Sunday, August 18, 2013

Remembering Sec. Jesse

I thought the day will end ordinarily. It was 6:32PM, August 18, 2012. I was seated along with my friends watching a variety show in our school when I got several text messages that the Piper Senica plane of the late Secretary Jesse Robredo crashed in the waters of Masbate. The news spread out like a fire. I found myself running towards their house in Dayandang, Naga City.

It was a prayerful scene. A lot of friends and supporters waited for the news, for the good news to come. Everyone’s hopeful and still high spirited. I can still remember the statement of one passerby: “Mauli man tulos yan digdi si Mayor” (Mayor will be home soon), she said.


In Masbate, teams of divers from the Coast Guard and the military braved the strong waves and currents to continuously search for the body of the pilots and Sec. Jesse. It was an intense search and rescue operations.

Days have passed; search and rescue operations still ongoing, some NagueƱos decided to tie yellow ribbons to welcome our beloved Mayor Jesse back home.

Going back home.
August 21, 2012. The news finally went out. The body of the late Secretary Jesse Robredo has been found, dead. Never in our minds have we thought that those yellow ribbons will also be our welcoming entourage to his body.

In a press briefing, Sec. Mar Roxas said:
"May malungkot tayong balita. At 7:25 this morning, 'yung volunteer divers natin nakita ang fuselage. May mga katawan sa loob pero 'di nila talaga ma-identify. Nu'ng nakalapit sila at about 7:45 am, may mga indications na isa doon sa mga katawan sa loob ng fuselage ay kay Sec Robredo. 

The whole city vibe of Naga went down. An Maogmang Lugar ngonian nagmumundo, (The “happy place” now mourns). We waited at Funeraria Imperial. Yes, for quite some time we are still denying the fact that Sec. Jesse is already gone.

We were all confronted by the reality; the body of the late Sec. Robredo is now in a casket embraced by our flag. Tears pour out, and for a moment, I forgot that I’m a regional correspondent of Rappler. I cried as a Nagueno, deeply in pain for the lost of a great father of a humble city.

I’ve never maintained a close relationship with Mayor Jess. We’ve met several times and talked about several advocacies in mind for the youth. I’ve never considered myself as someone who would be remembered by a great man like him. But he is just extraordinary to reply to my text and Facebook messages and call me by my nickname whenever we meet in a number of events. His simple personal birthday greetings are also a bragging moment for all of us. Geee, the Mayor just greeted me on Facebook. 

His family’s simple life is truly an inspiration. In a country filled with political controversies, Mayor Jess together with his family braved the odds to go against the status quo. We connect most of our country’s political families with big houses, extravagant lifestyle and controversial assets – Jesse Robredo painted a different picture. His small house in Naga has been open to a lot of people from all walks of life, you would see him around the city walking in plain tee, shorts and slippers, his fatherly love for the constituents especially in times of trial – being the first to arrive in areas or establishments caught up with fire and being the last one to go home after making sure that everyone’s safe for a storm are just but simple testimonies of his extraordinary life.

His tsinelas leadership is a breath of fresh air in both the national and local governments. His people’s participation in governance, urban poor development, and continuous fight for good governance inspired both international and national agencies and organizations to continuously advocate for transparency and accountability.

I really believed that Mayor Jess did his best to pave the way of “Tuwid na Daan”, now, it’s time to continue his legacy. Liliko pa ba o babalik sa dating sistema? Mayor Jess reminded us that we can do something for our country. It need not be as big as being a Mayor. I can still remember him saying: “Basta maging mabuti lang kayong Pilipino”.

In the middle of a lot of heartbreaking controversies faced by the government, let us not forget that there’s a man who wholeheartedly gave his life to set an example of good governance. Let us not waste what he, together with a lot of equally dedicated people in the government, has started.

My life peg is now in heaven. You are truly missed, Mayor Jess. May we live out your legacy well. Dios mabalos!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Father's Day (is still happy)

It was Father's Day, a very special day for me and my siblings.

I rushed all the way from my dormitory to our humble house, bought a cake to remind my dad that it's his special day. Our home seems so different, it was unusually quite. I entered the house and saw my father still asleep. Went up to my room to check my mom, she was crying, asking me not to go back to my dorm anymore. I asked her why?  ---- around 2 in the morning, that same day, she was almost tortured by my own father. Details of what happened, up until now, is still difficult to recount.

It was the most devastating day of my life. The day when we all decided to take a very challenging path away from my father.

Three years after the incident, I found myself in the middle of an amazing grace of strength and love. Despite the unfortunate event, I saw how true love surpassed all the pain, anguish and uncertainty. Love drove us, in a very special way, to accept and outmatch hatred and anger.

My dad still lives with us. He exerted effort not to drink nor smoke. Tried his best to control his temper. He's also now looking for a decent job. My mom is working double time. After breaking up with my dad, she now takes care of everything. At first, it was difficult for both of them to handle their mutual decision to still live under one roof. They believe that this will help us, kids, to understand their decision. As the eldest son, I need to help both of them.

Today is Father's Day, my mom decided to go to the parlor. For the past three years, I saw how she braved the odds of being a single mom to four kids. Time is never an issue to her, she can multi-task and could do even the simplest task in the house. She just loves being a hands-on mom. To see her go against the trauma of domestic violence is a blessing. I never thought that behind her fragile body is a brave and tough spirit.

(di pa tapos)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pasensya na at salamat.

More than the kisses, hugs, and those in between, I will be missing our meaningful conversations, long and crazy trips (remember our Legazpi Trip and Emong Pandesal?), pig-out sessions, short visit to church, magdamangang kulitan, movie dates and more. I guess I have to try living a life without your morning, pauwi na, nakauwi na, nyth nyth texts. Mukhang nasanay na rin ata akong mabuhay at ikutin ang mundo na kasama ka. Yep, it's painful, sobra. But I guess, we both need to stand up to what happened, we are both old enough not to surpass these tears. Quota na tayo, immediately after kay Ely Buendia umiiyak na tayo, hanggang ngayon ba naman?

PS: Kung dumating man ang araw na handa na tayo parehong ipaglaban kung ano ang meron tayo, alam ko bahay niyo, alam mo din bahay namin, magkakaibigan ang mga kaibigan natin. Ang liit ng mundo para hindi tayo magtagpo at sumubok ulit.

Let's go back to that night, you were walking towards the car, I saw your face. Dun daw ako na love at first sight sa'yo. Remember the cupcakes? It all started there. I miss you, ngayon pa lang, sobra, araw-araw.

Rest assured that all of the memories will be treasured forever.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Nababagabag. Natatakot.

Panginoon, kung saan man, ano man, at sino man. Hangad ko ang iyong pag-gabay. Bukas na bukas na ang puso at ang isip para magpatuloy. Pasensya ka, nababagabag, nanghihina pa rin ang loob, nagtataka pa rin kung handa na nga bang magtaya. Syemps, alam mo naman kung paano tayo magmahal: buhos, ubos at lubos.

Tanong ko pa rin kung handa na nga ba ako ulit na sumubok at magmahal. Panginoon, dalawang taon na rin yun. Naka move on na ang lahat ng tao, marami na ring nangyari, at nagparamdam (hahaha, taas bangko), at sa palagay ko, ready na rin naman ang puso. At...naghilom na rin ang sugat, wala na ring band aid para ikubli ang mga ito. Peklat na lang, pero masayang peklat naman. 
Ngunit alam kong sa huli ng lahat ng ito ay isang malaking biyaya. Patuloy kong yayakapin ang mga pagdududa, pighati at paghihirap na nararamdaman sa gitna ng mga maliligayang sandaling kapiling siya. Ang gulo ko, Panginoon, syet. Sorry. Haha. Hirap, napaka-hirap maging solid sa mga panahong 'to. Btw, salamat sa lahat lahat. Nakakatuwa ang mga surpresa kapag nagmamahal! Ikaw na!