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"The Lady With A Big Heart"


When she was still in the prime of her health, Mrs. Leticia Gonzales-Tenazas, was a big asset and live wire in all the organizations that she was in.  She was always in full support to whatever projects or activities were being undertaken by the organizations not only in terms of time and energy but in logistics as well.  That’s the reason why she was well-loved and respected by her peers.  She was not only dedicated to the service of the organization but she’s a lady with a big heart.

This is proven by the many well-wishers who troop to her residence every year to greet her on her birthday from early morning until night.

A workaholic, Letty as she is fondly called by her family and friends, could manage to get involved in the various civic and humanitarian activities of her different organizations despite the fact that she had a family business to attend to.

In fact, she has been the treasurer of Damayan-Buluseño, Inc. since its formation in 1981 up to now.  Although, due to her semi-paralyzed body, she has an assistant to do the job for her until her term of office officially expires in 2004.

During the eighties until the mid-nineties, while serving as treasurer of DBI, she held the same position also at the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) of St. Francis Parish in Paco, Manila and the Philippine Organization of Private Employment Agencies (POPEA) where her agency, the Mutual Employment Agency, is a member.  For four years, she was the Regent of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate (DMI) of Intramuros, Manila and became the Hermana of the Manila Cathedral.

In all these organizations, Letty had contributed a lot to the success of their projects.  Mr. Rogelio F. Fuentes, DBI President, who had been with her since the start of the association said that without her, Damayan-Buluseño would not have attained the stature that it has now.

She was instrumental in getting the approval of the Rector of the Manila Cathedral for its use in the monthly mass for the Buluseños from 1981 until 1996 and the Knights of Columbus from 1997 up to now.

According to Mr. Fuentes, what made him admire her was her readiness to voluntarily shell out her own money whenever the association ran short of funds just to be able to pursue a particular project. Whenever the association holds its fiesta and Christmas celebrations, she wanted lively and colorful presentations like song and dance numbers.  To realize this, she would hire an instructor and dressmaker for the rehearsals and attire of the participants.  She also commissioned a composer for the Damayan-Buluseño Hymn and the song “Bulusan, Bulusan”.

In the early years of the scholarship program of the association, when she felt that the allowance from the sponsors would not be enough for the scholars for every semester, she offered to take care of them until they finish their studies.

When the association was looking for a venue for its headquarters, she offered her office where she also served food for the officers during their monthly meetings. It is also where the members of the choir have been holding their monthly rehearsals with free dinner courtesy again of Mrs. Tenazas.

Knowing that the yearly civic action in Bulusan is meant for the poor, she never missed to give her contribution for the purchase of medicines. In the last CIVAC, she donated a substantial amount to augment the stock of medicines of the association.  She also gave always her donations for the various contests in the Damayan homecoming.  And back home, she never failed to bring gifts for her friends and indigent Buluseños.

To help raise funds for the association, she placed an advertisement of her agency in the bi-monthly issue of the Damayan-Buluseño Gazette.

In her other organizations, she also spearheaded in the distribution of foods and used clothing to poor families in the slum areas in Manila, giving monetary support to the families of prisoners and medical treatment to street children.

Letty is the fifth of the ten children of the late couple, Cirilo Gonzales, Sr. and Marcelina Bailon of Barangay San Isidro but later moved to Barangay Sabang, Bulusan.

A consistent honor student, she finished her course in education from the Philippine Normal College where she was immediately assigned as assistant to the dean of the Home Economics Department.

In 1950, she got married to ship Captain Jose Tenazas, Sr. whom she met while on board the vessel Perla en route to Bulan, Sorsogon from Manila.  Together, they put up the Mutual Employment Agency on V. Mapa St., Sta. Mesa, Manila.

Unfortunately, 22 years after their marriage, Capt. Tenazas succumbed to cardiac arrest leaving behind under her care four children: Lulu or Baby who is now in the US; Jose, Jr. or Boy who manages their employment agency; Jimenez or Jimmy, an accountant in a company in the US; and Cirilo II or Nono, a retired casino supervisor who now operates their agency branch in Pasig City.

To her well-off friends and other people who are puzzled by her exertion of much effort in various charitable activities, she has this ready explanation.  According to her, she believes that everything she has comes from God.  She could not ask for more.  Her children are able and her business has been doing well which she owes much to God.  To appreciate all His goodness is to share what she has with those who are not as fortunate as she is.

Mr. Fuentes has very high regards for her.  On many occasions, he said that if only the many well-placed people around would have the same kind of wisdom as Mrs. Tenazas has, we will have a very peaceful community where no one would think of going up the hills to fight against the government and our society.




Vol. XV No.8 (June - August 2003)

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