Today would have been Fr. (Tatay) Pops’ 65th birthday. This happy picture was taken on his last birthday in 2011. Because the cake had no candles, Richard “Bobong” Gayatin jokingly lit up a lighter which Tatay Pops blew, much to the delight of the people.
Fr. Pops died that year in October. In 2013, Bobong succumbed to cancer.
He worked with Tatay Pops for a long time and even when he was elected municipal councilor, he still continued to work with Pops in serving the lumads. He enacted legislation and projects aimed at recognizing and defending lumad rights and uplifting their lives.
Pops and Bobong were frequently together going to the communities, saying Mass, looking after the scholars, attending fiestas, etc. Bobong was also one of the last persons that Pops talked to on the morning he was killed.
Bobong was one of the founding members of the Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio Foundation, determined to see to it that the legacy of his good friend will live on before he too would be taken away.
They must be reenacting this scene right now. Pops would be clean-shaven again and Bong would be grinning from ear to ear.
To Tatay Pops, Happy birthday!
And to Bong, keep on holding the flame for us. May we always see that true happiness lies in serving the people, just as you did. Mabuhay ka!