Mariel’s “sangko”, Sonny wrote the following for Mariel as he was unable to go home before we laid her to rest last September 20, 2007. Mariel spoke fondly too of her brother Sonny to me when she remembers how dutifully he had provided for her needs when she was still studying at UST. She told me that she traveled all the way to Makati, to where her brother worked to get her monthly “allowance” and even then, was very, very proud of his many accomplishments. Sonny eventually moved to the “States” where he until today works as a professor in Computer Studies in Alabama. Mariel also tried very hard to get to see him when we once traveled to the U.S. as he was truly one of her favorite persons.
So here is Sonny remembering her beloved “little sister”.
Eulogy for Mariel by Sonny A. Francia
Mariel Gina is Mariel’s full name. The name is as modest as the way she lived her life. Among the nine children, she is the one who managed to always stay inconspicuous-always staying out of trouble and never had raised a major concern. When we were young, I used to tease her and called her “Intsik”—an unofficial nickname bestowed on her by Mommy because of her chinese-like features. Of course, we all have our unofficial nicknames: hapon, bakbak, Negro, pudpud, sato, pungok, etc. On these occasions, I always find myself frustrated and at the losing end because I cannot irritate her. She was just too tough for me! And I said to myself “Mariel will never get fooled by any male suitor!” I decided enough of that—I’ll just tease Joy or Jay instead. Chinkie was just a baby then and I’ll get in big trouble if I do that to her.
Mariel’s uncanny ability to speed read is amazing. She once read a book overnight. The same book took me two weeks to read! And I said to myself “Mariel is most likely the smartest among all the Francias.”
On my wedding day in 1983, I vividly recall her calling me and asking me to sit in front of the mirror. She pulled out her makeup kit and started working on my face. I told her that I don’t need any makeup but she insisted that she would just highlight my nose because that is my facial’s best feature. Wow, I did looked good after that! And I said to myself “Mariel will be a great makeup artist as well as an excellent accountant.”
When I was told that Mariel is getting married, I frantically made several inquiries on “who the hell is Bong Bello.” After separately talking to Mommy and to Mariel, I said to myself “Mariel, I am so happy for you—You finally found your prince charming who you waited for years!” Bong, I am so grateful to you for making Mariel’s short life full and satisfying.
The last time I saw Mariel was in 2003. She can’t stop talking about Samantha, her daughter. Rightfully so, Sam is incredibly smart that I started to think that there may be the slightest validity to the theory that old cells produce kids that are intellectually mature than their peers. And I said to myself “I wish that this couple have more of the old cells to reproduce more of my nephews and nieces.”
Here are three verses from Tennyson’s “Crossing the Bar” which I thought Mariel would like to be read to all.
“Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be moaning of the bar,
When I put out of sea,
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness or farewell,
When I embark;
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.”
Goodbye my dear sister Mariel. We love you and we’ll miss you until we see each other again.