Finding bliss amid the crisis
the three years since she left the US to retire in the Philippines, she has enjoyed countless mornings like this. Some mornings she wakes up with the sunrise; other mornings, she wakes up a little later to relax by the pool or just walk around, while enjoying Shell Residence’s breathtaking hotel-like feel. It’s freedom she savors at this stage in her life – freedom after decades of working in New York City’s corporate jungle. “It was my son-in-law who told me about this place,” she says. “‘Ma, it’s like your New York City home. Everything is so close!” he said to her. When Mrs. Crisostomo saw the unit for herself, she fell in love with the majestic view of MOA’s “globe” from the balcony. It was a whirlwind romance and like a woman smitten by her first love, she didn’t let go. She decided to make Shell her home. Located within walking distance to the Mall of Asia, the MOA Arena, MOA convention center, a chapel, restaurants, five-star hotels, government offices, groceries, movie houses, and transport hubs, her Shell Residences home places her at the center of everything she needs. “You want to know where my clinic is? It’s right there across the street. That’s where I have my regular check-ups. The grocery? It’s a 5-minute walk. Everything is within reach here.” Her life in New York as a real estate professional meant getting acclimated to the culture of walking, particularly around 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan, her place of work. “When I was in New York, I loved being the tour guide and taking my tourist friends around for a walk. I do the same thing here. I take them around.” In her neighborhood, she watches concerts at the MOA Arena and walks home past midnight. “I watched Jokoy’s show and walked home at 1 am ... alone. Can you imagine that? A 73-year old walking alone at night? That’s how safe it is here.” “This is the best place to be locked down in,” she says. “It’s very secure here because of the property management. Besides, most of what I need is close by. Everything is right here.” Mrs. Crisostomo’s unit is a one-bedroom affair. Though she lives alone, she is never proverbially lonely. “I have so many friends here and they also live in SMDC condominiums.” With friends residing in Quezon City, Makati, and as far as Tagaytay, and relatives in Cavite—that’s where her roots are – Mrs. Crisostomo is happy that her place is a convenient take-off point for those places. Before the Covid-19 pandemic reached this country, they would meet up in each other’s condos and go on food binges either in their condominiums or in nearby restaurants. But the mandatory quarantine has prevented them from going out these days. Her children, all based in the US, feel secure knowing that she lives in a safe and well-maintained place with everything around her and with friends who take care of her and make her enjoy life to the fullest. Her children have units at Shore and Sea Residences, so she would oftentimes participate in The Good Guys activities in those residences. That’s how she found her MOA friends, composed of residents of Shell, Sea and Shore Residences. Her vibrant, youthful aura and her carefree attitude probably come from her friendships with women and couples younger by a decade or two. In their pre-Covid lives, they would go on hikes to Benguet or engage their bedtime conversations during their out-of-town trips. She is open to people and to new experiences. Together with her MOA friends, she climbed up the 700 steps of Mount Tapyas in Coron.
She danced in her youth and traveled around the world, watched Broadway shows in the Big Apple and provided a bright future for her children. She has many friends and continue to make new ones. She reflects on the seven decades of her life: “Life has to be enjoyed. Value whatever is left in your days because life is very short. I would never have imagined I would reach this age.” It is a philosophy that only a few have had the privilege to practice.
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