Ciao, Zamboanga! Ciao, Italy! PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 December 2011 00:00

Ciao is maybe the first word you have to memorize if you’re planning to work, visit or tour Italy and other European countries. This word is a verbal salutation or greeting that means either "hello", "goodbye", "hi" or "bye". And since the Chavacano word “si” (yes) is also “si” (yes) in Italian, there is a pretty good chance that Zamboangueños can learn this romantic language of Europe easily. And the good news, one can learn it right here in Zamboanga City!

The Villa Italiana Health Charity Center, managed by Italian Mario Lizio and his Zambogueña wife Elizabeth or Beth of the Ventulero clan from Basilan, is now offering a short Italian Language Class in San Roque, Zamboanga City. For a low registration fee of only P1,000 and a P100 book, they will teach 2000 words in 30 hours and confer an authentic certificate of graduation recognized worldwide.  Plus they will give free Italian espresso coffee during class!

Without advertisement in the last 2 years, this Italian center has been offering Italian class primarily cooking Italian cuisines in coordination with Western Mindanao State University and with Zamboanga Puericulture Center. The chef maestros, aside from Mario and Beth, are their 7 good-looking children. But don’t be deceive by their mestizo features, they can speak and understand Chavacano, Tagalog, and Bisaya too. So communicating with them is not a problem. Beth taught them these dialects even when they were in Italy.

When the Lizio couple decided to stay permanently in Zamboanga few years back it raised some questions from well-meaning friends who are concern about their “safety” and how their children will adjust living in our city. Mario Lizio said it is God’s provident that they settle in Zamboanga City. They are Catholic missionary workers in Italy and felt God’s calling to serve the Philippines, hence, they established this Zamboanga based center to help improve the lives of the countrymen of Beth.

Beth shared that it is the fulfilment of her dream that when she reaches the age of 50 she will come back in her home country to stay for good and live a simple life with her family. Despite the high salary and the good life of living in Italy, she said there is no place like home. The Lizio family are living a humble life sans wealth and material things usually identified with OFW (Overseas Foreign Workers). For them, happiness is found in serving others, riding public jeeps, eating dried fish, and be friends with everyone.

By the way, Italian is a major European language spoken by more than 85 million people in Europe. Though Europeans are generally friendly people, most of them don’t know how to speak English. Lizio said work opportunities abound for foreigners in Europe for those who know to speak Italian. For more info how to enroll in his Italian Language and Culinary class, call or text Mario at 0905-2392297. Landline is 985-1505.


“Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good. His faithful love endures forever! For I will restore the prosperity of this land to what it was in the past, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 33:11). Only God’s love can give back the glory that once belongs to Zamboanga City.

Last Updated on Monday, 19 December 2011 08:55