Just 10 days after her son Benjie passed away, Mrs. Beatriz “Betty” Castillo-Laurel peacefully went home to join her late husband Amb. Jose S. Laurel III. She was 95 years old.
Mrs. Laurel was a founding incorporator and President of the Philippines-Japan Ladies Association (PJLA) from its establishment in 1975 until 1989. She is the mother of Gov. Jose C. Laurel V, Chairman of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation, Inc., (PJFF), Francis C. Laurel, President of the Philippines-Japan Society, the late Benjie Laurel, President of PHILFEJA, and Ma. Elena (Marilen) Laurel-Loinaz, Administrator of both the PJFF and PJS. Mrs. Loinaz is also the President of the Philippines-Japan Ladies Association. Mrs. Laurel is survived by her other children Tony Laurel, Mercedes (Ditas) Laurel-Marquez,Christine Laurel-Stortz and Eduardo Laurel.
Mrs. Betty Laurel was a young mother of two (Tony and Joey) when she joined the Laurel family to exile in Nara, Japan as the Pacific War was coming to a close. She endured the separation from her husband Jose III who was incarcerated with his father, President Jose P. Laurel, Speaker Benigno S. Aquino, Sr., Amb. Jose Vargas and others in Sugamo and Kamioka prisons in Japan.
When her husband was released from incarceration by virtue of a Presidential Pardon, she focused on raising their children. She joined her husband to Tokyo when he was designated Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Philippines to Japan in 1966. She was always beside her husband in all his official duties.
Thus, when the Philippines-Japan Society was founded by Amb. Laurel in 1971, it was but natural that Mdme. Betty would lead the establishment of the Philippines-Japan Ladies Association in 1975. Under her leadership, the PJLA organized and sponsored various ladies’ activities – such as tours, culinary demonstrations, Japanese culture sessions, chorale. Being musically-inclined, Mrs. Laurel was a lead soprano of the Philippines-Japan Ladies Chorale.
Mrs. Laurel was a constant, faithful and loving helpmate to her husband, devoted mother to her eight children, doting grandmother to her many grandchildren, a true friend to both Filipinos and Japanese.