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Liwag Grand Reunion 2013

The Liwag family held its first grand reunion on February 9, 2013 at the Gapan City Hall Auditorium.

Over 500 family members attended, coming from Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, Tarlac, Bulacan, Bataan and Metro Manila, with a number flying in from the USA.

Guest of honor was Maj. Gen. Maximo G. Caro, chief of staff of the Philippine Army.

The grand reunion was organized through the efforts of a committee led by Maj. Johnnie Liwag, president, and Lori Ame Liwag, who was primarily responsible for linking Liwag family members through her Facebook group "Liwag Family Around the World".

Statue of Rogationists founder in Gapan City

A tableau featuring the image of  St. Hannibal Mary di Francia, founder of the Rogationists and Daughters of Divine Zeal has been installed in front of the parish center of the National Shrine of La Virgen Divina Pastora in Gapan City, with the permission of Diocese of Cabanatuan Bishop Sofronio Bancud and the Three Kings Parish priest, Rev. Fr. Antonio Mangahas, Jr.

The statue was put up in thanksgiving for the vocation of five Rogationist priests who come from Gapan City --  Fr. Gabriel Flores, dean of the Rogationist College in Cavite and former general councilor in Rome;  Fr. Ariel Tecson, spiritual director;  Fr. Rodolfo Patiag, superior of the Fr. Di Francia Center of Studies;  Fr. Rene Ramirez, superior of the St. Hannibal Rogate Center and Fr. Ronald Masilang who is taking up postgraduate studies in Rome. 

Last December 16 after the first Misa de Gallo, the statue was unveiled by Gapan City Mayor Christian Tinio and San Vicente Barangay Chair Ariel Tecson, and blessed by Fr. Mangahas.

To the Gapanense Rogationists, the occasion took on more significance as it coincided with the 15th sacerdotal anniversary of Fr. Tecson. ###

Estrella brothers hold birthday bash

The US-based Estrella siblings came home to Gapan City for a joint celebration of the birthdays of two of their brothers -- Tony, who turned 60 last February 14, and Teo who turned 65 on the day of the party, February 28.

Tony and Teo pose with their birthday cake.

Teo with wife Randy, son Christopher and his fiancee, Buu Lu.

A reunion of the Gapan City-based and US-based Estrella siblings and their spouses.

Tia Nena Parial turns 80

Ms. Josefina "Nena" Parial of Gapan City celebrated her 80th birthday on May 16, 2009  -- on a Saturday, threee days before the actual date for everybody's convenience -- with a thanksgiving Mass and luncheon at the Three Kings Parish Center. Aside from family members, among the guests were  high school classmates from Nueva Ecija South High School-Batch 1948, former co-teachers, co-church workers and close friends. Her birthday party invitation carried a specific request -- instead of gifts, donations for the improvement of the National  Shrine of the Divina Pastora would be greatly appreciated. The wellwishers were only too glad to oblige. ###

NESHS Class 1959 Golden Jubilee

The Nueva Ecija South High School Class 1959 marked its Golden Jubilee last February 7 with a Filipiniana-themed reception at a Gapan City restaurant. 

The jubilarians offered a Thanksgiving Mass the following day at the Divina Pastora
National Shrine.
(Contributed by Al Parial)

Retired Ecijano diplomat among country's 'New Heroes'

Celso Abesamis Lacuna, a retired Novo Ecijano diplomat, is featured as one of the country's modern-day heroes in the book “Mga Bagong Bayani – 200 Filipino Achievers Overseas”.

He is cited for his “35 years of loyal and meritorious services with the Philippine Government and for his dedicated work at the Philippine Embassy, Bonn from 1966 to 1997, dutifully attending to the needs of Filipinos and Germans alike in the course of his work”.

While serving in Bonn, Lacuna -- a member of the Order of the Knights of Rizal with the rank of Knight Commander -- retraced the travels of Dr. Jose Rizal in Germany and several other European countries. He promoted Philippine history through three websites on the Internet: “Rizal Heritage Trail in Germany”, “Rizal Heritage Trail in Switzerland” and “Rizal Heritage Trail in Austria”.

He initiated and authored ten resolutions to name, designate and declare the routes traveled by Rizal in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Great Britain, Spain and the United States as “Rizal Heritage Trails” which were approved by the Supreme Council of the Knights of Rizal

In 1995, Lacuna was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal of Rizal for his "meritorious and extensive research on Rizal's stay in Germany and the memorable voyages of Rizal on the Rhine River" and for his "tireless efforts in promoting friendship and understanding among the German and Filipino people in the manner of a true Rizalist".

During the 30th founding anniversary of the Bonn chapter of the Knights of Rizal on October 20, 2007, he was conferred the highly coveted Distinguished Service Cross of Rizal.

Lacuna was born on January 9, 1932 in Peńaranda, Nueva Ecija where he spent his childhood and took his basic education. He was the editor-in-chief of the official Peńaranda High School organ "The Golden Leaves" and  an honor graduate of Class 1951.

He finished Foreign Service at the University of Manila.

He joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1962, serving the Philippine Mission to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, Switzerland from 1963 to 1966. He was transferred to Bonn, Germany in 1967.

He served as member of the working group for the state visits to Germany of President Corazon Aquino in 1989 and President Fidel Ramos in 1994.

Lacuna retired in 1997 after 35 years of continuous service.

He and his wife Helen have two children, Annabelle and Christine Lacuna-Holland. ###

In Memoriam

March 28, 1923 - September 15, 2000

Mother of Ramon R. Valmonte and surrogate mother to thousands of public school children of Gapan City whose lives she touched during her 40 year career as a teacher.