Guardian
RECOLLECTIONS, REFLECTIONS - Dr. Jose "Dodong" R. Gullas (The Freeman) - September 15, 2019 - 12:00am

Now, more than I ever, I believe in the existence of guardian angels. My birth month of February, and my heavenly guardian is Angel Barachiel, whose name means “God’s Blessing.” He is, therefore, the angel of blessings and is believed to transmit our prayers to God and asks for God’s blessings

for us.

In my journey in life, I know that there also exist our own guardian angels on earth.  They could wear the faces of our friends, loved ones, acquaintances, colleagues, even strangers whom we don’t even know from Adam. These are people who may have helped us in one way or another, may have made things easier for us, or may have assisted us to realize our dreams, pursue our passion and fulfill our heart’s desires. Definitely, there is a guardian angel for each one of us somewhere, somehow.

My dear mother Mama Pining has and will always be my guardian angel. At one time, we had an erring employee in UV’s accounting department. The offense committed was big enough to warrant the woman employee’s dismissal. On the day we were to announce the termination of her employment with us, the lady employee went AWOL. We would soon discover that she took with her some very important school documents, so we launched a massive search.

We even tapped the NBI to help us locate the woman, but all our efforts were to no avail. For weeks there was just no trace of her anywhere we searched. Then one morning, to everybody’s surprise, the missing woman came to see me at my office. She cried the moment she stepped in the door, with several folders under her arm – the documents she had taken.

In between sobs, the lady related to me why she decided to return the papers. Mama Pining, she said, appeared to her urging her to return the documents. This was in the 90’s and Mama Pining had been long been deceased by that time. In fact, the employee was too young to have met my mother. This made me realize that my mother is still watching over us and the University, long after she passed away.

Several years back, in the early evening of September 8, after hearing mass at the Basilica in celebration of the birthday of our Mama Mary, my wife Nena and I were traversing through the hills of Guba, one of the city’s mountain barangays, where we resided. As it was raining for the most part of the day; the roads were wet and slippery. I was already a bit apprehensive while driving; we prayed for guidance and protection to get to the house safely.

And yet the unthinkable did happen, the car skidded to an area that led to a deep ravine. Luckily, I stepped on the break and not the accelerator, otherwise it would’ve been a disaster. Perhaps our guardian angels were with us all the time. We prayed even more fervently in thanksgiving after that.

More recently, with the end view of improving the physical facilities of the Gullas College of Medicine a few years back, we built the six-story Gullas College of Medicine Building. We did this despite the full implementation of DepEd's K-12 program. While some schools employed cost-cutting measures and trimmed down their work force, we bit the bullet and constructed the building. Unlikely and unthinkable it may be, but we were able to ride the tide and saw to the building’s completion.

And it is perhaps serendipitous, unexpected, unforeseen for me to have met a gentleman who shared with my vision and hopes of providing UV’s medical students access to quality instruction, state-of-the-art learning facilities and a highly conducive environment for study. We together envisioned an ultra-modern medical health and wellness facility. We both dreamed to be able to provide the best health care center outside Manila, something for the Cebuanos to be ‘excited’ about. Another thing this man and I share is our deep love and reverence for our dear mothers. I consider him, a guardian angel sent from above and I agree when he said it is ‘DESTINY’ that led us to one another.

With the passing of Papa Inting in 1970 and Mama Pining in 1984, my siblings and I were indeed like “ilung tuwapos” (orphaned children.) I myself was then confounded with uncertainties on how to steer the wheels and in what direction the University is heading. Then I remembered Dr. Felicidad Reyes of the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities when she said that “you can do a lot of things for the University, Dodong, but in the end what is important is to have your academic programs accredited.” And through the years we have done just that. I am glad that a “guardian angel” from Manila expressed his willingness to assist and help to further improve and uphold the academic standards set forth for the tertiary level, and another “guardian angel” would look into our Basic Education program. I appreciate their joining me in taking care of the legacy of Papa Inting and Mama Pining, Papa’s inspiration, and that at the end of the day we hope that both are happy with what we have done for the University.

I am reminded of what Papa Inting said: “Pray to your guardian angel for a good night sleep and that you will be guarded during the night, and pray once again when you open your eyes in the morning for guidance throughout the day.”  

My constant prayer has always been to be able to engrave some footprints of kindness in the hearts of people especially the less fortunate. It is the greatest act of humanity for someone to share whatever he can share rather than turn a blind eye to those in need and be “SELFISH AND GREEDY.” To me, kindness is the mother of all virtues and gratefulness is the father of humanity. It pays to be kind, to be humble and to be grateful. May we all become “guardian angels” to one another.

GUARDIAN
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