April completed her pre-college schooling in Cardington, Ohio. It was in this quaint beautiful midwestern American town where the Rotary scholar, Dr. May Magdalene V. Yorobe’s daughter, started learning about the world away from home. Dr. Yorobe, a UP Ibalonian, came to visit her only girl right before graduation. She traveled the north central states to Ohio and went as far as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York to discover, learn, and answer a few questions.
What is the most helpful tool in your travel bag?
A cell phone.
Why did you come without George, your hubby?
George wanted to be with me, but he’s busy in Manila. With his tight schedule, he can’t even go home to Bicol as much as he wanted to.
What comes next for your daughter April now that she has finished school in Ohio?
She’ll proceed with nursing when she returns to Manila this June. She desires to help the sick and perhaps take care of me when I grow old (laughter.)
You’ve been in many places in America. Which was the most memorable?
Washington, DC. I loved the energy and message of the Memorial Day celebration. The historic pieces of Americana shown in the parade were stunning. I was elated by the sights and sounds of native Indians in their colorful feathered costumes, the contingent of old war veterans, and the beautiful song “God Bless America.”
Did you connect with Filipinos in your travel?
Definitely. I made many connections even with people I met for the first time. I couldn’t forget the petite Filipina sweetly wrapped around a burly black guy I saw in Maryland. In her tight-fitting tube blouse and matching miniskirt, the Pinay looked more American to me than most of the people around. Yet, she gave me a friendly, warm, and generous smile which I thought was lacking among other Filipinos I encountered elsewhere.
How did it feel to be in Broadway this summer?
The warm weather made my light clothes from Naga wearable in Manhattan. On sunny days, the tall buildings stood with ample shade to make sunblock unnecessary. New York City looked massively claustrophobic, but the spires and glass buildings were awesome. In that crowded strip of earth in Times Square the giant neon lights were ablaze even at noontime. The Phantom of the Opera still stalked viewers at the Majestic Theatre and to my surprise, a number of Filipinos lined up to watch the show after a very long run.
What were your thoughts when you stood at the site of 9/11?
The rugged huge hole in the ground where the Twin Towers once stood made me sad. I recalled the 4,000 innocent lives which were lost when the terrorists crashed the airplanes into the buildings. It’s good another edifice, a magnificent memorial for the fallen ones, is about to rise above ground zero and reaches out for the sky.
How did you react upon seeing Ibalonians you never saw for many years?
I couldn’t help, but yell on top of my voice during the reunion. I wanted to recapture the past that suddenly materialized in front of me. It seemed eternity that I waited so long to see them. No wonder loads of stories came flowing in— They brought back the wonderful past and the glowing present. The future, we talked about with hope, optimism, and great joy.
In Wisconsin, I visited Dr. Ramon Ray G. Rayel and his family. Ray has still that gracious voice that tickles my funny bone. In Indiana, I found Dr. Divinia Nolasco-Reis brimming with hospitality. Her stories were plucked straight from the heart— red-hot and spicy. In New York, Dr. Totie Mesia got a trove of memories which made me feel good about how friendships evolve, mellow, and last through the years. We planned a huddle with fellow-Ibalonians Raniela Barbaza and Bingbing Badiola-Bretan somewhere in Queens. It didn’t happen. We simply lacked time. I wanted to see Dr. Yasmin Paje-Banzon and Gods A. Lanuza in Vancuover, BC, but they were off my itinerary.
When will you come back?
As soon as possible, preferably when George is ready to go with me in USA. =0=