Elsa Quirino Ballesteros

Val Mapé


A tribute to Elsa on her first Birthday after death.  Please click here.

Mila Urbano


That she was kind, compassionate, caring, thoughtful, generous, talented, fun-loving.  I don’t need to tell you, because you who know Els know all this about her.

Els and I have been friends for years too many to count, a Canadian lifetime.  In our younger years we were inseparable, joined in music, sports, common friends, church activities, countless meals, hours of conversation, sharing heartaches and laughter.  In more recent years there were stretches where we would not see each other, but always, when we did, we just picked up where we left off.  Time never diminished our closeness.  Els had such a passion for life.  She delighted in little things she got excited when there’s a big sale on toilet paper (I know, because I’ve seen their collection) or when she could get salmon belly from the fish store, and she would also cook it lovingly for you if you happen to drop by.

She loved to dance.  She is the only person in the world who could lead me to do the tango. (You’re leaving a deep hole there, my friend).

Everyone should have an Elsa friend.  She was the friend that I was always comfortable with, the one I could be just myself with.  I remember times when she would tell me a long story, and my mind would drift off, and she would say, “Miles, you’re not listening to me”, and we would both just laugh.  I never had to pretend with her, never had to make excuses.  I could just say to her I can’t go to your house because I’m afraid of your cats.  By the way, those cats got a disproportionate share of her love.

We all know her deep love for music, especially the music that she and Marc created.  Their years together was one long glorious songfest.  They were lucky to have found that great love in each other.  I consider their union one of the best love stories I have ever known.  I am sure you have seen it for yourselves.  I have seen the fullness of that love in their last days together.  I have no words to translate my admiration.

Indeed, near the end, she was surrounded by love not only from Marc but from family and friends.

And I am proud to say her last days are the finest examples of courage and faith.  We ask why, and we do not understand why she had to suffer, but there is meaning in witnessing how bravely she faced it, with unwavering faith, and we are stronger for it.

Marc, Mir, John, Ryan and your family, Mariss, Ate Nel, the Ballesteros family, relatives and friends, we are all joined in sorrow.  The world is darker without Els in it, but she lights up the place where she is now, because that is what she brings wherever she goes.

I will miss you.  You will always be alive in my heart.  I love you and to borrow these famous words: “Good night, sweet princess, and flight of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

Miriam Sinclair


To my sister Elsa, my angel, my best friend.

My dearest Sis,

I don’t know how to put into words the bond that you and I share, nor do I know how to describe the love that I feel for you.  There does not seem to be a way that seems adequate.  Ours is a relationship that has morphed and changed over the years.  I loved you from a very young age when I knew you were my big sister - it was a love affair from the very first day.

Growing up, I have watched you as you turned into the amazing woman that you are.  You came from being my big sister, to an equal, my best friend, my mentor – a person who inspires me and who I have a great respect and admiration for.  I am proud of the beautiful person you are inside and out – loving, compassionate, ambitious, smart, talented, sometimes feisty, wise and strong.   You and I are alike in so many ways - we get each other in a way no one else can.  The friendship that you and I share is out of this world.  You have watched me grow up, seen me go through my life, as I have yours.  You have a lot of beautiful qualities that I can remember as a child – how you took care of sick little puppies, one of which we ended up owning, and fallen birds which showed the warmth and gentleness of your heart.  When I was down, you always knew how to make me feel better.  You are my biggest defender and cheerleader and if not for you, I would not be the person I am now.   Your love, support and guidance have saved me in some of my weakest times.  You have always been my rock – allowed me to cry on your shoulder, buoyed me up and helped me be strong, to heal and overcome – to become better, not bitter.    When I think of courage, love and respect, you are the first one that comes to mind.  You are a pioneer and so good at being the older sister, I almost think you were born just to guide me.  Our sisterhood extends beyond growing up in the same house, having similar DNA, or sharing a mother.  Our relationship is one-of-a-kind, not just because you’re my sister, but because you’re my best friend.

My childhood memories are decorated with your presence.  Every night was like a sleepover, sharing the same room, sleeping in the same bed.   I can still remember the fun we had dancing in the rain and most of all, those times I made you, Mama and Ate Nel laugh until we couldn’t breathe.  You are the reason I fell in love with music, making me fall in love with singing and dreaming of being a singer.  I can still remember you sitting at the very front row of the radio station conducting quietly to yourself while I fought my way to win Student Canteen’s Search for Anita Bryant contest.  You did this, not because you’re my sister, but because you’re my best friend.

I still laugh out loud when I remember those times when I would slip a lizard in my hand and scare you and Ate Nel which made both of you almost run for your life.  But most of all, I can still remember those times we danced the boogie and loved every minute of it not even caring if someone was watching. You did this, not because you’re my sister, but because you’re my best friend.

You’ve supported me through every endeavour every step of the way. You have stood by me through every so-called “best friend” that has walked in and out of my life, even when I may have pushed you aside.  When people treated me like I was disposable, you went out of your way to assure me of my worth.  When I would doubt myself for the silliest things, you would give me the strength to move on and keep moving forward.  You continue to be someone I can always confide in and trust, not just because you’re my sister, but because you’re my best friend. 


No fight can ever strain our strong bond, because, although we disagree and yell at times, by the end of the day we’ll be hugging and laughing together like nothing happened.  As we grew older, we seemed to change together, like the leaves on the trees in our front yard.  As we moved on with our lives and discovered new people and places,  we always knew that we had each other no matter what, not just because you’re my sister, but because you’re my best friend.


There are few, if any, people who have impacted my life in the ways that you have.  You have helped shape me into the person I am today.  The laughters, the tears, and all those small moments we cling to as we look back on our lives, would not have been the same without you.  In all honesty, without you, I simply would not be me.  I feel so incredibly blessed and lucky to be a part of your life, not just because you’re my sister, but because you’re my best friend. 


Now that you have taken ill, I am praying fervently that God continue to be with you as He had your whole life and that you will find strength, comfort and peace and feel God’s love and mercy. I pray that His healing hands touch you. I ask this through the intercession of Mary, the most Holy Mother and also Mother Marian de Jesus.


I love you sis, more than you will ever know, and I know in my heart that you love me too. 


Love you forever and always.  ”My Sister, My Angel”, a poem.

Ryan Sinclair


My name is Ryan and I want to take the new few minutes to honour my Tita Else.  I had the privilege of being loved like her own child from the moment I was born.  I am sure if Chippy were still here, he would say the same thing :)  I will miss the sleepovers, her hospitality, and of course, the awesome collection of VHS videos in the basement!

She was kind, extremely loving, straight forward (I could always trust her to give me her opinion on anything - my haircut, choice of career - everyone needs family members like this!) and she just had a way of making you feel like the most special person in the world.  If she had a word of encouragement, she didn't keep it to herself, she made sure to tell you.  I think we can all learn something from that.

She and my Tito Manny often wore the same, matching sweaters, and I remember as a kid, one time when they weren't wearing the same sweater, thinking to myself, "Is everything okay??"  Honestly, my Tito Manny and Tita Else had the type of marriage relationship that everyone should want to emulate.  Seeing as a kid how much they loved and sacrificed for each other, made me look forward to one day being married.  

I can only hope to positively influence as many lives as my Tita Else did.  Look at how many people are here tonight!

My two children, William and Rachel, ages 4 and 2, got to say goodbye to their Lola Elsa (a.k.a. Lola Frozen) this morning and got to spend quality time with her as well over the last little while before she passed.  Recently, William has been saying "Daddy, I can't wait to go to Heaven and be with Jesus!"  Sometimes I am tempted to worry about when a 4 year old says such things, but it acts as a reminder that God has put in our hearts the desire to live forever.  Jesus' perfect life, death and resurrection has not only made this possible, but guaranteed for everyone who trusts in Him alone for their salvation.  For everyone who has abandoned their own ways and submitted themselves wholly to Jesus, death is no tragedy!

"For no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." - 1 Corinthians 2:9

"We love God, because He loved us first" - 1 John 4:9

Thank for Jesus, for my Tita Els and how much you have loved all of us in this room through her.


“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.  These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.  Beautiful people do not just happen.”

-- Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

A Christmas and New Year’s Messages from Heaven