TERESITA DE LEON

BY JUDY GONZALEZ, RN NPM | DAUGHTER

March 24th 2020 will always be the saddest day of our lives. We lost our mother, the wowa of our children, a sister, an aunt and a friend to many. None of us were able to say to say good bye, hold her hand until her last breath. Our mother is filled with life and had so much to give but God called her into HIS arms at an early age of 67. Mom, from the bottom of our hearts – THANK YOU for everything. You gave it all not only to your children, especially to your grandchildren and also to all of your siblings. You are missed so much by many. It is now your time to be with your parents and other siblings. No more sorrow, no more pain and we know that you are in a better place. We LOVE YOU so much. Until we meet again in paradise.

SAMPAGUITA BRAGANZA

BY ANJ BRANGANZA PALAD | DAUGHTER

Unlike the others, I had the privilege to take care and be with my mother the entire 2 weeks in the hospital until her passing. She was 74 and as the doctors mentioned she had co-morbidities such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, pneumonia and we just found out her kidneys were failing so we had to resort to dialysis while admitted.

My sister who is based in Singapore would always talk to her encouraging her to eat well and get better. But seeing her condition, I prayed to the Lord to help my mother. On our 11th day in the hospital,we were informed that something came up in her xray results & that she has to be transferred to the covid floor for PUI’s.

At first they said I’m not allowed to be with her. I told them she won’t be able to manage herself alone and I’ve been with her for a while already anyway. She was tested for Covid and xrays were done daily as well. Doctors would talk to me personally outside the room, saying that the virus’ progression in the lungs is really fast and possibly in 2-3 days she will have difficulty breathing on her own. They gave me options and I asked which will be the most comfortable for her. I cried in front of my mother and she was very reassuring that its alright if its God’s plan for her. On her last night, she talked to one of my uncle and said her goodbyes. Somehow she knew, he told her that death could be a blessing.

The last person she talked to was my sister, my mother’s last words to her was an endearing ‘good night’. My mother slept soundly that night and she did not wake up anymore. God peacefully took her in His loving arms while asleep.

I am somewhat relieved that you are no longer suffering but more so I miss your presence in my life. You were my constant, my comfort, my rock, my safe place. And now I have to continue living without you mommy. I will forever cherish our memories, God has given me the best mother. I love you so much Mommy I know you are watching over me, until we meet again.

LEILA BENITEZ

BY RICARDO JORGE S. CALUEN

REMEMBERING LEILA

No—she won’t remember me from Adam. She didn’t even know me.

But those of my generation (like in Iligan where we still didn’t have TV in the very early 1960s) will remember listening to her on the radio in Darigold Jamboree, the noon-time radio show.

Forerunner of Student Canteen, back then much of the speaking was carried in English and listening to the likes of Leila Benitez, Eddie Ilarde, and Bobby Ledesma, the hosts, made me aspire to sound like them at a very tender age. I had just graduated from the Reading and Phonics class of Miss Myrna Placido in Grade II at the time.

I thought Leila Benitez spoke the best English among Filipinos at the time—elegant as I would call it.

Later, I would learn that Miss Benitez studied in the US after finishing high school in the Philippines, accounting for the hint of an American accent. That she would much later be chosen to host a radio program of Voice of America which was broadcast worldwide is a testimony to her mastery of spoken English.

At age 89, Leila Benitez passed away in the US (where she had lived for much of her life), succumbing to Covid-19.

An icon of Philippine broadcast media is gone. Rest in peace, Ma’am.

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Ricardo Jorge S. Caluen.

PROF. AILEEN BAVIERA

BY KEVIN MARK GOMEZ

Rest in power, Ma’am Aileen!

The academic community, no, the country suffered a great loss for losing one of its foremost experts on China. While your work may have ended now, your legacy will continue through the hundreds and thousands of students, analysts, strategic thinkers, and the hordes of specialists and experts you raised and graciously mentored!

They now have big shoes to fill but they’re stepping up to the challenge. Maraming salamat po sa inyong serbisyo sa UP at sa bayan!

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Aileen San Pablo Baviera

DR. RALDY GOCO

BY NOEMI PABLO-DOCE

I am crying as I write this. We’re watching “FLU” earlier when we received this sad news.

COVID19 info was all over but it was surreal until two people really close to us succumbed to it. One is a dear friend who helped us traverse our married life, a father/grandfather whose kids were unfortunately all abroad. To your bereaved wife, Tita… My heart goes to you.

The other one is our kinakapatid, Dr. Raldy Goco, head of Nuclear Medicine St. Luke’s Medical Center. He is almost an older brother to Danny. He lost his battle on April 4.

His family took my husband into their home when he had practically no one here at that time. My in-laws were in Mindanao and being alone in Manila can either make you or break you. He was barely out of college then.

The sudden news of his passing makes this sorrow personal already. Kuya Raldy was a very kindhearted doctor who also happened to collects Danny’s paintings.

Life is short. Probably too short when there’s a pandemic scaring the wits out of us. They went ahead probably because their time is up. Who knows who will follow next. It’s all just a matter of time.

Death is like a thief in the night. You don’t know when it will strike. ust be prepared for it. Not with money nor material possessions. But with the ONE thing that will truly matter in the end.

As Paul said, “for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21)

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Hope KKK Kalinga Kontra Korona.

DR. NICKO BAUTISTA

BY RIA BAUTISTA | SISTER

Thank you for sharing stories about my brother. I keep forgetting he’s a doctor. I never usually thought of him that way. All I know is he’s Nicko my fun-loving younger brother who shares my passion for music and video games.

Yung masasabi mong “magkapatid nga kami.”

May time kasi na sya yung bunso pati sa mga pinsan namin tas sya lang din lalaki so lagi syang “saling kit” sa mga laro. Lagi namin syang niloloko.

4 kaming babae: ako, sister ko, at dalawa naming pinsan. Charades pa nga laro namin noon pag summer tas hindi naman sya marunong pero pinipilit nyang sumali kaso walang may gustong ka-teammate sya haha hay those summer days were the best.

Sya yung unang lalaki sa 3rd gen Bautistas that time so naturally, everyone was fond of him pero hindi sya lumaking pasaway o spoiled.

In fact, ang sweet nya. Lagi syang may hugs for everyone. Napalaki sya ng maayos at mahusay. Ang cliché magsalita ng ganito about someone who passed away but he really turned out to be an amazing guy. A source of positivity and light.

Nakakataba ng puso malaman na hindi lang pala kaming pamilya ang nakakita at nakaranas ng mga bagay na yon tungkol sa kanya kundi ang dami palang iba. Ang dami nyang taong natulungan at na-inspire. Ang daming taong nakaalala at humanga sa kanya.

Knowing him, I’m pretty sure inaasar na nya ako ngayon ng “Hay Ate Ria ano ba yan tama na yang kaka-drama jusko. Pati ba naman dito sa Twitter haha. Move on na life goes on. Happy lang dapat.” Sabay tawa. He had an infectious laugh.

I wish we had more time. That’s my only regret. That I didn’t spend more time with him. I was wrong to be complacent, I was wrong to think that he would always be there and that time was in our hands. It’s not. This is a hard learned lesson.

I know eventually things will get better and that I’ll learn to forgive myself but for now, kapit lang.

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Nicko Bautista.

GEN. PRUDENCIO “DENNIS” REGIS

BY EMA DENISE REGIS | DAUGHTER

It’s my 28th. By this time papa would say “Happy birthday. Saan mo gusto mag dinner? Pareserve tayo. Ilan isasama mo?” ❤️

So I thought that instead of me celebrating my life, I would like to thank Papa for all that he has given me for these 28yrs.

I thank him for showing tough love in my early years. Because of that I grew up stronger and tougher; I also learned paano dumiskarte. I thank him for trying to show his softer side when we got older. I thank him for the shelter, the food, and security he has given every single day, and everything that he has left us. Kahit wala ka na Pa, secured pa din kami at kumakain pa din araw araw. You’re amazing. I thank him for his continuous support even until I finished college. I am thankful for a dad who wants to spend time with his wife and grown-up kids every single weekend for as long as I can remember (church – dinner – movie weekend routine). Lagi ako updated sa new movies because of you, Pa. ❤️ Thanking him for a lot of travelling we had since we were little. Thank you Pa kasi whenever I feel sick, you get out of your way just to bring me to the hospital and to make sure ma-check up ako and to buy all the medicines that I have to take. You didn’t care anong oras or kahit magkano, you just wanted me to get well. Thank you for always bringing pasalubong whenever you eat outside or kapag mag-grocery ka (white chicken, chocolates, kiamoy). Thank you for thinking of us before you went there, inalala mo pa din kami and you called people and said “In case may mangyari sakin…” Pa you made things easier for us kahit wala ka na. Thank you Pa. Thank you for everything. Masyado na mahaba kaya ito na muna haha!

And lastly thank you for visiting me in my dream. Some people may not believe but I know it was you, I felt you and I know God answered my prayer to give us a chance to talk for the last time. Thank you for everything and I loved you for 28 years. I’ll always be thankful and I’ll love you until we see each other up there. Thank you for this 28 years. I’m proud of my Dad and I love you, Papa. ❤️❤️❤️

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Ema Denise Regis.

DR. LEANDRO RESURRECCION III

BY KATE MANGADAP | PATIENT’S MOM

Two days ago, I learned a very heartbreaking news. It was so surreal that I needed to check credible news sources first to believe.

The news affirmed my sadness. It was all over the papers, social media, and even evening news. The legendary surgeon Dr. Leandro Resurreccion III fell victim to Covid-19.

It was so hard to believe because the last time I saw him 4 years ago, he was so vital and full of life.

For all those who know my (daughter) Kathryn Maine’s story personally, you would know that I have high esteem for Doc Resurreccion. He is very close to my heart. I always bring up his name to the point of repetitiveness. He was a rockstar-level pediatric transplant surgeon. I even kept his and my Kathryn’s picture to this day and I treasure it very dearly. I always show it to my daughter so she will know the face of the man who saved her life.

I still vividly remember that fateful day of February 16,2016; 2 days after my Kathryn was born. My daughter was struggling for her life, intubated with her stomach fully distended. We were told to be ready. We were told she would never make it. We are wailing and crying to the point of despair. We were referred to 2 surgeons. And during our desperate moment, Dr. Resurreccion was like a superhero who answered our call and ordered my daughter to be transferred to FEU for immediate operation. The following day, February 17, 2016, he did the double barrel colostomy and saved my beautiful Kathryn Maine. During our month long stay at the PICU, there was nothing but good words and high commendations for the beloved Doc Resu. I was told stories of his highly qualified surgeries and how he was even chartered by helicopters to do transplants on high profile individuals. And my heart just swelled with pride that one of the Philippines’ best and the best of the best attended my daughter’s medical needs. I am at peace because my daughter was surely in good hands.

Then came July, just 5 months after my Kathryn was cleared for the take down of her colostomy. And we couldn’t believe what we just witnessed. He performed the surgery without blood transfusion, without blood loss for only 30 minutes. It was just like going to a restaurant and waiting for your food order to be served. It was so fast.

Then came August of 2016. That was one month later. It was our last check up with Doc Resu. And I still clearly remember his parting words with us. This is what he said to us in verbatim, ” o, huwag na huwag ka NG magpapakita sa akin ha? Ayaw na kitang makita”. It was so funny and casual. Before we parted ways, I asked the good doctor if we can take photos with him in which he graciously accepted. That was the last time we saw him but his name was forever etched in our hearts. In the heart of my family for he is part of us and part of our journey.

To his family, you may not know us and our story. But through Doc Resurreccion and Jehovah’s kindness we still have our daughter. If it was not him and his skilled hands who did my daughter’s operation my beautiful Kathryn Maine may be just memory now. We are able to love and cherish our daughter because out of all the doctors that were called he was the one who immediately responded.

Thank you doc Resu. And I pray to Jehovah that we will still see each other at Paradise Earth. We love you and again Thank You from the bottom of our hearts.

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Kate Mangadap.

DRA. HELEN TUDTUD

BY VINCENT THOMAS EVANGELISTA | NEPHEW

I lost a mom. Since I was young she was always my Mommy Helen. She has always been a second mom to me… I remember every weekend mommy Helen and Daddy Den would always fetch me so I can be with my cousins Debbie and Dj, who I have always considered my brother and sister. Mommy Helen was one of the most generous people I know. She would always think of other people. She would always be the one who would be first to help when any of us was in need.

To say that she was caring was an understatement. She helped save my life. I remember that she tirelessly looked for a platelet donor for me when I had dengue, I needed that donor badly, she helped save my life. She would always, with no reservation, help. I have countless recollections of her generosity. Mommy Helen had a big heart, and I know she has touched many lives. She was a mother to all who needed her. She loved all her grandchildren and would always look for ways to spend time with them too. She was almost always in all their birthdays.

I am grateful for her and her life. She was truly a blessing to everyone around her. The world needed more people like her. It pains me that we had to lose her. It pains us that in her last days we were not allowed to be with her, the way she was always there for us when we needed her. The circumstances did not make any sense. Nothing made much sense these past few days. So many questions, naïve questions, with no way to answer them. Why did this have to happen? Why her? Why them? Why now, and why under these circumstances? I am with you Debbie and Dj, through the pain and despair. I am here, for you and with you. We may never find the answers, we may never figure everything out, but we will try.

I find solace in her memories, in her kindness, in her warmth. She was such a bubbly person and will deeply miss her. We love you Mommy Helen! I truly believe that you are with God now. We love you Mommy Helen and we will truly miss you.

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Deborah Tudtud.

DR. DENNIS TUDTUD

BY VINCENT THOMAS EVANGELISTA | NEPHEW

Now, I lost one of the most significant father figures in my life. It was not easy growing up being a boy with no man to look up to. I was lucky that Daddy Den was there to be a good model for me. I would always stay in “Casa La Tudtud”, what we have come to call their house, every weekend so I can spend time with Debbie and Dj. Daddy Den always treated me like his son and I always regarded him as a father. It was through him that I learned “rough time”, what is known as rough and tumble play, this was how he played with us when we were still kids. I think this is why, Dj and I play like this with kids too.

He was very, very generous. I remember that when I was with them, what his kids would have, he would give me, too. He would make sure that if I was visiting, I would never feel like I was missing out, this is a very significant for a kid growing up with my circumstances. Through the years I have tried living with them and eventually visiting them when I had my own family. Daddy Den and Mommy Helen always treated me like one of their children. I saw how proud Daddy Den was of his children, Debbie and Dj. He would always try to bond with them even with his busy schedule. His was quality over quantity. He would often cook for his family, this was his way of showing his love and care, his way of showing you, you were important. He would always think of what to bring home for them when he was out, or traveling. He would often ask what food people wanted so he could bring home some when he came home. This is especially true when Debbie and Dj had friends over or we Lusus folk would be visiting.

He was known as a very accommodating and hospitable host, everyone who has visited the Tudtud residence, as a guest to a party, event, meeting or a sleepover can attest to this. He was such a good example of generosity, and forgiveness. I have learned so much from Daddy Den on how to live life and how to achieve success. He has never been selfish when it comes to his counsel and his wisdom. I had several opportunities to talk to him about life, work, marriage and career. I am truly thankful for all the insight he has provided me. He was a great example of passion. He had passion for everything that was part of his life, his wife, children, family, career, community, talents. He had passion for life! He was a great husband, father, brother, uncle, doctor, friend, he was a GREAT man. He has touched so many lives, and the world is definitely none the better for losing such a great human being.

He truly loves Mommy Helen, they are truly inseparable even in death. Heaven has gained two wonderful angels and may they be our guardian angels. I am in pain, as are my cousins Debbie and Dj, who lost his parents so close to his birthday. I take solace in the outpouring of gratitude and testimonials about their lives. They both truly are treasured by the people, whose lives they have impacted and touched. I am very grateful for having you both in my life, I will not be the man I am now, had it not been, in part, to both of you. Thank you both for also being parents to me… my life will forever be changed by your loss… I love you both so much and I will truly miss you both… It is very hard to accept, but such is life. The challenge we face now is acceptance… I personally will move forward by trying to be half the great people you were and in that way I can continue your legacy in the world… Till we meet again, for now, maybe we can talk in my dreams.

Photo taken from the Facebook page of Deborah Tudtud.

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