October condolences and remembrances-A A +A
Monday, October 7, 2013
WHAT is with this month of October 2013? It came creeping after a rainy September and then started its days with surprises we least expected, would rather not have because they are sad events.
We were on our way to Paradiso in Aringay, La Union when I heard the news over radio that Baguio City’s most distinguished and illustrious doctor, friend to farmers and my friend too, Dr. Charles Cheng died. Why?
By the time we reached our destination, the answers started arriving. I could not sleep that evening. He warned me 1989 about my weight, the food I eat and erratic blood pressure. I was a candidate for the sugar barons club, he said.
A decade before this encounter, we were already close friends along with the Depthnews writers here in Baguio and elsewhere in the Cordillera. I would visit Dr. Cheng anytime during the day when I am able. We would chat a while and he would not fail to do his part. He would give those medical advises out of our chat and his observations as if I went to see him for medical check-up.
It was during one of these sessions that he had me confined at the Baguio Chinese Medical Center for strict observation. He knew how some of us mountain men would not admit to any disease or sickness, unless these come with terrible or unbearable pain beyond bearing.
In Aringay, the following day, after delivering the welcome message to the writeshop participants from the provinces, reason why we are here, I left and went to the resort lobby. I connected to friends and Art Tibaldo was inviting me to join the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club (BCBC) pay their tribute to Dr. Cheng. I do not easily react fast to these situations. I conveniently asked Art to include me in his tribute to the good doctor my sincere apologies. There are things in life that my kind would not understand or accept. When my three brothers and sister died, my wife and children dragged or forced me to attend their wakes. I was with my dad when he was fighting for his life. When he died, I did not attend his wake. To this very day, I mourn the loss of loved ones departed. Can we protest against and defy that dark Angel.
Dr. Cheng, among my friends will remain beloved, remembered as a caring and gentle soul.
Today I hear about employers and supervisors handling the young as their greed or lust would let them. It is a late realization for me but Dr. Cheng reinforced in my being the value of caring for the life of others and their potential contributions to the well-being of society. How he saw and played big brother to three young men and that included me was a gift, a vision I see and play with the young men and women who came and those who yet will come in my care in the work place. He lived in a caring Baguio, as he personified it in his profession and other pursuits. In his memory and all loved ones departed, I will also do my best in this endless quest to bring about “a caring universe” in our midst.
I listen to this soothing music on the “Trail of Angels,” not knowing how to end this write-up. The music comes with sceneries of nature. The flute played on and it brought me to those days when butterflies and birds, in their myriad sounds and colors painted the skies and landscape. It is a great world we have, “a world we failed to discover,” is how Sir Willy Cacdac, veteran Baguio journalist described it. Perhaps he pioneered the October graduates from the “University of Life” for Baguio’s great sons and residents.
In his last years, Sir Willy and I would meet on the road or get on a trek to the field. He had this message repeated on those meetings. “Write for people with flesh and blood. Give life to the numbers you deal with and believe me, I am thrilled reading an article written for a grade school pupil than a scholar’s composition in technical jargon.” For instance, a write-up that portrays the daily turbulence and reality of the insect world is best with a perspective on “insect wars” than a bland topic on “the interdependence of species in nature.”
I see his point mow. Precious knowledge are meant to connect to more people than a select-crowd.
We do miss them, these October graduates, pioneers in their own right on the need to discover, understand, and bring about a caring universe in our midst.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 08, 2013.