Former Congresswoman of the Fourth District of Pangasinan Gina de Venecia had a post-birthday celebration on March 9 at the Sampaguita Gardens in Quezon City. It was literally a red-letter day for Manay Gina, as she is fondly called, and all the attendees who all came wearing the scarlet color.
“For success and good life,” she teased.
In her speech, Manay Gina enthused that her heart is filled only with gratitude. “I thank the Lord for the gift of life and for all the blessings that He has been giving me all these years.” Thus, instead of enumerating her wishes, she shared to her guests, the secret that makes her the survivor that she is today.
My safe haven,” she said, “is my idyllic childhood. It is my special anchor. So, when storms came into my life, and in times when my dreams crumbled before my eyes, what helped me pull myself together was that anchor. I hold on to the happy memories of that special place, where I was truly cared for—my happy childhood.”
She furthered, “Love your children with all your heart while they are little. So, even if you toss them into the ocean, they will float and still be whole.”
Manay Gina’s guest list reflected her ideal life, from childhood friends like Marideee Chanyungco-Rodriguez, to her classmates at Assumption Convent led by SM’s Tessie Coson, her former allies in Congress and at the Congressional Spouses Foundation, the INA group led by Ali Sotto and Dra. Honey Carandang, her leaders and constituents in Pangasinan led by Dagupan City Mayor Belen Fernandez, former stars of Sampaguita Pictures, former DSWD chief Dinky Soliman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, among others.
Also in attendance were her children Vivian and Dennis Garcia; Carissa and Juju Evangelista, Philip Cruz and Representative Christopher de Venecia. The audio-visual presentation during the dinner also showed taped greetings from Vice President Leni Robredo, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Kris Aquino.
Gina and Jose de Venecia Jr. also known as JDV and Gina’s daughter Vivian Garcia did prepare a special message. In her prayer, she said: I’m sure our father (JDV) will agree with us when we say, “Tita Gina, you are a unique and irreplaceable individual. No person can fulfill the special role our God has entrusted to you.”
Manay Gina is credited for having founded, four national charitable institutions—The Haven for Women, The Haven for Children, The Haven for the Elderly and INA Healing Center. At present Manay Gina is busy in her new movement, Inang Mahal that pushes for the welfare of all mothers in the country.
To you Manay Gina, may you continue to share your blessings!