Thursday, November 15, 2007


Today is Jesvir's birthday and let me write something about him.

I’ve come to meet him four years ago when he was a first year in the seminary. I was a postulant (for the second time). It's not that we're the best of friends, but we seemed to go along well.

When I returned to the seminary last year (after being out for two years), he was already a postulant and I had to start as a first year seminarian again (blimey, a reversal of fortune it was!). I was out for two years and the only batch I knew was his. The rest of the seminarians were all foreign to me. But I clearly recall that among the members of his batch, he was the only one who took time to welcome me and made me feel "I am glad you're back!"

Jesvir is known to be one of the toughest guys in the seminary. He bullies people, both the lower years and kuya Bong alike. But one thing I noticed is that despite his "roughness" he was, and still is, well loved by all.

When I was promoted as a postulant (for the third and last time!) during the second half of the year, we became classmates. Among the members of the batch, it's safe to say that I was closest with him. My being proud was tempered by his humility. And my being an asserter was subdued by his docility.
We belong to two entirely different worlds: he’s into sports, I’m into academics. But still, it’s worth noting our likeness on two things: 1) photography and 2) love in animals.
Be it in our trip to Enchanted Kingdom (Dec. 30), Pink Sisters’ convent in Tagaytay (Mar 18), our retreat in Batulao(Dec 27-29), or merely within the seminary compound, we got along so well because we both like pictures. I’d bring the camera, and he’d carry the tripod.
He took care of the dogs in the community, and even some animals that lost their way (he told me about an owl he found one time, after he set it free, it would still come back at night upon his whispering).
After the storm “Milenyo” hit Canlubang last year, we went to the forest one Sunday afternoon (in lieu of our free games) to look for snakes. He even brought with him an improvised tool to catch them.
But since the place was too ravaged, we didn’t find anything. We ended up ogling at the massive destruction caused by the typhoon.

Jesvir is concerned not only about the affairs of people dear to him, but also, about the welfare of the people who seem to be in need. When we would go out, he would take it upon himself to bring food to the driver. He shared with me once that he wanted to give catechism lessons to the carpenters of the seminary.
Last summer, I joined him to the boondocks of Batangas to pick up a boy whom he intended to send to Don Bosco Makati for a scholarship.
I think the reason why people love him despite his "toughness" is because of his capacity to give something of himself. I never saw him get irritated especially when I would ask from him favors. And this example challenges me to no end to go beyond myself to help others.
Early this year when I learned that he's going to "a different path" I was completely devastated. In fact, I still am. He could have been a zealous missionary of his province, a Salesian in the making who could have attracted so many young people to the path of holiness, and a great friend who could always be at my beck and call.