Utzurrum: Zontian Elena Chiongbian-Young: A tribute

Chinggay V. Utzurrum
·2 min read

That was quite a sentimental but significant tribute that the Zonta Club of Cebu 2, Arts Council of Cebu Foundation and the Sacred Heart School-Hijas de Jesus Foundation presented to honor dearly beloved Zonta Cebu 2 president Elena Chiongbian-Young, who has gone home to her Eternal Father.

The Zoom program commenced with an introduction by Mae Elaine Bathan, followed by the formal Zonta Prayer by Elsa Basubas. Then vice president Petite Garcia took the floor with the official Zonta Yellow Rose Memorial Tribute—the Rose being a special symbol of the organization. Not a few in the audience were teary-eyed with this portion.

At this point, a memorable Holy Mass was officiated by Msgr. Roberto “Boy” Alesnsa, Elena’s dear friend, who is now assigned at the St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Talisay City, Cebu. Msgr. Boy gave an even more poignant piece, citing her being a woman for others, always!

There were many souvenir photos flashed that elicited again a flood of tears, as members recalled Elena’s various Club activities, numerous travels with family and friends, artistically and lovingly put together by Regal Oliva. But what was truly unforgettable were “true stories” of how Elena touched their lives, expressed by the following Zontians: Chona Tremedal, Nonie Uy, Mayet Malinao, Suan Tiu and Oliva. Even Zontians from Manila, Virma Vergel de Dios and Imelda Gomez, joined the journey.

There was also Jane Panganiban and Vivien Go-Luzurriaga from Bacolod, who gave their piece.

The highlight was the launch of the Elena Chiongbian-Young Alimbukad Book Fund. The Alimbukad Book Reading project was introduced by Suan Tiu, to train barangay children to be proficient in English reading skills, which became close to Elena’s heart. With the book fund, books were guaranteed, making Elena’s memory live forever, said Vivien Seno.

After this, doting daughter Joan Young-Tiu gave the family’s response to the moving tribute. The “In Memoriam” ceremony ended with closing remarks by incoming president-elect, Biennium 2022-2024, Filna Daphne Espina. Also, profuse thanks to supportive Zontians, Margot Larrañaga and Dr. Tremedal, for their valued inputs in this article.

My message: Dearest Elena, A Woman for Others, may your spiritual assets of generosity, kindness and trustworthiness, coupled with profound leadership skills, be a legacy, not only to Zonta, but to the world. Dedicated wife and mother, may you rest in the bosom of the Lord. Amen.