MEMBERS of the Chan family mourned the passing of Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 Director Catalino Chan III, who died Thursday afternoon in the Perpetual Succour Hospital after a heart attack.
“It happened so fast. It is really very painful on our part,” said his sister, Congresswoman Mercedes Cagas of Davao del Sur, in an interview yesterday.
Chan is survived by his son, Aldrich, 16. He is remembered as being very close to his son, who is based in Cagayan de Oro City.
Chan was a DOT director in Northern Mindanao and has served the tourism department for 11 years. He was relocated to Cebu to handle DOT Central Visayas last year but formally assumed office in January this year.
“What we siblings observed is that this job really is very stressful but my brother really wanted the best for Cebu,” Cagas said.
The lawmaker added that Chan saw his assignment in Central Visayas as a promotion, considering the scope and the vibrant dynamics of the region’s tourism sector.
“Mao gyud na iyang pagkatao (That was who he was). He wanted to prove to the people that he was capable of attracting tourists to come to Cebu,” said Cagas.
She added that while they are in grief, they are happy to know that Chan has left good memories.
In a short span of time, Cagas said her brother was able to gain the trust of the public and private sectors.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo has already reached out to the bereaved family. Cagas also thanked her brother’s DOT family for the support, concern and hospitality during the director’s short stay.
DOT 7 colleague Judy Gabato, who assumed as officer-in-charge prior to Chan’s assignment to Cebu, described her boss as a man with a big heart.
“He was a doer. He had many plans for DOT 7,” said Gabato. “RD Chan also had a big heart. Knowing that he was new, he really went out of his way to know everybody.”
One of Chan’s projects in Central Visayas was the promotion of tourism in the countryside. Chan also aimed to mount a successful hosting of ASEAN meetings in the region.
“As a superior, he really had a manner of handling people well. He motivated us. He will really be missed,” said Gabato.
Chan’s body will be brought to Cagayan de Oro City this Sunday. By March 22, he will be brought to his hometown in Mambajao, Camiguin and will be laid to rest on March 24.