Lucila S. Perez: A ‘model of generosity, an inspiring spiritual parent’
Lucila Santiago Perez, one of the pioneer professional trainor-facilitators and a proponent of soul-body connection in the Philippines, died on Sept. 12 of complications from community-acquired pneumonia. She was 88.
Lucy, as she was called, was fascinated with human behavior and was intuitive in reading a situation. Her incisiveness, strategic thinking, and warm personality made her ideal for staff development, conflict management, and resolution building.
She designed the seminars and workshops that focused on developing self-awareness and discovering the true self.
At the Development Academy of the Philippines, she taught generations of trainors who became highly sought after by companies.
She was not only admired for her depth and wisdom but was also loved for being a mother figure and confidant to her wards.
Public relations consultant Jingjing Romero recalled Lucy’s generosity in sharing her knowledge: “She was very helpful as an enabler and a capacity-builder. She was non-threatening even if we knew she was the best.”
Lucy was active in the family business, Vetyard Terminals and Shipping Services, an agency that supplied maintenance crews for oil tankers and platforms. She later became its chairman.
A dietician and nutritionist by education, Lucy was always conscious about how food affected the body and the emotions.
Her pivot to vegetarianism led her to seek a life of purpose by joining various spiritual groups and taking up energy healing.
“She was constantly searching for her personal growth through core energy, the Inner Peace Movement, bioenergetics, and Transcendental Meditation.
Her stay at a commune in 1980 converted her into a strict vegetarian. Her exposure to the Brahma Kumaris (BK) made the greatest impact and turned her into a spiritual teacher of meditation and soul consciousness,” recalled Vicente Jr., Lucy’s eldest child.
In 1983, Lucy and her husband, former Assistant Secretary of Foreign Affairs Vicente Perez Sr., became instrumental in establishing Brahma Kumaris Philippines.
This non-government organization is part of an international network dedicated to teaching Raja Yoga meditation as a way of experiencing peace and a positive approach to living. As president of the foundation, she was active in organizing its programs. She also spurred the expansion of spiritual service in Manila, Quezon City, and the provinces.
She initiated the “Think Clean, Think Green,” a nationwide campaign that enlisted individuals and groups to donate prayers and positive thoughts that would cleanse the atmosphere.
The campaign enjoined other NGOs such as the Christian Children’s Fund and the United Nations Information Center.
The initiative evolved into “Refresh,” which focused on Filipino meditation commentaries on healing nature. “What is meant by being clean? Cleanse inside from waste and unnecessary thoughts and keep only positive and pure thoughts,” she said.
Wanting to make profound concepts relatable, Lucy produced a video for YouTube. “Lost and Found: The Story of the Soul,” an animation on how the soul lost its spiritual powers and regained them by having a connection with the Supreme Being.
Under her corporate social responsibility program, Kadluan, she conducted sessions on discovering the inner self, developing potentials, and transforming old habits.
Her last advocacy, Wholesome Health, was a partnership with Inner Space Manila. The course discusses the interconnection between the soul and the body and how Raja Yoga meditation can heal past issues that manifest as illnesses. Defining its tenet, she explained, “Spirituality is knowing the whole human being—body and soul.”
Lucy remained fit until her late 80s, maintaining health rituals. Her pure diet gave her stamina to travel around the country and share her wisdom despite her advanced age.
“She enjoyed teaching as many individuas as she had touched––from politicians to drivers,” said Vince, the secretary of the Department of Energy during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
In the past six months, Lucy immersed herself in daily four-hour meditations and reading spiritual discourses.
“I’m a yogi—constantly connected with God. This is how my power is awakened from within,” she once told Vince. “Before she succumbed to pneumonia, she gave weekly (virtual) sessions on meditation. She lived her truth to the very end. She was never afraid of dying and was most prepared to face her mortality,” said Vince.
Lucy was seven weeks shy of 89 years old when she passed away. The local and international Brahma Kumaris communities paid tributes on social media, email, and virtual meetings.
Heartfelt messages expressed respect, affection, and gratitude.
She was lauded for being “a model of generosity,” “a shining example of royalty,” and “an inspiring spiritual parent.”
“Lucy was looking for personal transformation when she joined the BK. She felt pure love and that’s why she shared that love, which uplifted the human mind,” said Rajni Daulatram, BK national coordinator.
Lucy is survived by her five children – Vince, Sheila, Benedict (Beewee), Raoul (Arvi), and Miguel (Mikko), her four in-laws, and 10 grandchildren.