Saturday, March 03, 2007

Onesimo S. Banares 1929-2004

Today marks the 3rd death anniversary of my father, Onesimo Salazar Lim Banares. He was born in 1929 in a small coastal town called Bacacay nestled at the foot of Mount Mayon in Albay. He was 6th in a brood of 15 children. He ran away to Manila with his brother to study. He studied High School at Cosmopolitan College in Sta. Cruz, Manila. Because he couldn't pay for his tuition fee, he worked as janitor for the school. After graduating, he took up political science at Manuel L. Quezon University (MLQU). Again, he worked as janitor part-time to cover for his tuition. He graduated in 1956 with a degree in Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) in 1956. He passed the bar the next year and worked for the legal department of the Bureau of public works. In between studying and working, he managed to buy a house and get married. He then worked for Mantrade, then went on to First United Bank (FUB) as a legal officer. this is where he met Don Pepe Cojuangco, owner of the bank.

After FUB became UCPB, he was made manager of the legal dept. and was instrumental in the creation of the bank's Blue Book, which carried his signature for quite some time. He has won every case he handled, and to my eyes he was the nation's, if not the world's greatest lawyer, which is why it was painful for me to see him deteriorate physically. He was always a vigorous man, choosing to walk when others would ride, and he was a great orator and debater. When he was diagnosed with cancer in 2003, we were devastated. He took it bravely, even asking the doctor if he would make it to his 75th birthday in 2004. The doctor of course said yes. True enough, he was able to live long enough to see his 75th birthday. That was feb. 16, 2004. He was also able to celebrate their wedding 47th wedding anniversary at the hospital on Feb. 29, and my neice's birthday on March 1. He passed away the next day.He was such a great influence to me.

He was the reason i wanted to become a lawyer, and the reason i took up political science. In my heart, he will always be the world's greatest lawyer, and the world's greatest father. He will be missed not just by me, but my siblings, relatives, friends and the many lives he managed to touch in the 75 years of his existence on this earth.

Papa, I miss you.

“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.”
-Pope Paul VI 1897-1978