Josephine “Jojo” Kierulf-Zabarte, my friend and diving buddy, was a woman born in more gracious times.
A fashion model with a glowing smile, robust laughter, and a surprisingly arresting voice, Jojo will live forever in my memory.
She was the school director of the Sacred Heart Academy of Novaliches (SHAN) and a party animal at night! Her husband, Henry Zabarte, was the president of SHAN, a branch of the Sacred Heart Academy of La Loma, founded by Jojo’s mother, Mrs. Louisa Kierulf, in 1947.
I met Jojo during a photo shoot, and she invited me to cover a beauty contest sponsored by one of their companies. We became friends. With Lulu Tan-Gan, Jojo and I took the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) scuba diving lessons.
Jojo and her bosom friend Frannie Jacinto joined my Batanes Photo Safari. The other girls in the group were hesitant to mix with them, but Jojo put them at ease.
Ivy, one of the participants in the Batanes Photo Safari, said Jojo was “respectful.”
Our friendship leveled up when I got her to be the Baptismal godmother of my daughter Amanda. Years later, Jojo also stood as Amanda’s wedding sponsor.
Goodnight, dear Jojo. Party lights down here dim a little with your passing.