Raul was one of my best buds. From UPIS elementary to high school, through CAT Officer training as "Dumbguards", to being responsible CAT officers in charge of people. He made high school life fun.
We did our own thing in College in U.P. Diliman, "discovering ourselves". When we would get together, it was always a catch up session that was never enough. A lot of people are shocked to know he was quite a Renaissance Man. Not only was Raul an architect, he was also a bonafide Registered Nurse. He also taught in both fields as professor/instructor. He once related he was the oldest RN student in class and when he walked in the classroom, the students thought he was the instructor. In between these two fields,he also once had a construction company.
He was many things to many people. A big brother, a mentor, a dabbling musician, a jokester, a basketball aficionado of the NBA, a great cook. His version of papaitan as pulutan was one of my favorite creations that went well with beer.
He was a devoted father and a loving husband. He was built like a bulldog with a short stocky build you know you can count on if ever things get physical. He was the kind of friend who's got your back but will never mince words to call you out if you're in the wrong. But the way he says it was never threatening - always a "what if" explanation with a stupid grin in the end, making you feel stupid you took that hard decision or stand. but taking in stride looking at it in a funny goofy manner. His humour knew no bounds.
He was always the "glass is half full" kind of person - always positive. I remember when we both got hit in Marikina during that Ondoy flood when his house was half underwater, he said "carry lang, buhay pa naman tayo. We can rebuild." I even offered to help clean up, but he respectfully declined. "Carry lang, kaya ko 'to". So on that fateful Sunday, March 29, he PM'ed me asking for prayers.
I knew he was a frontliner in this Covid-19 crisis and I asked if he tested positive, and he said yes. He was suffering. I went into action - posted in our batch FB page as well as (sending) PMs (to) people we commonly know to ask for prayer brigades. Of all the people in the world who knew Raul, we were sure he could beat this thing. We were confident. We sent our prayers and support, and we knew his "Carry lang, kaya ko 'to" can-do attitude will bring him through. But the Lord had other plans for Raul.
On March 30th, he succumbed to the virus that was giving him so much pain. We lost a good man, we lost a hero, we lost a great friend. Goodbye, Raul. We will miss you. It's our turn to bring the "Carry ko 'to" attitude into our lives. Until we meet again, bro! God bless you!