[OPINION] Remembering Jun Factoran

Rick Rocamora
[OPINION] Remembering Jun Factoran
He excelled in every task he was assigned to and recommended qualified brother Sigma Rhoans to important positions, paying forward and emulating his mentor, Rafael Salas

At the end of a long day, somewhere in Liliw, Laguna, we, members of Batch ’63 of the Sigma Rho Fraternity, were welcomed and celebrated by our senior brods at the end of many weeks of initiation.

We knew little then of what was at stake – that we were part of a group of men committed for life to love our country, support the University of the Philippines, and stand beside our brother Sigma Rhoans.

To this day, after more than 50 years, Jun Factoran and many of us celebrate the Sigma Rho way of life to the fullest in every opportunity. (READ: Jun Factoran dies)

I first met Jun Factoran during those initiation days. He was highly regarded as a scholar at the UP College of Law. After many years, our friendship developed into a bond of common beliefs, advocacies, love for food, travel, beautiful faces, and intelligent minds.

For many years, we had minimum interaction as Jun worked on his law practice while I left for the US after Martial law was declared in 1972, working for the pharmaceutical industry in America in various capacities in sales, marketing, and management.

During the latter years of Martial Law, we started communicating again. After the 1986 EDSA Revolution, I would come home to the Philippines often and we would spend more time together during those visits.

During his time serving the Cory Aquino administration, I joined him in several of his sorties to the provinces. I recall one occasion when we shared the same room with separate beds. His close-in security personnel later complained that he had a sleepless night because the two of us snored in unison like a symphony orchestra. Years later, we compared notes on how efficient our CPAP machine for sleep apnea was. (READ: Jun Factoran: Leadership and legacy in DENR)

In one of his visits to San Francisco, while looking for books and talking in the vernacular complete with laughter in between, a young white customer called our attention to keep quiet, and with Jun beside me in our typical Sigma Rho fashion, I confronted the guy and told him to buy the book instead and not read the book in the store because it is not a public library.

Good meals with friends

Jun Factoran loves to entertain his special friends to a good meal. To this day, I try to do what he does so effectively: scoop the best part of the dish and put it on the plate of his guest and, surprisingly, in most cases, this style works.

During the last 12 years, my visits would not be complete without hours with him just talking about our own personal issues and challenges in life, as well as our family, common friends, and the Sigma Rho Way of life.

I was lucky to have seen him twice during my last trip. In spite of his medical condition, we shared a meal next to his bed at his home in Tahanan Village with all the machines around us that kept him alive. 

I am sure, days and months from now, we will reminisce our good times with Jun, and without a doubt, we will all laugh and feel good that we had the chance to be a part of his life. – Rappler.com

 

Based in the US, Rick Rocamora is a veteran documentary photographer

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