Up to now, I find it quite hard to believe that Senator Ed Angara has passed away. My wife and I were en route to the United Sates when we heard the sad news of his passing. A few days before we left for abroad, I still read his last commentary (“A Tale of Two Countries,” page 6) for his regular column in this magazine, and it contained his usual astute and insightful observations and personal comments delivered in a concise and straight-to-the-point manner.
We pulled out this issue of H&L from the printing bed, and redesigned its cover and some inside pages, so we could make it a tribute issue for Senator Ed—a small token to honor such a great man who has done so much for the country.
His passion for anything he set his mind and heart on was such that he excelled in all these fields. He was gifted with superior intelligence; and with his vast experience, perceptive nature and good sense, this has been transformed to a startling brand of wisdom, so characteristically his.
It’s amazing what Senator Ed could accomplish in an exemplary manner in one lifetime. Aside from being one of the longest-serving and most prolific senators, he was president of the country’s biggest and most prominent state university; he was also an educator, a cabinet member, an agriculturist and farmer, a banker, diplomat, lawyer, constitution drafter, NAMFREL chairman, hotelier, patron of the arts, sports supporter, book author, publisher, newspaper and health magazine columnist, law professor, legislator, and adviser to newly elected colleagues in the Senate.
To his family, he was a loving husband, doting father and grandfather. Despite his hectic schedule, he strived to achieve balance between his work and family. “How’s the family?” he would always ask me when we met occasionally during events. “Enjoy the kids when they’re still young because when they’re older, they’ll be busy with their own lives,” he once told me when our daughters Shelly and Abbie were still small.
Once he asked me if I had any plans to enter politics. I replied with a wry grin, “I can probably just serve in my own little corner as a doctor and writer.” He pat my shoulders and said, “That’s good! You can serve in any position you’re in.”
The whole staff of our magazine (H&L) will be forever grateful to him for his generosity in sharing his wisdom and deep insights as our columnist for close to a decade. Senator Ed truly had a genuine passion for sharing, whatever he could share, and in the best way he could. He was never late for deadlines. In fact, he was always among the first to submit his article. I’m still weighing down on the thought that he has written his last column piece for H&L. We’ll all miss reading his insightful health-related commentaries.
Several years ago, I bumped into him one time at the lobby of a 5-star hotel. He was with some of his friends in high places, and he introduced me to them as a very successful editor and publisher. “Actually a struggling editor and publisher,” I corrected him. “Of course, you’re not. For me, you’re one of the best,” he said.
This incident came to mind when I read Manolo’s eulogy (“Lolo Ed,” page 22). The 14-year old grandson recalled that sometimes, Senator Ed would tell his friends that Manolo was number 1 in junior tennis. And when Manolo would correct him that he was number 3, the doting lolo that he was would shrug it off and say, “It doesn’t matter. For me you’re number 1.”
Senator Ed really had the uncanny ability to motivate people, make them believe in themselves to become the best they could ever be, and realize even their wildest dreams. And he was a perfect example for that. He knew whereof he spoke. As his son, Senator Sonny, described him (“Remembering the ‘Renaissance Man”, page 20), “He was a boy from a small town with big dreams and big plans…the boy from Baler who made good and who gave back.”
We should probably add that to the many roles Senator Ed played in his lifetime—he was a dream enabler. He encouraged people to dream big, and to maintain the grit and determination to achieve them, though it may seem impossible sometimes.
Godspeed, Ninong Ed.
RAFAEL R. CASTILLO, MD
June 2018 Health and Lifestyle