Friday, January 08, 2010


My father died peacefully early morning of Sunday, January 3, 2010. He was 86. It was a good day to finally come home to The Great Potter. We cremated my father's remains yesterday January 7, even as his spirit now lives in eternity in the presence of Almighty God.

Allow me to share with you the eulogy I delivered at his wake. I was planning to read a letter I had written to him two months ago, but for some comforting reason, I delivered this instead the same day I had written it.

"Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you want it, but you can spend it only once."

"My father was a man who wore many hats - literally and figuratively speaking. He was a lawyer who never set foot in a court of law. A journalist and a newspaperman who was never charged with libel, and who never accepted money for his writings. A public official suspected of the crime of "unexplained poverty," rare among the country's leaders of today. He was an opinion writer who was never opinionated with his commentaries. An "original newspaperman from the old school," and one of the very few if not the only surviving founding member of the National Press Club of the Philippines - until recently. He was a Protestant and Mason who studied other worldly religions and went to Catholic churches and chapels. He was a devourer of books. In fact, one of his goals in life was to read all the books at Power Books Alabang Town Center, a favorite place of his to spend the day. Unknown to most of you here tonight, he was the very first Filipino amateur pelotari. He played amateur jai-alai with noted individuals like the late Don Enrique Zobel. He too was a whiz at the game of poker, and a number of the poker terms used today by Filipino poker players were coined by him. Hence, a natural bluffer but a real honest man. He was a vegetarian who loved to eat steak. A tennis player who loved to serve. He was a devoted father whose best gift to us three boys was to love our mother. He was a brilliant political strategist who always believed in winning. He never believed in second best as in winning the silver. For him, he thought that a second placer never really wins the silver but loses the gold. He was a very independent man who drove his own car for the longest time until age 86, and only until he could no longer sit behind the wheel. He had many friends but was with his lonesome self most of the time. He was a "leftist" who worked for the establishment.

During the Marcos years, my father was appointed as Legislative Secretary, a position he had and then lose it and then have it again. He served the Philippine government for more than 20 years. The Ilocano mafia in Malacanang did not like him, though ironically an Ilocano himself - because he was a cousin of Mrs. Imelda Marcos. My father's mother was a Zialcita whose family claims kinship with the Romualdezes. The intrigues in the Palace soon put a temporary end to his aspirations and took on an overseas assignment exclusively created just for him. He was appointed as "inspector of embassies" with rank of ambassador, then soon after he was being considered an appointment to the UNESCO, again, the Ilocano mafia blocked the appointment. One day, he found himself writing to the "praesidium of friendship societies" in Moscow telling of his interest in founding a friendship society. During that time, anti-communist sentiments were at its height, but that did not stop him. Shortly after, the first RP-USSR Friendship Society was born, and its first president was none other than the late Senator Blas Ople. He would return to the Palace this time for good. Recognizing his knack for the unusual, the late President Marcos sent him on a secret mission to South America for Mrs. Marcos. My father was to spend several weeks in Argentina to study the life and times of Mrs. Evita Peron. And so, in Buenos Aires and its neighboring cities and towns, he met a number of Mrs. Peron's close family members and friends concerning Evita's projects for Argentina. His report back in Manila became the basis for Mrs. Marcos' numerous projects for the country and specifically for Metro Manila.

Only the first EDSA revolution subjected him to co-terminus status in government. He immediately returned to his number one love - column writing.

This is only a morsel of my father's life story. Indeed, he has made numerous decisions in his career, but none whatsoever as important as the one he made on October 31, 2009 when he gave his heart and his life to the Lord Jesus Christ and asked for His forgiveness. He even gave me his blessings. Since then, I had noticed a transformation within him. Thereafter, we began to spend many nights just reading Scriptures and praying together. My father particularly loved Psalm 23, and only recently learned to loved Psalm 91 as well soon after I had read it to him every night. It had become our "secret weapon," and how he loved listening to it each time I would recite it to him. Reading the Bible and praying with him for the last time was just a day before the good Lord called him home. So tonight friends, If you are wondering why there seems to be no speck of mourning in me, I must tell you that I am sad because I will miss dad, but on the other hand rejoice because I know exactly where he is right now - in the presence of the Lord where there is fullness of joy. And that has made all the difference. In closing, allow me to quote my father when he told me this once: "When you make that final journey home, the less gold you carry, the easier the travel will be."

Dad never enriched himself here on Earth. But in heaven, he is now a wealthy heir to infinite riches untold."

"When tomorrow starts without me, and I'm not there to see,
if the sun should rise and find your eyes all filled with tears for me.

I wish so much you wouldn't cry the way you did today,
while thinking of the many things we didn't get to say.

I know how much you love me, as much as I love you,
and each time that you think of me, I know you'll miss me too.

But when tomorrow starts without me, please try to understand,
that an angel came and called my name, and took me by the hand,
and said my place was ready in heaven far above,
and that I'd have to leave behind all those I really love.

So when tomorrow starts without me,
don't think we're far apart.
For every time you think of me,
I'm right here in your heart."


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Ellumbra said...

A fascinating illumination, a small insight into the life of a wonderful man.
My sincere condolences and sympathy for your loss.