I'm a very happy and superbly thankful kid.
Today I had my first class for the semester which was on women and work with no less than the Prof. Judy Taguiwalo. So imagine my surprise when the class discussion suddenly became a conversation about my family.
Ma'am Judy: Saan ang probinsya mo, Erika?I have spent a lot of time writing about my crazy antics, random adventures, and passing thoughts. It's about time I write something that is actually worth somebody's time.
Erika: Sa Zambales po, Subic.
Monica: Magkababayan tayo. Cabangan naman side ng father ko.
Erika: Yung side po ng mom ko, Deveraturda, originally from Iba.
Monica: Kaano-ano mo si Dennis Deveraturda?
Erika: Tito ko po. Second eldest nila mommy.
Monica: Mother ko yung nagsulat ng article tungkol sa kanya!
Ma'am Judy: Dennis Deveraturda? Kasabayan ko yun! May mga pictures pa nya ko.*
I never met Tito Dennis. Everything that I know about him I only got from the stories of the clan. All that I am sure of is that he was one of the reasons why it was not an easy decision for me to choose UP over the others.
Luckily, Google knows him better. He was one of those who "lost their lives in the night when they were in the cusp of youth and did not get to see the breaking of dawn."** He was a champion of and for the farmers. He was studying Economics and was just 19 when he was killed in Botolan, Zambales. Google, however, does not have any real picture of my uncle.
DENNIS ROLANDO R. DEVERATURDA (1952 - 1972) of Subic, ZambalesIt is overwhelming and heartwarming to see his name alongside Lorena Barros, Renato Constantino, and many, many very notable others.
For courageously joining, and later, generating and leading discussions with fellow college students at the University of the Philippines concerning the country's worsening political situation; For showing a wise regard for the role of ordinary people in the growing struggle, by bringing these academic discussions to his hometown Zambales, enlightening his provincemates through debates at plazas, hiking long kilometers and living with farmers and fishers in their village homes to elicit their views and participation in the struggle to resist abuses and defend civil rights; For giving and sacrificing his young and very short life, having his future snuffed out in his prime through assassination by constabulary soldiers. (from Bantayog ng mga Bayani)
I was never the UP student that he was. I wasted a big chunk of opportunities for learning and serving the people for trivial matters that I do not even remember now, at all. Nevertheless, wherever you are, Tito Dennis, please know that your death will not be for nothing. I, too, envision a society wherein the poor does not get poorer when the rich get richer; a country where women do not need to assert their own specific rights anymore because
I may never be as brave as you were and my priorities can sometimes be crooked but I swear I'll never stop aiming to contribute, however little, to the realization of that vision that you had for this nation. But I can only try as much so feel free to give me a slight bump on the head whenever I go the wrong way.
"Gwapo yung si Dennis, matalino. He will be forever young."
* Conversation not verbatim. They had a lot of awesome things to say about Tito Dennis but my memory can only retain this much.
** Doyo, M.C.P. 2006. Munoz-Palma leads 10 Bantayog heroes. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved from http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20061130-35574/Mu%F1oz-Palma_leads_10_Bantayog_heroes