Archive for the ‘Rebecca Espeso’ Category

Celebrating All Saint’s Day

October 31, 2008

Death – the last sleep?
No, it is the final awakening.

~ Walter Scott

The lines calmed my senses when my mother died a few years ago. I thought death as a final awakening could be an epiphany which brings a lot of hope.

Each time I remember a departed soul and I read the words, I feel peace and consolation. I come to think of dying not in ghastly terms, but something glorious, as resplendant as the second coming.

On Saturday November 1, 2008, is All Saints Day. It is the right time to read the lines again. We remember those who passed away—the departed members of the family, our friends and neighbors who mean a lot to us.

In gratitude, we pray for them and celebrate their lives. We recall how much they share— the fleeting joy and the lustful bliss of the earth.

We relish the muffled laughter, the rustle of the gossamer curtain, and the glowing moments of light under which we had fun together. They are all framed in memory which makes the departed truly present within us: comfy warm, intimate, and alive.

In loving remembrance of ten (10) UP Ibalon members who passed away, here is what each of them must be telling us:

Call me by my old familiar name…I am but waiting for you.

Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away in the next room. I am I and you are you: whatever we were to each other; that we are still. Call me by my old familiar name; speak to me in an easy way which you always used.

Put no difference into your tone: wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile. Think of me; pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effort, without the ghost of a shadow on it. Life means that it ever meant.

It is the same as it ever was. There is absolutely unbroken continuity. What is this death but a gateway? I am but waiting for you— for an interval somewhere very near around the corner. “ —Anonymous.

IN MEMORIAM

1. Rebecca (Bebeth) Espeso of Tulay na Lupa, Labo, Camarines Norte; by vehicular accident in Baao, Camarines Sur in April 1976; on her way to Legazpi City with UP Ibalon members to join Kami Minagalang, a humanitarian project of the organization for the Don Susano Memorial Mental Hospital in Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur.

2. Floro E. Balce of Daet, Camarines Norte; succumbed to a fatal single excruciating gunshot belly wound from an automatic carbine; in an encounter with the military in Tigaon, Camarines Sur; on July 30, 1978. As Ka Manding, he served selflessly to the cause of helping the poor and the disadvantaged.

3. Manny Raposa of Naga City; a victim of random stabbing in 1978 after stepping out of Max’s in Baclaran with his sweetheart; in Pasay City. A promising Philippine Science High School graduate (PSHS,) his death remained unsolved, one of many in the roster of clueless crimes in the police blotter.

4. Thor (Og) Aldea, from Ligao City, Albay; died of ruptured brain aneurysm in 1983; his 25th death anniversary was recently commemorated by friends at the CSWCD in the UP campus.

5. Siegfredo (Fred) Salva, from Naga City; was run over by a car in a 1989 traffic accident in Makati, Manila. His memory is honored by his Ateneo de Naga High School (AdeN) batchmates thru a scholarship named after him.

6. Juliet (Jake) Repomanta-Siron, from Guinobatan, Albay and Manila; a feminist-activist and a committed women’s rights advocate; worked with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST )where she served as its employees association president; suffered a fatal heart attack while undergoing kidney dialysis about 10 years ago.

7. Karen Canon, died in a vehicular accident while working in line of duty for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) nearly 10 years ago. UP Ibalon Grace Princesa-Escalante, her boss, took charge of the funeral services only to know of Karen’s membership with Ibalon later.

8. Joni Cadiz of Naga City; a loving father; bravely fought colonic cancer till his untimely demise; brother of UP Ibalonians Joel Anselmo and Jose Fabian.

9. George Evangelio, of Daraga Albay, an engineer-contractor and devoted family man; among those killed in a bus smash-up in Pamplona, Camarines Sur in July 29, 2008 on his way from Manila with his wife who had treatment for cancer.

10. Lourdes (Bajing) Roco, from Naga City, contracted severe unrelenting autoimmune disease (systemic lupus erythematosus,) proximate to finishing school in UP; suffered adverse effects chronic disease and medications; succumbed to a relapse; the admirable youngest sister of Sen. Raul Roco. Sources: A. Baylon & Totie Mesia)

NOTE: The ten UP Ibalon members who passed away will be remembered in a holy sacrifice of the mass on November 2, 2008 at the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Ditmars Street, Astoria, New York 11105.

==================RESQUIESCAT IN PACE==================

Photo (Credits: headlesspider; noricum; svf1972; yadnus; pathenson;__)

Rising Road Accidents

October 26, 2008

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates about 1.2 million people die in traffic accidents worldwide every year. Moreover, 10 million are injured costing about 520 billion in expenses.

Juan Mercado of Cebu Daily News (07/11/06) wrote on the frequent occurence of road accidents in the Philippines. He said the government data tend to underestimate the extent of the problem are not accurate. The records in hospitals don’t agree with what are kept by the police.

“On paper, the Philippine accident rate is about 6.0 fatalities per 10,000 vehicles.’ T“hat makes us look good among ASEAN nations. The low victim headcount has, in fact, lulled authorities into complacency, the report notes. But newspaper and broadcast reports show these up as smug assumptions.

“In 2003, the police reported only about 900 fatalities.” That same year, “about 9,000 fatalities could be attributed to road traffic accidents,” the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) asserted in its National Injury Survey.

The UNICEF study covered 90,500 households, randomly selected from barangays to regional level. It concluded that over 783,000 pileups occur yearly. In over 144,000 instances, people were injured severely. Another 630,000 got off with bruises, black eyes, dented cars — and the scare of their lives.”

I believe we don’t need more evidence about the bane of traffic accidents in the county. We recall the death of UP Ibalon George Evangelio and injury of his wife in a gruesome bus smash up this year in Pamplona, Camarines Sur killing at least 11 and injuring more than 20 people.

Ibalonians Fred Salva, Karen Canon, and Rebecca Espeso died of injuries suffered from vehicular accidents in Manila and Baao, Camarines Sur. I had Henry Mesia, my brother in Naga City who sustained fatal head trauma in 1985. Ten (10) South Korean visitors recently died of injuries in August 27, 2008 on their way to a resort in Bolinao, Pangasinan.

Apolonio Baylon had a picture of a Bicol University bus totally wrecked in an mishap in Sison, Pangasinan. Ed Gumban snapped a photo of an overloaded tricycle which depicted the real danger of the street in Irosin, Sorsogon.

Based on data from two years ago, 27% (4,182) of car accidents were caused by driver error. This included sleeping on the wheel, failure to follow road signs, drunk driving, and the use of cell phones while driving. Fifteen percent (15%) was due to vehicle mechanical defects, and 13% from speeding.

Marichu V. Cruz, a Manila Times reporter (07/29/08), reveals a continuing increase in traffic accidents this year and obviously, reliable documentation is required to keep government authorities abreast with solutions.

The Philippine Natonal Police (PNP) attributes the alarming traffic accidents on undisciplined Filipino drivers. Traffic officers point to more education and personal responsibility in trying to bring down injuries and deaths on the road. (Photo Credits: Bicol Mail;stchristopherlucky; Ed Gumban) =0=

UPDATE: On October 27, Monday, an additional six (6) people died and 15 others were injured when a vehicle fell into a ravine in Tagaytay, Batangas.

Rising Road Accidents

October 26, 2008

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates about 1.2 million people die in traffic accidents worldwide every year. Moreover, 10 million are injured costing about 520 billion in expenses.

Juan Mercado of Cebu Daily News (07/11/06) wrote on the frequent occurence of road accidents in the Philippines. He said the government data tend to underestimate the extent of the problem are not accurate. The records in hospitals don’t agree with what are kept by the police.

“On paper, the Philippine accident rate is about 6.0 fatalities per 10,000 vehicles.’ T“hat makes us look good among ASEAN nations. The low victim headcount has, in fact, lulled authorities into complacency, the report notes. But newspaper and broadcast reports show these up as smug assumptions.

“In 2003, the police reported only about 900 fatalities.” That same year, “about 9,000 fatalities could be attributed to road traffic accidents,” the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) asserted in its National Injury Survey.

The UNICEF study covered 90,500 households, randomly selected from barangays to regional level. It concluded that over 783,000 pileups occur yearly. In over 144,000 instances, people were injured severely. Another 630,000 got off with bruises, black eyes, dented cars — and the scare of their lives.”

I believe we don’t need more evidence about the bane of traffic accidents in the county. We recall the death of UP Ibalon George Evangelio and injury of his wife in a gruesome bus smash up this year in Pamplona, Camarines Sur killing at least 11 and injuring more than 20 people.

Ibalonians Fred Salva, Karen Canon, and Rebecca Espeso died of injuries suffered from vehicular accidents in Manila and Baao, Camarines Sur. I had Henry Mesia, my brother in Naga City who sustained fatal head trauma in 1985. Ten (10) South Korean visitors recently died of injuries in August 27, 2008 on their way to a resort in Bolinao, Pangasinan.

Apolonio Baylon had a picture of a Bicol University bus totally wrecked in an mishap in Sison, Pangasinan. Ed Gumban snapped a photo of an overloaded tricycle which depicted the real danger of the street in Irosin, Sorsogon.

Based on data from two years ago, 27% (4,182) of car accidents were caused by driver error. This included sleeping on the wheel, failure to follow road signs, drunk driving, and the use of cell phones while driving. Fifteen percent (15%) was due to vehicle mechanical defects, and 13% from speeding.

Marichu V. Cruz, a Manila Times reporter (07/29/08), reveals a continuing increase in traffic accidents this year and obviously, reliable documentation is required to keep government authorities abreast with solutions.

The Philippine Natonal Police (PNP) attributes the alarming traffic accidents on undisciplined Filipino drivers. Traffic officers point to more education and personal responsibility in trying to bring down injuries and deaths on the road. (Photo Credits: Bicol Mail;stchristopherlucky; Ed Gumban) =0=

UPDATE: On October 27, Monday, an additional six (6) people died and 15 others were injured when a vehicle fell into a ravine in Tagaytay, Batangas.

A Hurried Comet Blazing In The Night Sky

July 6, 2008

Thirty years after the fatal shot which took his young life, UP Ibalon recalls Floro E. Balce. Those who know and love him ponder on the evanescence of his time, the greatness of his sacrifice and the humanity of his dream. They pay tribute to Ka Manding, one among the heroic braves who died in the pitch-blackness of the night— of yet to be won battle, before the sun comes up for a better day. The noble cause he embraced remains contentious—that which draws others to learn and admire his lofty path. –Totie Mesia

In an ill-descript spot along EDSA highway in Manila, there is Bantayog ng mga Bayani, a memorial of remarkable human beings whose lives are weightier than the heavy stone on which their names are engraved. Etched on a simple black slab of concrete is the name of UP Ibalon’s Floro E. Balce, a Bicolano hero who died from gunfire which blew an excruciating rugged hole on his belly, leading to his agonizing death. It happened in July 30, 1978, in Tigaon, Camarines Sur on his birthday.

A man of strong principles and unbridled dreams, Floro was my roommate at Molave Residence Hall in UP Diliman. He was a bright idealistic electrical engineering (EE) student, a National Science Development Board (NSDB) scholar from Daet, Camarines Norte—- my indulgent friend and math mentor in the dorm.

In the same room with us was Larry Ajel, our buddy from the Ilocos who dreamed to work in a hospital as a medical technologist. Larry shared our provincial plebeian background. He was our big brother who taught us the urbane ways of the campus. His stay however was cut short by a decision to migrate to America.

Rudival Cabading was another roommate. The rambunctious guy felt the state university wasn’t his piece of cake, so he moved to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA.) He became a military officer who never saw me stepped out of our dormitory to become a physician.

Bakit dito sa UP, ang mga estudyante, nagsasalita ng Espanyol?” I recalled Floro asking me on our first day of school inside the Arts and Science (AS) building. Feeling my way on the unfamiliar ground, I was as naïve and perplexed as he was.

“Why? What did you hear?” I asked.

Que hora es,” he said with a spark in his eyes.

Having survived his early years in UP, my soft-spoken buddy transformed into an assertive, knowledgeable, and brave gentleman. But he kept a low profile, humbly sharing his private thoughts with the people he knew and trusted.

He also trusted me, but perhaps, he didn’t feel it was a good idea to let me know too much of his leftist leanings. His linkage with the New People’s Army (NPA.) was something I suspected, but I didn’t ask. The guy had this palpable intolerance against injustice which was nurtured in campus. I knew he was opposed to the corruption of the Marcos, drawing him to join protest marches and rallies.

Had I shown enough sympathy for his cause, he might have led me deep into the sanctum of his beliefs and the core of his convictions. Yet, he was considerate, respectful, and even protective of my own safety. He didn’t want me to be distracted, for he knew I was hell-bent to become a doctor.

We talked about poverty and inequity when we were supposed to be focused in our studies—if not fiery hot, pursuing girls in campus. Setting aside school work at night, we discussed social issues that otherwise wouldn’t have bothered the care-free college students we knew.

At semester’s end, there was silence that pervaded the dorm before the residents left for the school break. For us, nothing triggered so much adrenaline release and worry when the last days of class wore on. The teachers were sternly aloof and the final exams they gave were difficult. We were all preparing for the killer tests that would dictate which way we’d go in our studies.

“How was your exam?” I asked Floro after he took his test.

“I submitted my blue book empty,” he said wryly. “I didn’t answer any of the test questions. They were hard. I wrote my teacher to explain why,” he continued.

That worried me. In my mind, if he failed the test, that meant he’d lose his scholarship; at worst, he’d be kicked out from the college and be forced to return home to Bicol. I would not see him again just like some of my friends who drifted away from college.

Convinced by his honesty, the teacher gave him a chance to retake the test. It was hard for me to believe that there was such a teacher in UP who would be so kind to a troubled student. I knew I needed such kindness too. While Floro fought to keep his scholarship to earn an engineering degree, I was in rabid pursuit for higher grades to get me into medical school.

But life seemed to have taken a different turn. The social cause he pursued was eating up his time and he started acting as though finishing college wasn’t that important anymore. Although he returned to the dorm late from meetings with people I didn’t know, it never crossed my mind that he was mulling to go full-time as Ka Manding in the NPA movement.

I was with him for so long that I’d quickly recognize his low-toned voice if he called me from heaven. In ROTC, we bonded together in that green military uniform and combat boots during practice marches, lectures, and GT’s (graded tests.) We belonged to a jolly platoon of fellow-Ibalonians with Ray R.G. Rayel, Julius A. Lecciones, and Arnel V. Malaya. Our group’s tail-scout, Floro guarded our backs during a bivouac. He was our loyal sentinel when we took surreptitious rests under the cool shade of acacia trees.

I still kept the image of Floro as an active student catholic action member (UPSCA ) waiting at the dorm door for our Sunday mass to hear the socially-charged sermons of Fr. Unson in the campus chapel. Gratitude was on his face as I lent him cash sometimes when he didn’t have time to travel to far Bicutan to pick up his NSDB stipend. His steady gaze was transfixed on my face, as he pointed on social issues at Mrs. Rodrin’s cottage during our lunch together.

In a soiree, we had a good laugh donning our sartorial best at the alumni center, sipping cold beer to be with the most beautiful Bicolanas in campus. In a fond conversation, I naughtily poked on a pretty Ibalonian Rebecca Espeso wearing that orangey ethereal “kulambo” blouse which made Floro twinkle.

“Magayonon!” I whispered on his ear. He reacted with those jerky convulsions on his shoulder; his elated radiant eyes were as thin as the coin-hole of a lucky slot machine. He chuckled loud as though I heard Brad Pitt laughing somewhere.

A fine human being who truly cared for the poor and the disadvantaged, Floro was a hurried bright comet blazing in the night sky. He was fast on his trail to let the world know of his mission. Martyrdom he must do, for he couldn’t wait to hear more of the cries of the poor without doing something.

In Molave, my friend, the shining gem in the sky had this old alarm clock, a brother’s gift, he told me, which sounded like a time-bomb. He laughed in earnest when Mario Genio, another Bicolano and I kidded him of the noisy white clock.

I borrowed this funny time piece to wake me up at midnight in order to study. When the alarm rang, I thought I saw Floro’s shadowy figure in that rickety chair fronting his table, deep in thought, as if something heavy was in his heart. I wondered if God was there speaking to him by his side. Maybe that moment was his epiphany. In the pitch blackness of midnight outside, it was his time to illumine the sky. =0=