Fare thee well, Joe!

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By Benny Balweg

Snapshot Focus

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


WHILE the BARP Foundation, Inc. and the BARP Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BMPC) are all agog preparing for the BMPC elections for a third portion of the latter's Board of Directors on march 29, 2014, a past Chairman of the BFI is lying for final viewing in their family home at No. 3 Brookside, Baguio City. He is popularly known in the City as Joe Taguba, not only because he was once a City Administrator (under Mayor Mauricio Domogan, the incumbent again), but because he appreciably performed in many other concerns of the City if not of his fellowmen in general.

In fact, the first thing I came to know of him was his name which was mentioned to me by his sister, Grace, in the then Mountain State Agricultural College (MSAC), now Benguet State University (BSU). Grace Taguba, now Ms. Bengwayan, was a staff of the Mountain Collegian while I was Director of Publications, who once served as adviser of the MC, a college student paper.

When Grace heard that I needed upholstered chairs, she enthusiastically referred me to Joe. His elder brother, she said, manufactured sofa and seats and their home was by the Rimando Road ascending to Aurora Hill where I happened to be residing. Passing by him one afternoon, I could not help smiling. "Just like carpenters," I thought to myself. His own chairs looked dilapidated while he was constructing beautiful ones for others. Soon I almost forgot about the chairs when I got immersed in his way of entertaining. What can you do when when he talks to you, you begin to feel as if you are the only one in this world to him! So different from those who want you to attend to what they are trying to convey but keep on manipulating their cell phones as if you are only half-present. They are more at ease with these non-feeling gadgets than with fellow humans they are speaking with.

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Since the day I paid Joe what I ordered and which his men finished on time, I crossed path with him only in formal meetings or conferences where he would not just be mere attendant. If he was not a speaker or lecturer, he would be a reactor, a committee head and consequent reporter or to do some further research. No matter how busy he was in his personal or own-family concerns, he always accepted to have time for community affairs and participated productively in them.

The third and most lasting chance Joe and I were to be together was in the BARP organization. He was always a nominee and chosen winner in important positions, like Board of Trustees in BFI where he once served as Chairman and the Board of Directors in BMPC. In committees, he was invariably a leading contributor of ideas in discussions. He was open to varied options in order to make possible the finally best choice and so avoid needless early amendments or repeal of approved policies or regulations. To him, mistakes always incurred expense in time or in money; time may be volunteered by the officers but money was always footed by the membership at large.

Another quality of the man, worth remembering and imitating, was his affableness in pursuing what he had in mind. While he wanted his suggestions to be the final choice, unlike others who suggest but then half-heartedly push through with their ideas, he never appeared to belittle the inputs of others. Never did I hear him resort to argumentum ad hominem. The expression "Would it not be better if ...," naturally flowed from his mouth accompanied by an inquiring sincere smile. There is, however, one integral part of a meeting that I remember he rarely did, if ever: to move for adjournment or give second thereto. Thorough and patient analyses were his forte. Matters should be brought to useful conclusions.

As to religious affiliation, the UCCP (United Church of Christ in the Philippines) to me, was very appropriate for Joe Taguba. He must be one who entertained no rancor in his heart towards fellowmen. Never did I hear him desecrate any of God's intellectually-endowed temples by any utterance. He lived the BARP welcome song: "How good to see you, all hale and full of life!/A perfect gift of God Who hates all strife." Unity is a core value that drew him into his final social organization, the Blessed Association of Retired Persons, the BARP. With it, he can be imagined as he is today being transported to his final earthly sojourn, led by BARP members, to be hearily humming, "And that's our life, our dream, our joy, We sons and daughters true of BARP/That's the tune our hearty trumpets blare!/ Till we hear God's lyre and harp/Till we hear God's lyre and harp.)" I still vividly recall his right hand instinctively beating enthused and his head nodding the very first time my BARP Song of Life was sung at a relatively mammoth monthly assembly. After the community singing, he approached me and sighed "Wow, what a meaningful song!" He understood, he was touched. Virile brains soften the heart.

-o0o-

Today (March 22, 2014), that the exact 78th anniversary date of my coming to see the light of this world is commemorated, I would no more hesitate to respond to exemplar Joe, now born beyond the sunset, "Thank you, great Cordilleran, great BARPian, bon voyage! Au revoir but not good bye." And to our great great God, "Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Lord/ Salamat Po, agyamankam, Salamat Po, agyamankam."

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 26, 2014.

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