June 14, 2024

“How can you mend a broken heart? How can you stop the rain from falling down? How can you stop the sun from shining? What makes the world go round?”
So goes the song of the Bee Gees as it reverberates in my ears. It had been almost a year since my Ed passed. Forty-two years of blissful memories. I could not get myself to write again. How could I? When my partner who always gave my final submission of manuscripts a quick editing… is gone.
But there is always that nudge in my head, life must go on and so I start writing again with this article and I thank Gloria Antoinette Hamada, the general manager and publisher of Baguio Midland Courier for allowing this.
As the phoenix rises from the ashes, this article is my and my family’s tribute to our Ed, to Papa Ed, to his life and his photographs. Ed always saw himself in the background. He shied away from photos and introductions. He did his work quietly and meticulously without fuss and without expecting anything in return. Friends and family remember his strict supervision and precision. Everything is measured and planned beforehand.
One of his best traits is his eloquence and sophistication, though he disliked making speeches. This I believe is what was attractive about him. He was a “jack of all trades master of none.” He was an inventor (from emergency lights from car batteries, from turning digital to manual, from designing his own ensemble for work (vest and pants that can hold all his gadgets to what have you).
He can fix almost anything. He was a civic action man and was a member of his favorite group, REACT Canao. He was happy to serve others especially on emergency scenarios and situations. He was always gentle, loyal and teasing.
He would call everyone tita and tito and would make mano as a greeting. But don’t irk him as it will take time before he talks to you again. He was a devoted and very loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, cousin and friend (that’s another story) .
Eli Dominic, his only apo, was the apple of his eyes. One “buya yoyo” greeting from Eli would lit his eyes. Facebook was his pastime. He would send very long greetings and wishes like. “haaapppyyy biiirrrthhhdddaaayyy, iiinnnggaaattttsss and tttthhhaaannkkk yooouuu..“ He always had a bungisngis (happy smiling) face.
He sported a white goatee, his traditional eyeglasses, vest, cargo pants. worn out Happy Feet shoes, white socks and a very heavy bag which contained all his needs when they could not be accommodated in his vest. He always traveled heavy. When one could travel with only one bag, he had three. He always had to be ready with emergency tools. Boy Scout ngarud!
And that is why he shunned traveling to other countries, because he could only carry limited luggage.
One of his greatest loves was his photography. He took great shots. Even before digital cameras and drones were invented. He took nature photos sans photo editing. What you see is what you get.
He took aerial shots from helicopters when drones were not yet in fashion. However, he lost his interest in photography when the digital camera gained popularity. It is interesting to note that his introduction to cameras happened when his cousin Kidlat Tahimik (National Artist for Film) gifted him with his first camera in 1981.
He was Kidlat’s soundman in his film “Turumba,” an independent film then being shot in our hometown Balian in Pangil, Laguna and neighboring town Pakil, Laguna where the annual Turumba festival was held. Inspired by Kilda’sand multi-awarded cinematographer Boy Yniguez he embarked on his new hobby by partly documenting behind the scenes.
Ed was also the first officer-in-charge of the newly-established Baguio Mountain Provinces Museum from 1977 to 1981. After his stint with Kidlat, he started to document most of my activities at the Department of Tourism Region-CAR, mostly Baguio until the transfer of my office to Region 1. Sa pakiramdam ko, minana ng mga anak namin ang hilig nya sa pagkuha ng litrato.
Nashi, Deke and Reggie take very good photographs. However, Deke (Edgar Benedick) his namesake took it to the next level with his adventures and outreach programs. While Nash and Reggie took their prowess into their jobs, sports and family. You can see Deke’s posts on Facebook. I told Papa Edong, “your photographs have very good composition. You are able to capture the story in your shots.” He took photographs with actual sun and sky settings. In 1997, former Congressman Hernani “Nani” Braganza (of Western Pangasinan) took interest in his photographs and commissioned him to do an exhibit of tourist spots in Western Pangasinan.
He mounted a “One Man Exhibit” at the former Manila Hilton now called Manila Pavilion with then President Fidel Ramos as guest of honor, entitled ‘One Pangasinan, Home of the Hundred Islands.” At the time, he carried fivecameras which precariously dangled on his neck while taking photographs of newly emerging destinations. Halos tumaob na yung banca nila, but all he could think of was how to save the cameras he was carrying.
The exhibithad about 5011 x 20 framed photographs and was curated by CCP’s 13 artists awardee Willy Magtibay. Leandro who was still a baby at that time joined his parents Willy and Bardot during the opening ceremonies. Leandro, if you are reading this, you will be proud to know that your dad Willy introduced the concept of bambooinstallation for exhibits then and did the “Fun Map” of Western, Pangasinan. As an epilogue of this article, I am giving you a glimpse of Ed’s photographs made into postcards then by Rep. Nani Branganza. I am sure a lot of widows have their own stories to tell. As for me, I am mending my broken heart by creating and sewing together new pieces of memories, as suggested by Holand, Hansel David Co’s wife of ‘That Little Café’. I did it my way. I am honoring the memories of my late husband Ed with some of his most cherished photographs.