50 years ago! 50 years a go!

Manoling and Chatina with Rev. Fr. Juanchie Perez
Manoling and Chatina with Rev. Fr. Juanchie Perez

It was a beautiful day of life, love, and 50 years of marriage!  Last 06 August 2011, Pinoy Pilgrim Global Foundation Inc. (PPGFI) founder and Chairman Emeritus, Mr. Manoling de Leon, and his lovely wife Chatina, celebrated their 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary, with the celebration happening on the eve of their anniversary!  The Mass of thanksgiving on the eve of the anniversary was celebrated at the Santuario de San Antonio by the very reverend Fr. Juan Manuel Perez of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross.   The entourage started with the march of Manoling and Chatina’s grandchildren, followed by their children and their spouses.  Finally, Manoling and Chatina marched through the aisle, as vibrant and beaming as ever, to the applause of all folks and friends who had the privilege to celebrate the anniversary with the couple.  We couldn’t contain our joy that we started clapping as they marched through the aisle.   Manoling and Chatina’s march was so moving especially with the solemn rendition of  “Ngayon at Kailan Man” which was sung by tenor,  Dr. Christian Delos Reyes.  It was evident that youth is something that radiates from within and this is exactly what Manoling and Chatina had exuded with that natural grace and elegance throughout the celebration.   (Thinking about 50th wedding anniversaries is so inspiring that a few weeks ago, I told Manoling that I was hoping that my own parents reach their 50th wedding anniversary and to which he answered that he would pray so much so my parents reach that date.  That would be on 2028, 17 years from now.)  The repertoire of Mass songs made the Mass so prayerful.  The Our Father from Mallotte, the Ave Maria from JS Bach and Panis Angelicus of Cesar Frank for communion, these being the most beloved liturgical classics of our time, contributed to the prayerful solemnity of the liturgy together with the other songs from the Bukas Palad Ministry.

Right after Mass the cocktails and reception was held at the Manila Polo Club.  Manoling and Chatina’s grandchildren performed beautiful songs during the program.  We were given a special treat as one of the songs was ballet-interpreted by Manoling and Chatina’s daughter, professional ballerina Guada de Leon Bas, who is a faculty member at Bodies in Motion in New Jersey.  The toast for the golden couple was given by equestrian Diego Lorenzo, Manoling and Chatina’s eldest grandchild.   Manoling’s closest friends and former partners in business,  Dodo Mandanas and Minyong Ordonez, shared how their friendships with Manoling blossomed into blessings and successful business ventures.  Minyong in one of the country’s advertising legends.  Dodo is former governor of Batangas and a house representative of the province’s 2nd district.  It was impossible to keep everyone on their seats as soon as Manila’s MOBB band, personal friends of the de Leon family, jammed the songs of the 50s, 60s, and 70s.  Thus, those who were game took on the dance floor, of course including Manoling and Chatina!

This 50th wedding anniversary just shows us the power and beauty of fidelity in marriage.  First, power.  Yes, it is a power since it enlivens and it inspires. It inspires anyone taking on a commitment to be faithful to that commitment until the very end.  (Plugin:  The PPGFI recognizes that the RH Bill and whatever Divorce bill is being discussed in Congress is detrimental to family and life.)  Second, beauty.  Beauty because it is certainly very attractive.  One could just wonder what it takes to last 50 years in marriage.  In the case of Manoling and Chatina, I think it is their humor and cheerfulness that kept them young and energetic.  “Ngumiti ka lang lagi at hindi ka tatanda,” I once heard a friend say.  Anyone who has sat beside Manoling will realize that everything is solvable and all problems are petty.   In the several occasions that the PPGFI had meetings at the de Leon home in Greenhills, the Ilaw ng Tahanan Chatina always brightened our gatherings with the food she would prepare, asking us if the wine was still good or if we liked more cheese or pizza.   She made sure we were having a great time.   Ayan.  That is the little story we have on Manoling and Chatina’s 50th wedding anniversary.  Manoling turns 80 this November 10, 2011  while Chatina is 77.   They have been blessed with 4 happily married children: Dino (

and Jenny), Carlo (and Sandy), Leah (and Martin) and Guada (and Juan).   The de Leons have 18 grandchildren.

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