Issue of June 10, 2018
     
NEWS
Abra
Benguet
Mt. Province
 
OPINION
 

2018
Panagbenga Flower Festival
 
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Berdey gayam!

First thing firsts on my natal day was at the Church of the Sacred Heart where I thanked the Supreme Being, God, Allah, or Jeddah for a life well lived.

As a boy, I was born in Baguio akin to a three-legged horse hence never knew what normal was. Little boys dream and while my playmates dreamt of being rich and famous, all I wanted was to live a simple life the way my father was.

Initially bent on becoming a priest and failing on my first attempt at Maryheights Seminary at St. George Hill, now Bakakeng. Indeed the Biblical phrase has truism. “Many are called but few are chosen. I was called but I was not chosen.”

Life went on the struggles were a-plenty. I worked myself through Law school, went on with major careers and now at the apex of my life, hopefully a one-term local legislator. I have had my share of ups and downs, glorious moments, and fleeting pats on the back for a job well down. Similarly I was unfairly judged then bashed, ranted on, ridiculed but no matter what they say or do to me, they cannot touch my soul and my deep desire to do what I deem is right.

Abraham Lincoln’s mantra remains “I do the very best I know how. If the end brings me out right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing ‘I told you so, would not make a difference.’”

Flooded and overwhelmed with meaningful and sincere messages from family and friends on the Internet and phone, I want to say thank you from my heart to all “who in my 59 years listened without judging me, spoken without prejudice, helped me without feeling of entitlement or expecting a reward, understood without pretensions, stood by me through thick and thin and loved me without conditions.”

I have shortcomings but I am sure I have no wrongdoings and I can see anyone in the eye and say no culpability for graft or corruption. I entered public office materially comfortable because of my profession and if I do exit now, I will end up poor as a church rat because of the nuances of the culture of patronage politics that one must give and the only way to get rich is join the gang of Napoles and her 40 thieves (Oha, figure of speech ah).

With the lifestyle, stress, and illness one gets, I now have thoughts of retiring for good or maybe go to the happy hunting grounds although I have a suspicion that I would go down Lucifer’s haven where I will have a grand bonfire, and reunion with most of my colleagues in law, politics and media, he he he.

A birthday song is a must for celebrants says my favorite soothsayer and I choose a funeral song by Dan Fogelberg “Leader of the band” dedicated to my children and theirs.

The more salient lines say, “The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old;

But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul;

My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man;

I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band;

I thank you for the music and your stories of the road;

I thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go;

I thank you for the kindness and the times when you got tough;

And papa, I don’t think I said I love you near enough;

The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old;

But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul;

My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man;

I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band;

I am a living legacy to the leader of the band.”

Through all the 59 years, my realization is that in this life, there is really something more noble and supreme than fame, riches, or money. Sigh!

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