Category Archives: Family

‘Friends cursed me for marrying a poor and sickly US citizen’

“Friends come and go, like the waves of the ocean, but the true ones stay like an octopus on your face.” –Anonymous
By Alex P. Vidal


ARLINGTON, Virginia — Since “running away” from her Arab boss who brought her in the United States from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2001, Rosita “Rose” Junatas, a domestic helper, has not seen her family in Tarlac, in the Philippines.
“I hope to reunite with them soon,” Rose, 61, wished in an interview with this writer July 9.

She plans to go back to Ramos, Tarlac, where she finished sixth grade in 1969 at Ramos Central Elementary School, as soon as the remaining documents for her green card, being processed through the help of Falls Church-based preacher Mariano C. Evangelista Jr. and his wife Armida, will arrive.
The Evangelista couple “adopted” Rose and allowed her to stay in their church at Christian Evangelization Ministry in the City of Falls Church.
Rose lost her American husband, Michael “Mike” Bradley, 68, to a lung cancer on June 4, 2018.
She lived with the Evangelista couple after Mike’s cremation on June 19.
Rose and Mike didn’t have their own children.

Rose and Mike, a printing press employee, had been living together as husband and wife in McLean, Virginia since 2001; she decided to process the important details in her green card only when Mike was already dying in the hospital.


Rose, then 45, said she met Mike, then 52, on Good Friday in 2001 through a co-worker, Elsie Ribao. She went to live with Mike in an apartment in McLean on Labor Day of the same year.
The romance kicked off through a series of phone calls where they professed their love for each other and willingness to live together, Rose said.
They got married at the back of a house on September 27, 2001 in a civil ceremony.

Rose wasn’t able to obtain the complete details of her green card because of “complications” in Mike’s previous marriage.
Mike’s former wife, Marilou, also a Filipina, divorced him after living together for five years. Before meeting Marilou, Mike had been married to a fellow American with whom he had a 40-year-old son.
Rose was Mike’s third wife.
Rose’s first husband, Leopoldo Gicete, a mining engineer from Samar, Leyte, died of asthma in 1982.
After Leopoldo’s death, Rose worked as domestic helper in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for 18 years and raised alone their two children–Rosenda and Leopoldo Jr.
Rosenda now resides in Aklan with her own family and a fishery business, while Leopoldo Jr. is now a seaman.
They talked regularly through the Facebook Messenger.


In Virginia, Rose’s former boss, an Arab national, resented her decision to “run away” and live with Mike.
The boss paid for Rose’s air fare from Jeddah to Virginia and was hoping Rose would stay with the Arab boss’ family while in the United States.
It was Mike who helped Rose transfer her personal belongings from the house of her Arab boss to Mike’s apartment.
“Sa galit ng amo ko sa ginawa namin, hindi niya ibinigay ang mga natira ko pang suweldo (my boss was so enraged that he didn’t give me my remaining salary),” Rose recalled.

Since Mike didn’t have enough money, Rose said she did some housekeeping job in the houses of Mike’s friends to help buttress the couple’s income.
Rose said Filipina friends who visited her in their apartment frequently always engaged Mike in a verbal tussle when Mike ribbed them for not washing their dishes and for leaving all the chores to Rose alone.
“I told them to ignore Mike and not to engage him in a quarrel because he was sickly, but they refused to listen,” Rose narrated.


The same set of friends also gossiped behind her back and “belittled me when I was down and feeling hopeless at the time when I needed them most,” Rose added.
“When Mike was in the hospital, nobody cared for us. When Mike died, none of them visited us. One of them even told our friends buti nga (good riddance),” lamented Rose.
When Mike was gone, her friends “totally abandoned me and even cursed me for marrying a poor and sickly American citizen,” she sobbed.
She said she didn’t inherit any property from Mike, who was penniless before his death.
While in the custody of the Evangelista couple, Rose said she does not anymore entertain calls and inquiries from friends “who will only open up a conversation and pretend they care only to get information about my present situation, share it to others, and add insult to my injury.”
“I will just keep quite and maintain my peace here (Christian Evangelical Ministry) and wait for the complete papers in my green card. I know I am in good hands. No more friends. I don’t want to be hurt anymore,” Rose concluded.

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 12, 2018 in CULTURE AND HERITAGE, Family


Be kind to a kind husband

“A real man loves his wife, and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father.”
— Frank Abagnale

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY –– I thought it’s happening only in the movies.
Or in squatter colonies of Third World countries.
To my horror and shock, it happened right here in the freest and safest country in the world.
Miratsu is a brutal wife.
She physically assaulted Samoht in public–in front of Samoht’s friends and admirers in a Queens public park.
Miratsu used her physical advantage as a light-heavyweight bully to inflict harm on lightweight Samoht.
Based on my personal knowledge and on eyewitnesses’ account, Miratsu mauled her husband four times in as many surprised “attacks” in the same park.


One time at around 7:45 o’clock in the morning while Samoht and I were playing chess in the park, Miratsu arrived unannounced and unnoticed.
Like a drooling mad dog, she came not only to beat up Samoht anew, but also to verbally abuse him.
Samoht only noticed the presence of the lady version of Mike Tyson when she was already a spit away from him.
Miratsu quickly performed sadistic rituals, rolling over the unprepared and terrified Samoht like a Samoan wrestler and whacked both his ears with ala Fernando Poe Jr. combination.
Early morning joggers, park habitues, some of Samoht’s friends saw cruelty unfold but couldn’t stop the beast thinking it’s only the spill over of a domestic rift.
The Punch and Judy Show scene occurred two more times in another time and day on the same spot.
1. Why was Miratsu so cruel? Miratsu was mad at Samoht for repeated curfew violations. Samoht had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was under strict medication.
He wasn’t supposed to stay longer outdoor playing chess in the park. He was supposed to quit smoking, too.


Samoht did not only extend his exposure outside their house, he also spent overnight in the park playing chess. And he smoked non-stop like a chimney.
But, did his “sins” justify the mauling in public? Did it merit a public scandal?
2. Why did Samoht allow or tolerate Miratsu’s violence? Because Samoht was a good husband; a martyr. He was  soft-spoken and a peace advocate, a church deacon, a non-violent and very humble person who didn’t say bad words; a true friend rolled into one.
When he passed away on December 15, Miratsu regretted what she did to Samoht. She lost a good partner in life. And she had no more punching bag.
“At 61, he was not supposed to die early. Because he was a good person and a peaceful man, he was supposed to live longer, right?” Miratsu told me in a funeral home on Sunday night (December 16, 2017).


Leave a comment

Posted by on December 31, 2017 in Family, HEALTH, PSYCHOLOGY


Tags: ,

Mayor Joe III can’t interfere in daughter’s happiness

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
-John Wooden

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — A father can’t interfere in his daughter’s love affair.
He can only give advice and suggestions, but a father can’t control or halt a daughter’s heartbeat.
He can’t prevent her either from marrying the love of her life–unless it’s a shotgun marriage; unless the marriage is fraught with fraud and impropriety.
Such was the case when the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) defied Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa and proceeded with the issuance of notice of award to the MetroPac Water Investments Corp (MWIC) for their P12.349-billion joint venture December 21.


MIWD showed Mayor Joe III that its love affair with the MWIC is “none of his business” to say the least.
That the deal underwent transparent process, legitimate and aboveboard.
Therefore, the city mayor has no right to halt the MIWD-MWIC romance.
As a father, Mayor Joe III can’t stand in between his daughter and her happiness.
As long as they are both happy and satisfied, their understanding is mutual; and the marriage doesn’t have any legal impediment, couple MIWD and MWIC can live happily ever after.
Mayor Joe III can always run to the court if he still wishes to uncouple the lovers.

News is when a man bites a dog. Dog biting a man isn’t news.
News is when a cabbie or a driver of any public or private vehicle fatally attacks a pedestrian or a fellow driver in a traffic altercation.
They call it “road rage.”
A mere exchange of heated words isn’t news. A road scene where an angry motorist flashes “f” sign to another motorist or a pedestrian vice versa, isn’t even earthshaking.
When irate drivers and passengers tangle in chaotic traffic snarl during rush hours, it’s not a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Just like when we see beggars wearing rugged cloths in the sidewalks or a cop placing cuffs on a thief. They are normal events.


But when a sweet-looking young lady, who seems can not hurt a fly, punches an elderly driver in broaddaylight over a traffic snafu and the victim reels away like a groggy pugilist about to hit the canvas, it’s not only news, it’s viral especially when the tumult is caught on video.
In our culture, elderly persons are treasured, loved, and respected regardless of status in life.
Even if they commit slight trespasses or simple misdemeanor, we don’t lay our hand on them.
If they misbehave or commit unplesant acts sometimes due to dementia and other age-related ailments, we can chide them surreptitiously but not harm them physically.
We don’t assault our own parents.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 31, 2017 in Family, MEDIA, POLITICS


Tags: , , , , ,

An affair to remember…in Connecticut

“If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.” — Ray Bradbury


By Alex P. Vidal

GROTON, Connecticut — If the story of her love affair with a fellow Ilonggo that began on board a commercial vessel in 1956 would be told, Aida Castro-Amuan, 80, wanted to compare it to Leo McCarey’s 1957 classic film, An Affair to Remember.
Aboard a Manila-bound ship from Iloilo City one summer in 1957, Aida met Reynaldo Adrias Amuan, 82.
She was 20 and he was 22. Aida was scheduled to enroll in a nursing school in Manila, while Reynaldo was on his way to Cavite for physical examination at the U.S. Base Naval Station in Sangley Point.
“A true friendship was built aboard the ship like in that movie before we hit it off romantically,” recalls Aida, a native of Ajuy, Iloilo, Philippines and now resides here.
While the ultimate romantic tearjerker chick flick starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr ended in a tight embrace atop New York City’s Empire State Building, the love affair between Aida and Reynaldo continues until today, or 60 years after they got married.


“We are still very much in love with each other until now,” Aida exclaims shyly, her eyes flicker while stealing a quick stare at Reynaldo, sitting on her right side in the buffet table in a breakfast.
Aida calls Reynaldo “darling” and credits him for encouraging and accompanying her when she “reports to office” everyday so she won’t get sick and bored at home.
Her “office” is the poker table in the Mohegan Sun, a casino hotel in Uncasville, a village in southeastern Montville, at the mouth of the Oxoboxo River.
“I noticed that if she stayed at home for three days, she became weak. So I goaded her to go to her office so she can move and exercise her body,” Reynaldo volunteers with a timid smile.
When they “report” to Aida’s “office”, they bring only credit and reward cards, a few one dollar bills for tips, and a bag full of maintenance pills. Aida admits she is not a good player and only plays to kill time and keeps her mind busy.
Mohegan Sun gives Aida privileges like free buffet meals, tickets and access to entertainment shows and sports events, use of facilities like swimming pool, and hotel room from points earned in a reward card.
If the points are so high, they invite friends “to share their blessings” especially on buffet.
Unlike Grant, Nickie Ferrante in the film, a well-known playboy and dilettante in the arts, Reynaldo had been “engaged” only with one woman before he met Aida, daughter of an affluent family in Iloilo’s fifth district.


“I wasn’t engaged yet,” sighs Aida, “but I had an insistent suitor who wanted to fetch me in the pier (when the ship arrived in Manila). I tried to avoid him (the suitor) but Rey told me to treat the guy nicely.”
To make the long story short, explains Aida, “I rejected that suitor and married Rey.”
“One thing I like about Rey was his honesty. I was immediately attracted to him because he was frank and honest when he told me he came from a poor family,” narrates Aida. “In all our married life, he never gave me a headache.”
After being crowned as municipal queen of Ajuy in 1952 at age 16, Aida had attracted hordes of suitors, mostly coming from Iloilo’s influential and moneyed families, “but I found my true happiness with Rey because I knew he would never take advantage of me.”
She describes her future husband as “guwapo (handsome), soft-spoken, sincere, and simple.”
Aida considers their two children–Fern Boivin, 55, and Sean, 53, and their six grandchildren–as “our real blessings.”


“Their values and the values of their respective families–the husband, wife and children–are exceptional,” Aida boasts. “I think it has something to do with how we raised them and how they raised their own children. Wala na kami sang ipangayuon pa sa Diyos. (We have nothing more to ask from God).”
Fern, an engineer, is married to Mark Boivin, president of Northeast Wood Products. Sean is a pilot at American Airlines with international routes, and a 1985 graduate in the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. They were both born and raised in the United States.
“Everyday we call each other to say hello. If they can’t call us, we call them vice versa using FaceTime (a video call in Smart phone),” reveals Reynaldo.
Seconds later, Reynaldo dials his iPhone: “Hello, son what do you have for breakfast this morning?” Son Sean replies in video call: “I’m having a bagel (bread) right now, dad.”


Aida takes Reynaldo’s iPhone and intones: “Hi darling, how are you doing today?” Son answers: “I’m fine, mom.” Aida: “Are you going for golf today?” Son: “Yes, mom.” Aida: “Okay, you take care my darling.”

Grandchildren call their grandparents from time to time vice versa to say hi and hello. Grandpa tells a teenage female granddaughter in video call, “No holding hands with your suitor or boyfriend, please.” Granddaughter replies with a smile.
“This is our life. This is how we spend our life here in Connecticut as retirees. This is where we get our simple joy and happiness. And our children and grandchildren are very supportive of what we do and where we are,” Reynaldo hisses, holding Aida’s left hand as they saunter the vast, 34-story casino, hotel and entertainment complex that features Native American-style decor.
Reynaldo, a native of Divinagracia, La Paz, Iloilo City, Philippines, retired from the US Navy in 1976 after 20 years of service. He was detailed in the nuclear submarines.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 20, 2016 in Family


Tags: , , ,