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101 Birthday’s Are Something to Celebrate: Meet Patience Zabala

101 Birthday’s Are Something to Celebrate: Meet Patience Zabala

On September 8, 1920 US Air Mail service begins from NYC to San Francisco and Patience Zabala was born in The Philippians. Eight days later at exactly 12:01pm, a bomb carried in a horse carriage – approximately 100 pounds (45kg) of dynamite – exploded outside the J.P. Morgan building at 23 Wall Street. The bomb killed 30 people instantly and a further 8 died of their injuries later on.

The FBI was never able to decisively say who carried out the bombing. Today, historians and investigators believe it was the work of anarchists, who had been responsible for a series of attacks across America in 1919. It was believed that a group called the Galleanists, Italian anarchists who followed Luigi Galleani, were responsible. He had recently been deported and it is speculated the bombing may have been in retaliation for that.

Patience Zabala comes from a political family, related to President Ferdinand Marcos. As a youngster she won a lot of contests as a Tango dancer and local beauty contests. She was a volleyball champion and in later years won games over her fellow teachers.


In June 7, 1946 she gave birth to a beautiful Eurasian daughter named Mayra.

Patience and Marya

After her marriage failed she came to the United States in May of 1955 and went to Teachers College at Columbia University. She received two masters; one in education and the other in English as a second language. She also received a PHD in philosophy.

Patience and Marya

Speaking five languages Patience taught in parochial and public schools, as well as tutoring students in many subjects. The highlight of her life was taking in a black under privilege girl named Dorothy and bettering her life. Dorothy had failed multiple times and the school was about to pass her just to get rid of her. Patience gave her one on one training, taking her to museums, art galleries, theatre’s, broadening her world. She had her own daughter move into her own bedroom and gave her daughter’s room to Dorothy. With Patience’s love and tutorship Dorothy thrived, graduated and become a doctor.


Patience also saved her next door neighbor, when she went to visit and found him on the floor. Calling 911 she saved his life.

Diana Ross’s daughter Tracee and Patience at the Wildenstein’s ranch in Africa

Her daughter Marya became a film actress doing movies with actors such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Yul Brenner and Jon Voight. When her mother met plastic surgeon Richard Coburn, she did what every Asian mother does find a doctor for the daughter.

Marya gifted her mother and mother in law with travel. Patience became a world traveler going to every country in Europe, Mexico, Canada, Alaska, Every country in South East Asia except China, as it was closed due to communistic rule, Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania, Israel, Greece, The Orient Express from Switzerland to Turkey, The Caribbean, Puerto Rico, The private island of Mustique, Queen Elizabeth 2 three times, Morocco and Lebanon.

While in The Philippians Patience ex-suitor General Fabian Ver, the most trusted military officer of President Ferdinand Marcos greeted the trio, by changing their room at The Manila Hotel to the presidential suite, gifting them with wallets of cash and a limo. When Patience was younger she had rejected him and did so again on this trip.

When Patience became ill, Marya used her knowledge of holistic health to care for her mother, giving her Thanksgiving, Christmas’s, New Year’s and Birthday’s to remember. Patience almost died in March due to an allergic reaction to steroids lapsing into pneumonia, but Marya knew her mother would thrive. “She is warrior and a survivor” states Marya who proudly celebrates her mother’s centenarian.


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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