BY: Pilar Mateo


“My Ate asked me if she was dying that’s why the HAPPY 66th BIRTHDAY flowers I sent were so over the top? Bago kayo totally ma weird sa ‘min, people who know my Ate & me intimately are used to the fact na we can discuss our deaths matter of factly- siguro coping mechanism na lang namin. (Tomorrow August 18 is her actual birthday.) And she asked why 4 arrangements? Was it because there were now 4 of us?

“I sent her another gift that shall remain private between us, i am posting the flowers because I had ordered them from my supplier and they arrived Saturday. Sheryl, owner of @59.flowercafe kept them refrigerated and fresh para mahatid this afternoon before curfew. I am so grateful because I gave such specific instructions about the emotions I wanted the flowers to express and Zach and the team achieved them so creatively.

“The sudden death of our brother profoundly changed me- it made me VALUE my FAMILY even more.

“I love all my sisters, BUT my Ate and I have a hard to explain bond, siguro because for me SHE keeps my mom’s memory alive- sya yung parati kong kakampi, everyday no fail she checks on me, instinctively knows when something is not quite right, and I feel I can (and I do) tell her EVERYTHING because SURE ako she’ll try her best to still understand and continue to LOVE me regardless of my imperfections. So to the world’s BEST ATE- I love you with all my heart and on a day I really didn’t want you to feel sad (even though i know we all still are) I’m glad I made you feel just how much you are #LOVED. 💛”

Death. Birth. The talks in Pandemic. Through Flowers.



FROM Congressman Alfred Vargas. A very sweet message to his Amore Yasmine and their kids.

“Ano kaya talaga ang feeling ng mga anak natin ngayong lumalaki sila at nagkakamalay in the context of the pandemic? Nakakulong sa bahay, walang kalaro, no face-to-face social interaction.

“Just like many other parents, Yasmine and I try our best to figure out how to deal with the present challenges and try to become the best mom and dad possible. Most of the time, we’ve got lots of questions too and are not sure what to do.

“We don’t know what the future will bring and how long this pandemic will last. We just confidently trust that as long as you fill the home with love and your support group of family and friends are there (even through zoom), and never lose faith in the Lord, everything will be alright.

“Lord, thank you for your unconditional love. Thank you for all the blessings. Thank you for the protection.





And Yasmine’s feelings for her Alfred.

“I’m proud of you, Mio Amore: for graduating in two of the most prestigious schools in the Philippines, Ateneo (AB MEco ‘02) and UP (MPA ‘21); for your never-ending craving for knowledge and improvement; for your determination in finding time to study and attending your class in UP NCPAG at night after a long day’s work just to get your master’s degree.

“I’m proud of you for being one of the top of your class even with your tight and unforgiving schedule. Naalala ko lagi ka kinakabahan before ng exams mo pero laging uno ang grades mo (GWA: 1.15).
As you always say, “Pag gusto may paraan, pag ayaw may dahilan”.

“I’m proud of you for being a good actor with “best actor” awards under your belt but instead, chose to, at the prime of your career, selflessly leave to help others in need and devote your life to public service, work hard, and inspire young ones reach their dreams.

“I’m proud of you for being a good provider to our family. For sacrificing your wants to give our children a comfortable and secured life. I’m proud of you because I know that our children will always be your first priority. Never mo sila pababayaan.

“I’m proud of you for loving and respecting your family. For not being gimikero. For not drinking and smoking. For not having any bad habits and for always leading by example.

“Alexandra and Aryana are very lucky to have you as their dad as they will always know how a real man should treat them.
And Cristiano will know how a real man should be to his family and others.

“For me, you’re the pinakamatalinong taong nakilala ko, pinaka mahusay, at masipag na public servant, masunurin na anak, maalagang kapatid, mapagmahal na asawa at ama.

“We love you! Congratulations mio Amore.”


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