Scene city | Bonding with friends from ZONTA Club CDO 2

IT HAS been more than 50 years when my friend Marinela “Girlie” Neri Velez started our friendship. We were classmates at the Philippine Women’s University in Manila taking up Communication Arts, a pioneering course offered by PWU in the 60’s. After we graduated from college, she left the country to work with Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, California for more than 20 years and became an American citizen. She worked with familiar names from Hollywood like Mae West, Sean Connery, John Travolta, Robert Redford, Rock Hudson and lots of names we can hardly remember.

LUNCH at Rekado with Marinela “Girlie” N. Velez, Jocelyn “Joy” Velez, Marilyn Roque and Virginia “Vinny” N. Veloso

LUNCH at Rekado with Marinela “Girlie” N. Velez, Jocelyn “Joy” Velez, Marilyn Roque and Virginia “Vinny” N. Veloso

After she retired, she went home to Cagayan de Oro. She was elected President of the Zonta Club CDO 2 in 2000-2002 and again in 2016. During that time she requested this writer to accompany Corazon Malanyaon to their event as Keynote Speaker, and also Irene Santiago for the next term to be their guest speaker.

Between these occasions, Marinela, “Girlie” to her close friends would travel to places outside the Philippines like Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Morocco, Kazakhstan, and the rest of the former Soviet Republic. Because she has traveled to more than 140 countries and counting, she has become a member of the Century Club, with only 200 members all over the world. Girlie confides, she loves to watch operas, the reason she goes to watch them whenever she has the chance to go.

JOY Velez tries on the beaded necklace at the Aldevinco Shopping Center

JOY Velez tries on the beaded necklace at the Aldevinco Shopping Center

Girlie came to Davao with Zonta Club CDO 2 Vice-President elect, Virginia “Vinny” Veloso, a close friend of this writer, and whom we met years back when she attended a birthday celebration of her niece. Vinny was a government scholar at MSU and studied BS Biology. She said she was a pampered student given tuition, allowance and dormitory for free. Vinny has unforgettable memories of Yarra Valley in Melbourne, Australia, where she rode a Hot Air Balloon.

VIRGINIA “Vinny” N. Veloso, Vice President-elect of Zonta Club CDO-2

VIRGINIA “Vinny” N. Veloso, Vice President-elect of Zonta Club CDO-2

Jocelyn “Joy” Velez, another active member of Zonta also travels with her cousin Girlie. Joy Velez graduated from Xavier University and finished a degree in BSBA, major in Economics. Joy loves to watch bullfights in Spain. She has been to Madrid, Barcelona, Lucerne in Switzerland, a place which she loves.  These three women would travel to Davao by land from Cagayan de Oro City, shop at Aldevinco Shopping Center. At one time, they bought malongs. At another, it was trunks from Lanao inlaid with nacre and this time, they shopped for pearl bangles, necklaces and more pearls!

MARINELA “Girlie” N. Velez, former Zonta Club CDO-2 President

MARINELA “Girlie” N. Velez, former Zonta Club CDO-2 President

As Zonta Club CDO 2 active members, they had a Joint celebration of UN Day last year with Soroptimists of CDO. Their programs include Anti-Poverty, Anti-Human Trafficking and partner with Visayan Forum. They have outreach activities with the Pre-School Day Care Center. Included in their outreach are the Women of Mambuaya in a program dubbed TISAKA.

We look forward to their next visit to Davao as they had only three days which were not enough to see the tourist spots we wanted to show them.

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