FASTLANES: Adios Maning Ravanera

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 03 December) — When a loved one dies, we reminisce. We remember the departed as if we are capable of holding time and have the power to choose which ones to let go and which would stay with us.

I met Maning Ravanera some 30 years ago. I was a student volunteer at the Centre for Alternative Rural Technology, Inc. (CART). He was a young officer of the court who was looked upon by confreres as dependable and tough. Masaligan. Masandigan.

We clicked immediately. I do not know if it was because of the kinilaw he asked me to do (as his first order to a neophyte in the group) tasted so good, or our conversations. We clicked instantly, and at the end of the night, we exchanged keys. He had my motorcycle keys and I had his Volkswagen beetle — that inimitable pagong.

We fought many battles together. Against industrial pollution and illegal fishing at Macajalar, Gingoog and Butuan bays. Illegal logging in the vast watersheds of Cagayan de Oro, the preservation of Cagayan de Oro’s Huluga archaeological complex. Fighting coal-fired power plants years before the global consensus that climate change is caused by human activities.

We were called tree-huggers, doomsday sayers, anti-development activists, economic saboteurs, and whatever. We were stubborn.

When in trouble, NingRavs was our go-to guy. When a court ordered leaders of the Task Force Macajalar — his bro and our primus inter-pares Orlan Ravanera, the late Longskie Magallanes, and me = not to go near the anti-logging barricades, NingRavs defended us in court. 

When I and Longskie were sued for physical injuries by a driver of a logging truck we apprehended, NingRavs secured our acquittal.

When CART closed in 2008 and I found myself jobless, NingRavs and Damins offered me a vacant room in their boarding house. They are family to me. Batin (Atty. Ilya Kristin Ravanera) is like a sister. My parents recalled that long before we became confreres, I had already met NingRavs and Damins. NingRavs then was courting Miss Minda ‘Damins’ Rivera who did nursing duties in Gingoog City. Ambot lang og wa ba kaha nagbasol si Damins nga iya ko gi injectionan og bakuna when I was a kid, everytime mag-tagay mi ni NingRavs.

When I started to take journalism seriously, NingRavs encouraged Batin to write. Right Bats? She beat me to the draw when a certain Ilya Kristin R. Ravanera got a byline in the Inquirer’s Youngblood. I stopped thinking of ever writing for Youngblood since then.

NingRavs was so loved, that is why he lasted so long even after his debilitating stroke 12 years ago. God gave him Damins, indubitably, the best wife in the world. And Batin whose love for you and grit is off the charts.

Environmentalist and lawyer Manuel Revilla Ravanera died early morning of November 26, 2022. He turned 67 on November 15, 2022. He was the former chairperson of the environmental watchdog Task Force Macajalar, and a former President of the Cagayan de Oro – Misamis Oriental Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

NingRavs, when you meet Ernest Hemingway, please ask him how many shots of Scotch with soda did he drink when he wrote ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls.” And please tell him that he was so damn right: 

“Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Salamat NingRavs!