How does one even begin to pay tribute to a man who has affected my life deeply? I am a writer by profession, but today I find myself at a loss for words. I remember, mahilig mag kwento si Lolobear. So, today I’m going to share with you some of our stories and the lessons I learned from the life we shared.
When I was growing up, I remember always having Lolo and Lola around. My aunts would pick me up from our home and bring me to the Sta. Ana house and I got to spend a lot of time with them; privilege of being the only one around. I was born soon after Lolo retired from LuzSteveCo, so I was there when he was building his machine shop business and operating his passenger jeepneys.
I learned from stories that I’ve always been Lolo’s Little Helper. As soon as I can walk, or maybe even before that, Lolo would always bring me with him and I would be his assistant in whatever he was doing. I was his Abitoy. He would always bring me with him to supervise the building of their house in Baccoor. I remember, one time, while we were on the way to Cavite along Coastal Road, one of the wheels of the jeepney we were riding in came loose! Kaming dalawa lang ni Lolo, sya nagddrive ako nasa tabi nya. I think was 2 or 3 years old. Iyak daw ako ng iyak. Takot na takot ako noon. Pero siyempre dahil si Lolo yun, pinatatahan nya ako habang inaayos nya yung gulong. Para kasi siyang si Superman. Lolo and my aunts would recount this story to me a lot growing up and what sticks is that my brave Lolo took care of me. If I was in the same position as him, I would probably just panic and cry and I wouldn’t even know what to do. Pero dahil sya yun, naging matapang sya and he made sure I was alright while taking care of everything. Ganun kasi sya mag mahal.
Lolo was there for me through every triumph, every milestone. Kahit gaano ka-liit we will celebrate it. Kapag part ako ng bagong video o kahit super liit na appearance on TV, he’ll make sure to watch it. No matter how late or how early. My mom told me that Lolo chose a land-based job after sailing to different places so that he could be closer to his family. That was unthinkable for someone who dreamt of being part of the Maritime industry. He loved having his loved ones close to him and be part of their lives. Family was at the forefront of his priorities. This is a lesson I will carry with me, always.
Kahit tumanda na ako, sidekick pa rin ako ni Lolo. Kapartner sa lahat ng gawain pati ka-racing tuwing kumakain. Kahit malaki na ako, binabantayan pa rin nya ako. Tuwing malalaman nya na may sakit ako o may balita sya na nag-t-travel ako o kapag matagal na akong di nakakabisita sa kanya, lagi nya akong kinakamusta sinisigurado nyang okay lang ako. Pag magkausap kami sa phone ni Ate Cora o ni Mama, sisingit sya para lang sabihin “Nahidlaw na ako sa imo. Kumain ka ng mabuti baka pumayat ka nyan.”.
When I hear stories of my friends’ grandparents, on how strict and super masungit they are, never akong nakarelate. Si Lolo kasi, like his moniker, sobrang Kengkoy. Lagi nya akong pinapatawa. Mahilig syang mag-joke, mag-make faces, kumanta, sumayaw, gumawa ng funny sounds at kung ano ano pa. There was never a dull moment between us. The last time I saw him and I was able to converse with him nung nasa hospital sya I knew he was in a lot of pain, pero nung narecognize nya na ako yung nasa harap nya, aba automatic! Nag-make face sya agad, sabay tawa; kasi ganun talaga ang batian namin. On our last conversation, we talked about me turning 30 next year. He was teasing me endlessly about not having a boyfriend yet at ipapa-kilo nalang daw nya ako para may kita sya kahit papaano. I knew he was tired and was not in the best shape, pero nung nagtititigan kami habang naguusap and I could see joy in his eyes. He taught me never to forget to be joyful in all things, and that humor and laughter have power over pain; na kahit anong sakit pa yan basta may halakhak, kahit papaano napapagaan.
Last year until early this year, I had the privilege of spending a lot of time with him dahil wala akong work. Binibisita ko sya almost every week, and every week nagkukuwentuhan, nagtatawanan, at nagkukulitan lang kami. I will keep cherish those moments and keep them close to my heart. My one wish is that I’d spent more time with him.
As the old adage goes, “There are no goodbyes, only see you laters.” So, see you later Lolobear. Nahidlaw na ako sa imo, Lo. Have fun in heaven with Lola. I love you both, always.
Porferio Duran Moncayo
3 November 1928 – 14 October 2015