Cariño: Last man standing

Linda Grace Cariño

THIS week, we have had to bid adieu to the earthly remains of two of Baguio’s well-loved once mayors. We speak of course of the late Braulio Yaranon and the late Jaime Bugnosen.

Last Wednesday, I sat at the UCCP where I spent nursery and kindergarten lifetimes ago, this time around at the service for “a celebration of thanksgiving for the life of Jaime Roldan Bugnosen.” A.k.a. Uncle Jimmy.

It was Eileen who was at the door greeting and meeting people when I entered, and we agreed that Uncle Jimmy’s 91 speaks of a long, full, well-lived life. Indeed, there is much to be thankful for, including the 91st birthday celebration three days before he died.

We had to also speak, of course, of how the other uncle, Raul, had likewise lived a long, full, well-lived life, and how Uncle Jimmy had probably made “dagas” to him: “Intan Padre,” and how the other had probably said, “Wen, intan.” We are reminded of my own brother Matt and cousin Edward Okubo, a similar “dagas” situation there.

Imagine the welcome upstairs. Like a party, I’m sure, as in the Baguio parties of yore, with all and sundry in attendance. I hear my own father’s laugh echoed by Matt’s. I hear glasses clinking. Party, party, party, as my mother would say.

I smile, reminded too of a Baguio City Council class picture (1963-67) that had Mayor “Uncle Berting” de Guzman, Councilors Gaudencio “Uncle Bert” Floresca, Pedro “Uncle Pete” Claravall, Andy Cariño – father of mine, Ricardo “Uncle Carding” Paraan, Sinforoso “Uncle Sinfor” Fangonil, Uncle Jimmy, and Vice Mayor Uncle Raul, the latter two having long outlived the other six in the picture.

Of all in that class picture of eight, the last man standing was Uncle Raul, who celebrated his 90th birthday one brief month before his death. And I’m thinking, actually, that this week is the seeming passing of an age, one of gentlemen politicians who took the public good to heart.

To them now happily partying upstairs, let us raise our own iced, spirited glasses in a toast. Salud!