Remembering Sonia Laxamana Rondilla, 1939-2021

My mom during her birthday last year when she turned 81 years old.

Sonia Laxamana Rondilla, 81, passed away on May 24, 2021, at the age of 81 in her home in Fremont, CA. She was born on July 2, 1939 to Pedro and Jovita Laxamana in Manila, Philippines. In 1965, Sonia married Fernando S. Rondilla in the Philippines in a charmed wedding ceremony. Soon after, she immigrated to Guam where they built their family and life. After the passing of her husband in 1987, Sonia migrated to northern California with her children in 1989. Sonia graduated from the Philippines with a doctorate degree in dentistry and worked and retired for the Government of Guam as a dental hygienist. Sonia will be fondly remembered for her unforgettable laughter, her passion for delicious cooking, and her most kind heart. She will be truly missed by her children, grandchildren, sisters, nieces, nephews, and numerous family and friends around the world.

Sonia is predeceased by her: Father: Pedro Laxamana, Mother: Jovita Laxamana. Husband: Fernando S. Rondilla. Brothers and their spouses: Armando & Helen Laxamana, Gilberto and Yoly Laxamana, Octavio and Conchita Laxamana, & Edison Retizos. Brothers-in-law: Cesar Rondilla & Nadoy Rondilla.

Sonia is survived by her: Children: Cristina R. Tydingco and her children Sonia Ann, Theoren, & Brendan; Gerry L. Rondilla and wife Faye & their daughter Eliana; Joanne L. Rondilla and her husband José Ureta. Sisters and their Spouses: Aleli & Jun Castro, Monina & Jun Padama. Sisters-in-law: Cecilia Retizos Bliss, Belen Rondilla, and Lourdes Rondilla. 

Services will be held on Saturday, June 12th at Chapel of the Angels, 40842 Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA 94538. The viewing will be held from 12pm-3pm, followed by a Catholic mass from 3-4pm. A local reception will follow shortly after. The viewing and mass will be available via streaming for those who cannot attend in person. (Details to come soon.) Due to COVID restrictions, the family kindly asks that in-person attendees RSVP by contacting Joanne Rondilla at: or (510) 378-4185. Please contact Joanne directly for information regarding flowers and memorial donations.

TFAL Podcast: Episode 88

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hanging out (virtually) with the incredible team at This Filipino American Life Podcast. I’ve been listening to the podcast on and off for about a year now. Joe Bernardo, one of the hosts, is a friend from college. I knew him as a youngin’ when we were at UC Santa Barbara together. That he is involved with this podcast makes perfect sense. Joe has always been invested in and curious about the various textures of Filipino/American life.

I was so happy to be part of this episode because it allowed me to discuss further, some of the issues that weren’t covered in the Refinery29 story. Since it aired, I have received a tremendous amount of love and support from people who felt connected to the topic. For that, I am very grateful. Again, many thanks to Joe, Elaine, Ryan, and Mike of This Filipino American Life Podcast for the lovely conversation and share.

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
San Mateo, CA

Same Family, Different Colors


I still have to pick up my copy of Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America’s Diverse Families by Lori L. Tharps. Years ago, she interviewed me for this project and I was so ecstatic when it came out late last year. Confession: That interview is what inspired me to start this blog. So thank you, Lori!

Yes, I’m slow to get my copy. But I did want you all to know about this fabulous and important book. For those of you who have read it, I’d love to know what you think!

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
Tempe, AZ