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(© 2017 Journal GlobaLinks)


CHICAGO (JGL) — When Tom Hanks quoted his mother in the movie, Forrest Gump, saying, “My mom

always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.” 

This was also how Chicago, Illinois resident but Daraga, Albay, and Philippine-born Marlon L. Pecson felt when he accepted the invitation of his niece to get out of Chicago and attend her wedding in Baldwin, New York last week. 

When Marlon called up his long-time friend, Filipino American businesswoman Loida Nicolas Lewis that he will be in New York, New York for a few days, Ms. Lewis without batting an eyelash invited Marlon and members of his family over to drop by her East Hampton, New York estate.


OLD FRIENDS Loida Nicolas Lewis and Marlon L. Pecson had a reunion last week when she invited last week his family in her posh mansion at East Hampton, New York. (JGL Photo courtesy of Marlon L. Pecson)

Speechless for a moment as he could not believe that his family would be entertained in a posh residence that sits on 5.89-acre (2.4-hectare) gated community overlooking the Atlantic Ocean by a very busy host, Marlon gingerly accepted the invitation. 

East Hampton is a fashionable enclave that is also home to some Hollywood celebrities of the likes of Robert De Niro, Sean “P Diddy” Combs and Jerry Seinfeld. 

One writer (Julie Zeveloff) said during “the dead of summer, New York’s A-list has decamped to Long Island’s East End to beat the August heat,” making East Hampton as “one of the most desirable zip codes among the monied set.”


ATTY. LOIDA NICOLAS Lewis (fifth from left) joins her visitors that include from left Mary Ann Pecson Escobar, Angelita Pecson, Arnel Pecson, Estella Pecson, Rizza Pecson, Aldin Pecson, Alan Pecson and Marlon L. Pecson. At left is the Atlantic Ocean. (JGL Photo courtesy of Marlon L. Pecson) 

Some members of Marlon’s family who attended the wedding of her niece, Marie Angeline Aquino Pecson, a UNICEF employee, to Mark P. Tiongco, a real estate financial advisor, at Coral House Baldwin Freeport, New York, could only gush with excitement at Ms. Lewis’ invitation. Marie is the daughter of Marlon’s elder brother, retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Alan Pecson. 

“It was like a dream for me and I hope I did not wake up. And I am very grateful to Manay (a term of endearment for an elder “sister” in Bikol) Loida for treating us like a family and extending us her hospitality,” Marlon recalled. 

During the time that they were together, Marlon said, both Loida and Loida’s younger sister, Mely Nicolas, the former chair of the Philippine Commission on Filipinos Overseas under the previous Philippine President Noynoy Aquino Administration, told him they are also following political events in their homeland.


ATTY. LOIDA NICOLAS Lewis (extreme right) explains about her observations when she traveled to Cuba to her guests that include Arnel Pecson and Rizza Pecson during the Pecsons’ retreat at the Lewis’ mansion at East Hampton, New York last week. (JGL Photo courtesy of Marlon L. Pecson)

Ms. Lewis described the presence of the Pecsons in her place as a “good visit to renew friendship and amity.” 


So, instead of traveling to the Philippines, Ms. Lewis had ventured to other places, like Cuba, one of the former colonies of Spain that included the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam and were later turned over to the United States for $20-M after the bloodless Spanish-American War. 

In her travel to Cuba, Ms. Lewis learned that as a former Soviet satellite, Cuba was left as an orphan when the Soviet Union fell apart. It lost economic aid from the Soviet Empire even as Cuba faced economic isolation from its former protector, the United States, which readily granted Cuba outright independence after the Treaty of Paris. But the U.S. delayed the grant of Independence to the Philippines although Admiral George Dewey, said Filipinos were "intelligent" and well "capable of self-government."


MARLON L. PECSON (extreme right) gets the attention of the other guests of Attorney Loida Nicolas Lewis during a brunch she tendered in her mansion at East Hampton, New York with Atlantic Ocean at right. (JGL Photo courtesy of Marlon L. Pecson)

Like other colonies of the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam, the U.S. extended its influence over to the Philippines for a time, by converting the Philippines into its Commonwealth but granted it independence in 1946 but with strings attached — establishment of U.S. military bases that were later dismantled by the Philippine Senate in 1992. 

Puerto Rico has remained a Commonwealth while Guam is an unincorporated territory of the U.S. along with Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa. 

In her travel to Cuba, Ms. Lewis learned that without receiving any largess from the once powerful Soviet Union, the Cuban people learned to survive by casting their lot on improving their agriculture farming to become self-sufficient as no other countries, including the U.S., would extend help to their impoverished country.


BRIDE MARIE ANGELINE Aquino Pecson (right) exchanges marriage vows with the groom Mark Peter Tiongco during their wedding last week at Coral House Baldwin Freeport, New York. Ms. Pecson is the niece of Marlon L. Pecson, who was invited by Ms. Loida Nicolas Lewis, to visit her mansion at East Hampton, New York. Ms. Pecson, daughter of retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Alan Pecson, is a UNICEF employee while Mr. Tiongco is a Real Estate Financial Advisor. (JGL Photo courtesy of Marlon L. Pecson)

Turning into organic farming with the use of insects that eat other insects and the plants attracting insects and using them as fertilizers, like worms and animal manure, the Cuban farmers were able to turn things around and become self-sufficient in food, and enjoy free universal health care and free education.


THIS OCEANFRONT Estate in East Hampton Village in New York is owned by Filipino American Loida Nicolas. There are five structures on the property, including a main house with seven bedrooms, an adjacent cottage with three bedrooms and ocean views  (Photo posted on the Internet)

Perhaps, I can ask my friend, President Rody Duterte’s Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol to ask the Philippine Embassy in Cuba to give him some ideas how Cuba’s agriculture powered Cuba to self-sufficiency that Mr. Pinol can replicate in the Philippines.

The Pecsons are descendants of the pioneering first Philippine woman Senator, suffragette, Geronima T. Pecson. (Contact reporter: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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