A Champion for Our Youth and Education
"At sa pagdating ng aking paglisan, maaaring malimutan ng lahat ang aking mga ginawa, masama man o mabuti, subalit kung sa akin, ang aking mga nagawa para sa aking bayan ay mananatiling matamis na alaala." (After my time is over, people will forget what I've done, both the good and bad. This will not matter anyhow; but if only to myself, I will cherish the sweet memories of the things I've done for my town and my people.)
COVID has taken so many lives. COVID has forced us to close schools. And today, I lost a dear friend to COVID. Emmanuel Cadayona, known to many as "Ka Noel", served his hometown as mayor for several terms. More than a decade ago, Ka Noel told me, "After my time is over, people will forget what I've done, both the good and the bad. This will not matter anyhow, but if only to myself, I will cherish the sweet memories of the things I've done for my town and my people. He inspired me to reach out to the elementary schools in his town, Paete, Laguna. This blog was an outgrowth of that influence. Ka Noel not only introduced me to basic education, but also to the other basic needs of a municipality. Serving as the leader of a small town, Ka Noel made sure that the town had potable water, proper waste management, and sustainable livelihood.
I first met Ka Noel on the internet. He was not the mayor then, but he inspired me through his good examples to develop a concern for my native land. I met Ka Noel in person in New Jersey. My wife and I gave him a ride to DC during which I found out that he liked listening to Simon and Garfunkel. He stayed in my home for a week, but we were always out and about because people who now lived in the DC area, but were born in Paete, wanted so much to spend time with him. It was at that time that I witnessed how much affection and respect people could have towards a former mayor. It was Ka Noel who made me see things in a different light, not all politicians are good for nothing. Ka Noel and I became close friends as he developed further my concern for Paete. He helped me to reach out and see what we could do to help others especially when we do have something to offer. He was unique in the sense that he also saw that equity was important; That every child, not just those we deemed meritorious, deserved a good education.
Ka Noel is correct. His time in the world has ended, but I will always cherish the sweet memories of a great man.