From left, Joey Arena and Concepcion Arena, Kevin and Lourdes Bell, Jocelyn and Edwin Ochoa, Joseph Arena, Rosie Bernal, Puring dela Rosa, Luz Ramos, Ceny Perez, Lily Rivera, Andy Dela Rosa, and Cora and Dr. Carlos Las Marias.  (All photos by Joe Valdez)

Rosalinda “Rosie” Bernal was given a wonderful birthday party that she won’t soon forget.

Hosted by her children Jocelyn Bernal-Ochoa of New York, Concepcion Bernal-Arena of New Jersey and Lourdes Bernal-Bell of Arizona, she was feted to an afternoon soiree at the Sheraton LaGuardia in Flushing, Queens on Aug. 6 in advance of her actual birth date on Aug. 26.

There were a little more than 80 guests, including close family members, former co-workers and some community leaders who have been close friends of Rosie for many years.

Some are the godparents of her children.

After a sumptuous lunch which included a lechon for the celebration, there was a special line dance hour hosted by Noel Gamboa (Mr. Pinoy Line Dance) and here favorite DI Michael Reyes and DJ Mobile East.

Guests and family members, including the younger generation, did not leave the dance floor open.

Special song numbers were rendered by one of Rosie’s grandnephew from Canada, Alphonso Manalo, and locally from New York, a charming grandniece Ella Ramos.

Sons-in-law Edwin Ochoa, Joey Arena and Kevin Bell along with brother Andy dela Rosa and brothers-in-law Mike Rivera and Rollie Perez and Dr. Carlos Las Marias took turns to dance with the celebrant to the tune of Staying Alive and The Way you Look tonight.


Community leaders. Standing, l.-r.: Gene and Nene Salle, Jess and Beth Atencio, Juliet Payabyab, Rosie Bernal, Vangie Lazaro, Ner Martinez, and Gay and Zol Atencio. Seated, l.-r.: Arnie and Juliet Rosario, and Cora and Reuben Seguritan.

When the guests were not on the dance floor, they were delighted to pose for their keepsake photo at the Octo PhotoBooth, a business of her son-in-law Edwin.

But the highlight of the afternoon was the presentation of eight red roses for each decade of her life by her five sisters (Puring dela Rosa, Luz Ramos, Lily Rivera, Ceny Perez and Cora Las Marias), her brother Andy and her daughters.

Her one and only grandson Joseph Arena lit the candle for his only living grandmother.

As Rosie gave her thanks to all her guests, it was clear that each person in the room was not just a guest but was a part of her extended family.

Reaching a milestone year is a blessing, but being able to celebrate in this grand fashion with all her siblings was truly an unforgettable afternoon.

The soiree ended with an impromptu rendition of Magandang Gabi by daughter Jocelyn with her dancing sisters and aunts.

Rosalinda “Rosie” Bernal was a former President of the Filipino American Women’s Club of New York.


Rosie and her family.

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