^
Daddyâs little girl
The late Consul General to Jamaica Miguel Ma. Guerrero.

Daddy’s little girl

NEW BEGINNINGS - Büm D. Tenorio Jr. (The Philippine Star) - June 18, 2021 - 12:00am

Remedios Salud Tesoro Guerrero, “Reesa” to her friends, knows she will always be her Daddy’s little girl. Even in his death, her father, Consul General to Jamaica Miguel Ma. Guerrero, was fondly thinking of her and her mother, Alice.

“Dad taught me to be patient, kind, tolerant and open-minded,” says Reesa of her dad, who belonged to the illustrious Guerrero clan of Ermita. “I came five years after their marriage and was named Remedios Salud because my father asked our Nuestra Senora de los Remedios, whose caroza was passing by our house in a procession in Malate, for a child. He said that if the child would be a girl, he would name her after the Virgin. Hence, my name Remedios; and Salud, after my maternal grandmother Salud Tesoro.”

“He also taught me to drive and read a map,” she adds. An only child, Reesa always got the approval of her dad when she drove from Makati to Baguio or from East Coast to West Coast — alone. “Because he taught me well about driving.”

Six-year-old Reesa with her father, Mike Guerrero.

As for reading a map, she never got lost. If ever, she always found her way to her dad.

She has always been enamored of the love story of her parents. How “Bee,” the term of endearment of her mom for her dad, which is short for “Beloved,” and her mother met one summer during a debut of Alice’s classmate at the Winter Garden at the Manila Hotel. “They were inseparable.”

“We were married for 58 years, four months and two days on the day he passed, May 29, 2021,” Reesa’s mother Alice Tesoro recalls. “He promised me that we would celebrate our diamond wedding anniversary. That is the only promise he did not keep.”

Alice sang her husband their theme song, Moon River, during the inurnment. It was the same song he played in their room, and the two of them would dance until they got lost in their own world. “He was a sweet, nice man. I was his No. 1 baby. He cried when I told him I had breast cancer stage 2A. He accompanied me to my chemo sessions until I survived all the treatments.”

“Good night, my sweet prince,” Alice said in her eulogy. “Visit me always in my dreams. I will always love you.”

“Some of my most unforgettable memories with Dad was when I joined him and Mom to many expos in Japan, Spain and Canada selling Philippine handicrafts from Tesoro’s,” Reesa says.

“He even spoiled my friends!” she adds.

Mike Guerrero, when he became a Knight of Malta in 2001, with his wife Alice and daughter Reesa.

***

Tito Mike was, indeed, a spoiler. Because my BFF Christine Dayrit and I are like siblings to his unica hija, he would always invite us to dinners in their home: favada, callos and paella. He made sure we had our take-home food after the dinner.

Once he heard I was going to a department store to buy a gift for a friend’s wedding. Tito Mike brought me to their pantry and there I saw how many new rice cookers, ovens, sets of plates and cubiertos among other appliances and utensils he had. He asked me to pick a gift and I chose a set of plates. He even handed me the wrapper.

When for a month Christine and I lived in their house to accompany Reesa while Tito Mike and Tita Alice were in the US for a vacation, Tito Mike made sure of our daily provisions. He even planned our midnight snacks!

Yes, Tito Mike was a great man!

***

I’m sharing here excerpts of Reesa’s eulogy for her dad.

My dad was a gentleman of the old school and a gentle man. He was gracious and genteel in the old-fashioned sense. He went to Ateneo from grade school to high school and took up Law at the UST. He was truly a man for others.

As a brother, he epitomized what a kuya was. He helped out his siblings to the best of his ability and gave sound sage advice when asked. He loved them all.

As a cousin, he was much beloved. We would spend Christmas and New Year with his cousins in Pinaglabanan, San Juan. We would go for lunch but would stay way past dessert as the cousins would enjoy each other’s company until 6 p.m.  All the Guerreros loved to cook.

Food, glorious food, was what he was best known for. On my birthdays, my cousins and friends would come, of course for me, but I think mostly for Dad’s callos and paella. As Tita Meldy Cojuanco once said, “Mike, this is the best paella in the whole world.”

He cherished his friends, especially his circle known as the Delicadeza Club.

He was also a beloved kuya to my mom’s younger siblings. The twins Tita Dolly and Tita Dettie, Tito Jobby and Tita Maribel remember the trips to the toy store where he would tell them, “You can pick out only one toy.” He was their beloved Kuya Mike, never for a moment considering him an in-law, but as their indulgent kuya.

His responsibility as the Consul General of the Philippines to Jamaica was one he took seriously. His job was mostly to issue visas to Filipino tourists, professionals, trainers for the call centers and Filipino seafarers who had to board their ships in Jamaica. He would interview each one personally, give them advice on how to conduct themselves properly while they were at sea and abroad.

When Mom was asked about the secret to their 58 years of marriage, her answer was: “My husband spoils me.” If they quarreled, they would not go to sleep without making up. And it was Daddy who did most of the making up, she admits.

Mom indulged Daddy, too. He had a penchant for hoarding. He loved electronics, kitchen appliances and cars. He could never bear to sell an old car and would only dispose of one when Mom would tell him, “Mike, you need to get rid of one otherwise there will be no place to park your new toy.” Then and only then would he sell one.

Our pantry had two shelves. One wall was lined with various canned goods and dry ingredients. The other would look like a mini-appliance store.

He loved to decorate our house for Christmas. We would have three Christmas trees and anyone who had passed by our house during the Yuletide season could attest to the serious display my dad would have put up. He has won three best display awards in the village.

I remember him most proud when I got accepted in Dartmouth College, and even prouder still when I graduated. He bought Dartmouth banners and T-shirts that said: “Dartmouth Dad.”

I will always be your precious kamote, Dad.

(E-mail me at bumbaki@yahoo.com. I’m also on Twitter @bum_tenorio and Instagram @bumtenorio. Have a blessed weekend.)

GUERRERO
Philstar
  • Latest
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with