(With the kindness of Editor Sam, I yield my space in favor of my dad, Cezar Liporada, who, along with some friends is now mourning the death of some friends who perished in the recent bus tragedy along Naguillian Road.)
LAST Wednesday, August 18, 2010, at 5:05 p.m., I received a text message from Brother Bien, a Hare-Krishna follower: Brother Carlos died in an accident.
I was flabbergasted! I was with Brother Carlos earlier Sunday for our regular third Sunday meeting in the house of Brother Harold, an Indigenous Peoples group advocate.
At around 6 p.m., it was confirmed that Carlos, together with Ricky, Sister Cristina and Sister Rose, and some 38 others, was among those who died when a bus fell into a ravine in Sablan, along Naguilian Road sometime at 10 a.m.
It was a tragedy! It was certainly an unforgettable and traumatic experience for the families of those who died and for the eight others who survived.
It was also a triumph of spirit for the members of the Divinity in Diversity Alliance, Inc., (DDA) a multi-faith association. It has the vision of making Baguio City the spiritual center of the country, in the same manner that Jerusalem was revered in the world as the center of faith for Christians, Jews and Muslims. It promotes an atmosphere where mutual respect of each other's faith or belief system is the norm.
During that Wednesday night, Brothers Haj Moh, a Muslim and Jun Conde, a Christian, were the ones who identified the bodies. Ricky Lim, a Taoist-Christian, was eventually claimed by his brothers. But Carlos Miranda Angeles has no known relative in Baguio City; he was born in Canlaon City (March 29, 1964) and grew up Bacolod City.
However, since he had been out of his birthplace since he was 17 years old, the likelihood that his body may not be claimed is high.
The first concern of DDA was therefore to exert efforts to locate his relatives. The Red Cross, GMA.tv, ABS-CBN, Bombo Radio were contacted.
In consultation with several board and other members of DDA, and in the spirit of brotherly love and for practical purposes, the association had assumed the responsibility for his remains, unless and until a close kin claims otherwise. It proved easy.
Because the association was formal, negotiation for his remains with the management of the funeral homes was made. Likewise, within a day (Thursday), a free coffin was provided (with assistance from the DOH and DSWD), funding for the cremation was raised, and he was suited up, courtesy of the members.
The body of Carlos was cremated last Friday, August 20, 2010, after a prayer ceremony officiated by Brother Mar and chanting of Hare Krishna.
Saturday, August, 21, 2010, necrological services were held for him in the house of Brother Alex.
His ashes were housed in the residence of one endeared to him and his colleague in Ageless Wisdom, Bea Ajero, at Richgate Square 2, Monticello Rd, Camp 7 Baguio City.
It will stay there for thirty days, for friends who may want to pay their respect or for relatives who may want or claim his remains.
(Please get in touch with either of the following: Cesar D. Liporada, president DDA with cp number 0907-943-0289 or Harold Tawana, board member and owner of the house where the DDA office is located, with cp number 0927-313-3391.
The body of Brother Ricky was cremated Wednesday, August 25, 2010. The night before, Brother Gil, an ex-priest, assisted the relatives of Ricky in holding a solemn ceremony for his departure. Sisters Cristina and Rose were also accorded their ceremonies by their relatives.
The DDA was registered with the SEC last November 11, 2009. But it informally began in the 1980s, with the convergence of people by the Burnham Lake, on the pathway side from the football grandstand.
The people talked, shared and debated about their understanding of God, the Truth, and the purpose of Life. They came afternoons at about 2 p.m. until dusk, by the lake, referred to as "Dagat-dagatang Apoy."
Soon, a group culture emerged. Each learned to respect each other, despite the differences. The group norm shifted: from one "seeking to be understood," to "seeking to know more and understand."