Farewell to a Friend


Champee with Tito Bong

December 9, 2014 – A good man passed away.

Early this morning, while still recovering from my chickenee, I got an unexpected message in my Facebook account.  It was a quick hello from a friend Bong.  The last time we met was about five months ago.  We talked about Cassandra, chickenpox and our barkada’s post Christmas party on January since he can’t go home to Manila this month.  No goodbyes… and the conversation ended with just a simple see you on January next year.

That afternoon, a friend asked what’s going on on his timeline.  Why are there RIPs?  Condolences? Farewells?  I said I didn’t know… so I message him again… and then called… and there was no answer. Finally I got some answer from another friend so we talked to her and put her on speaker so Cali would also know… and boom… she said…

“Yes he’s gone”

I met Bong when we were in Grade 4.  No we were not classmates then but he’s my cousin’s classmate.  Even during that time he has that friendly aura already so it was easy to talk to him even if we’re not in the same section… Then we became classmates the next year until we graduate from high school and even became schoolmates in college.  I remember during our high school graduation that everyone were so emotional that we might not see each other anymore only to find out that we were all going to the same university.

What really deepened the high school friendship was when most of us joined Youth for Christ which started from senior high until we finished college.  Since it was during the teen years, what made my friendship stronger with Bong was his ability to listen during my darkest moments.  Yes… he’s my sounding board.  Thinking about it now, he literally knows all my secrets yet I never felt he judged me for all the wrong decisions I made when we were growing up. That bond made me feel I had a new brother that even my parents and siblings became close to him.  I even asked him to do the writeup for my college graduation yearbook profile.

After college was the real world.  Tougher challenges… More heartbreaks… Bigger decisions.  Lesser time, but better friendship.  When Cali came into my life, I introduced her to my closest friends.  And it was instant that she became close to Bong.  I think that for the past few months, they exchange more stories than I did.

They say you’re not really friends if you haven’t had any disagreements… and the worst “tampo” I had with him was when he wasn’t able to go to my wedding.  That took some months before I was really able to get over the feeling.  So months after my wedding we went to Boracay and he sure did made up for it.

Bong is the personification of generosity.  Even without asking, he’ll see to it that you have more than what you need.  I remembered his first job was at Starbucks.  Too bad there was no planner yet at that time but we sure did have caffeine overload everytime we go to his branch at Greenhills.  And when he transferred to Havaianas, we sure did get a fair share of the flip flop feast.  This goes beyond the products his work is selling, but also on sharing everything he has to different charities.  From the outreach we had from SFC, their family’s Christmas gift giving with the street kids up to the different non profit organizations helping out our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

The life of the party… Bong made sure that even when everyone’s low bat… he naturally lights up the room (specially when Jigs is around).

Not the sanitary napkin 🙂 but Bong’s general attitude in life.  Despite of all the problems he had to face, I never saw him get worried too much.  He always had that sunny disposition that is contagious that’s why a lot of people really get along with him.

The list could go on with all the good traits I could think of about Bong but it’s very evident that he lived a full life as seen with all the friends he has.  They are not just simple acquaintances but rather people with deep personal attachments to him as he made them (specially me) feel God’s love through his actions and through his life.

Bong, I just want to tell you that I’ve been wearing Sanuk and Superga sneakers since all my Havs are gone now. I know you’re not going to like it.  But nevertheless, all the havs that you’ve given may wear out or lose their straps but rest assured that you will never be forgotten because of the great friendship you’ve given not only to me but the rest of my family.

Rest well kapatid, You’re supposed to be Cassandra’s Ninong.  Well I guess it’s good that we have an angel Ninong that can keep an eye on her ’til she grows up now. 

Farewell my friend.

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