Issue of January 13, 2019
Mt. Province

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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Two funerals and a wedding

On a single morning, I attended two funeral masses and a wedding.

The first funeral mass was for Felino “Jun” Agunos, a friend of many years.

Everyone should have a friend just like Jun. In gatherings where Jun is present, his face lights up the moment he spots you, and then goes out of his way to make sure you will have your first sip of scotch, then sits you down at a table where all the good food is being served.

For someone from Apayao, Jun speaks Ibaloi better than me, the dialect of my forebears, which Jun learned when he was assigned to Bokod as Comelec officer.

When one passes away, or what they call stealing a march on his family and friends, the usual words of comfort is that he is in a happier place.

Well, Jun, old friend, I am sure you are. I am sure you are.

When Rene and I will come along, hopefully later and not sooner, I know you will have the bottle and table ready for us.

We will miss you more than you know – Gloria, your family, and your many friends. Godspeed.

* * * * * * * * * *

From Funeraria Paz where Jun’s remains were, we rushed off after mass to attend another at nearby St. Vincent Church.

A son’s birth, baptism, his birthdays and graduation from high school, receiving a college diploma, his marriage, the birth of his first born, are happy events in every parents’ life.

But Grian Kyle’s early sorrowful demise is too painful for all the loved ones he leaves behind, more so his mom and dad, and his own family, his young wife coming home from the U.S. to be with him for the holidays, only to see him die in a freak accident on New Year’s Eve.

In my twilight years, I only cry my heart out in my private moments, just myself and wonderful memories of yesteryears, thinking how much I miss my Minda.

But seeing Kyle’s parents in tears, my nephew Troy Mencio and the boy’s mother, the tears just had to flow even for a 77- year-old man like me.

I pray that the heavens make it a rule that children should bury their parents, not the other way around.

* * * * * * * * * *

But we now live in a fast world, where one can get to the other side of the globe in half a day, where running at top speed is more thrilling than dangerous, and the fastest of them all, the women of today.

If the men do not watch out, they will soon be overrun by the women, just like Baguio being now an annex of Bontoc.

They are, like Converse sneakers, all over, our tribal kin from the north – at City Hall, in the prosecution service, and in one fell swoop, in the judiciary.

But more later.

* * * * * * * * * *

We caught the last part of the wedding of a grandniece, Stephanie Suello Kitma, to a good looking guy – you guess it – with northern roots.

Time flies faster than light in today’s times.

Stephanie was just a whiff of a girl at the Chinese Patriotic School when my Minda was the principal there, and seeing her tie the knot really made me feel old. I do, she said, in a woman’s voice.

For a while, I thought the one officiating the marriage was a religious minister, but it turned out to be Tuba Mayor Ignacio Rivera, who sounded like a man of God, like maybe he was one before he entered politics.

I wonder how many other funerals will I go to, how many more weddings will I attend?

Prayerfully, I expect to hit 80, three years hence.

* * * * * * * * * *

There are a good number of politicians seeking public office in our still alive (but barely) city, with one or two new in the game.

But where are they all getting their campaign logistics?

Here are the stories going around. One, a rookie, is said to be funded by a Chinese billionaire. Another is being supported by people who are in the numbers game and other illegal activities, and still another by his in-laws.

A leading candidate is said to possess a war chest that he managed to accumulate over the years, while his closet rival is being funded by his well off spouse.

The third has the full backing of his siblings, family, and friends working abroad.

And one candidate is lucky to have Imee Marcos and Bong Go behind him, while Peter Fianza and Rene Cortes have empty pockets with holes even.

But like the Comelec does not say, “May the biggest spender win.”

But if the average guy will not fight because he has no money, then public office will only be for the rich, who will even become richer once they assume office.

But the rich shoot back, the poor too will become rich if elected.

Maybe, but you have had your fill, time to give way to the others.

Like the aficionados shout in a close cockfight where one cock suddenly hesitates, or stops. Shoo! Shoo! Shoo!

* * * * * * * * * *

Sorry you will just have to suffer my scribbling, done only late this morning.

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