The simple lifestyle of Jesse Robredo

Despite holding one of the highest-ranking positions in the country, the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo maintained a modest lifestyle in his beloved Naga City

Tsinelas, shorts and a simple t-shirt…

This was the favorite get-up of the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.

When Robredo died, he was among the country’s highest ranking officials.

But he returned home every week to his simple life in Naga City, where he was happiest.

LENI ROBREDO: Naga has always been his home. He always tells me this is his happy place.

Robredo and his 4 siblings grew up in a simple house in Barangay Tabuko, where his parents still live today.

He went to Naga Parochial for grade school, a private Catholic school, where he is remembered as a one of the role models.

During his wake, 5th and 6th graders from the school traveled to the Archbishop’s palace to say goodbye.

MA. FRANCIA ALPE: We want the pupils to feel that he was once a Parochial boy. And not only that, with all the achievements that he has given not only here locally in Naga City for 18 years, remember he was a Mayor for 6 terms.

Robredo attended Ateneo de Naga University for high school, before going to De La Salle University for college.

After graduation, he worked in a top corporation before returning to Naga, inspired by the People Power Revolution.

Nagueños elected Robredo Mayor of Naga when he was 29. He worked in City Hall for a total of 18 years.

Unlike traditional offices, his desk came before his secretary’s, so locals could enter freely and speak to him directly.

His office stayed simple, unchanged for his 6 terms as Mayor.

GABRIEL BORDADO: Down to earth as a Mayor. Wala siyang mga ere ere. Wala siyang mga cordons there. Very approachable. But at the same time very intense sa trabaho niya.

When Robredo became DILG secretary, he maintained his modest lifestyle.

He came home on weekends to be with his family… a humble 3-storey home in Barangay Dayangdang.

He biked everywhere around the city, and went to mass every Sunday at the tiny open-air barangay church two streets away before returning to Malacañang for the week.

A true son of Naga, Robredo was a faithful devotee to the Virgin of Penafrañcia, the patroness of Bicol.

Friends and neighbors remember Robredo as generous and always smiling.

JONAS GARZA: Courteous, magalang po siya. Magalang siya sa bata, magalang siya sa matanda. Mabait. Kung anong sobra sa kanya binibigay dito sa amin. Palagi yang nagsisimba. Hindi yan pumalpak kahit Mayor pa siya.

His burial is a stark contrast to his life — fancy and grand.

LENI ROBREDO: I know he would shy away from excessive praise. He might find all the fuss pomp and pageantry a little uncomfortable.

But in the words of his wife, it is a fitting celebration to a life well-lived.

LENI ROBREDO: I wasnt surprised when I opened the body bag he was still wearing his DILG uniform

When Jess was still Mayor of Naga, we both worked hard in making sure the children did not feel a sense of entitlement.

Naga’s favorite son stayed humble despite his accomplishments…  to many Filipinos, a life worth emulating.

Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, Naga City. – Rappler.com


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