a few days ago, tita vicky passed away after a long bout with cancer. she died fully aware of how she was deeply cared for. at calvary hospital, her closest family members and friends took turns in looking after her. in particular, tita melinda tria-kerkvliet and tita medina pawley were frequently by her side, always cheering her on. when tita vicky moved on, hundreds of people turned up for her final rites at st. joseph’s church in o’connor. this year’s pabasa at lydia pattugalan’s residence is particularly meaningful because many of us are commemorating lent for the first time without tita vicky.
i have seen how tita vicky kicked herself into the upliftment of many philippine lives in canberra. unfailingly, she picked up students to and from toad hall during philippine studies group (p.s.g.) lectures. the evening before each lecture, she would prepare something ilocano for the potluck eating sessions. she would be the first one to whip up an extra dish during possibilities of a food shortage. she was always ready to impart strength and confidence to desolate-looking filipinos adjusting to the slow turn of events in canberra. she was mother hen, auntie, sister, cheerleader and grand alalay to many of us here.
i miss tita vicky because there are very few people of her kind in this world. she didn’t seek the limelight and she didn’t take herself seriously. but perpetually, she was always thinking about initiatives in order to uplift the state of things around her without causing too much fanfare.
i have been fortunate to witness replications of tita vicky elsewhere. many of these replications involved filipino women. just like tita vicky, these women were always ready to serve their families, friends and communities with intensity and commitment.
but i always remember tita vicky because she was uniquely devoted as tito doug's wife, breadwinner to her immediate family back in pangasinan, sister to tita melinda and tita medina and surrogate mother to many pinoy students here in canberra. in style, she has asserted the specificities of her subject-position as a filipino-australian woman.
a class act. that's my tita vicky.