Thursday, November 08, 2007

FROM THE BARREL OF MY PEN
By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio'

A CHRISTIAN SLEEPS FOR A LONG, LONG NIGHT

To those who believe in the Christian doctrine of Christ's Death, Burial, and Resurrection and God's Promise of Eternal Life in Heaven, the death of a Christian “has no sting” and his grave “has no victory.” For the Christian will rise from the grave incorruptible to meet Jesus Christ at His Second Coming.

My eldest brother(Kuyang in Tagalog, Nueva Ecija style), Manuel Manalo Policarpio, age 86, “gave up his ghost” on Tuesday, Nov 6th, in a hospital in the Philippines after a long bout with sickness due to old age. I believe he was ready to go to the other world yonder given several months of hospital care and unsuccessful treatment. But as a Christian, he died but will live again in God's time.

When I wrote about my other elder brother(Dikong), Benjamin, who passed away many years ago, leaving his merchandising business of art materials in the Philippines, some famous Filipino artists and painters who were his clients spoke highly of his being a charitable businessman to the starving artists and painters whose paintings now commands millions of pesos in prices.

Now what I can say with Kuyang is his record of pioneering the art of commercial photography in the Philippines during the liberation period following the end of the Japanese occupation. Together with Dikong and my another surviving elder brother(Sanko), Conrado, he established one of the first portrait studios in Manila, TRI-COLOR PORTRAIT STUDIO, located in the district of Tondo where I grew up. Charito Solis who was then just a local beauty queen from Caloocan and another local beauty who became a famous movie star, Priscilla Cellona patronized my brothers' studio. Their stiff competitors then were ROD's Studio and AIRPORT Studio on Azcarraga Street(now Recto Ave.)

Kuyang completed his B.S. Chemistry at Mapua Institute of Technology and education courses at the old Samson College that prepared him to teach science subjects such as Physics, Mathematics, and Chemistry at the Eulogio V. Rodriguez, Sr. Technical School in Sta. Mesa, Manila. He was also head of the School's Photography Department that produced a lot of successful Filipino commercial photographers. For a time, he also taught at the Araullo University in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija. He graduated from Nueva Ecija High School before my time(I was not born yet). Once I accompanied him to a high school reunion in Cabanatuan City where I met his classmate, former Aquino cabinet member, Luis Santos, and some military generals.

When he was in his mid30s, Kuyang traveled around the Philippines finally settling in Ligao, Albay in the Bicol Peninsula. There he met his landlady, Merle Velasco, who became his wife while he worked as a teacher in Ligao High School. Incidentally when I was in Las Vegas some months ago to attend a political event, a successful Filipino businesswoman, asked me if I'm related to a Maning Policarpio who she recalled was a very handsome teacher adored by the ladies in Albay.

My eldest brother grew up with our late grandfather Julio Policarpio, a pioneer settler and owner of large tracts of land in Cabanatuan particularly in Sumacab, Barrio Talipapa and Ibabaw-Bana . Last year, I accompanied him to Talipapa and found out that the town's elementary school sitting in the hectare-wide land donated by our grandfather was not named after Julio Policarpio.

Kuyang left a wife, one son, Julius, one daughter, Marian, four male grandchildren, two brothers, and four sisters, Priscilla, Socorro, Edna, and Felicitas. During his late years he was preoccupied with land disputes with tenants and squatters that according to my nephew Julius took much of his time at the expense of his deteriorating health. Anyway, at age 86, I believe our eldest brother had lived a full life in this world. And now he sleeps for a long, long night until he wakes up when the “trumpet shall sound.”

End

junpolicarpio@gmail.com
gonzalo.policarpio@yahoo.com

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