Author says life can ‘begin at sunset’

IT must have been providential that this columnist attended the 70th foundation anniversary of Manuel L. Quezon University at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club last November 11.

Ms. Prosy Badiola Montesines, now Mrs. Constante Torrechante, was a journalism classmate under Angel Anden and Joe Quirino.

By the way, Prosy and this classmate were recipients ahem… ahem … of a special award along with 70 Prominent Quezonians led by Ricardo C. Puno, Sr., Manuel R. Pamaran, Martin B. Isidro, Artemio G. Tuquero, Lilia B. De Lima, Wigberto E. Tanada, Rosalynda D. Baldoz, Pete S. Principe, Reynaldo V. Umali, Efren R. Abueg, Leonardo A. Quisumbing, Silvestre H. Bello III, Roberto M. Pagdanganan, David L. Balangue, Rene Sta. Cruz, Lauro Santiago and others.

That event would lead this columnist to a heartwarming discovery of a jewel, an informative but dainty 214-page book “When Life Begins at Sunset,” authored by esteemed classmate (with co-author Bee Badiola Bareng).

Gifted with three kids by first husband, the late Montesines, Prosy now lives with second husband, Constante E. Torrechante, who recently confessed of her being his first love.

First love! This columnist immediately cited the omnipresence of love in the author’s life because readers will surely find out from her book that love in its human and especially spiritual forms would lay the basis for an enjoyable and longer life.

In the Foreword, Alfredo Cortez, Jr., a pastor-teacher of the Church of Hope in Laguna Woods, California, underscores the author’s inspirational role in “providing encouragement and hope for the latter years in a way that very few books are able to do.”

The author who was then smarting from her father’s passing while taking her vacation in Sacramento when she saw a young lad making a wooden toy stand along the shoreline.

The scene, she says, the boy and the sunset – struck her as symbolizing God’s gift of time, “the boy representing vigor, freshness and a dauntless spirit, and the setting sun, life at its brightest coming full circle.”

As she invites the reader to the subject of old age with father who was ill “that provided him with a light that shone upon the gems of love, wisdom and humility,” as he embraced “his suffering almost heroically and in so doing mustered a kind of strength that physical health could not have possibly given him.”

Citing “the common notion that the sun dims itself as it goes down the horizon,” she counters that. . .”the colors of the evening sun are actually more brilliant and spectacular than the yellow rays of the daytime sun.”

The book, which came out in 2014, is published by Light and Lamp Publications, with copies at the National Book Store.

Our friend, Ester G. Dipasupil, PDI night editor, describes the book “a joy to read, extremely informative and inspiring.” Another authority, Becky Pestano-Smith, finds it “timely” citing the author’s skill in “encouraging us to embrace our sunset years with as much aplomb and grace as possible….”

The book has 19 chapters, but what hit us hard was chapter 5, “The Child in Us” on page 65. We have read its condensed version out in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, where the author is a columnist.
She recalls that though already a grandmother, she played patintero with sisters Percy and Nee “running and laughing shamelessly to the delight of the spectators”

lifting a line from our favorite Lebanese writer Kahlil Gibran, “the things which the child loves remain in the domain of the heart until old age.”

Editor Dipasupil cites the author’s “heart-warming vignettes and personal accounts” culled from “tales both local and foreign interviews.”

All the 17 chapters are well written. This columnist warms up to well known world achievers who made their mark in old age, to wit: Michaelangelo at 88 was able to design the church of Santa Marie dagli Angeli. The famous playwright George Bernard Show was still productive at 94. Another George, says the author, actor Burns was still productive in his 80’s.

The Holy Bible’s Moses was 80 and Aaron 83 when God chose them to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Awed by biblical personalities who towered larger than life, the author says “in reality they were also like us. Their stories tell us that in the service of God, there is no limit.”

A few final notes: Prosy and first husband Jose Montesiness III have 3 kids, Mark Andreo, Ivy Regina and Matthew Patrick, and grandkids Iris Grace, Beatrice Faith and Xavier, and last but not least, Mary Missy.

Five years after being widowed in 1989, she married childhood sweetheart Constante Espino Torrechante, a UP math professor and Armed Forces of the Philippines officer. Prosy used to be active as a journalist in the Evening News, and in communications as AVP of Labrador Group, CREBA as magazine editor and was TV show producer, and others like writing a column at PDI.
A fruitful and marvelous life, indeed!