UPSIDE (Cherie M. Querol Moreno)

THE Filipino America community lost two giants recently with the passing of Andre Pontevedra Belarmino and Purita Bulos Quema.

Mr. Belarmino died on Dec. 15 at the age of 99.  Mrs. Bulos Quema was 89 when she lost her life on Dec. 28 in Rio Vista; viewing will precede service on Sunday, Jan. 14 at Duggan’s in Daly City.

Both were leaders in their home counties:  Belarmino in San Mateo and Bulos Quema in San Francisco.

Where Belarmino left his legal and human resource profession when he came to this country in 1969, Bulos Quema pursued higher education and carved an illustrious teaching career after she arrived with her mother in 1951.

Belarmino worked for 21 years as cashier manager at the University of San Francisco Hospital. In retirement he became a most visible and highly respected figure in the community.

He served as:  President of the Pilipino Bayanihan Resource Center, Marinduque Association of Northern California and the Serramonte Homeowners Association.  He was chair of the Daly City Park & Recreation Commission, and Treasurer & Advisor of the Filipino American Democratic Club of San Mateo County.  He was the first Filipino American commissioner with the San Mateo County Commissioner on Aging.

Belarmino was qualified to run for office with legal expertise and his networking skills, but he opted instead to be a strong supporter Filipino Americans aspiring for elected office.  He was quick to donate to campaigns, offer advice and walk precincts with the candidates.

Bulos Quema earned her BA in Psychology minor in child psychology at s.f. state university before receiving her masters in counseling and child psychology at the same.  She gained her teaching credentials at the University of San Francisco, with lifetime credentials in secondary teaching, pupil services & personnel and certification in bilingual studies and competence.

She was a Bilingual Resource Specialist at the SF Unified School District Board of Education, ESL/bilingual high school teacher; a counselor for K-12 Grade students; a resource specialist at the Intake Center Foreign Students’ Admissions Office at the SFUSD.

Purita’s professional affiliations were varied: she was President of the Organization of Filipino Educators; member of UPA/UP Alumni, the California Teachers Association, Thomasians-USA and the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs.

With her husband and fellow educator Ross Quema, Principal of the trailblazer Filipino Education Center in San Francisco, she shared her time and organizational skills with  the South of Market Association, Canon Kip Community House, WestBay Pilipino Multi-Services Agency, SF Community Mental Health Services,  Human Rights Commission-Reading Panel; Commission on Delinquency Prevention,  SF International Institute, Sunset-Parkside Education Action Committee and the Asian American Communities for Education which conferred her with its 1987 Leadership in Education Award.  They first lived in San Francisco and moved to Pinole where they spent their final years.

Her obituary described her lovingly as a “devoted wife and mother, a doting grandmother, mom-in-law, sister, aunt, cousin, friend” and “life of the party, a leader, social person, and people would gravitate toward her” until she lost her husband Ross on New Year’s Eve 2001.  It stated:

“Purita was a very independent, courageous and strong-willed woman, who was never afraid to speak her mind and voice her opinion.”

“Andre enjoyed traveling the world with his second wife, Herminia. They kept meticulous travel diaries, documenting their adventures.  Andre’s love for travel inspired his children and grandchildren to explore the world. He was an avid reader and excellent writer. He was stoic,

reserved, yet sociable and enjoyed entertaining,” according to his obituary.

Andre Pontevedra Belarmino was born Oct. 18,1924 in Santa Cruz, Marinduque, to Natalia and Tomas Belarmino.  He studied law at Lyceum of the Philippines.  He is survived by his sons Ruben and wife Charing Belarmino and Andrew and wife Maribel Belarmino, 10 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother Roman and his wife Josephine Belarmino. He was preceded in death by his son Oscar Belarmino, M.D., his first

wife Dominica, and his second wife Herminia.

Purita Bulos Quema was born on Jan. 30, 1934 in Manila, to Herminio and Maria Dolores Barlaan-Bulos. She is survived by her children: Eric B. Quema, his wife Linda, their children Derrick, Michelle, Darlyn, and granddaughter Madelyn;  Bev B. Quema-Moncada and her husband Tottie, and their children Kelsey and Ryan.  She was predeceased by her youngest child Jennifer Quema-Filamor and is survived by Jennifer’s children Leah, Zac, Craig and Justine.

Mrs. Bulos Quema is also survived by her siblings Conrad Bulos, Minerva Bulos-Behrendt, Cleofe Bulos-Aldana, Lilia Bulos-Ramos and and Susan Bulos-Moral and families, nieces, nephews and their families and extended family.