Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Salamat Jesse

I was really saddened by the news this morning when I heard that Secretary Jesse Robredo had passed away. Both my parents grew up in Naga City and we go there as a family every year. There was a time though when we couldn't go back home because there was a lot of NPA activity in our are in Pasacao and since then I've only been back a handful of times.

I remember a trip I made on my own with Miguel almost a decade ago. I marveled at the changes that had happened in Naga City. When I was a kid my Mom had to bribe me into going because things were in disarray and the elders liked going to the public market. I only went because of the promise of going to Moderna Bakery (now known as Casa Moderna) which has the best pancit, fried siopao, cakes and bread in town, but I oftentimes preferred to be left behind in Camangui so I can stay at the beach.

That trip in 2003 changed how I saw Naga City. The city progressed by leaps and bounds and I asked my parents how it happened. They said, "It's because of Mayor Robredo." I remember my Dad say that he was the best mayor because he managed to modernize and clean-up Naga. I had the chance to listen to Mayor Robredo talk about his success in Naga at a conference I attended to speak at in Cebu. I told myself then, "Wow! My Dad was right, he's really a great mayor."

During that conference I ended up seating beside Secretary Robredo while waiting for my turn to talk. I texted my Mom to tell her about it and she said I should introduce myself and tell him about my Dad. I'm not really good at small talk, so I just did as my Mom told me. Secretary Robredo did remember my Dad and exclaimed that he was a basketball legend in Naga. Our conversation was very brief but he went on and on about my Dad's success as their school's basketball hero. I was awed that he would remember since my Dad's a good 25 years older than him, but what struck me was he was so simply brilliant. A true-hard-working man who did what was best for his own town. I wish all public servants would be like him.

Thank you Jesse. That 5 minutes chat with you has truly made a mark on me. Please say hi to my Dad up there.