PIRES REVIEW 2016
by Benild Pires
From: Ben Pires <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Subject: Seasons Greeting and Pires Review
Laila joins me in wishing you all a joyous holiday season and a prosperous and happy New Year.
We have received an abundance of blessings over the years, particularly from our family members and friends.
One of the great blessings was seeing Brod Boygee Ganza in Toronto in October after many years. Brod Bart Gacad organized the small reunion and we three, with our spouses had a great time. We pray for Brod Boygee's health. Thanks, again, Brod Bart, for this.
We now wish to share with you our 24th edition of our annual 'Pires Review' for the year that is ending.
From: Ben Pires <email@example.com>
Sent: January 8, 2017
Subject: Happy 2017! / Re: Seasons Greeting and
Dear Brod Norman:
Sorry for the delay in responding to your e-mail. Laila and I just returned at 2 a.m. today from Cancun, Mexico, where we spent a week with our family at the all-inclusive Tulum Dreams Resort and Spa.
Brod, you are free to post anything from the Pires Review, but some of the photos are very small because I have a difficult time selecting from the nearly 2,000 that were taken. If you need any specific ones, I can send them to you, or you can use the collages.
Yes, Laila and I have Peru on our bucket list, particularly Machu Picchu,
Yes, brod, the Iguazu Falls are most spectacular. Try to see it from both
the Brazilian and Argentina side. I have now seen the three most famous falls, Niagara, Victoria and Iguazu, and Iguazu is the
Life is short and our objective is to see all the wonders of God’s creations before we pass away. Last week we saw the Mayan wonder at Chichen Itza in Mexico [I posted photos on my Facebook page] and after seeing the Taj Mahal, Ankor Wat, the Great Wall, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids, the Blue Mosque, the great cathedrals in Europe [Vatican, Sagrada Familia and the Place of the Popes], palaces [in Europe, Russia, India, China, Japan], the Rice Terraces of the Philippines, then Machu Picchu is a must.
As per your request, here are some pixs.
With brods Bart Gacad [batch mate] and Boygee Ganza during our reunion in Toronto in October 2016. Boygee rarely goes out because of his health and hearing problems.
The other three photographs were taken this year in Mexico during our family vacation at the all-inclusive Dreams Tutu, Resort and Spa. Laila and I took a tour to Chichen Itza about two hours by bus from Tulum. We visited the El Castillo, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, a Mesoamerican step-pyramid in Chichen Itza in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
It was built by the pre-Columbian Maya civilization between the 9th and 12th centuries CE and served as a temple to the god Kukulkan, the Yucatec Maya Feathered Serpent diety. Nearly 1.4 million tourists visit the Chichen Itza archaeological sites every year.
At Chichen Itza, I got my birthday in the Mayan calendar in the Mayan alphabet and the certification.
About the author, Brod Benild Pires: [provided by Ben]
Brod Benild "Ben" Pires was one of the early U.P. foreign students to join the Beta Sigma fraternity.
He came from India with his parents and two younger sisters to U.P. Diliman in '62 [his dad was assigned to the new UNESCO regional teacher education centre at Diliman] and two years later, while serving his second term as International Club of U.P. president, he joined the fraternity in '64.
He was the fraternity's Master of the Rolls for '65-'66 and The Betan editor for the first semester of '66-'67. He was U.P. Journalism Club president and The Campus Journal editor in '66-'67.
In '66, he was elected as a university councilor of the U.P. Student Council under the Katipunan-Makabansa banner. He chaired the Wenceslao Q. Vinzons Week celebrations in September '66 and was also one of three co-chairs of the council's Loyalty Arbor Day Committee, chaired by Brod Levy J. Del Rosario.
In December '66, he defied a ban by President Ferdinand Marcos to travel to China and led the first U.P. student delegation during China's Cultural Revolution. The next year, he received the Vinzons Leadership Award [honourable mention] from Philippines' House Speaker Jose B. Laurel during the Vinzons Week celebration.
Brod Ben also served as managing editor and columnist of The Philippine Collegian, under Brod Jaime Yambao's editorship, from March to September '67.
He graduated in '68 with a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications and then joined ABS-CBN News as a reporter covering the Department of Foreign Affairs.
In April '69, he married Laila de Lara, a Filipina and a U.P. graduate. Brods Vic Ramos and Jimmy Santos were veil and cord sponsors respectively at the church ceremony.
From July to September '69 he was director/ writer for Project: Encounter of Media Resources Inc., headed by Bong Lapira, and covered the presidential campaigns of Senator Jose Osmena Jr. in and President Ferdinand Marcos travelling with them to Zamboanga and Jolo respectively.
In October '69, Brod Ben and Laila immigrated to Canada.
In Canada, Brod Ben worked as a journalist in Port Alberni and covered the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, the provincial capital, before joining the provincial government in communications and public affairs in '73. He served in various ministries until he retired in '02 after 29 years as a government employee, including two years as Director, Communications, for the XV Commonwealth Games in Victoria in '94.
In Victoria, Brod Ben served as head or a director in many community associations and the Capital Region Hospital and was appointed by cabinet to the Multicultural Advisory Council and the Provincial Capital Commiaaon.
He was named Honourary Citizen of the City of Victoria in November 2000, received the University of Victoria Community Leadership Award in December '03, the Canada Day Award 2000 from Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria and a Lifetime Membership, and the Meritorious Service Award from the Provincial Capital Commission in June '03.
He also received the Award of Excellence for community service from the Beta Sigma Fraternity, University of the Philippines, July '06. He is the only Betan residing in Victoria on Vancouver Island but has served as an advisor to the fraternity's Vancouver chapter in the mainland.
Brod Ben and his wife, Laila, have been active over the years in the pinoy community in Victoria and were the Bayanihan Cultural and Housing Society's founding members. The society acquired a building and opened the Bayanihan Community Centre in Victoria in '01, paid off its mortgage in five years and now Brod Ben is charged with looking at options for expanding the centre to include affordable housing units at the site.
In December '07, he received the Appreciation Award for “many years of dedicated service” to the Victoria Filipino-Canadian Association and the Bayanihan Cultural and Housing Society.
Since '10, he has been involved in training individuals to be community leaders under a program of Leadership Victoria, a non-profit organization. He also co-chairs today the Immigration Advisory Table, of the Local Immigration Partnership that helps news immigrants and refugees settle in Victoria.
Brod Ben and Laila have three children: Karl is a partner in the Tokyo office of the multinational law firm White & Case and is married to Saho, of Japanese ancestry, and they have a daughter, Misha, 12; Jason is sports director/anchor of CTV News in Vancouver; and, Serena is a family physician in Vancouver and married to Amit Ahuja, of Indian ancestry and a radiologist, and they have two children, Kaiya, 7, and Reyan, 5.
Brod Ben and Laila love travelling, particularly with their family.
You can follow Brod Ben on Facebook
and Instagram. His e-mail address is
My trip to China in 1966 as head of U.P. Student Council delegation and our meeting at the
Great Hall of the People with Vice-President and Foreign Affairs Minister Marshall Chen Yi.
At a party hosted by Brod Vic Ramos, 2013.
With my UPD'64 batch mates Jimmy Santos and Jess Abrera.
(Back ---> Travelogue)
(Back ---> Various Chapters)
(Back ---> Current Features)