||Excerpts from the Annual Parents' Day Celebration
by Dr. Milagros Tiojanco
Margarita Berdos Alemania
In 1966, Genaro, husband of Garing and 1 of 11 kids, came to Kansas City petitioned by sister Tacing Quinones. Garing and daughter Gemma were left behind. Genaro worked at Mission Hills Country Club. When the club members learned that his family was still in the Philippines, they offered to financially help him to get them here. He refused but instead he worked very hard to save, and after two years Garing and Gemma came. The plight of the Alemania family was featured in the Kansas City Star, and Genaro and Garing were always proud of this.
Garing, 1 of 15 children, from Hindang Leyte worked as a seamstress at Woolf Brothers for 10 plus years. Genaro worked at a jewelers, and every Filipino in Kansas City called on Genaro for jewelry advice and repair.
Together they raised their only child Gemma in love and hard work. Gemma has returned very much to the Kansas City Filipino community, especially the Filipino Association, by her devoted service most especially to the Sinag-Tala rendering her dance skills.
Garing is retired, sits at home, watches Filipino channels, loves to play bingo, and has been a wonderful, loving grandma to her two grandchildren, Alexis and Rich, both quite involved with the Sinag Tala. Garing's best achievement is coming to the United States to start a fulfilling life. She says, "Enjoy everyday like it is the last." My sincere gratitude to Garing for helping me with costumes for the first Filipinettes.
Rosa Pedrosa Custodio
Known to everyone as Lola Rosa, she hails from Ilocos Sur. She immigrated to Hawaii in 1960 and spent most of her challenging life there. As a single parent, the husband was an early war casualty, through hard work, patience and prayers, she raised her two children, Pedro and Reynaldo and sent them to college. Believing in education, she continued to support grandchildren, and a very proud granddaughter, Vangie Rosquetta, an RN at Menorah who credits her career to the help of Lola Rosa.
In 1995, Lola Rosa came to Kansas City to be with Vangie and Victor Rosqueta's family; all together with six grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren. She is active at home with household chores, and loves to walk and cook. Lucky Vangie.
Vangie is expressing her lifetime gratitude to Lola Rosa. She says she is doing what her Lola has done. She has helped ten cousins to continue their education, outreaching the community, helping foundations. What a wonderful role model Lola Rosa is.
Lola's hobbies include cooking and praying. She says, "Life is good." Guess how young she is? Only 92 years and going.
Salome G. Faune
Known as Sally to all, she is young and energetic. She had a wonderful career the she is very proud of. Married to Juan Faune for 32 years. They raised five children, have 13 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. With a degree in Elementary Education from Jose Memorial College, she taught for 32 years of first grade, kindergarten, and special education in the public school systems, in Davao City. She also published a book in 1975, Unang Hakbang sa Pagbasa at Pagsulat.
She was awarded the Most Outstanding Elementary School Teacher by the Davao City Rotary Club in 1981. When I asked her how she came to Kansas City, her voice was excited and said, "This is a long story."
In 1985, on her birthday, the Marcos regime was close to tumbling. She was president of the Teachers' Association of City Schools in Davao. She had strong convictions about freedom and led demonstrations. She was working with Peace Corp members. High officials and security guards came to pay her a visit. Scared for her safety, her lawyer husband and the family agreed that she should leave the country. A young Jewish couple in Kansas City needed a teacher to help them. Through circumstances, Sally accepted the job and came to Kansas City. With courage, strength, and the dream of coming to the States, she made Kansas City her home.
Sally's husband Johnny had medical problems and was unable to join her. He passed away one day before they were supposed to meet. She very fondly speaks of him as a compassionate, dignified, member of the Council of Churches with regular trips to Switzerland. She also very sadly recalls a difficult ordeal of the family during the Japanese occupation, losing a brother to Japanese cruelty but found her father after a harrowing escape.
Sally has graced the Kansas City scene always with a smile, gracefully and willing to help in any way she can. She is a member of a swing team and enjoys dancing wherever the team competes. Her children are all college graduates, one in New York and four in the Philippines. She still travels to see them every three years.