Espina: Lydia’s ‘In My Basket’

·3 min read

LYDIA Dolores Castillo made a mark in the public relations, media communications, travel, tourism and food industries. She was referred to as the “Compleat Woman” because she was a model of motherhood and professionalism. She was a philosophy and letters graduate, cum laude, from the University of Sto. Tomas.

Yes, she happened to be my sister. I didn’t realize the enormous impact she had on people, her friends and peers and how she had won the hearts of some Cebuanos. She attended many special events in Cebu, was PR and Commuication head of Cathay Pacific, attended many University of San Jose-Recoletos and Zonta musicales and wrote a sought-after cookbook, “In My Basket,” Books 1 and 2. She taught cooking lessons in Maya’s kitchen with peer Nora Daza.

During her early media practice, Lydia was assistant society editor in Philippines Herald, columnist of “In My Basket” for Philippine Star, for many years. She had developed friendships with media peers in Cebu like Nelia Neri, Mayen Tan, Flor Ynclino, Honey Loop, Jimmy Picornell and Chinggay Utzurrum. Lydia visited numerous department supermarkets and markets, like Carbon, to survey food costs for her weekly columns. She conferred with food gurus Lita Urbina, Tina Ebrada and Jessica Avila about Cebu’s specialties and wrote about Cebu’s leading hotels, beach resorts and in many restaurants. She became immersed in the Cebuano culture.

Amazing how Lydia’s college and media friends across the globe remained close to her until her last breath.

I would like to share some Facebook messages from Lydia’s peers and friends and relatives:

Charisse Chuidian: “Lydia Castillo, ‘Liding’ to many, will forever be in my heart. Your passing is a great loss to the PR and travel industry that held you in high esteem.”

Thelma Sioson San Juan, lifestyle editor, Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Lydia, you were a constant part in our lives. We will miss you, Liding, a true friend, my idol of a power career woman, a consummate cook, columnist, most of all, a ‘quintessential’ mother. She was marketing head of Cathay Pacific feared by even its Eton-educated GMs, and also must be the first career woman I saw doing airports, in her very high stilettos, as she shuttled to HK in a day, or bring media to US, European jaunts. On our very hectic LA trip, she took time to search for the right Mikasa basketball for an athletic daughter. Until two years ago, she’d send her specialty, stuffed chicken, to my boys. Thank you, Liding for the way you cared for us and made us happy. We shall have you in our prayers constantly, the way you were a ‘constant’ light in our lives.”

Joel Rama Del Prado, restaurateur: “Rest in peace, legendary food writer Lydia D. Castillo, writer of “In My Basket.” Our deepest condolences to her sister, Dr. Milagros C. Espina and to the bereaved family.”

Carmita Francisco: “Lydia and I shared some travel experiences, including Cebu. A pleasure to work with her.”

Blanche Gallardo: “Didi and I had long been friends and it was not easy for me to break the news of her demise to others.”

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