She is one of the women blessed to have aged so gracefully, still a bit feisty and curious about the world outside her home at 88. Estrella, a Spanish name for “star,” shone bright last Jan. 31, when family and friends surrounded her with love on her special day at home.
Estrella Orocio Arguillas was born in the year 1932 in Dansalan, now Marawi City. Her father Diosdado Orocio was a public health nurse and her mother Sinforosa was a public schoolteacher. She had such a keen intelligence, graduating among the top of her class at the Davao City National High School where she is remembered fondly as the girl from Panabo who topped the first year entrance exam among 2,000 applicants. She passed the entrance exam at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.
However, her Pre-Medicine studies were cut short when she met and fell in love with Florio Arguillas, a dashing man from Surigao.
Her daughter Mary Ann, said that integrity and public service are values that her parents instilled when they were growing up. The Arguillas siblings are also very successful professionals in their own field. The eldest daughter Marilyn is a highly respected medical practitioner at Davao Doctors Hospital; Mary Ann Chua, now based in Singapore was a Philippine diplomat; Mary Jean Caled, Phd, is a consultant at the Asian Development Bank; Mary Carolyn Arguillas is an acclaimed journalist; Florio Arguillas, Phd is a Research Associate at Cornell University in New York; Jesus, and; Jude who is also working at a hospital.
The day was so special as her children who are based in New York, Singapore and Manila came to spend time with her.
“I never expected that many of my friends would come,” Estrella, who was beautifully coiffed for the occasion, said.
This was possible after the celebration was moved to lunch instead of the usual dinner to enable her friends, one of them who was 93 years old, to come and join the party. Her friends from Church serenaded her with her favorite songs bringing all the guests down memory lane.
After she availed of early retirement when she turned 62, she had her hands full in civic and religious activities as member of the Legion of Mary and helping with other charitable works. Later, she took on hobbies and was hooked for a while on Youtube and Adult Coloring Books. Now, she has coined the word “laaging” to mean a spin around the city to see new sights and structures.
Dr. Marilyn said she is amazed at her mom’s sharp mind. When she goes out for “laaging,” she knows exactly the location of where they are, or what direction they were going.
Just for fun, we searched for the meaning of the name Estrella, and found the description was quite accurate to some degree. Estrella, according to the urban dictionary, means someone who doesn’t pull her punches but is a caring and pure-hearted person – if you get on her good side. She has the biggest heart but it doesn’t show and she can be shy at times.
Estrella Arguillas is so much more. Her brilliance doesn’t fade, rather, it is passed on to her children and grandchildren.