Americas Columns

Upside: Celebrating 60 years in love and service

By Cherie M. Querol Moreno

(Conclusion)

 DALY CITY, California– State, County and City leaders hailed pioneer Daly City residents at their recent diamond wedding anniversary.

Mig and Perla Ibarrientos’ love was born in Iloilo City, Philippines, where Perla’s friend Brenda orchestrated a blind date with Mig, then-chief engineer with the Bureau of Public Works.  He had asked Brenda to find him the ideal partner for the Iloilo Maritime Academy graduation ball aboard a ship.  

Perla, who was at the event for the Ring Hop for a relative, was unaware of the plan.  When the dashing mechanical engineer asked her to dance, she declined, saying she didn’t know how.  But then the song “This Love of Mine” played and suddenly Mig grabbed her hand, swept her off her feet and the dance floor became their stage.  

“And that started everything,” the co-celebrant wrote in the love story she had penned and narrated twice on the same day 60 years later.

The bride and groom’s family made up the bridal renewal entourage.  Guests included protagonists in the couple’s colorful journey from central Philippines to Northern California, their contributions to their community extending beyond their chosen hometown as new Americans.

REUNION OF ALLIES

From FilAm collaborators and diverse elected officials from three levels of government, attendees renewed ties and reminisced the beginnings of FilAm empowerment kindled by the event honorees.

Wearing a Barong Tagalog gifted by the woman he calls “Tita Perla,” City Manager Tom Piccolotti shared candle-lighting duties with Marie Villarosa, marketing director of Serramonte Center. Dept of Recreation Director Denise Brown and Rec Supervisor Romeo Benson, HR Director Natalie Sakal, Dept of Water Resources Manager Joshua Cosgrove, Fire Chief Ron Myers and Deputy Chief of Police Cameron Christensen traded well wishes.

A traditional Philippine feast complete with two lechon was served buffet-style by Willy Carandang, who has added “Catering King” to his well-earned title of “Lechon King” now that his popular Daly City restaurant Hapag has shut down as redevelopment of commercial hub St. Francis Square takes place.  His youngest daughter Tiffany Carandang later took the spotlight for a special performance of a love song.

Four-time DC Mayor now newly single Lake County Chief Public Defender Ray Buenaventura smiled as his surrogate mother walked gracefully down the aisle in her resplendent Filipina dress with the love of her life.  Council Member Glenn Sylvester heartily applauded the celebrants. Just weeks before her appointment as the newest City Council Member Theresa Proaño and her longtime employers Dan and Karen Duggan cheered for the honorees.

Earliest arrivals were California Assembly Member Dianne Pappan and Millbrae Mayor Gina Pappan whose father, the late Assembly Member Lou Pappan confided in Perla. Assembly Member Phil Ting, representative of District 19 encompassing San Francisco and Daly City who has singled out Perla as her home district’s Woman of the Year, made time to present the couple with a proclamation.  As did San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Vice President David Canepa, who brought along his son Piero, and Mayor Juslyn Manalo, who highlighted the reception program with a narration of the Perla and Mig’s love story.

City Clerk staff Becky Ayson welcomed guests like retired San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ron Quidachay and wife Kathy, former BART Board Member Rodel Rodis and wife Edna and retired Deputy City Attorney Ernie Llorente and wife Mila.

Meanwhile at their table, community advocates led by PBRC pillars Jojo and Noime Liangco, and their best buddies Rolly and Tessie Recio proudly took in the scenario of Filipino Americans literally seated at the table with the city establishment, the outcome of their grassroots efforts not too long ago.

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