CULTURAL POTPOURRI| Godspeed, Mamerta Antonietta Ebro-Quintos (1936-2017)

     IT WAS BY the end of October when tita Toni gave me a surprise call to greet me a happy birthday. For the first time ever, she was a month delayed in greeting me. Tita Toni ended our rather long conversation telling me, “I love you, Mike. Please take care of your brothers and sisters. Do take care of yourself.” Little did I know that that was going to be my last conversation with my favorite aunt. Mamerta Antonietta “Toni” Ebro-Quintos, the youngest Davaoena daughter of 2001 Datu Bago Awardees Dr. Jose Militante Ebro and nurse Mamerta Romana-Ebro, passed away from this earth on December 4, 2017.

MAMERTA Antonietta Ebro-Quintos (1936-2017)

MAMERTA Antonietta Ebro-Quintos (1936-2017)

Tita Toni was my mom’s beloved youngest sister. My dad adored her and once commented that tita Toni radiated selfless love for others because she was secure with herself of being loved in the first place. She was my surrogate mother when I studied in Manila for college. Tita Toni was my favorite aunt and I, with her sincere declaration, was the favorite nephew. “Among mom’s sisters, tita Toni was the most lovable. She was the sweetest person with the most likeable factor,” described my sister Diday of our beloved aunt.

MICHAEL Ebro Dakudao at the wake at the Manila Memorial Park’s Rizal Premier Chapel in Sucat, Parañaque

MICHAEL Ebro Dakudao at the wake at the Manila Memorial Park’s Rizal Premier Chapel in Sucat, Parañaque

This wonder woman, who I will never forget, was ever ready with her comforting motherly embraces and kisses when my parents passed away. She assured us that things would be okay; and to always trust in the Lord to guide us through the darkest moments of our lives. She was right.

JOAQUIN Ebro Quintos, IV, delivering his eulogy

JOAQUIN Ebro Quintos, IV, delivering his eulogy

The bright tita Toni, the concert pianist of the Ebro family, was a magna cum laude graduate with a BS Accounting degree from the St. Theresa’s College of Manila. She got married at the age of 21 to Joaquin “Chito” Quintos, III, of Manila. Tito Chito, himself, was a suma cum laude graduate of Chemical Engineering from the De La Salle University. His grandfather, Dr. Joaquin Quintos, Sr. was the Commonwealth era physician of President Manuel Quezon; while his dad, Dr. Joaquin Quintos, Jr., was among De La Salle’s first school physician. It is no wonder that generations of Quintoses are products of La Sallian education.

JACKY Ebro Quintos

JACKY Ebro Quintos

“Mom came from a family that enjoyed the comforts of life being the ‘baby’ of her father. The picture of contrast couldn’t have been more vivid when the refined baby of the family, a very young bride with very little skills, was suddenly thrust into a simple life in a tiny town in Cebu called Toledo with her prince charming. Dad at that time was hired as a chemical engineer by Atlas Fertilizer and his job, along with a few other young engineers, was to build a fertilizer plant from absolutely nothing, which by the way, aptly described Toledo then…Mom had to learn how to cook by herself; and she didn’t have the skills. She loved dad and she was willing to go to great lengths to learn so she could be a good wife. Later on in life, everybody would be raving about mom’s cooking,” narrated Joaquin “Jajo” Ebro Quintos, IV, the eldest son.

LUCY and Susan Ebro Pelayo

LUCY and Susan Ebro Pelayo

Tita Toni was also a loving daughter. When my lola Ebro got sick in her old age, she lived with tita Toni in their small house in San Miguel Village in Makati even if the other Ebro siblings in Manila live in much bigger and more comfortable houses in more affluent subdivisions in Makati. Tita Toni was such a devoted daughter showering lola with a lot of love and tender loving care until lola passed away. As a sister and sister-in-law, she was always the calm and “malambing” one who knew how to handle the kind of chaos brought about by alpha females who had very strong opinions and were never shy in expressing them. What was important to tita Toni was bringing everybody whom she loved in peace and harmony together. “I think this was the skill that made her particularly well loved and always remembered with fondness by her siblings and in-laws,” claimed Jajo.

Joaquin Quintos III leads his family in prayers

JOAQUIN Quintos III leads his family in prayers

“As a niece, what I remember the most about tita Toni was her gentle kindness and her instinctive generosity. We experienced this throughout our childhood. I recall with fondness how her home was welcoming to one and all and more so when she moved to a bigger house later on in faraway Ayala Alabang; and she was very generous with the good food she prepared herself. What great appetites we all had and we thoroughly enjoyed tita Toni’s well-loved cooking. And she would always take the time out to sit with us kids and inquire how we were doing in school. She’d tell us about our other Ebro cousins to make sure that we remained connected with each other. She knew how to boost our ego and cheer for us to do good in whatever we do. This was how she showed us her special brand of lambing,” mentioned Mariles Ebro-Matias.

RJ Ebro Quintos blesses his mom’s remains

RJ Ebro Quintos blesses his mom’s remains

As a devoted mother, tita Toni was a picture of perseverance and discipline. “Good enough wasn’t good enough for her. It had to be perfect. As our earliest tutor, mom was relentless and tireless. She would do anything and go to great lengths for her children. I think she was the only parent who was at the library more often than the students. She would go to the library so she was ready when she tutored us at the end of the day for homeworks. She would also talk to our teachers quite often and had befriended them well enough such that future lesson plans were shared with her…Mom demanded much from us but gave so much love in return,” revealed Jacky Ebro Quintos whose daughter, Denise, gave tita Toni her first granddaughter named Alessa whom she adored.

“Mom, towards the latter part of her life, would always remind us of our responsibility towards others, especially those closest to us; and those that have the least in life…We will always remember mom with much love and affection. And the best way for us to honor her would be to live by the values she had so unselfishly shared with us,” said Jajo as he ended his eulogy.

FUNERAL mass at the lower chapel of St. James the Great in Ayala Alabang

FUNERAL mass at the lower chapel of St. James the Great in Ayala Alabang

My deepest sympathies to those left behind by tita Toni in sorrow namely tito Chito; Jajo and Chicky; Jacky and Cecile; Coriche; and RJ and Donna. May tita Toni rest in everlasting peace and love. I will miss you so much, tita Toni. And I love you dearly.

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