Nanay, I believe, was always the one who kept my Ama, aunts and uncles together. She was the string that held the family.

But in my generation, I believe that was Lolo. Nanay was gone too early for many of us while all of us up to this point grew up with Lolo. Lolo is an institution in all of me and my cousin’s memories. In recent years he had been the king of long-drawn multiplication games and grand plans of taking over Philippine television with his Multiplying Bee quiz show. Before that, he was the person with never-ending stories about his Access to Science project that was always hard to escape. And ever since, he had always been that person who lived and slept among his piles of newspaper clippings, research and writings. But all that aside, Lolo was our ever-present graduation guest, if lucky also our birthday and weekend guest. For some, he was their math tutor while for others, he was their inspiration for pursuing science and teaching. I will always see Lolo as the embodiment of lifelong learning. And lifelong living, because I’ve rarely seen Lolo without a smile in his face and a skip in his gait – even when he was already using a walker, there was always spark in him. I will remember Lolo as the previous generation’s father – unconditionally loved by our parents even if scolded for his money-making schemes when he was much older. Our childhood have all been filled with stories about him. I will remember Lolo as my number 1 fan – I never really appreciated enough how he proclaimed my achievements at every single opportunity without fail, even when everybody already knew. Although I never did practice being a chemical engineer nor a scientist for too long and recently he had told me he was not proud of me for becoming a medical writer after getting a doctorate – I know it’s only because Lolo’s dreams for all of us have always been big and he has always inspired and motivated us to strive for the better. I remember Lolo for his tireless passion to teach – he will always be a teacher to many. And knowing him, I am sure he was quite the professor.

I remember Lolo for pulling me aside one day to tell me to take care of my Ama when my mother passed away. I remember Lolo for visiting my other grandfather and bringing back his smile while he was already bed-ridden through his signature humor and favorite Cobra drink – agreeing to travel all the way to Paranaque and back to Makati just to cheer another old man up. I’m happy knowing they’re now laughing again together. And he was like that to literally anyone who would listen, never hesitating to share his thoughts and positivity. I also remember Lolo for all his promises and grandiose claims – although mostly unfulfilled, he showed us what life was for – and that was for hoping, doing and living.

I’m sure you’ll be the life of the afterlife party – you will be missed and remembered for long. A man larger than life, raised a family of ten (or most probably bigger), held 3 jobs at one point, and never stopped dreaming and doing. Though you may not have achieved all of your big plans of blessing us with Porsches and millions, rest assured that you have definitely left your seed in all of us. We are all proud to be your descendants carrying your name.

And if any of us have any regrets for things left undone and unsaid after a life lost after almost a century, may we make up for them with our dearest who are still living.



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