In Aurora hometown, hero’s burial for Angara
BALER, Aurora — Senate President Edgardo Angara, the hometown hero, was laid to rest on Tuesday morning, his life celebrated with poignant eulogies and songs from family members, relatives, supporters and townmates.
Angara, 83, was given full military honors as he was buried at the family compound in Barangay Reserva here.
About 1,500 people attended the wake and more than 2,000 came to the funeral.
Banners carrying messages of condolences were put up around this town. Baler residents described Angara as the “Father of Tourism in Aurora.”
“It’s a sad day for us here. I’ve known him (Angara) as a very kindhearted person,” said Josefa Ranillo, 87, who traveled from San Luis town and braved the scorching heat to join a thousand others pay their last respects.
The heat index in the province was 51 degrees Celsius during Angara’s final wake on Monday, and strong rains fell at night while people gathered at the Angara house here.
The funeral was attended by Senators Franklin Drilon, Richard Gordon and JV Ejercito, and former Sen. Pia Cayetano. At the service, friends and relatives offered white roses while soldiers handed out black armbands.
Among those who spoke during the last wake was Jonnie Lagunay-Glorioso, a scholar of Angara.
“While the country knows him as one of the best senators of his time, I’ve known him to be a benevolent father. He touched my life in a way no one else had done. He educated me,” said Glorioso, who now works for the Department of the Interior and Local Government here.
Glorioso completed college as a recipient of the Doña Juana J. Angara Scholarship Foundation.
Angara’s son, Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, said his father “loved to mentor young people, and loved the people of Aurora so dearly.”
“Let’s not forget him and let’s continue what he wanted to accomplish when he was still alive,” the senator said, citing his father’s plans to put up a trauma hospital and an agriculture museum in Aurora.
Angara’s eldest grandchild, Edgardo Manuel, nicknamed Manolo, said the senator had “never missed a single celebration or milestone” in his life.
“Today, as I mourn my Lolo’s passing on his ninth day, I celebrate my 14th birthday. This is the first birthday of mine to which he did not show up,” Manolo said in his eulogy.
He described his grandfather as “gentle and loving,” adding that the late senator would always find time to take him and his siblings “to be one with nature.”
According to Manolo, his grandfather had always kept his promises, except for one. “The only promise he broke was to my sister. He promised her that he would live long enough to see her walk the aisle,” Manolo recalled.
“More than goodbye, I want to say: Thank you, Lolo. Thank you for the 14 beautiful years that we had been together. Too short—but definitely wonderful and perfect. The love you gave us continues to overflow,” he said.
His younger brother, Javier, 7, sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” during the necrological service held at the Angara house.
Manolo also recited a poem in between sobs while his younger sister, Ines, 12, sang “A Thousand Years.”
Until his death on May 13 of an apparent heart attack, Angara served as the bridge between the European Union and the Duterte administration, working to defuse the tension when the President lashed out at the EU’s criticism of his war on illegal drugs.
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