The proposed CamSur Capitol building. Groundbreaking is timed for early 2019 and completion is expected 24 months after.
A belated Father’s Day story
PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - June 26, 2018 - 12:00am

“When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.” — Author unknown

Five years ago, for the first time in the history of Camarines Sur, veteran politician and former Cabinet secretary Luis R. Villafuerte and his grandson, Miguel Luis MigzVillafuerte, duelled for governor.

Migz, then 24, is the eldest of the four children of then outgoing governor, now Camarines Sur Rep. Luis RaymundLRayVillafuerte and his wife Lara.

At the time, Migz’s Lolo Louie, then 77, a lawyer and finance specialist, questioned the competency of his youthful grandson for the post.

The suspicions of those who initially thought the fight was a charade to keep the post in the family — whoever won — vanished when the Villafuerte patriarch filed an election protest following his defeat to his grandson.

According to newspaper reports, Luis alleged that his grandson’s camp was involved in “disputing, controverting and impugning the results of the elections.”

The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 2014 upheld with finality the election of Migz, denying the appeal of his lolo.

* * *

The wounds were deep, very deep. But trust time to heal all wounds. About two years ago, Migz reached out to his Lolo and invited him to a Christmas family reunion. The Villafuerte patriarch attended, but according to LRay, now a congressman, the ice had not completely thawed between him and his father at the time.

But during LRay’s birthday last year, Migz again invited his lolo, who took to the mic and said, “Many things can happen in this world but I’d like to say I love my son very much.” Tears started to well up in the eyes of the people in the party.

Lolo Louie continued, “But I’d also like to say that I love my grandson more.” By then everybody in the room, who witnessed the emotional and political battles among the three generations of Villafuertes, were sobbing.

Happiest was the woman related to all three “Luises:” the matriarch Nelly Favis Villafuerte, who credits the healing in her family to their renewed faith. It was she who whispered to her husband before he went up the stage, “Don’t forget to tell LRay you love him.”

All’s well that ends well. Indeed, blood is thicker than water.

* * *

All three generations of Luis Villafuertes were a picture of pride and accomplishment during the official launch of the CamSur Capitol building at the Dusit Thani Manila.

The proposed P500-million (and not a peso over, conforming to government regulations according to Migz) building was designed by Filipino-Colombian architect Carlos Arnaiz of the New York-based CAZA (Carlos Arnaiz Architects).

“The CamSur Capitol embodies a deep connection between the region’s landscape and its people. The design is a spiraling assembly of pili-shaped husks that appears like a mountain from the horizon and like a flower from the sky,” says Gov. Migz.

The pili nut is widely associated with the Bicol region, which is perhaps the only province where it grows abundantly.

Migz adds, “Each pili-shaped volume is a metal sun-screen protecting the building’s interior from the intense tropical sun, creating a series of shaded roof terraces. The Capitol’s spiral organization of pili-shaped volumes produces a covered open-air atrium in the center of the building.”

In explaining his design, Carlos, for his part, said, “What does a building do for a government? A government building represents both our aspirations and our reality: it is a mirror and a telescope into the future. Successful civic buildings become symbols for their communities. The CamSur Capitol is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show the world what CamSur can be through architecture.”

During the launch of the proposed Capitol, all three “Luises” were present and they were smiling: Luis, LRay and Migz Villafuerte. Looking on happily were the women in their lives: Nelly Villafuerte, LRay’s wife Lara and Migz’s girlfriend Miss Universe-Philippines 2017 Rachel Peters.

A solid family, like the pili nut, is a tough nut to crack.

CAMARINES SUR LUIS R. VILLAFUERTE MIGUEL LUIS “MIGZ” VILLAFUERTE
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