TRIBUTE: Always in our hearts

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 06 July) – Tatay Rene Lumawag must have taken thousands of photos of us through the years. He has chronicled our every weight gain, every wrinkle and crinkle, and every kind of expression (including our various shades of fake smiles).

He taught me what my best angle is and I would always tell him to hide my double chin (and he would tell me: “Chin up always, darling!” – not just literally but also metaphorically).

When we’re covering an event together, he would not bother to take any notes when he sees me because he just knows I would supply the information he needed for the captions. “Automatic na, darling ha!” sabay kindat. 😜

An amazing storyteller, his front page photos always had something unique that set them apart from other photos taken by other photographers covering the same event or even shooting the same scene.

Our lives would not be as interesting and as photogenic now without Tatay Rene capturing every moment and making his snarky commentaries. And I can only imagine the enormous loss Tita Minerva Lumawag feels. 💔

Hugging Tita Minnie long and tight at Tatay’s wake, it hit me that I will never hear him sweetly call me “darling” and embrace me lovingly like a daughter again.

I find myself re-reading the funny text messages and inspirational quotes he was always sending me. He was already battling cancer and was physically in pain but he still made time to spread cheer and inspire us. That’s just the kind of human Tatay Rene was.

I know he would not want us to grieve his passing for too long. “Huwag mag-drama masyado at nakawan pa ako ng eksena. Moment ko ito,” he would jokingly remind me.

Okay, fine, Tay. I hope these photos I took of your last moments captured the overflowing emotions and the profound love and respect we have for you and for Tita Minnie (my favorite nurse! – she took care of me when I was in the ICU around 30 years ago). If my photos failed (because I am not you), I hope my words helped.

(Patricia Melissa or Patmei Bello Ruivivar is a columnist of the Mindanao Times. She and Rene Lumawag had worked for Ang Peyodiko Dabaw and later SunStar Davao, and from there moved to the Mindanao Times).

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