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On their last day

Today was their last day.

They knew this day would come, but not this soon—not this abrupt.

And so, after one last stroll through the campus they nurtured, the gardens they tended, and the students they served, the Almers of DLSU-D handed over the keys of the campus to the new key holders, cleaned out their compartments, and said one last farewell to the students who’d do anything to not see them go.

Leading up to this moment, students shared their well wishes and heartfelt gratitude through post-it notes strewn all around campus, proving just how indebted our student body is to them.

Today was their last day, and so for the very last time, we’re going to trace back the path that lead them here to cross bridges we’ve never crossed and unfold stories we haven’t yet heard.

Because tomorrow—although this might become just another chapter of the DLSU-D story—it’s one we’ll find ourselves going back to, unable to forget the mark they left.

 

Kuya Rey

In the hallway of the Graduate School of Business (GSB), there’s always a possibility of losing your things—may it be a file, a phone, or even your will—but someone will always return it to you. Keeping and returning lost items—this is how he spent 13 years of his life as he swept the floors and refilled the trash cans with unwavering commitment to serve the students and get his job done.

Kuya Rey is like no other. His genuine and candid smile is what made it easy for the students to get close with him, as well as his undeniable fatherly character.

But Kuya Rey has faced his own trials. Two miscarriages—a nightmare in the past that Kuya Rey managed to overcome. The struggle challenged him with an uncertain and blurred path—a path that soon became clearer with the birth of their much-awaited child and a marriage to last for 27 years and counting.  

Behind his stock room, you can see thirteen years worth of memories—from forgotten lost items to the intangible atmosphere of faith. When asked about the how he felt the moment they knew they would leave soon, “Okay lang, parang natural lang,” he said, still wearing his smile.

Although clueless with what might happen after this, he still keeps up with the presence of the present time, as if the hands of the clock won’t tick. There are bad encounters with students, but there are good ones—especially those who sincerely showed their gratitude to him for the past 13 years, rethinking that it seems like it’s been all good and enough after all.

“Oh, magpakabait kayo ha,” These are his parting words to us, like a father to his children before he leaves.

 

Kuya Conrad

In his 43 years of life, he has spent almost 11 years of those years working under canopies and along the empty hallways of the campus. Conrad still remembers the beginning of this soon-to-end journey in the campus as a reliever—someone who occupies the job of an absent worker—and how lucky he was with his job back then. He eventually became regular and spent the remaining years serving the Lasallian community full-time.

He won’t forget the gratitude shown by students every time Almers returned their belongings, making them heartwarmingly glad. “Maganda naman dito, mamahalin mo nga lang ‘yong trabaho mo.” When asked about what might be his life after this, he felt hopeless in behalf of his co-workers, as various uncertainties will surely greet them as they step outside the campus gates. “‘Di ko na inisip ‘yong sarili ko,” he selflessly said of himself when he learned about the news. Conrad has a partner and one child, and their welfare after this is what bothers him the most.

Conrad was planning to propose to his girlfriend this year, but due to the unwanted incident, it might not be fulfilled after all. “Nagpa-plano pa lang sana ako,” he casually stated with slight disappointment, as if the wedding ring slipped through his partner’s fingers before the altar witnessed their sweet exchange.  


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