Maria Zeneida “Nini” Quezon-Avanceña passed away aged 100


Former President Manuel L. Quezon (MLQ) is one of the most dearly remembered icons of Philippine history. The second president of the country was a beacon of hope during the turbulent years of the Commonwealth, the government of the Philippines at the height of World War II. 

Several decades since his historic leadership, his legacy still lived on through his only surviving child – Maria Zeneida “Nini” Quezon-Avanceña, who turned 100 years old on 9th April 2021.

Update
: Maria Zeneida “Nini” Quezon-Avanceña has passed away on 12 July 2021. Our condolences go to her family, loved ones, and all who knew her.


Nini was the second daughter of President Quezon and his wife Doña Aurora


Surviving daughter Manuel Quezon -Maria Zeneida "Nini" Quezon-Avanceña
Image credit: Alexander Loinaz 

President Quezon and his wife Doña Aurora Quezon had four children, but one of them died in infancy. Their second child was Lola Nini, who was born on 9th April 1921. 

Surviving daughter Manuel Quezon -Maria Zeneida "Nini" Quezon-Avanceña with parents and siblings
Nini (first from right) with her parents and siblings
Image credit: The Visual Traveler 

First married to Felipe Buencamino III in 1947, she was left widowed only a few years after her marriage in 1949 when her husband together with her mother and elder sister, Maria Aurora, were killed in a Hukbalahap ambush in Bongabong, Nueva Ecija. She eventually married her second husband, Alberto Avanceña, in 1951.

Surviving daughter Manuel Quezon -Maria Zeneida "Nini" Quezon-Avanceña in a wedding gown
Nini (right) in a wedding gown
Image credit: Kinulayang Nakaraan


She had described MLQ as a very loving father


Surviving daughter Manuel Quezon -Maria Zeneida "Nini" Quezon-Avanceña
Nini (first from right) with her parents and siblings
Image credit: Clapton Eric R. Flores 

In a video posted on the website of the 2013 documentary Rescue in the Philippines, Lola Nini had described her father as a “very loving” father who had a great deal of respect for human life.

In the lighter side of the interview, she also shared how the former President had emphasized swimming as a necessary skill for survival given that the Philippines consists of a group of islands. 


According to her son, she was an approachable mother


Surviving daughter Manuel Quezon -Ricky Quezon Avanceña
Image credit: Ricky Avanceña

When asked in a 2020 interview by Tribune how it was like to grow up with Lola Nini as a mother, Ricky Quezon Avanceña, the eight of Lola Nini’s nine children, described his mom as an approachable person. 

Surviving daughter Manuel Quezon -Maria Zeneida "Nini" Quezon-Avanceña
Image credit: Raoul Wallenberg Foundation 

“At a certain point, when my grandfather was president, my Lola who was not so sociable, stood in the background of my Tita Baby who was doing First Lady functions. My Tita Baby was more like Lolo Quezon. They say that my mother is more like Mrs. Quezon who was more approachable,” he said. 

We can indeed imagine how Lola Nini had stood by as a supportive daughter behind the formalities in her father’s events. 


She had been involved with various charitable causes


Surviving daughter Manuel Quezon -Maria Zeneida "Nini" Quezon-Avanceña
Image credit: Alexander Loinaz 

Lola Nini had been involved with various causes in the Philippines. One of her earliest involvements was with the Philippine National Red Cross.

Her name was behind causes for human rights, social justice, and peace as well. During the EDSA revolutions in 1986 and 2001, for instance, she had been at the forefront of the people’s movements, as remembered by politician and journalist Satur Ocampo. 


Maria Zeneida “Nini” Quezon-Avanceña passed away a few months into her centennial year


Turning 100 was no easy feat, and Lola Nini’s full life is indeed something to be celebrated. 

Aside from achieving a long and fruitful life, Lola Nini, raised by the values inculcated to her from her father and mother, had also fought the good fight. May she rest in peace.

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Cover image adapted from: Alexander Loinaz, Clapton Eric R. Flores 

This article was originally written by Addie Pobre on 13 April 2021 and was updated on 14 July 2021.

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