In Loving Memory, Michael Tan (1990-2006)

“Please pray for Michael Tan of 3H, who passed away on 2am last Saturday.”

When I first got the news on Yahoo! Messenger, I really didn’t think it was Michael, that same Michael who made me laugh when I felt down, told me stories to pass the time, and kept me company waiting for our rides who passed away. I really didn’t think it was the same Michael, who would playfully tease me for being a geek, who would give me a pat on the back whenever we parted, who would always brighten up the moment, had gone to Eternal Life.

It was a hot afternoon when I saw Michael for the last time. We talked about what friends would normally do. He jokingly flaunted his basketball skills to me, and even taught me some defense strategies and plays. I can still remember his voice, his face, those eyes that sparkled behind those thick circle glasses. He was a good man, a great friend. He only had his heart and his wits yet he has remained in the memories of those who knew him.

“Pare, ingat ka, nandito na ang sundo ko.”

“Sige, ikaw rin Michael!”

Little did I know that this would be the last time I would see Michael’s smile… The next thing I knew he was gone.

I’m glad I was there, during his last Mass before he would be laid to rest forever in the earth’s bosom. I was there, for him, for the dreams, for everything that that great man stood for.

After the Gospel reading, the priest, instead of the usual homily, gave the floor to those who would like to speak for Michael. One by one, friends and family approached the podium and told their stories with Michael. Some were bitter stories of regret, like what my friend Andre recounted. He told us how much he regretted not appreciating Michael when he lived. People who once ridiculed him stepped up the podium and apologized. I’m sure Michael heard those, and I’m sure he forgives us all…

But some were funny, like what my teachers, Mrs. Pet and Mrs. Fay, recounted. They told us how Michael used to switch from seat to seat all the time (No Permanent Upuan), confusing them. They told us of how they used to call his attention, for he couldn’t stay put in one place. They told us of how they remembered Michael, as a warm, happy person… I still remember Mrs. Fay’s words, and I would like to share them with you: “I am a teacher, who teaches with words and examples, and here is Michael, who teaches with his life…”

A lot of people followed, Joby told us of how Michael made them laugh when they were still busmates, when Michael accidentally tripped at the stairs. And others said the same too, how Michael made them laugh, how he used to spice up the boring classroom, how he loved Mcdo food, which coincidentally, was 3H’s name in the intrams (Happy Meals). Michael always had a smile on his face, even though his grades were at the edge of doom, even when many problems surrounded him. May he be an example to us all.

After the last rites, my fellow students carried Michael’s casket to the funeral car. Silence fell upon us all…

“Weh Jian!”
“Haha, nanalo pa kami pare! At bano pa ang mga kasama ko! Ha! Kaya mo yun?!”
“Sige na, patingin ng cellphone! Gusto ko lang makita ang pics, yung buhay mo, haha! Uy, sino ‘to, ganda ha?!”
“Ahhh, ‘yun’? Ganito kasi ‘yun’…hehehe…”
“Tsss! First Honors nanaman? Tama na!”
“Pare, ingat ka, nandito na ang sundo ko.”

“Sige pare, ingat ka rin…”

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1 Comment

  1. Dude, lhat tayo nami-miss si Mike. He’s been a really good friend, even though he sometimes does something that we really didn’t like. Too bad I didn’t recongnize his good deeds he’d done for us, and I even give it a little importance. Well, punta ka sa 40 days ni Mike, mga Oct. 18, I think. Just ask me for more info.


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