Salamat po, Pay.


“A teacher affects eternity. No one can tell where his influence ends.” -Henry Adams.

We all have that one person we put on a pedestal – a hero – someone who embodies greatness. Mine is not a celebrity, a politician or a bestselling author. He wore leather sandals to work. He was a man of great integrity. He was happy. He was a teacher, a mentor, a lolo.

He was fondly called Pay Romy, or more casually Pay by almost anyone in the community. When he called me to his office when I was on vacation as a college sophomore, I immediately gained high respect for such a grounded, humble person considering his stature as a who’s who in the local government. He offered me, along with some others, the chance to partake in the SPES (a summer job program) that year. Who was I to decline? In short, he became my boss. It may have been only for short of a month, but the limited time was enough for me to cultivate high respect and admiration.

He was a caring boss. I remember how he gave subtle advice without being too authoritative, how he vividly remembered everyone in your family. He was a long-time civil registrar, I learned. Hence, everyone in Sto. Domingo had to be listed in his books, so to speak.

In his last few years of service, he busied himself in Disaster Risk Reduction initiatives and efforts, for which I was able to render some time during summer. These efforts led Sto. Domingo to become a pioneer in DRR not only in the province and region, but nationally. It is not too much to say that a Pay Romy made all these possible.

But all good things lead to an end. Perhaps, Pay has already served his mission and can now claim his well-deserved peace.

Salamat Pay. For touching so many lives including mine. For being the personification of HUMILITY. For being an unsung hero. For your long years of unwavering and honest public service. You shall be remembered by the many you have touched.

People may not cast you a statue but the way you touched us is a legacy unsurpassed.




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