I thought he looked like Santa Claus, with his pot belly and rosy cheeks. He always mumbled so I couldn’t understand him. Not many people liked him or agreed with him. Perhaps because whenever he was asked a question, he always had a negative response. He used to call me the “ambassador from Timbuktu.”
It was the year 1979 when I first met him. He was then the Rector of Aquinas University of Legazpi, now University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi. He has influenced my life henceforth. He became my mentor and my father figure. In so many aspects of my adult life, he was always there for me. In my endeavor to be a good religious person, he was always there for guidance.
He called me his “bastard son,” in a kind and reassuring manner. When he struggled against cancer, I tried to be near him as much as I could. When he sought for special care for his cancer here in the United States, I accompanied him to the best doctors and researched the best diagnostics we could find in Southern California.
We continued to communicate and prayed together whenever we had a chance, notwithstanding the immense physical distance that developed between us as circumstances in our lives changed. I remember vividly while we were in the Dominican Order, almost all of us have that one person who profoundly influenced our lives. They have guided us, will always be a part of us and stay with us.
As for me, he is my father figure, the Rev. Fr. Manuel T. Pinon, O.P.
Rev. Fr. Manuel Piñon, O.P. from Sulu, Philippines was a Dominican priest who at one point, also served as Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines. He was born on February 2, 1924, entered the Dominican seminary on July 1, 1939 and pursued his Philosophy and Theology studies at the Studium of the Dominican Order which at that time was based at St. Albert’s Priory, Rosary Hill, Hong Kong. He authored many books on Philosophy and Theology and published small brochures specifically on his advocacy on keeping the Tridentine Mass celebration alive within the Church.