Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Leilani A. Sitoy Nodado, in memoriam

April 19, 1966 – November 18, 2007

Leilani, whose specially chosen name means ”heavenly garland” in Polynesian, was born in Dumaguete City on April 19, 1966. As a toddler, she was called Len-len, while the name she chose for herself was Lani. Later she was affectionately known to her friends by other names, but her father and mother have a special name only for her, which is “Langgà,” from “Palanggà” (or “dearly loved one”).

A child with a happy and sunny disposition, the house constantly rang with her pattering feet and laughter. Her first intelligible utterance, at eleven months, was not one word but a complete sentence: “Ants in the ‘mok’ (milk) bottle.” Curious by nature and constantly seeking to know, she marveled at the natural things around her and asked such intriguing questions as, “Why was I born? Where did I live before?” When her younger sister Bing came, three-year-old Lani’s spontaneous response was to be most protective, most caring, and most loving. The ideas and principles that shaped her life were those that she learned from her father and mother, from the family’s purposefully simple Christian lifestyle, and from family conversations especially during meal time, in reaction to affairs of daily life -- regarding what is loving and caring, what is right and what is wrong, what is duty and responsibility, what is freedom and tolerance, or what matters most in this world. Given freedom to grow, Lani early ventured into all sorts of activities to develop her talents – story-writing, singing, swimming, dancing, drawing, painting, piano- and organ- playing, dramatics and play production, creative handiwork, etc., which would serve her well in school and in her professional career. By the time she was in high school, Lani had become an accomplished pianist, her favorite pieces being Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune and Christian Sinding’s Rustles of Spring.

Lani, with younger sister Bing constantly tagging along, was a typical Silliman “campus kid”. She studied at the SU Church Nursery School, the SU Kindergarten, the SU Elementary School, the SU High School, the SU College of Arts and Sciences, and the SU Graduate School. In 1978-79 when her family was in the U.S.A. in connection with her father’s sabbatical leave, Lani studied at the Ventnor Middle School in Ventnor, New Jersey. In 1986-92, Lani studied for an M.A. in Psychology at the Ateneo de Manila University, interspersing this with graduate studies in clinical psychology at the College of William and Mary, the “school of early U.S. Presidents,” in Williamsburg, Virginia, U.S.A. in 1987.

Lani was a consistent honor scholar from elementary school to college, receiving Class Honors in 1983, College Honors in 1984 and 1985, and finally University Honors (with scholarship key!) in 1986. A born leader and enabler, she happily entered into a myriad of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, receiving the Sophomore Student of the Year Award in 1984, the Talent Award in 1985, and finally the Most Outstand-ing Silliman Student of the Year Award in 1986. But the thing she loved to do most, whether in high school, college, or professional life, was being the brains, the planner, the organizer, and the director of events and activities, while quietly staying in the background and letting others take center stage.

Lani was also a happy, friendly, and gregarious coed who, as one friend aptly put it, could “also walk the walk and talk the talk.” During her junior and senior years in college, she was Governor of the College of Arts and Sciences and producer and director of the 1985 Miss Silliman Pageant. Along with her University Honors and Most Outstanding Student of the Year awards, she graduated in March 1986 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree, magna cum laude.

In November 1986 she left for Manila to study for an M.A. in Psychology at the Ateneo de Manila University, and worked as a psychometrician at the Central Guidance Bureau at the same university. In 1993 she transferred to Solidbank Corporation, particularly at their Human Resources Development division at their head offices in Makati City. After Solidbank was bought by Metrobank, Inc., Lani was employed in the corresponding division in the Makati head office of Philippine Savings (PS) Bank, subsidiary of Metrobank, Inc. The last rank in PS Bank she held was Senior Assistant Manager, her position being Department Head, Career Management Department, Human Resources Group.

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