Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Goodbye Toastmaster Mars

His speech number 8 was one of the most memorable speeches ever delivered in the club. He demonstrated how to cook leche flan and provided not just audio-visual, but also gustatory enjoyment. I still remember how good it was and how Boom licked the llanera clean. If I had known then that Mar would leave us prematurely, I would have fought Boom to have more. If I had known that the last time I saw him would be his last time in the club, I would have asked him to deliver one more table topic speech, to giggle once more in that endearing and subtly naughty way he used to giggle, to stay a few more minutes as we sipped coffee at Starbucks. Because really, the sad thing is I haven’t had enough of Mar.

I wanted to write a journalistic obituary for the newsletter, to stick to the five Ws, but how could I write about Mar’s sudden departure as simply a matter of fact?

The facts are that Mar was born on December 16, 1965 and did not live long enough to see his 44th birthday. He passed away on May 28, 2009 when he was supposed to be recovering from a long bout of lung disease. In between those two life events, he went to high school at San Sebastian College, then to the University of the Philippines, Manila to take up Political Science, and to the Ateneo Graduate School of Business. The facts also include a career in life insurance that included stints in Ayala Life, Asialife, Prulife, Medserv, and Mapfre Insular.

The fact is that he was one of the charter officers of Butter N Toast TMC and that he has been instrumental in the success of the first ever HR Philippines Conference.

The fact is that somebody once said that he was one of the pillars of this club, having been one of its most active members. The fact is that he was a Competent Communicator and was taking his sweet time before he tackled the Advance Communicator manuals. Consistently an officer of Butter N Toast TMC, he also took on roles in the district and served as Governor of Area 16 from July 2006 to June 2007. He also mentored the new club, Diplomatically Speaking.

The facts on his Friendster profile include his love for comic books, his hatred of spam (the electronic kind, not the meatloaf variety) and chain letters, his preference for esoteric books along with cookbooks and mysteries, and his search for somebody mature, friendly, witty, down to earth, honest, and funny.

The fact is that he left this earth too early.

His Facebook wall points out that he was well loved when he was alive and will be sorely missed now that he’s gone.

The members of this club, still reeling from the shock, move on. But not without wistfully saying goodbye to a friend, a confidante, a leader, a supporter, a mentor, a distinguished time master, a table topic monster, a man we can rely on, a fellow lifelong learner.

We console ourselves with the fact that part of his short, precious life was spent with us, that we had the chance to hear his voice, to know him and the man he was. – Gege Sugue

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