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27 February 2020

A college reunion in India

WE FIRST met in October 1984 as interior design students at the University of the Philippines. Through the next three years, we assisted each other with our class assignments, projects, and semestral theses. After college, we had each other's back through the struggles and triumphs of building careers and families. Last weekend, we were old friends getting together again, reminiscing on those many years of friendship.

Conchita Velez and Weng Villadolid flew into Delhi for a four-day sojourn—a long-planned activity that finally came to pass last weekend. We spent time on the road, around dining tables, in textile and handicraft shops. Being together brings the realization that, underneath the lifestyle changes, old friends remain the same kindred souls you met way back when.

In college, Weng reigned as the queen of “paninda” (merchandise on credit), thrilling me with wears that I paid way beyond due date (she never complained). Streetwise skills and a natural desire to share the best things in life fuelled this penchant for enterprise. It was thrilling to still find those traits of munificence and acumen that glorified the Weng of our younger years.

I have always enjoyed Conchita's reputation as hostess supreme, accomodating me selflessly at her homes in Quezon City and Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, whenever the occasion would arise. She is our lady of grace, with a sense of service born of her Pangilinan-Roa pedigree and a flair for entertainment. These four days gave me the chance to give back to her grace and generosity.

It never gets old looking back at all the things we experience with friends through the years. It's magical.


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