March 1, 2024

We were Jose Rizal Boy Scouts of Outfit 69 of the Our Lady of Lourdes Scouting unit under the tutelage of Rev. Fr. Jean Marie Tchang when he decided to send three of us as delegates – Pemoel R. Ng, Martin Agusto, and myself, to the 14th World Jamboree in Lilhemmer, Oslo, Norway.
Of course, my poor father Art, who worked as a bookkeeper at Pines Theater, and my mother Mely, a public school teacher, were elated and distraught at the same time as the cost of travel to Europe was higher than the moon that Neil Armstrong set foot on.
The chairman then of the Boy Scouts Baguio City Council was Atty. Moises P. Cating and together with Fr. Tchang, Councilor Bert Floresca, and Tulsiram Sharma of Bhermolls Department Store started a fundraising campaign to help us delegates cover for the expenses.
That’s how I met him at barely 15, Atty. Cating, as I was tasked to bring the solicitation letters to his office at Solibao for his signature. Seeing him sign a thousand or more letters made me memorize the curves and style of how he signs documents, which was reflective of his personality and total persona – that of being simple and ready to help.
Of course, along the way, he related stories about himself, of how he was born in Atok, Benguet 91 years ago. The “P” in his name was Palasi, maiden name of mother Filomena, who married ama Alban.
He and brother, Dr. Mauricio, lost their parents at a young age and the CICM fathers took them under their wings in Home Sweet Home. Serving the church, he went through school and college until he finished Law at Saint Louis University where we happily reunited when I became the dean of Law and him, the president of the Law alumni.
He was at one time a law partner of former mayor, Commission on Elections commissioner, and my godfather tata Luis L. Lardizabal –“Sadiri ti Tagudin”. I stand to be corrected but legend says the office paved the way for him to meet and fall in love with Zeny, then working with the late Cong/Gov./Atty. Alfredo Lamen of the old Mountain Province.
She said her yes to his courtship and devoted her life to him for 62 years. They had children – Steve, Gary, Jinky, Rocky, and Mitos, whose paths we often crossed especially with Steve, a long-time loyal friend and now following the footsteps of his dad in public service as chair of Benguet Electric Cooperative board of directors.
At his Solibao law office, his associate was the then young Alvin Almora later City Prosecutor of Caloocan. Atty. Cating’s law practice spanned 46 years with focus on lands and registration. Alvin, over rounds of beer in Dainty Restaurant, would regale us young lawyers with tales of how land titles in their office measured more than two feet when put together, and we would actually believe him.
At one time or another, he was treasurer of the Lakas NUCD in Baguio and former President Fidel V. Ramos appointed him to the Local Water Utilities Board after his stint as chair of the Baguio Water District.
Name any civic organization and Atty. Cating was part of it, as an officer or member. Name any of the awards given by government or non-government organizations and he was a recipient of the honors.
Name high business ventures, aside from Solibao, Ganza, Jinky’s, he was there – Baguio Country Club, Green Valley Country Club, and its organization Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio.
A decade or two ago, he started serving and returning the favor and grace he received from the church – Baguio Archdiocese and philanthropy to St. Vincent Church together with Col. Filo and the late Norma. Like us, he was a dear friend of Fr. Jerry Orbos whom he would bring up.
He has gone to the great hunting grounds but his legacy of service lives on. And better late than never, “Dios ti agngina kanyam, apo Abogado Moises P. Cating.” Hasta la vista.
Sigh.