Today I would like to pay tribute to three women who have, in their own special way, emblazoned a path of service that should inspire the young girls of this generation. In different ways, but with the same purposiveness and commitment, these ladies will be long remembered and admired for what they have done for their home city, Bacolod.
Tomorrow, Bacolod City will bestow honors upon two outstanding women for their admirable accomplishments that have greatly helped in the progress and improvement of the city, and the livelihood of its people. These two women, who, with their family statures and connections, could have opted to live easy and comfortable lives, have chosen to do their best, and make use of the opportunities that came their way, to help their community by undertaking projects that have also helped many to improve their lots in life.
One of them is Lucy Chua Ponce, whose imprint can be seen on so many projects for the community that she herself has probably lost count of them. She is known for activities that have benefitted schools, churches, homes for wayward children, religious orders, and even government projects. Although she is also recognized for being an astute and very successful businesswoman, her concern for those with less in life has always been a hallmark of her activities.
Despite some setbacks, like some illness that she went through some time ago, she has bounced back quickly, no doubt, because of so many people praying for her. A loving and very protective wife and mother, she has also honed her children towards the way she approaches life. Bacolod City is especially grateful to her for the unstinted support she always gives to its programs, be it decorating the plaza for holidays, or enlisting her own staff to help in clean-up drives. Indeed, Lucy Ponce is a very deserving winner of the Banwahanon Award that will be presented tomorrow by Bacolod City.
Also to be awarded the prized Banwahanon Award is Pamela Torre Henares, daughter of a very well-respected family in the city, who is being cited for her leadership in sustainable agriculture, organic farming and solid waste management, fields in which women are ordinarily not expected to excel. But, even with her family background and her upbringing, she has managed to go into such projects and, furthermore, has led others to go into similar ventures.
But, aside from her accomplishments in those areas, she is also a noted administrator, and for many years had headed the family-owned Riverside Hospital, now the Pablo O. Torre Hospital, that she has steered towards its present stature as one of the leading health centers of the region. For this feat, she has also earned the admiration, both of her peers, and of fellow Bacoleños as well.
To these two outstanding ladies, we offer our heartfelt congratulations. May your tribes increase!
On a sad note, however, today we will lay to rest another daughter of Bacolod, who has been an achiever, not only in the local scene, but also in the international and local arena. Milagros Araneta Villasor, one of Bacolod’s foremost beauties, was not only blessed with physical attributes, she was also a brilliant student, and a distinguished civic leader. An honor student since her earliest school days, she also acquired distinctions from a top university in the United States. A mentor, and former national president of such prestigious organizations as the Girl Scouts of the Philippines, Charter governor of Soroptimist International, president of the Court of Appeals Justice Ladies Association, she was also a banker and headed the Rural Bank of San Fernando in Cebu.
Mila, as she was popularly known, left a legacy of public service hard to equal. She was truly an inspiration to her husband, the late Justice Guillermo Villasor, and her children, and even to her friends and co-workers in the causes she supported. She has come home to her Bacolod roots, and will be laid to rest at the Bacolod Memorial Park after a 2 p.m. mass at the UNO-R St. Nicolas of Tolentine Oratory today.
Milagros Araneta Villasor was also a Banwahanon Awardee.*
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