By Orquidia Valenzuela Flores Photos: Ben Brugman The Netherlands August 29, 2014
The opportunity came when I got an assignment to work outside the Philippines. We left our families and friends in December 1965 eager but with reservations starting a life in a country we knew very little about except for its Dutch Baby Milk, queso de bola and the Peace Palace in The Hague, headquarters of the International Court of Justice.
Fifty years passed swiftly. Work, adapting to a new environment and its culture and the arrival of two children were our prime concern and consumed most of our time and energy.
On the same day and month, July21 we said our marriage vows at the University of Sto. Tomas chapel at 7:00 in the morning in Manila, we had a mass at the Cenakel convent’s chapel of the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters in Utrecht It was officiated by.29-year-old Father Sëdfrey Nebres of the Carmelite Order.
For our golden wedding anniversary we wanted a thanksgiving mass, with the theme Love and Charity. We had difficulty searching for the fitting liturgical readings from the bible. It was a blessing when Sr. Mary Visitacion came to our rescue. She helped us out and even suggested the hymns for the mass. Sr. Mary Trinitas offered to take care of the flowers for the altar.
The Pinay Pink Sisters themselves sang the hymns accompanied at the organ by Sr. Mary Confidens. Sr. Mary Michelle delivered the First Reading and our daughter Teresa followed with the Second Reading. Our son Gerardo sang his own composition “In My Heart” that touched the hearts of his parents. Mary Ann Morales’ solo rendition of The Prayer by David Foster was awesome.
With us on the day aside from our children and their spouses, Luc and Cecile, were a few intimate friends of more than 40 years led by a colleague in Manila Pat Adolfo who drove from Brussels with her husband Dick Koorn.
The gift we received from our guests will go to SIBOL School which provides free pre-elementary schooling to children of indigent families living in Gawad Kalinga Don Manuel Village in barangay Balingasan in Quezon City and to the children patients with neurological disorder in Philippine Children Medical Center in Quezon Ave., Quezon City. It is heartbreaking to see the sufferings of these children.
When we got married we were on a tight budget but I wanted to walk to the altar in a long white gown with a veil. Thanks to my boss who had an extensive circle of friends among them Manila couturiers we got a bargain price for my gown and that of my sisters Carminia and Cynthia. The number of guests was limited to the siblings and spouses of our parents and we chose to hold our reception and breakfast at Max Restaurant. We have fun recalling the five-peso per person menu: buns/white bread with butter and jam, fried chicken, coffee/tea and drinks and pudding.
We learned and experienced so much since we left the Philippines. Call it wisdom but for our golden anniversary all we wanted was a thanksgiving mass, no fancy wear. Eddie was in his old barong. I wore the gold dress my mother mailed me 44 years ago for my sister’s wedding in New York but arrived a day late.
The blessings we received and continue to enjoy are precious and priceless. We have the loving care and attention of our two children now happily settled in their nests; the close ties with our siblings who live in distant lands; countless friends in many corners of the globe who keep in constant contact with us either by telephone or e-mail and those who are here with us in this country we meet weather permitting, reminiscing together the joys and pains we went through, comforting each other or exchanging jokes, pleasantries and happenings around us and in the world.
As for our health, we are in good shape despite our advanced age. We continue to go on trips to distant places often in the company of our siblings to make up for 50 years of separation. We do household chores. The aches and pains we have every now and then are bearable and manageable. We do not see wrinkles on our faces. Our cataracts must be playing tricks on us.
We retired many years ago. The farm, poultry and piggery are dreams of yesteryears. The reality is we fly regularly to the Philippines, stay there for a few months and come back to the Netherlands, our second home. We are happy and contented, thankful for the blessings in our life.
Thank you Orquid and Kuya Eddie, to be part of your celbration! It was a big honor on our part!
That's pure friendship are for!
congratulations at mabuhay kayo
Wow!!! A great thing to celebrate, Eddie!
Eddie / Orquidia, happy anniversary and more blessings from Jesus!
Congratulations on your golden wedding anniversary tho belated.
I was glad I opened my email today and found the Munting Nayon news and there was the article of your wedding anniversary.
How time really flies. I remember the day when both of you arrived in The Hague and can still remember the place where you first stayed. I recall I was looking forward to the arrival of Orquid as replacement of Conching Ricafort as I was the only female employee in the Embassy then after Conching left for Manila. You were newly married then.
My mind went back fifty years ago and could recall so many things we did in Holland. We shared many good times together playing mahjong and including our trips around Europe. I can still see in my mind the snow turning yellow after Eddie relieved himself one time. Those were really good days
I am so happy that you have reached your fifty years of togetherness still kicking and strong with very minor aches and pains.
I thought you would celebrate your golden wedding anniversary here in Manila from the last time we talked on the phone when you were here in Manila.
Anyway, congratulations again and give me a ring when you are in Manila again.
Love to you both,
Dear dearest Manang Orquid and Kuya Eddie,
Firstly, VERY WARM CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR 50TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!
What a marvelous story you wrote thanks for sharing…you two are an exemplary couple! I remember how “mataray” you were to each other and yet way above that is your genuine love for each other. Bow ako dyan! J
I’m glad that you are now enjoying traveling and doing things you really like and most of all that both your health is good except for the aches of aging which by the way I’ve been experiencing a lot! Haha!
Thanks for keeping in touch.
Take very good care of yourselves and God bless you always,
Congratulations.The article is so beautiful that you can see the simplicity of life you led for 50 years and yet is the best example to achieve a beautiful and loving marriage.
Nawang mabuhay pa kayo na malusog,tahimik at lubos na kalinga ng ating Pangnoon..
Happy 50th to you both. You both look so good then and now.
I don't think I can fit into my clothes from 20 years ago ano pa kaya yung 44 years. As for your cataracts, gradual naman ba ang progression. But I would do it if I were you. My neighbor did hers and she said the difference was night and day. She was having problems walking when it's dark.
I truly enjoyed reading your article and the photos as well God bless and best of health to you both
You are an exemplary couple! So glad you are part of my life. Love you both!
XOXOXO Blessings for many more happy and healthy years together.
Gefeliciteerd ate Orquid en Kuya Eddie
groetjes met Jullie miss you both .
congratulations on your 50th wed anniversary ...
Congratulations on the your Golden anniversary!
More power to you both!
Maligayang Bati sa inyong ika-50 taon ng masaya at mabiyayang pagsasama bilang mag-asawa.
Isang natatanging karapatan ng 'Philippine Artists Group of Canada' na maging bahagi ng inyong 'Munting Nayon' at napakagandang buhay.
Nawa ay magpatuloy kayo sa landas na ito na may laging gabay at pagpapala ng Dakilang Maykapal.
Romy MananQuil and
Philippine Artists Group of Canada
Congratulations and best wishes for another additional grand Golden Wedding Anniversary, Eddie and Orquid!
Those days of joys and a little bit of "pains" normal for couples growing together in lovely tandem...those wrinkles, i never noticed when we met at the Cologne Cathedral some years ago and I will really have difficulty finding them on Orquid's smiling, lovely face! It's so, oh so lovely to see you both growing a bit older and richer in all ways!
See you someday soon! Blast it every July!
Lovingly, Agnes & Edi
Good morning, Tito Eddie and Tita O.
Just read your ’50 Year Anniversary Story’. So moved. So touched of its contents. Am so proud, glad and blessed to see loving couples who can survive the various tests of Father Time. So proud of you. May the Powerful and Gracious Almighty shower you with many more years of ‘living and loving experience.’ With much love and care –
Ipagmalaki mo nga na kasya pa din sa iyo ang 44-year old dress.
At mabuti pa kayo may cataract, so you can’t see your wrinkles.
Eddie & Orquidia,
Wishing you the very best on your Golden Wedding Anniversary!
Here's to many more anniversaries...
Jojo & Fe Taduran
Thank you Tito Eddie!
Congrats to you and Tita Orquidia on your 50th anniversary! :)
It's so heart warming and inspiring to see good examples of long happy successful marriages like yours in this modern age.
Wishing you many many more years of love, happiness, good health and prosperity!
God bless you and your family
Peter and I were overjoyed to see your photos and article covering the Big Day, July 21. We felt as if we were also there celebrating with you. Besides you both and family looking good and happy, the whole occasion spoke of many good things, of values that we want to keep and defend, of love and gratitude.
Your article, by far, is the very best of all articles you have written and printed in Munting Nayon---the honesty was its bone, your real lives in it was its robust flesh.
I had to reread it again and again because it is so well written in the language of the heart, from very deep and the memory of details retained the glow. I am sending it to close family & relatives, two good friends who know you. I cannot help feeling so proud and happy for you both, for Teresa/Luc and Ged/Cecile.
The choice of the Cenakel Celebration could not have been better. It cemented the good things about you that I have been talking about all along. And which we are lucky to have shared, one way or the other.
Once again, thank you for your faithful friendship. May God give
you many more years to happily explore the secrets of aging, not a sad process afterall if we look at the two of you! Keep it up!
We love you both,
Au & Peter
CONGRATULATIONS KUYA EDDIE AND ATE ORQUID!!!!
Congratulations, Orchid and Eddie.
From Julie and Joma.
My warmest congratulation's Eddie & Orquid Flores for your Golden W edding Anniversary!!! What a milestone of togetherness.
MABUHAY KAYONG DALAWA ... MORE BLESSING:S AHEAD>
Congratz and Mabuahy kayo!
Congratulations Lovely article as well, K Orquid.
I wish you both and all your loved ones continued blessings.
Eddie / Orquid, congratulations!
Congratulations to a great couple, Eddie and Orchid.
The article is beautiful. Sorry we missed your anniversary.
We were in the Philippines at that time.
Love you both a lot
Conni / Louie
Congrats Eddie & Olive. Malayo-layo pa kami ni Anders, mag-44 pa lamang...
Enjoy the years to come.
congratulation po sa 50 years anniversay.. ninyo...wish you more years to come..
Congratulations and many more happy healthy blessed years to come!
Congratulations Tito Eddie & Tita Orchids
miss you both
Congratulations .God bless u both
Congratulations, Tito Eddie & Tita Orchid!!
from Boyen, Angie and family
Congratulations on your 50th anniversary!!!!! God bless
Congrats, thanks sa masaya at masarap n eat all u can Japanese Resto. Was nice to see and chat old friends again.
More anniversary n blessing to come..Godbless...
Wonderful story! Thank you for the honor of being part of the celebration of your 50th wedding anniversary. One of the greatest blessings of our life in the Netherlands is meeting and having true friends like you. 50th...... and love continues to blossom! Congratulations once again!
Congratulations po! It was nice to read about your journey as a couple. Sana kami rin, maabot yung ganung pagka-kuntento at saya...
Salamat rin at malaking karangalan para sa amin na pana-panahon ay nakakasama namin kayo sa aming paglalakbay sa landas na tinatawag nating ¨buhay¨.
Nagmamahal at lubos na gumagalang,
Jun at Mitchy
Congratulations, Ed and Orquids! I am inviting you to see our Farm School in Bais City, Negros Oriental
Congrtz to both of you ..may you have more blooming years to come..
HAPPY GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY !! Wishing You More Years Of LOVE & Togetherness !!
Gefeliciteerd! "50" golden years.. Wish you both more years to come...
Our dearest friend Eddie and Orquidia....
HAPPY GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY TO BOTH OF YOU! CHEERS FROM CHICAGO WITH LOVE AND PRAYERS! CONGRATULATIONS AND BEST WISHES....
FROM THE BUENOSILVA FAMILY...
Thanks for the privilege of letting us celebrate with you!
Dirk / Effie
Happy Golden Anniversary po, we miss you!
More blessings to both of you. Happy Golden Anniversary!
Congratulation both of you, wishing you more years to come!!!
Enjoy ur GOLDEN anniversary.
Congrats kuya / ate
Wish you more years of Blessings!!!
we should all aspire to those 50 years!
Congratulations on your golden anniversary.
All the best and more power.
Best wishes and more blessings to you
Congratulations and best wishes.!
Congratulations ! Wishing you both another 50 years of blessings!
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