Bayek – A Soldier’s Journey

He was a veteran soldier, tempered and honed from the most tumultuous places in this country.

Rumors of his PMA stint is still vague, but his Philippine Army tenure is without question. I remember him coming home from Nueva Viscaya or Zamboanga or somewhere in Mindanao. Bayek is already in town because Ina  is preparing stuff, and somebody just asked me to make coffee.

Coffee. I was influenced, if I may say so, by Bayek. Mama Ton, another uncle who’s also a military man, with the airforce, bore the same taste. Coffee for him and a couple of his officers taking a break frtom the guns and the fighting. Once Bayek even brought home Lini Segundino, a southern lad who, although with halting Tagalog, never ceased to thank him and the family for taking him in.

Bayek, I realised later on, spoke fluent Ilocano, Capampangan, Visayan and of course Tagalog, English and Austrian. Now who do you know has a command of dialects and languages like him?

Scars from skirmishes and firefights mark his triumphs and survival, in an age when people still fight for principles and ideals. A medical technician turned army man, a contradiction of sorts, yet the discord between his orientation never prevented him from doing his duty to his country.

Sometimes, it’s hard to understand the man, for his military bearing seem to overlap into his personal life. I have been subject to his steel discipline, a teenager wanting to emulate his idol but fails miserably just because being a grown up was far from my mind. Yet I loved the man, like a father I never had.

Like most of my affiliations with father figures, I seem to have this knack for being stubborn and absolutely complex. Only now in his absence do I understand our own mortality.

I would mourn if I could. . .

But I won’t.

I will not cry for his leaving, of how he passed away . . .

Instead I will remember how he LIVED.

Fitting tribute to a warrior.

I’ll miss you, Bayek.