In Memoriam: Rosario “Chit” Afuang

Her life was often associated with the travel and tourist industry but there was far more to Chit Afuang than just promoting tourism for our country.

Those who have known Chit in some way or other have their own individual perspective, their own personal memories of that life. For one, she was a sister, for another an aunt, for another a colleague, mentor, or team mate. For most, a friend.

The big crowd that attended the beautiful Memorial Service held recently for her attested the palpable swell of respect and affection of the Filipino community for their beloved Chit. The Mass was solemnly celebrated by no other than her good friend, Fr. Allan Satur OSM at our Lady of Dolours Servite Church in Chelsea.

Chit was a serious worker. More than half of her life was devoted to serving our country through her tourism efforts. She started her career in 1972 with the Board of Travel & Tourist Industry/Department of Tourism in her native Iloilo. A few years after she was promoted to work at the DOT Head Office in Manila as Tourism Field Coordinator. Further promotion made her Administrative Officer at the International Marketing and Planning Division.
1989 proved to be a significant year for Chit. She was appointed Administrative Officer of the DOT London Office, a “sugar” post to most DOT staff. She was happy to be in London and became deeply attached to it, including the Filipino community. When her term of office ended, she was of course sad but the best was yet to come for her in Manila. Rich in experience and full of confidence, she was given enormous responsibilities related to her new job. She bravely faced these challenges by working harder, and soon became the Chief of Staff of her Division.

Chit never dreamt that she will be recalled to the London Office. Her new position entailed more hard work. She didn’t mind and even stayed in the office working as late as midnight. She enjoyed what she was doing. When the post of Tourism Attache was left vacant for awhile, Chit was designated Officer-in-Charge of the London Office. She became more active and the presence of DOT could be felt everywhere, being a frequent participant in community events, like barrio fiestas, sports tournaments and various fund raising activities.

Chit was Manager – Philippine Holidays at Crystal Travel at the time she died. A tourism-related job, she enjoyed her work in the company of good friends.
Speaking of competence, Chit was educationally well-equipped. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree major in Accounting – Diploma of Honour at the University of San Agustin in Iloilo city. She earned her Masteral Units in Master of Science also at the same University. For two years, she was Instructor at the Iloilo Doctors College and for a year, at the University of San Agustin. She had a Civil Service Eligibility qualification and while at DOT, held a long string of in-service trainings and seminars to expand more knowledge.
One can just imagine how painful it was to be separated from your family especially an ailing husband. Chit managed somehow to cope, and was determined to overcome all difficulties, while living abroad. All these were done for their sake. Here was a person of great faith, of humility, and compassion. When Jun, her husband died last year, Chit gathered all the courage she could muster, not knowing that by the following year, she, too, will be joining him for eternal rest.

We saw Chit as a bubbly, cheerful spirit, full of enthusiasm to do this, do that. She was a little “firecracker” with infectious giggles and sense of humour. Popular with people. Jolly efficient. A down-to-earth person, and sensitive to the feelings of others, taking time and effort to support charitable projects and causes. She was a patron since 1998 of the Philippine Disabled Children Project.

Her childhood dream was to be a ballet dancer, sadly not pursued. She loved to dance, sing, and while still a student, she was a member of San Agustin University Choir. She was an active member of her church Choir. Bowling was another passion of hers. Proud of her team, she will be greatly missed by her friends from the British Ten-Pin Bowling Association/Mabuhay Strikers League.

This text was written to give thanks for all the love, laughter, and fullness of life which was Chit. We all mourn deeply for her passing away, but find comfort in the thought that she died in Iloilo, the place where she was born, raised, educated, and started her career. She is now happy, joining Jun as they are resting in peace.

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