In the ancient days, before email and social media, we had penpals -- strangers from other countries we exchanged handwritten or typed letters with via snail mail. I myself had two, a girl from Japan and a boy from Sweden. We went as far as sending pictures and exchanging stamps for our respective collections, but both correspondence fizzled because I lost interest and stopped writing back. Not so Rey de la Cruz, who carried on a penpal friendship with a woman from Finland named Satu, for 51 years. In "Dear Satu: Letters Tell the Story of Our Lives," Rey tells us how he and Satu finally met and became even closer friends. They now exchange emails, although occasionally, for old times sake, they would switch back to air mails. A heartwarming story of a lasting friendship that only few can manage.

Another Hometown story, this time about San Juan, Metro Manila where Dr. Senen "Sonny" Siasoco grew up in his physician-grandfather's house across the street from the famous Pinaglabanan monument. As he narrates in "My Lolo's House," their balcony was where Philippine presidents spoke from during the annual commemoration rites. The house held some other attractions and historic provenance, that Dr. Siasoco humorously shares. 

Our feature last week on Nora Aunor triggered some where-are-they-now questions on social media. So if you're wondering what has happened to Hilda Koronel, Boots Anson-Roa and songstress Becca Godinez, the answer as provided by contributor Cathy Sanchez Babao is: they're all happily married and in love. Here are some Read Agains:

Second Springs

That's Amore

And, in case you missed them, here are some links to interesting stories from various publications, to keep you In The Know: 

The silent hero behind the Philippines' case vs China

Sacramento district can’t find enough teachers, so it turns to Philippines for help

How the Philippines managed to lose a potential world chess champion in Wesley So

Inside The Mind Of The Young CEO Who Introduced The Break-Up Leave

These Michael Cinco Gowns Are So Unbelievably Pretty, They Left Us Totally Speechless!

Our Happy Home Cook recipe this week is a favorite merienda fare, Ginataang Mais from Judy Ann Santos' cookbook.

And for our Video of the Week: the Guardian UK reports on Filipina domestic workers being abused by their employers in London and the women's efforts to organize.


Gemma Nemenzo

Editor, Positively Filipino