them when nobody ever hugged them before.  One even said that Jean showed the meaning of friendship and because of that she would gladly take a bullet for Jean.

Brian segued with a game.  He called on the married couples General Rolando  and Angelita Escalona. Architect Manny and Melba Ruiz, Major Rolando Jr. and Atty Judy Escalona, Mr. Nick and Winnie Arcilla, and Mr. Jorge and Amy Young to participate in the “The wife puts a masking tape on the part of the husband’s body that begins with the letter B- be it in English or the vernacular”.  Just imagine when both the participants and the audience let go of their poise.  Gosh it was fun.  And amidst the coaching and the cheering, Nick and Winnie took the prize.

In the 18 Talents, Sheana Baltazar,  Jo Fernandez, Ashley Kasala, Anjelica Lopez, Kristine Pascual,  Elizabeth Querijero,  sister Patricia Anne, cousin Tami Yvette, Daryl and Carlo presented drawings, literary compositions, songs and piano music for Jean.  They truly livened the party with their exceptional performances.  One would wonder why they are not in the limelight.  In the end, a guest quipped “If I had my debut party all over again, I would make it this way.”

Of course the party would not have been complete without a word from the debutante.  Jean , in her soft, serene voice,  sincerely thanked,  her family, relatives and friends for the graciousness and kindness, for the understanding and the loving, and the Almighty above for 18 beautiful years.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. eileenleyva
    Apr 13, 2009 @ 11:00:34

    18 treasures are 18 special gifts from 18 special people who had made a difference in the debutante’s life. Old or new, the gift has a special meaning to the debutante.


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