REMEMBERING: Compassion was Pidot’s other name

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 June) — His nook was a few steps from a school ground, and many times since 2015, I had planned to go for a much-awaited trim but it took me years till 2020 to finally find my way there.

Going through our convo through the years, I was amazed to realize that Pidot was so patient with me as I frequently asked about the full address of his parlor.  Not once did he chide me for forgetting to note down or even to scroll up the messages and find that he had written down his address several times.

He was always there, as I feel right now, just waiting for any of his dabarkads to appear on his doorsteps.

When I last saw him a couple of months ago, I brought along my unica hija and her friend and treated them to a hair color which they enjoyed immensely, what with the Pidot-style of hair treatment that includes raw humor and lots of laughter.

Then a day before I was set to see him again, I heard that he was already confined and in bad shape, and I thought, why should it be him.  I prayed and hoped that he can recover, but then, we can only pray.

We’ve been together in countless fact-finding missions, commemorations of social events, even reunions among friends and acquaintances… and sometimes see each other in the most unlikely places…

One knows that kind of connection which is even more than blood-relations when the word ‘serendipity’ becomes common place.  We have shared a common belief, especially that which touches on human rights, press freedom, freedom of expression, justice and peace in Mindanao especially among the Indigenous Peoples and our Moro brothers.

Because he loves peace, that’s why he has worked for justice relentlessly, though quietly…

Thus, even without having to verbalize all of these, we see them with the same lens, even though we do not often see each other in the city.  One word that best describes Pidot is COMPASSION.  He is one whose helping hand and heart is always ready to give, to share..

For me, it started way back in (2000) when the Media Mindanao News Service (MMNS) lost Manay Editha Eco, one of our best editors and writers.  Without any qualms, Pidot went with us when we had to prepare Edith’s body at the funeral parlor and he volunteered to give Manay Edith her best make-over ever.  There I saw the kindred spirit in all its bareness, the love for a friend who meant so much to us.  As he made her up, we cried, we laughed  and Pidot, the joker that he was made us warm when grief shook our beings.

Since then, and even way back then, Pidot became one of us, a brother, sister, friend, mother and confidante, always there wherever and whenever there’s fun, problem, grief, happiness and in most of our advocacies.

Such a generous and beautiful soul..

(Fidelina Margarita ‘Gingging’ Avellanosa Valle read this during the ‘Pagpupugay,’ an online tribute to Pidot Villocino, on June 9. Valle is a freelance writers and development worker)