December 2, 2023

Happy Easter to one and all.
In celebration, let me go into a folklore legend. Filo and Norma, who, 67 years ago, found durable love not a dream but a reality.
Filo was born on Feb. 16, 1939 in Payna, Marinduque. Norma came two years later on Dec. 14, 1941 in Mexico, Pampanga. Geographically, the chance was one in a million for them to meet but by some stroke of cosmic force, meet they did and in love they fell.
The story goes that in 1955 during a cool summer night in the City of Pines, the Philippine Military Academy held a barn dance at the Fort.
Ladies, “drags” in cadet lingo, were invited. Norma’s cousin in the Gomez invited her. The dictates of the time required chaperones so Norma went with her sister Cora and mother Corazon. Quiet and conservativelike the Filipina Maria Clara that she was, Norma was content watching the cadets and their guests danced the night away. Cupid must be watching, for out of nowhere, Filo appeared before her and asked her to dance and she obliged.
In the dance floor, conversation is an accepted mode to conceal that one has no dancing skill, so Filo asked Norma how she was related to Gomez. The questions about Gomez took the entire song. As if on cue, right before the last note, Filo made his move and said, “Ah, Cadet Gomez is your cousin, so he is now also my cousin.”
Norma was taken aback by what she just heard but kept her silence. At the back of her mind though, she was saying, “Ang presko naman ng kadeteng ito.” In her mind, she deserved a more conservative approach to courting.
Filo, however, felt that from the moment he set his eyes on Norma, there was “magic” and deep in his heart, he knew that he just found the woman he was going to spend the rest of his life with. He then set his mind in capturing his dream girl, using his “soldierly” tactics, and his first “combat maneuver” was to befriend and make “sipsip” to the mother. In no time, the target was “captured”, so to speak.
Perseverance, determination, charm, and not to mention good looks set in and eventually won the heart of Norma. The feeling became mutual and both suddenly discovered they were in love with each other. Quick to the draw, Filo proposed marriage and Norma willingly accepted, hence four days after Filo’s graduation from PMA and 67 years ago on April 7, 1956, they tied the knot at the Camp Allen Chapel.
He was 21 while she 19, and despite silent protestations on their tender age, they held on to each other inspired by the song “Toyang”.
“Too young”, popularized by Nat King Cole, goes “They tried to tell them ‘you’re too young to really fall in love, that love was just a word that they heard yet did not know the meaning of. But they knew then and proven now… that…they were not too young to know that their love will last and forever grow…and then someday, people will recall, they were not too young at all!”
So, off they went to a blissful marriage, abundant not of material wealth but of blessings that only 11 children can bring. Both became “super heroes”, Filo fulfilling his role as a soldier and Norma taking care of raising the kids by herself while making a living for the family.
Hard work and proper guidance turned the children to be fine and responsible men and women and are now successful in their respective fields. The generation has expanded and the couple has adorable grandchildren and endearing great grandchildren.
From day one, they were inseparable; never forgetting to keep the old flames burning and they make it a point to enjoy moments in each other’s arms. Today, in the presence of everyone who mattered, Filo and Norma celebrate an anniversary with a legacy, an iconic building built through blood, sweat, and tears together with their children.
Norma, though, faces a crucial challenge, but her faith in God and all his goodness keeps her focused on the blessings she has and will have. Each morning they wake up in each other’s arms to greet a brand new day, filled with joy, love and faith that keeps them going in the face of uncertainties.
Truly,they were not too young at all and the Easter sun continues to rise on the blessed life of Norma and Filo.