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Pause and pray

by Jullie Y. Daza

IT was a mournful, prayerful time. We prayed for soldiers and policemen fighting in Marawi, the wounded and the dead, for fleeing refugees and suffering residents. We prayed for their safety and ours and the President’s, we prayed for the brave journalists covering the war, and for peace to reign all over our precious, precious islands.

We prayed for rain for our farmers, we prayed for rain to go away and take the floods with them. We prayed for the big earthquake of our worst fears to dissolve into dust. We prayed that thousands of trees endangered by “progress” in Cebu and Quezon City and elsewhere will be saved at the last minute. We prayed that this season of flowering, flaming, flamboyant fire trees will symbolize, in the halving of the year, a flourishing future for the millions going back to school.

We prayed for friends who have crossed the border to eternity, among them “James Bond” (Roger Moore) and Gil Portes, film director. Gil was absent from our reunion of UST Philets (of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, which became defunct in the late ‘60s) last May 24 for the most final of reasons beyond his control. The day after the party, news of his passing due to cardiac arrest shocked Mitos C. Araneta, who had furnished the Philets office in UST’s Alumni Center, and Charlie Agatep, who taught p.r. to Gil and contemporaries, and the 20 others who were at the reunion. “Our tribe is diminishing,” Charlie had noted during the party, not knowing there would be one more casualty even as he spoke.

From this corner, I imagined Gil laughing boisterously, as was his wont, at the tributes and eulogies that filled the entertainment pages. I did not watch all of his movies, but how I enjoyed “Two Funerals”, a humorous look at the quirky way we live under the influence of church and state, amid our unavoidable ties to family and community at unbelievably close quarters.

My friend Bobby Cuenca attended two funerals in the space of two months after losing two beautiful women in his life – his mother, Yasmin, 90, in March, and his mother-in-law, former Sen. Eva Estrada Kalaw, 97, in May.

To Marissu Bugante, SSS vp for public affairs, the peace that never ends came to her in her sleep last Monday. My condolences to her co-workers and staff – they were her family.

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