Dateline Manila: La Hermandad Zamboangueña pays tribute to its founder PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 July 2014 11:52

BY Sammy Santos


So it’s Germany versus Argentina in the finals of the 2014 World Cup currently hosted by Brazil. According to Gino Españo, the resident-comedian of the Ateneo de Zamboanga High School Class of 1977, the FIFA championship trophy will be contested by a team “powered by sausages (Germany)” and a team “powered by corned beef (Argentina).”

That being his perspective of the event, Españo theorized, the Philippine Azcals football team will take many decades before it figures in any FIFA World Cup championship because it is “powered by fish ball.”

On the other hand, Mike Regino, another ADZU HS Class 1977 stalwart, says Argentina and Germany made to the World Cup finals because of the incessant prayers of Pope Francis, an Argentinian, and Pope Benedict, a German.

More World Cup jokes from Conan O’Brien, my favorite TV comedy host:

“FIFA has announced that (Uruguay star player) Luis Suarez, the player who bit an opponent, will be banned for nine games. Or as Suarez put it, nine meals.”

“England was knocked out of the World Cup. It’s the most English people wiped out at one time since the last episode of ‘Game of Thrones.’”

“Today at the World Cup, Mexico and Brazil ended in a zero-zero tie. Fun fact: Both teams were ordered by their coaches to abstain from sex. In other words, these guys can’t score on or off the field.”

“Protesters at the World Cup got into trouble for burning American flags. It’s a shame because children in China worked very hard to make those flags.”

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Officers of the La Hermandad Zamboangueña Foundation Inc. (LHZFI) paid tribute to one of its founders, the late Rose Lamb Sobrepeña, during a necrological service held at the Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig, Metro Manila last Monday, July 7.

LHZFI officers, led by former presidents Loli Pichel Mara, Linda Macasil Atayde, Gues Doroja, Neni Uro Balcos, Terry Tambunting and Etta Silos Mendez came in droves to pay their last respects to Sobrepena, a prominent philanthropist, civil leader, writer, poet and publisher who passed away due to old age last July 3, 2014.

The LHZFI is one of the more active organizations of Zamboanga City residents currently based in the capital region and its nearby provinces. It is one of the oldest, founded in 1960, and has been responsible for sending numerous poor but deserving students to schools in Western Mindanao through its highly successful scholarship program.

During a short but solemn program held last Monday, Linda Atayde recalled Sobrepeña’s dedication and tireless passion in keeping the foundation alive and in helping her when she assumed the presidency of the LHZFI a few years ago.

“She was a very good mentor and she helped me a lot when I became president of LHZFI,” said Atayde. “She was very concerned about the future of our foundation and its scholarship program.”  Atayde spoke in behalf of the present LHZFI officers when she declared “to Rose, we promise you we will keep the LHZFI scholarship program going…”

Sobrepena organized the foundation with the help of three other Manila-based Zamboangueños namely Doli Laconico, Elizabeth Araneta and Josephine Silos in 1960 in order to undertake projects to benefit the marginalized sector in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

It was the late Senator Roseller Lim, Zamboanga City’s only senator to date, who provided the name “La Hermandad Zamboangueña “ to connote a brotherhood of man.

“Word got around and many prominent compoblanos came to be counted. Eighty Zamboangueños registered at the first regular meeting and elected Rufina Ong Chua Arguelles as the first president of the LHL,” said an article on the history of LDZFI.

“Sharing a special devotion to the Nuestra Señora la Virgen Del Pilar, the organizers resolved to celebrate her feast day in Manila. This started the traditional anniversary celebration of the La Hermandad Zamboagueña during the month of October,” it added.

“Lest the objective of the organization be construed as merely for socializing, the membership has harnessed its efforts toward raising funds for its pet project, the scholarship program,” the article further said.

From the very start, the LHZFI placed much faith in its young. “Academic excellence is not wanting among them, but the lack of funds to put them through school is real. The scholarship program was established to address this problem. In fact, a major slice of the funds raised annually is allotted to this program. Hundreds have benefited from this noble project,” the article further noted.

Loli Pichel Mara, who hosted the program for Rose, recalled how the LHZFI founder loved and collected stories about Zamboanga City. Lawyer Gues Doroja, for his part, said Rose was one of the most beautiful Zamboangueñas of her time.

Terry Harper, also a past LHZFI president, recalled how Rose and her friends not only loved to sing and dance but also engaged in culturally and intellectually stimulating conversations. “What I remember about Tita Rose and friends were the timeless congeniality of gracious conversations of what have been and what could have been.”

Etta Silos Mendez noted Rose introduced her to the various charitable and civic activities she was involved at that time. Aside from being the founder of LHZFI, Rose was also charter president of Quota International Club of Manila, an outstanding alumna of Silliman University, a director of several advocacy and charitable organizations in Metro Manila and is a known author of several books.

Younger generations of Chavacanos were also present during the tribute. Seen mingling in the crowd were Lalaine Ramos Ylaya, Jean Gimena Montinola, Glenda Torres Argana, Bong Nuño, Michael Regino, Eric Tan and Paul Pilanga.

Rose is survived by his husband Enrique Sobrepeña Jr., sons Jay, Russ, daughters-in-laws Salou, Maricar and Lissa and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.