Dr. Jose “Pepe” Abueva and his wife Coring spent the whole Friday April 21, 2006 with members of the UPAANC Berkeley chapter. The day began with chapter president Romi Beza and past president Ceny Duldulao picking-up the Abuevas at their San Francisco downtown hotel. The four then motored to Concord Goldilock’s where Ceny, the restaurant’s co-owner, hosted a sumptuous lunch.
Thereafter, they drove to Pride Mountain Winery in the hills of St. Helena, which is four towns north of Napa, where they hooked-up with two upcoming Fil-Am winemakers, Lawrence Cortez and Romel Rivera. The duo is starting to make waves in the wine industry with their award-winning label, Corte Riva ( www.corteriva.com ) and were recommended to Romi by Vice Consul Raffy Hermoso of the Philippine Consulate.
The recommendation was well justified. Lawrence and Romel treated the UP alumni (Coring is also an alumna) to a comprehensive and unhurried 2.5 hour wine tour, including wine tasting of the different vintages Corte Riva stored in the cellars of Pride Mountain Winery (another award-winning label where Romel is assistant winemaker).
The duo explained the wine making process and patiently answered the questions of their guests. Lawrence actually invited their visitors for dinner at his home in nearby Santa Rosa but it was respectfully declined due to the dinner reception already planned at the Walnut Creek residence of past president Vangie Poe-Quesada.
That dinner proved to be another eventful affair. Past presidents Minda Azarcon, Letty Figueroa, Jay Castro, Ceny Duldulao, Norma Lacambra, Joe Aliling and, of course, Vangie Quesada led the Berkeley chapter crowd in treating the Abuevas not only to a delicious dinner but to an entertaining impromptu musical presentation as well. The inimitable Mellie Lopez led the Berkeley troop in belting out songs and this was followed by solo numbers by Janine Castillo, Lydia de la Cruz and Vangie Quesada. In fact, Vangie’s husband Primo and son PJ also displayed their ukelele and guitar talents that night.
The evening’s magic so moved Dr. Abueva that he sang his native dialect’s love song, Usuhay, to show his gratitude to his Berkeley hosts as well as his tribute to his wife. As it turned out, the day was not only Coring’s birthday but also the Abueva’s 51st wedding anniversary. The couple acceded to the crowd’s request by gamely rendering their anniversary dance. Alas, the Abuevas couldn’t stay longer as they had a breakfast forum (co-sponsored by UPAANC Berkeley and San Francisco chapters) scheduled the next day at the Philippine Consulate.
Romi took the anniversary couple back to their San Francisco hotel but that did not stop the gang from further enjoying as Letty & Rene Figueroa, Norma & Steve Lacambra, Jay Castro, Zarmi Marasigan and Max Azarcon, among others, sang deep into the night. What a memorable April 21 indeed!