Requiem for a colleague and friend

    Felipe Velez Neri, 60, passed away last week. He was a dear friend and co-worker at the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development Council (SCADC).

    Someone has said: When you walk through the terrain of another’s heart you will leave some footprints.

    During all the time Philip—that’s how we call him—worked with us in SCADC since January 2006, he walked through the terrain of our hearts with quiet but sincere dedication, doing his work uncomplainingly even though his heart was being ravaged now and then by disease which earlier had caused him to be operated on and which recurred when we were having our planning workshop on November 10, 2007 in Baguio City. (The last attack that occurred on April 21 proved fatal, unfortunately. I did not know that the dinner I had with Philip on April 1 together with my senior staff at SCADC was the last dinner I would ever have with him.)

    The true professional that he was, after obtaining temporary relief, Philip insisted on finishing the three-day planning workshop, knowing its high importance and desirous of making a contribution to the planning effort.

    In the past three years that we had worked together, I never heard him complain about his illness despite the rigors of work and the tight deadlines we have had to meet in fulfilling our duties and responsibilities at SCADC; he was even more mindful of the health of us his colleagues than his and was also ever ready to do acts of kindness with his inspiring text messages about life, faith, joy, and peace with God.

    In his usual quiet yet cheerful and unassuming fashion, Philip would do his work, contributing competent professional and insightful advice, sharing his thoughts, and caring for others—always in his own quiet way. Truly, Philip has left some footprints in our hearts, some deep footprints that time may find hard to erase.

    A beautiful human being, a kind and beautiful spirit, Philip has been to us.

    The footprints that Philip has left in our hearts, even in our memories at SCADC, have made me remember some thoughtful passages from a little-known book “The Circle of Life” which I would like to share with the kind readers in tribute to our departed dear friend and colleague:

    “Design your life as a garden so the world can marvel at every branch, stem and petal.

    “Seductively the aroma engages the attention of all within the nose;

    Wafts of jasmine intermingle with luscious gardenia;

    Each path leads to a new world of discovery;

    Rustic tones of red disguise the maple from winter’s solitude;

    Forlorn it will endure nature’s bitterness;

    With spring comes the hope of prolific growth;

    Birds queue to devour the honeysuckle flowers;

    Bees swirl in nectar-induced stupor;

    Nature is brewing its concoction of delights;

    Ready to mesmerize, cajole and coerce the senses into submission;

    Set to entwine with the souls who have departed our midst;

    There to display that life marches on;

    With or without us it will breathe a new breeze;

    Enrage an awesome wave or drench our earth;

    With every day there can be no denying;

    Their energy, spirit and love will burst forth again.”

    Goodbye, beautiful friend.



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