Sunday, September 20, 2009

An Encounter with San Lorenzo

We promised a woman, a retired BIR official who served as Assistant Regional Director of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in Legaspi City, to help her propagate the advocacy of San Lorenzo Ruiz De Manila Diocesan Guild of the Diocese of Legaspi City, after finishing our job. It was a brief encounter and since we brought along with us our equipment (still and moving cameras) during our travel to Albay, we told her that we’ll try to talk with other people who could provide us with transportation to Tabiguian, Tobaco, Albay, where the San Lorenzo Ruiz Shrine is located. We can take pictures of the San Lorenzo Ruiz Shrine and feature it in the sites we shall be developing for our advocacies while in Bicol. The woman was Atty. Carmen N. Opiada, President of the San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila Diocesan Guild of the Diocese of Legaspi City, Albay. [Above photo: Atty. Carmen Opiada (left}, President of the San Lorenzo Ruiz Diocesan Guild of the Diocese of Legaspi City, Albay]

It was not within our itenirary. Hence, after we finished our job (we only have 5 to 6 hours left since our flight to Manila shall be in early morning, the following day), we went over to Avel Roces (a friend of a distant relative), whose mother was one of the pioneer member of the Guild, to ask how to get there. Avel told us that it will take only about an hour and thirty minutes to reach the place using public transport. He told us where to take a ride. [Above photo: Avelino Roces [right], scriptwriter whose mother, Melly Roces was the first Secretary of the Guild.]

Alone, in the middle of the road outside Avel’s house in Sikatuna St. in Legaspi City, I stood. I have been to Camarines Norte almost 11 years ago inspecting the progress of the agricultural development in the Camarines Norte, but not this far. I have to admit, I am not familiar with the place. With the Guild’s souvenir program in my hand which read: “I am a Christian and I Shall Die for God, and for Him I will give many thousands of lives if I have them” – I have no recourse but to keep my promise.

With my equipments in a bag clinging on my shoulder and the souvenir program at hand, I decided to go on - alone, proceeded to the bus terminal and took a Besta Van to Tabaco. As I was seated two seat afar from the last row, two men wearing dark jackets in hooded caps staring straight at me boarded the van. They sat right at the back where I am seated. One looked at the souvenir program I was reading, while the other was staring at the passengers. As the van moved after it was filled, one of the dou asked me if I am a missionary. The man talks intelligently, I told him: No, I shall go to San Lorenzo Ruiz Shrine in Tabaco to visit the shrine.

[Salvador "Buddy" Jarcia, former OIC REgional Fishereires Training Center, Tabaco, Albay with wife and the staff of the Philippine Telecom Service in Tabaco where Buddy's wife works.]

I learned later that the person I am talking with is a government official who is about to retire from the service in less than a year. He was the former OIC of the Regional Fisheries Training Center of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Tabaco, Albay - who personally knew the person so close to me stranded in Tabaco during Typhoon Reming. almost four (4) years ago. The person I am talking with was Salvador "Buddy" Jarcia, who is also an active member of the Holy Face Society, a church based organization. In fact, it was Buddy and his family who helped my wife escape near death during typhoon Reming. I asked him if he would like to accompany me at the San Lorenzo Ruiz Shrine at Nazareth Complex in Tabuguian, Albay – he said yes, but we have to drop-by at his wife’s office. It was providential that I was given an opportunity to meet and thank these people from Albay, who helped my wife four years back. If not for the test of faith as Avel mentioned, I could have missed that chance encounter to personally thank Buddy and the people of Albay to whom we are dedicating this undertaking.

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