By Carol Villanueva Peralta
NEW York — Their stars shone so brightly… they lit up the universe.
I am still in shock and in denial. Two lovely persons who have impacted my life so much left — leaving a huge void in my heart.
Ma’am Gina Lopez succumbed to cancer. She spent her last days creating an awareness on the importance of protecting the environment for future generations. She was fearless and spoke her truth with passion coupled with her work of compassion for the poor in communities she worked with. She did not preach. She showed love — her battlecry through her actions. I asked God, why take her?
She was born with a silver spoon and had all the resources to stand toe to toe with the giants. They couldn’t silence her because she spoke the truth.
I also learned that Archbishop Jesus Tuquib, DD joined the Creator. He was softspoken, non-judgmental and prefered to stay out of the limelight despite his previous assignments as Archbishop of Pagadian and Cagayan de Oro City. He championed strong communities through strong family units as a staunch advocate of Christian Family Life Apostolate.
Opposites but left lasting legacies. Both pursued their mission in life relentlessly with fervor, passion and compassion to uplift the lives of many. Both believed that Love is the strongest force for change.
Now what? To console myself, I looked at the lives of legends who helped shape history — Joseph the Dreamer, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa to name a few. They are gone but they did not fade away.
As I write, I somehow feel a sense of peace knowing that when stars shine so brightly, a million little stars inspired by their lives will twinkle and continue to light up the skies for eternity.
Thank you for your lives. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your light. I feel fortunate to have spent precious time with you as my mentors in this lifetime – memories of your voice, your smiles, words spoken I shall always treasure.
(Carolina Villanueva Peralta is the daughter of the late Fidencia V. Peralta, RN who was killed in an ambush along with Lourdes Martinez, wife of the late Mayor Cornelio Martinez of Kiamba, South Cotabato [now part of Sarangani province] in 1977. She presently resides in New York but is actively involved in development efforts in her hometown Sarangani Province. She is a member of the Board of Kiamba Sarangani Development Foundation Inc. [USA])