A DEAR BROTHER:
VALERIO G. CRESCENCIA, PM, PGLI +
It never occurred to me that my close friend and dear brother, Val Crescencia, would die young. I’ve always believed that -- with his “strong mind, great heart, true faith, and ready hands” – he would live a very long and productive life.
When the news of his sudden and violent death reached me, I was shocked and devastated. My first thought was: What in heaven’s name happened and who the hell would do such an evil deed on so good a man?
Val was a good man and true. He personified hard work and simple living. He never felt inferior about his economic difficulty just as he never felt superior about his intellectual capacity. No superstar complex and never billing-conscious. He was always on the level.
Val didn’t mean harm to anybody or make life hard for others. On the contrary, he was big-hearted and friendly to everyone -- the highest teaching, according to Lao Tzu.
It is my good fortune that the Crescencia brothers and the San Juan siblings have always enjoyed a special friendship since childhood. We’re like a family.
Val, who was ahead of me by one school year, was someone I looked up to during our scouting years in the elementary and in high school. He was the best boy scout there was during our time and I learned a lot just by observing him.
No wonder, when we went to college -- he in U.P. Los Baños and I in U.P. Baguio -- he became a top officer of the U.P. Vanguard Fraternity which ran our Citizens Military Training. Although he was in the extreme Right and I was in the far Left, our closeness was never compromised.
In fact, our friendship was further strengthened when we joined the U.P. Palaris Confraternity -- a fraternal organization of Pangasinan students at the State University – and eventually served as Chief Squires of our respective chapters.
We next found each other as co-workers at the then Urdaneta Municipal Hall -- he at the Agriculture Department and I at the Mayor’s Office – where our idealism and passion for service were put to a test and where, after office hours, we were together as drinking buddies.
When he learned that I joined Freemasonry, he – of his own free will and accord -- followed suit and our closeness was forever cemented. We became much more than blood brothers. We were already brethren of the mystic tie.
I brought him to a Self-Transformation Seminar conducted by the Theosophical
Society in the Philippines, I was surprised at how much it had positively
affected him. He started meditating and was specially good at emotional
Val was a king of pain. He had his own lion’s share of trials and travails, and yet, he suffered in silence. He never bothered others, even us his brothers, about his own problems. He just drank and drank, hoping he could drown his troubles away.
A lot of times he had not just one but two or three drinks too many that the brethren had to literally carry him home. But he ain’t heavy, he’s our brother.
Val wasn’t perfect as no one of us is perfect. Suffice to say, he did not recklessly drive himself to death and was not the agent of his own demise. He was felled by an assassin, a modern-day ruffian who used a deadly handgun.
Whoever persisted in putting their murderous designs into execution shall be met with justice.
Whoever conspired to kill him managed only to cut short his life and not erase his memory.
How could we, whose lives he had touched, ever forget him?
Val was synonymous to a very active life. In fact, it’s not just a synonym, but an acronym.
He always walked in the way of duty not only in accordance with his governmental or organizational responsibility but, more importantly, for the sake of service to God and Country.
He was a well-respected agriculturist. He was a very talented writer and artist. He was a born leader and a reserve officer. He was a gallant knight and a warrior of the light.
He helped me organize the Knights of Rizal – Pangasinan Chapter, of which I am the Chapter Commander and he, until his death, was the Deputy Commander.
One thing I’ll never forget about him is that he would have been a District Grand Lecturer of our Masonic District if not for the fact that he declined the position just so an arrangement could be made that catapulted me to be the District Deputy Grand Master instead.
In my book, he’s a worthy and exemplary brother – an upright Master Mason and a forthright Master of Masons. I will not just doff my Master’s hat to him, I will give him my firm salute and forever cherish his memory for the deeds he had done while in his body.
Verily, Val could now say: “Non Omnis Moriar.” “I shall not wholly die.”
As sons of light, we rise in the east, move to the zenith in the south, set in the west, before traversing the nadir of the north to return to the brightness of the east.
Safe and soft to thee, my fellow traveler and dear brother!