It was shocking. My mother, in the middle of the celebration my niece’s Igorot baptism, confirmed that Manong Mukyat passed away.

Rodolfo Basawil, more known as “Mukyat”, was the husband of my cousin Juliet Lizaro. He was 63.

It bleeds my heart to realize we never had a talk ever since I pursued working here in Metro Manila. When I was still in Baguio, I would see him during family gatherings.

At nine in the evening, I was at the Victory Liner Pasay terminal to catch a ride. Thanks to my Premiere Card that I did not have to stand in line for hours to get a ticket this busy season.

I reached my cousin’s house in Betag, La Trinidad at three in the morning with a heavy heart. The first thing I did was to drink two cups of coffee while waiting for my cousin, Manang Dodo, to wake up.

Manong Mukyat was a soft-spoken person, who was the opposite of his wife. When I was younger, he would call me “Christopher” because he claimed “Christian” is not “taraki”.

His photo displayed at his wake is a perfect representation of himself. He had a smiling, warm face.


The next day, my cousins came to say their final goodbyes. I cannot bear going near a dead person so I just whispered my words to the air.

The wake became a mini family reunion. It was an opportunity to reconnect with special people. I got to bond with Manang Sharon who is busy with her hardware business. Manang Mangali told us about her OFW moments. Khujie, who attends to passengers at the bus station, shared with me she almost got a condominium unit when she was still working in Pampanga.

Of course, there were funny parts of the wake. My cousin, Manang Joan, asked me if I was a policeman (huwaaaaaat???!???!!)

After completing the chores assigned to me, I had to go back to the bus station. I reached my Paranaque home tired but satisfied.

This morning, Manong Mukyat was buried at his farm in Atoc, Tublay. May he rest in peace.

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