[Left photo shows some of the descendants of KOREAN WAR veterans who attended Daddy Max’s 95th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION on July 29, 2017 at the Officers’ Club, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Metro-Manila, Philippines where Daddy Max is sandwiched by those lovely dames at the back row, standing, 4th from RIGHT, with black cowboy hat. Photo at right particularly the top photo shows some of the KOREAN WAR veterans who attended the affair. Bottom right photo shows Daddy Max at center standing with the black cowboy hat. UPAA President Ramon M. Maronilla is shown at the bottom right photo, also sporting a black cowboy hat: 2nd from right.]
GOOD EVENING EVERYONE!
Thank you for taking time to be present on this occasion in spite of the hazards in traveling to and from the outskirts of Metro-Manila including the stressful episodes of our country’s famous traffic jams.
My birth date is actually TOMORROW, July 30. In order however to attain greater attendance of guests, as on several years back, it was always celebrated on a week-end, a Saturday, where the chances of meeting everybody and all my family and friends become a precise assurance.
I am now 95 years YOUNG. During all those years, I could say that I suffered pitfalls in my life.
There were FIVE (5) of them. First was when I was a lad of SEVEN (7) years old when I suffered some sort of a kidney problem, for which reason, I was treated and cured by an HERBOLARIO. And I was told that the cause of the kidney problem was some kind of “OSOG”, (literally translated in English as a CURSE or an imprecated hex). Second, was when I was in VIETNAM in 1972 where I suffered excessive diarrhea which eventually was diagnosed as some kind of CHOLERA. I was actually told then that I only had 24 hours to live as there was simply no adequate medical facility to treat me quick in VIETNAM while the war was raging. Luckily, I survived and I was rushed back home to the Philippines as I was speedily evacuated to Clark Air Base
In 2003 too, I was operated on and I had to undergo a quintuple HEART BY-PASS operation. And I was lucky that I survived then at age 81 years YOUNG.
On July 27, 2016, the 63rd anniversary of the KOREAN WAR ARMISTICE, I failed to personally receive SOUTH KOREA’s HIGHEST MILITARY DECORATION, the Taegeuk Order of the Military Merit Medal. I was hospitalized then because of severe FLU.
Last April of this year, I suffered the most severe of my illnesses as I contracted supposedly the most virulent strain of PNEUMONIA. This was considering that I have received an ANTI-PNEUMONIA vaccine which I learned thereafter that such vaccine can only fight off FOUR (4) of SEVEN (7) pneumonia strains. I was told that it was a rare case of SURVIVAL as according to my doctors, because of my age, the chances of survival in such illness involving a virulent pneumonia strain is so NIL.
The American poet Robert Frost said:
“IN THREE WORDS, I CAN SUM UP EVERYTHING I’VE LEARNED ABOUT LIFE – IT GOES ON.”
Indeed, LIFE GOES ON AND ON AND ON.
And as for me, I wish to thank the doctors that have treated and medically attended to me during the last THREE (3) of my pitfalls, those last illnesses.
I was able to survive those last episodes of illness as I was under the care of the most skilful and excellent doctors of the UERMMCI (i.e. UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST-RAMON MAGSAYSAY MEDICAL CENTER INC.) most particularly the medical staff headed by Dr. Romy Divinagracia, Dra. Bingbing Co-Hidalgo, Dr. Stephen Medel, Dr. Isagani Rodriguez and Dra. Beth de los Santos.
And this virtual euphony of doctors’ advices and prescriptions as well as the synergy of all those doctors and medical staff were made possible by my son WILSON who as Vice-Chairman of the UERMMCI Board has virtually served as UERMMCI’s de facto Administrator.
If Almighty God would allow me to live longer, I’ll dedicate the rest of my life to continuously assist veterans and all the veterans’ descendants, as my reward to them for having gone though a successful career as soldiers. My daily association with some of them has straightened my life, an added ingredient to complete happiness.
To all the members of my family, I’ll watch all your children to grow OLD.
To all my children and loved ones, I know that you are all helping me to live a comfortable life as your reward to me for being or having been born bright by reason of the genes that you have derived or inherited from me.
As I have earlier told you, today is not my actual birthday – it will still be tomorrow – but today is the celebration.
And what a celebration it was. I am reminded of how Atty. Ramon Maronilla, an avid badminton play mate and the current President of the UP Alumni Association, once quipped; and he said that my birthday celebration would sometimes look like a Broadway presentation.
I am sure you must have been quite moved by the presence of so many family members and friends – a sign that I am truly loved by many.
Hopefully, however, we do change. Hopefully, as we grow older, we do mature; we do become wiser; we do become more gentle.
I have EIGHT (8) children, TWENTY-SIX (26) grand children, NINE (9) great grandchildren, almost the size of a barangay.
Tonight, I call upon TWO (2) of my granddaughters to co-lead with me in our prayer of thanks, both of whom are studying to become doctors in the future: Whitney Ann Casquejo Young, the daughter of Lenlen and Wilson (Wilson, being my fourth child); and, Wiena Young Reyes, the daughter of Ronnie and Wilma (Wilma being my 6th child and 1st of my 3 daughters):
“IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.”
“Father God, thank you for all the celebration – thank you for all the food that we have eaten, partaken and enjoyed. And thank you too for all that have been here to be with us – thank you for your goodness and love , in tough times as well as happy times. Thank you for the opportunity to renew and deepen ties of love. These we ask through your Son, Our Lord and Savior, JESUS CHRIST. AMEN!”
After this, I was told that we will still have the BIRTHDAY CAKE…
This in turn reminds me of the saying that: ‘birthdays are nature’s way of telling us all, TO EAT MORE CAKE’.
Thank you so much to all of you and GOOD EVENING ONCE AGAIN.