How else would you celebrate a milestone than with a bang! And that’s exactly what the charming and ever-youthful Mrs. Lourdes Doronila did last Saturday, August 15, 2015 as she celebrated her 90th birthday. Daughter Noonee spared no punches in giving her Mum a memorable celebration surrounded by family, longtime friends from Melbourne like Jan Pardy and Tooma Chong as well as neighbours, past and present. The outdoor fireplace added warmth and the fresh blooms on the tables and corners of the yard along with the gold balloons that surrounded the garden more than made up for the chilly weather outside.
In good old Filipino tradition, the party fare was endless. Food kept coming out of the kitchen with almost no space on the table to accommodate contributions from guests. The drinks table was just as busy. And guests were treated to not just one birthday cake but three along with Donuts, Biko, Carrot Cake and more.
And a party wouldn’t be complete without the speeches to honour the celebrant. Mrs. Doronila’s children present that day, Yob and Noonee started the list of well-wishers with heartwarming words about their Mum. Soon after, Fiona McIlroy would share wonderful words about their years as neighbours in Scullin, ACT. There was Rondalla music from sisters, Myrna Henkel and Zenaida O’Reilly, a rendition of ‘Ikaw’ by Kym Kunze and Joseph Gasendo, who came very well prepared complete with handouts of lyrics to the songs for community singing. Other guests like former Ambassador to Australia, Ernesto de Leon, Doug Huntley and Peter Humphries, happily shared anecdotes and yarns about the very charismatic Mrs. D who has become known as ‘Mama’, ‘Nanay’ and ‘Tita’ to the community. She even entertained her guests with a song or two while her husband, renowned journalist Mr. Amando Doronila, looked on adoringly.
But my congratulations go to Jenny Sunga-Amparo, who collected and compiled all the online greetings and wishes for Tita Lulu and turned it into a beautiful book with photos of her through the years. As I congratulated Jenny on such an amazing surprise gift, she happily acknowledged Mac as having done the job for her, referring to her Apple Mac, and not a human as I initially thought.
Sadly I had to leave the party at the time the invitation said it should end but I’m sure the party went on till the early hours of the morning because I know for a fact the Doronilas know how to party. Missing from the party were younger son Andrew and wife Hazel who were arriving from South Australia and grandchildren Katie who had celebrated earlier in the week with the family and Ben who is currently living in the UK.