Ateneo De Naga high school 1980

Those who do not remember history are bound to live through it again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Remembering Jesse Robredo

For the past few days, I have been monitoring via the internet the search and rescue mission off the Masbate island in the Philippines. The plane carrying DILG secretary Jesse Robredo crashed into the sea after experiencing engine trouble. A multitude of supporters and simple Filipino citizens prayed for a miracle for the survival of secretary Robredo. This morning when I checked on the Philippine news, my heart sunk when the headline stated that they have found the body of secretary Robredo.
I have never personally been introduced to Mr. Robredo but I have seen him a number of times. When I enrolled as a kindergarten student at Naga Parochial School in 1969, Jesse Robredo was then a 6th grader in the same school. Being a student in a small school, I am sure I must have bumped into Jesse Robredo while buying a snack during recess at the school canteen.

Robredo belonged to the honor class whose moderator is Mrs. Carmen Ojeda. During a school awarding ceremony, I remember looking at the stage where the school director Msgr. Nicanor C. Belleza stood wearing his usual white clergy robe ‘sotana’. After a brief introduction, Msgr. Belleza started calling the names of students who has either excelled in academics or exhibited exceptional talent in a certain skill. Jesse Robredo was called to the stage to be recognized for his achievement in placing second in a chess competition. It was announced that Jesse belonged to the chess club of the school.

It was the first time I heard that the school has a chess club. In my 6 year old mind, I found it strange that people who sit in front of a board with wooden tiny pieces on it having very little physical activity for hours would actually form a club. During school lunch break, students who are avid chess players would hang out at the ping-pong table in front of the Boy Scout room and play chess. A number of the students who hang out around the table were fourth to sixth graders and one of them was Jesse Robredo. I eventually became interested in the game of chess after another student explained to me that chess is a battle of the brains without the use of brawns.

After Jesse Robredo graduated elementary in March 1970, he attended high school at Ateneo De Naga and I heard that Jesse became known as a talented chess player.

In 1986 when I became a pharmaceutical salesman in Camarines Sur, I heard that Mr. Robredo became the director of the Bicol River Basin development program. During the elections of 1987 or 1988 (I forgot the exact year), I saw on T.V. Jesse Robredo explaining his plans for Naga City if he is elected as mayor. I was amazed by the young politician’s ability to identify the problems that besiege Naga City and gave detailed solutions on how he plans to solve these problems.

When I was growing up in Naga during the 1960s thru the middle of 1980s, the development of the city seemed to go on a snail pace. When Jesse Robredo became mayor of Naga city, improvements grew everywhere within the city like wild flowers sprouting on a spring day. Jesse Robredo became the pumping heart of the heart of Bicol for he gave life to the sleeping city of Naga.

Jesse Robredo became an inspiration to many Filipinos that he has served during his lifetime. His sudden departure is very tragic and also a big loss to the Filipino people. There are a lot of people that are asking why such a good man had to be taken by God? We who are left behind will never find out until we ourselves join Jesse Robredo in heaven. Until our date of departure from this world arrives, we should seek to live to serve and not be served…just like what Jesse Robredo did.    


Blogger Unknown said...

Can i use the picture of Chess Team?

Dan Cervantes

8:03 AM  
Blogger Narratives of a Novice said...

Hi Dan,

Sure, please do...:-)

10:57 AM  

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