Maria Luz and Maria Nila are twin sisters who became part of the Filipino population in 1954. Maria Nila, the younger twin is the author of In the Footsteps of La Madre: Sta. Teresa de Avila. She is one of the 2021 recipients of the Biguena Achievers Award in the field of Media. After living for a few years in Canada, she returned to the Philippines because no place is like home and decided to carry out God’s will as evangelists.
In her book, written on the occasion of the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines (1521-2021) she carries out their mission, a book designed for the Catholic reader to journey with two Secular Carmelites in their quest to do God’s will and holiness of life, and hopefully be moved by such experiences towards God.
Maria Nila Argel.
In 1954, the late Judge Evaristo Ortega and Rosa Ubaldo, their parents, contributed their own twins. Maria Luz, was named after then First Lady Luz Magsaysay. Being a 15 minutes younger, she was named Maria Nila after Leonila Garcia, wife of Vice President Carlos Garcia. March 17, 1957 President Magsaysay died on a plane crush, and so Vice President Garcia succeeded to the presidency. The ’50s had given them the chance to grow and enjoy the mirth of innocence. When they were kids, mama and papa made sure people would not mistake them as ordinary sisters. They dressed them like twins – and our joy and their parents were limitless. They were practically inseparable – we shared the same room and bed, went to the same school. The ’60s imbibed in them the thrill of adolescence.
High school friends are some of the best friends a person can have. They had fun times with their classmates and coming close to God by joining the religious organizations like Theresians and Lourdesiana. The ‘70s unfolded before them the scrolls of responsibility. They went to school at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas graduating in 1974 with the same passion for Continuing Education, Work and Making A Difference. They worked for a while at the National Media Production Center at Intramuros, Manila. Before the year 1974 ended, Mama gave them roots and wings. They flew to Canada where aunt Lourdes and brother Steve lived. They worked and travelled. Indeed, it was an enjoyable 2 ½ years experiencing the four seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall. They decided to go home for good via Europe. Then the waves of the ’80s rushed in and threw them in unexpected relationships. Luz got married in 1978 to Danny Bolong and she in 1980 to Pacifico Argel who lives at Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. She worked with the Department of Public Information. The ’90s witnessed the growth of a new life cycle with the birth of the children. God bless! 1999 – the Year of God the Father is the start of their persevering discipleship.
Nurtured their children to ripen and see their fruits mature to witness their own life cycle.
She retired from government service after 37 years as manager of the Vigan Information Center of Philippine Information Agency in 2015 which was not the end of a productive life. In fact, it was a transition point for beginning a new phase in her life.
The book “In the footsteps of La Madre: Sta. Teresa de Avila” is the greatest legacy that they will leave to their heirs.