Alfonso (Al/Ponching) Borja, 1918-2021
He almost made it to 103! Just 11 days shy of his 103rd birthday, Al’s children and grandchildren had an early celebration for their Papa/Lolo who was at HMH Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, NJ. Moments after the family had sung “Happy Birthday,” Al passed away peacefully on Aug. 17, 2021.
Alfonso Gaerlan Borja was born on Aug. 28, 1918, in San Juan, La Union in the Philippines. Nicknamed “Ponching,” he was the second of Bernabe and Mercedes’ eight children. Alfonso attended the Far Eastern University in Manila, where he studied civil engineering. He left school and enlisted in the Philippine Army to fight in World War II. Before departing for duty, he married Angelina Fama on Dec. 8, 1945. Together, they raised 13 children.
After being honorably discharged, he volunteered for the Army Reserve. He also worked in sales for San Miguel Brewery for several years. After leaving the Reserve as an officer with the rank of Major, he worked for A-1 Prime Security Agency as head security officer.
Alfonso immigrated to the United States in 1980 and became a naturalized citizen in 1987. He settled in New Jersey with his family, moving from Union to Ocean Township, and finally to Neptune. While living in New Jersey, he and Angelina became members of Cruzada de Sto. Nino, Filipino American Association of Jersey Shore and Couples for Christ. They renewed their wedding vows at their 50th anniversary in 1995.
Al’s friendly, easy-going demeanor endeared him to many. With a smile that would light up his face, he could instantly melt anyone’s heart. He enjoyed traveling and swimming and was passionate about golf, the NY Yankees, and bananas. He ate bananas daily, which he said was the secret to his longevity.
Alfonso is predeceased by his parents and 6 of his siblings; his wife, Angelina; children: Nannette Brown, Theresa Cruz and Enrique Borja, and son-in-law, Edwin Reyes.
He is survived by his sister, Charito Lopez, of Canada. He is also survived by his children and their spouses: Merceditas and Philomel Maglaya, Usarmina Bolger, Reynaldo and Amy Borja, Bernabe and Pauline Borja, Ronald Brown, Joseph and Gloria Borja, Renato and Salome Borja, Alberto Cruz, Bernadette Reyes, Orlando and Luningning Borja, Elizabeth and Kevin Thompson, and Crispin and Grace Borja; 30 grandchildren: Melissa, Eric, Darius, Rachelle, Alan, Charles, Charlene, Charlotte, Charisse, Stephen, Jaja, Maria, Lek, TJ, Jon, Katrina, JR, BJ, Abigail, Aaron, Kristine, Patrick, Marijean, Angie, Rosey, Marie, Brianna, Crispin Jr., Irish and Dana; and 26 great grandchildren.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, August 22, 2021, from 1-3 pm and 5-7 pm at John E. Day Funeral Home, 85 Riverside Ave., Red Bank, NJ. Mass will be held on Monday, August 23, 2021, at 9:30 am at St. Dorothea RC Church, 240 Broad St., Eatontown, NJ. Interment will follow at the Fairview Cemetery, 456 Route 35, Middletown, NJ.
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