Beautiful in both countenance and in spirit, Chulita Garcia Agbay, whose first name means ""pretty, little girl,"" possessed every good trait.
Chulita was born in La Union, Philippines in 1935. Along with her older sister, Leticia, and her younger brother, Reynaldo, they were Guillerma and Ambrosio Garcia's three children.
In 1964, Chulita married Artemio Palad Agbay, Sr. Their marriage spanned nearly fifty years during which they provided for, protected, and deeply loved their three children: Anthony, Artemio Jr., and Cecile.
Chulita, by nature, was always mindful of the comfort of others. She was a caring wife to Artemio and a nurturing mother to their children. She warmly welcomed Dulce, Anthony's wife, and Keith, Cecile's husband, to the family and regarded them as her own children. She was also an adoring and playful grandmother to Belle, whose own beauty and kindness reflect Chulita's.
Fearless throughout her life, Chulita's biggest and bravest adventure was when she embarked alone on a journey in 1983 from the Philippines and immigrated to Los Angeles, California in order to establish a solid foundation for her husband and children prior to their arrival a few months later.
Alongside her husband, Chulita wanted to ensure that their children could gain access to extensive educational and economic opportunities offered in America-a decision made out of love for their children.
As proponents of education, Chulita and Artemio fostered their children's learning and artistic sensibilities. They arranged for piano lessons and portrait drawing classes for Cecile. Chulita, in particular, helped the children practice their print and cursive handwriting styles, improve their spelling, vocabulary, and reading comprehension skills, enhance their school art projects, learn about U.S. state and world capitals, and she shared examples of the practical applications of mathematics.
Chulita introduced her children to varied experiences and used each one as an opportunity to teach a valuable skill or a memorable lesson. Most notably, she showed her young children how to shop for groceries. The family didn't own a car then, and so Chulita unintentionally showed the children how to "borrow" a shopping cart from the store's premises in order to bring home bags full of bread, canned goods, eggs, fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, milk, and especially the sugary confections that the kids salivated at while roaming the store's aisles.
Another crucial lesson from Chulita took place in the kitchen. The fondest memory for one of her children involves helping Chulita prepare a classic Filipino dessert called leche flan, which consisted of eggs, milk, and sugar. Cracking the eggs, separating the yolks from the egg whites into different bowls with the milk and the sugar, and then beating each mixture with an old-fashioned hand-crank egg beater proved to be exhausting for Chulita's young culinary apprentice. The reward, however, was sheer delight - a creamy and comforting caramel custard.
In addition to leche flan, Chulita's recipe book yielded other tasty dishes such as pork adobo, fried chicken, lumpia, pinakbet, potato omelet, sinigang na bangus, Filipino-style fruit salad, and ginataang bilo bilo to name a few. She made fantastic dishes! The family always ate well and the children learned the joy of cooking because of her.
To instill a sense of independence in her children was truly important to Chulita. In addition to the lessons she conveyed on home economics, she covered fiscal management and taught her children how to balance a checkbook, as well as how to save money and plan for the future.
When Chulita wasn't sharing useful and practical knowledge and principles with her children, she was relishing the simple pleasures in life. She shared her appreciation for all things sweet, especially chocolate and ice cream-Häagen-Dazs® Vanilla and Ben & Jerry's Peanuts! Popcorn! were among her favorite ice cream flavors.
A cherished pastime between her and her children was to watch tv programs or movies while eating junk food on the couch. She enjoyed game shows and television dramas such as Family Feud, JAG, The Practice, and her most favorite, The Price Is Right, where she tried to be a contestant twice. She also thought There's Something About Mary was the funniest movie ever.
Another activity that gave Chulita so much joy was taking care of Cecile and Keith's dogs: Maia, Nala, and Jack. She visited and played with them almost every day, gave them plenty of doggie treats, and spoiled them rotten like they were her grandchildren.
She also loved visiting Las Vegas. She enjoyed the spectacle that Las Vegas offered, particularly the bountiful buffets, the slot machines, and the spectacular shows.
Chulita's other interests included visiting various botanical gardens in Southern California (she loved all kinds of flowers, especially roses); collecting Beanie Babies, novelty refrigerator magnets, and souvenir shot glasses; and relaxing to the songs of Nat King Cole and Perry Como.
The true measure of Chulita's life is unique to how she sought the possibility for happiness in her every endeavor; to how her decisions were guided by her heart and by her good sense; and to how she valued and showed love as the most tender of human feelings.
Chulita was everything to her family.
Everything that is good and of pure joy.
Everything that is love.
The Agbay family is very thankful to all of our relatives and friends for your support, for listening to us describe how much Chulita meant to each of us and how much she enriched our lives.
We are very grateful to Chulita's friends, former colleagues, and acquaintances. Thank you for offering your kind words and gestures and for caring about Chulita.
The Agbay family also extends its gratitude to all of the medical and emergency service professionals who looked after Chulita. Your expertise is only enhanced by your empathy and excellent care.
A heartfelt thank-you to Chulita's cousin, Titang Aning, whose goodness and strength of character remain in great abundance and were often cited by Chulita as exemplary.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Start Time: 10:00 a.m.
Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills – Old North Church
6300 Forest Lawn Drive
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. 90068
Published in Legacy on Jun. 29, 2020.