Birthday girl Jojo Zabarte (right) with husband Henry and siblings Louie, Tina and Joey Kierulf
My dear friend Jojo Kierulf Zabarte wanted to turn a year older quietly and without much fanfare. But her nieces, Sharon Kierulf Azanza and Casey Kierulf Marty, had something snazzier in mind when they organized a surprise birthday party for their beloved aunt’s milestone birthday with the entire family in on the big secret –– from her husband Henry, siblings Joey, Tina and Louie Kierulf to the nieces and nephews here and abroad, plus the little Kierulfs who now comprise the third generation.
In order to surprise Jojo, she was told that the family was organizing a “family birthday dinner somewhere at the Fort,” but on the way to the supposed location, she was told that the venue was suddenly changed to Makati at the last minute. The birthday girl was then led to the second floor of Cirkulo where her family and friends had been excitedly waiting. Once the celebrant appeared, the entire room full of almost a hundred guests and family members jubilantly shouted “Happy Birthday!” to a very surprised and stunned Jojo.
During the tail end of dinner, a video presentation created by Jojo’s apos, Dani and Sam Azanza, was presented. The tribute presented pictures of a young Jojo, during her modeling days on Fashion on Wings, with the soundtrack of The Beatles When She Was Just Seventeen playing in the background. The guests enjoyed seeing pictures of the celebrant throughout the years, including her college years in the USA and ending with the footage of Jojo’s various nieces and nephews greeting her and sharing what they love most about their “Tata.” Soon after, Joe Mari Chan, beautifully serenaded Henry and Jojo as they slow danced together with everyone cheering them on.
It has been said that true wealth is counted with the genuine love of family and friends. If that is true, then true richness indeed is what the guests witnessed being expressed throughout the night during Jojo’s birthday celebration. It was a celebration of life and a tribute to a gem of a lady with a heart of gold.
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