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        Looking Back and Looking Forward
Golden Wedding Anniversary Mr. & Mrs. Nick Pacis, Sr.
                                  June 18, 2017
                            by Pureza Ramiro Pacis

ccording to Google (and it must be true!) only 5-6 percent of marriages last for fifty years. By any calculation, 50 years is really a long time. That's about half a century.
     Nick and I were married way back home, in Vintar, Ilocos Norte on June 18, 1967. Fifty years later, our children insisted on a celebration, no matter how simple it is. June 18 fell on a Sunday and all it took was the temerity to ask Father Rizzo, Paris Priest of St. Hubert, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, to take our vows in time for Sunday Mass.

     "Father," we asked again. "Our eldest son is the Musical Director of  Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Tampa, Florida. He plays for other couples on their Weddings. Can he come and play for us?"

     He answered, "Yes, of course."

     "Father, can he bring with him their cantor baritone Vic, "Dimple" Omila Jr., who is reputed to be one of the best in Tampa, if not the whole of Florida?"

     "Absolutely, by all means," he responded.

     Beautifully, it happened! With the support from the St. Hubert Choir, under the baton of Musical Director, Ed Magistrado,  and Father Rizzo officiating, with Deacon Tim Allen assisting, we had a perfect mass for our Golden Wedding Ceremony.

     The ceremony was attended by heartwarming close members of our family and friends, coming from far and near just to witness us say, "We do", again.
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e have done the same thing so long ago that in spite of a given cue we forgot when to  hold hands, and to recite after  Fr. Rizzo's, words of consent, "Repeat after me."  What do you expect, we are now septuagenarians!
     If those were the lighter moments, one of the most heartwarming moments for us, aside from taking our vows again, was when Vic sang the "Ave Maria" by Francisco Santiago (for me, the best version so far) with our son Nick Jr., the accompanist. Fifty years ago, it was sung at our Wedding by Nick's cousin Prussia Flores, now Mrs. Streegan then fresh from college.

     Incidentally, ours must have been the last Golden Anniversary Fr. Rizzo would officiate, as he is retiring at the end of June. How lucky could we get!
     The reception at the Bartlett Community Center was set up for the occasion by the brother and sister team of, Nick & Maripaz, together with husband, Jonathan Plantig and their cousin Engr. Vernon Ramiro Aliga, from Atlanta. It was a DIY event, including the catering arrangements and they had to stick to their guidelines in order not to  have a too lavish and not too pleasurable a party.
     Thank you, thank you and, thank you, with special mention to Marie's colleagues from the Good Sheperd Hospital and Norridge Nursing Home. (Foremost, we would like to extend our sincerest appreciation to my cousin Florecita Pacis & Manong Conde Valignota for playing hosts to as many as five couples from out of town in a matter of five days. Champion!)
or the opening, grandniece, Morgan Fontela did some Polynesian numbers to complement the icebreaker community singing of " Hawaiian Wedding Song." Emcee
     Shown over dinner was the video clip engineered and architected, albeit by long distance, by our two younger children in the Philippines, Roland/Cecile, and Deanne Marie. Wished you were here, though! Thank you, too, to our well-wishers here and there and everywhere. We'll cherish your loving greetings in all our lives!

Cousin Elsa Pacis Fontela did "Gratitud" on the piano which was reminiscent of our childhood days that we spent together as an extended family, living under one roof for a long time. Friday nights were always a li'l night of music, as each of us cousin (four of them and three of us) were expected to showcase the latest piano piece or the latest song we learned in school. Worth mentioning is that  
     Her sibling Florecita Pacis Valignota, reprised our favorite songs with a duet of "One Alone" (By Sigmund Romberg) and "Will You Remember?" from "Springtime" with baritone Vic Omila Jr. and Nick Jr. on the piano.
     Impromptu though it was, next number, her daughter Dr. KellyJoy Valignota, from Philadelphia, engaged the audience with her duet of Celine Dion's "My Prayer", likewise with Vic Omila, Jr.
he Keynote Address, delivered by Elenita Ramiro Aliga, my only sister, tugged my heart
Speakers who conveyed their felicitations to the celebrants were:
     As an  icing to the event, Rep. Fred Crespo, of Hoffman Estates, assisted by his wife Dorothy, awarded the couple with a Resolution of Congratulations from the Illinois House of Representatives.
     We had the Anniversary Dance to the meaningful strains of our theme song, "Let The Rest Of The World Go By" from "Out of Africa." "We'll build a sweet little nest, somewhere in the West." (We did! Didn't we!) Then the offering of 50 long-stemmed yellow roses, amidst the serenading from relatives and townmates from good ole' Vintar, and later joined in by friends in Chicago and elsewhere - from a neighborhood, a church and a community. The event not only doubled as a celebration and a reunion of sorts but also tripled as a reckoning of careers, community works, and friends we have made! 
for the evening was my brother-in-law, retired Sycip Gorres& Velayo (SGV) principal, Engr. 
Alfonso 'Tito' Aliga Jr., who came all the way from the Philippines with his wife Elenita. Best Man wedding '67, cousin Reggie Pacis, gave the Toast, while writer cousin Primo Pacis, said the Prayer Before Meals. Both came from California.
FTER THE PARTY, niece Josephine Agbayani, send an e-mail from San Francisco and said it best, "Not everyone can have the chance, like you, to have an extended run of their love
story," ... "Everyone had an outstanding talent to bring. It was like watching a Tony Awards Night." ... "You deserve all the attention. It was a love fest. As Sally Field said when she accepted her Oscar award: "You must really like me!"
  You bet. We just could not help but blush, blush, and blush while reading it, and at the same time patting our backs, convinced, "They must really like us!"

   Indeed, there is no greater luxury in life than to love and be loved. God and good people are everywhere, and they are known as families and friends.

 Our story of fifty years maybe, to some, a lackluster, humble tapestry, but to us, it is one woven with love, enlivened by threads of gold. That's what Golden Anniversaries are for! Our souls still complete each other; our hearts still beating as one, we are among the lucky 5-6% who made it!
  After the ceremony, Fr. Rizzo asked my co-celebrant what is our secret for having stayed that long. Without batting an eyelash, Nick told him, "Father, it's praying together at night before we go to bed."

   As we look forward to the future, I echo the invite in his closing remarks" "See you on our Diamond Anniversary!"

to no end as she acknowledged not only the guests and loved ones who were present as
well as those who were not, but also those who could not, especially our Mom and Dad, and  our late brother Rolly, who gave me away in marriage 50 years ago to Nick, his classmate in High School.
     To reiterate her love messages, she too indulged her husband Tito for a duet of their theme song "If I Loved You", from Carousel."

both our mothers (sisters) were teachers and that their Dad was perhaps the best harp player in town/province. Suffice it to say, the family that sings together stays together. Come to think of it, our growing up together had spawned this family love, which flourished beyond borders of time, distances, and generations.