Death and reminders to us
Yesterday, I was jarred by the report on the death of Isagani Yambot, publisher of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
And this evening, the remains of former Rep. Ignacio Arroyo (5th District, Neg. Occ.) will be brought home to be placed at the Hinigaran Catholic Church for the wake. This will be participated in by friends, sympathizers, family members, and supporters in the fifth district.
Not an ideal arrangement of course. Still, that provides people of the district the chance to pay their respect to their former solon.
Yambot, on the other hand, was a close personal friend. Although later our relation had sort of become tenuous because I had transferred to the Philippine Star, a rival daily.
Still, both of us continued to greet each other in our prolonged relationship. We remained friends, albeit not as close as in the past when we used be together.
We had cemented our friendship when I was appointed as member of the advance party of the state visit of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda to Saudi Arabia. I was then with Francisco Cevallos who was recalled from his post in Libya to give our two cents worth of knowledge of Islam and its cultural and ideological practice to then Ambassador Romualdez.
Aware that Cevallos and I were supposed to be the experts on Islamic culture and ideology, Gani opted to remain tight-lipped whenever we engaged Kokoy Romualdez on a dispute over certain decisions and practices, which we had advised the former President.
Iggy, on the other hand, was a former close friend. Especially before Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became vice president and subsequently President.
We were small group – Ely de los Santos, Franklin Fuentebella, Cano Tan, and a smattering of others.
Despite his ascendancy to the House, Iggy remained a close friend, although we had met after. From time to time, we would meet. And, the last time I went to his house at the Sta. Clara Executive subdivision, it was to ask him to support the Spanish review class for Spanish-speaking members of the Negros Press Club. Of course, Iggy and I conversed in Spanish. And he consented with alacrity to pay the fees to Mrs. Gilda Puey Locsin.
After that, we met sparingly. Still, I also missed him.
That’s not my point. The death of any man, especially a close friend, spurs us to take stock of ourselves and the questions of death, pain, and suffering as well as the meaning of life.
But what usually happens, is that we spend time mourning the dead but fail to ask ourselves the meaning of life, suffering, pain and death. And after death, what.
Instead, we spend our time focused on the good side of the departed and forget all about life and its meaning.
We use our grief to mist over what questions that should enable us to answer the questions that strike deep into the heart of man.
Rites and rituals tend to obfuscate the reality of the questions that we suppress from answering. We often forget the more fundamental reality – our own mortality and we, individually, will have to answer some of the deep-seated questions that bedevil man.
We often end up believing that the coming kingdom of man on earth will satisfy all desires of his heart. But even that does not satisfy him, for the questions remain to haunt his waking hours and his sleep.
Pardon me for raising these queries. At my age, just like any mortal man, these mysteries demand answers to my questions.
That’s something that often crosses my mind when I hear that a friend ot acquaintance has succumbed to death and ends up where?
But let me leave aside those deep realities, instead, let me remind the reader that sometime in April the first batch of Japanese believers of Koichi Yamaqauchi, Japan’s leading landscaper are coming to Bacolod to see the hot spring facility that he is completing by April.
The hot springs will coast P6.5 million and could follow the example of similar such facilities in Japan. Thus, the interest of Japanese hot bath enthusiasts.
It was under the joint auspices of Mikawa and Bacolod Capitol Lions that the Filipino-Japanese Garden at the Bacolod Plaza was constructed way back several decades.
We hope that the hot bath facility of Mambukal will attract more Japanese visitors to the summer resort.
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