The other day, I was reminded of the late Pio Andrade Jr. when I read an article by the Philippine Information Agency that mentioned both of us.
My friendship with Andrade began after I attended a seminar of his many years ago. He asked if I was a student from La Salle. “I think you have me mistaken for someone else but was that student’s bright and good looking?” We shared a good laugh, well, he really did not laugh, more like a brief chuckle.
The writer Elizabeth Medina, in an email, told me, “he was a very serious guy. That means he had weight, identity, knew who he was, had principles, and that kind of Filipino is so rare. He had culture, he was a serious scholar. You’re right, he was a national treasure. You must write about him, about your friendship with him…”
About a year before he passed, I sent him some University of Florida (his alma mater) merchandise from the US. After a month or so, he sent a text message from a new number thanking me. This was our last communication.
One of Pio’s requests from me was for his articles to be published on my blog. He wants copies of it online for posterity. I think this the same reason he liked the podcasts too. He was starting to understand technology.
The last time we met at Arellano University, he told me that he’s got more that he wants to be to publish online. Some even date back to his time as a consultant for a German nun who ran the College of Holy Spirit in the 60’s. Regrettably, we never saw each other again.
I broached the podcast idea to him, asking him if he would be willing to do it. He got back within the week and told me to go to Legarda.
I uploaded (in YouTube) close to 8 hours of audio interview. I edited it down to just a few hours. I enjoyed it because it was a man that not many get to hear. He’s got a story for just about everything. His mind was like an encyclopedia.
Unfortunately, YouTube has decided to take my channel down over a trivial violation. No amount of pleading made them change their decision. But the Worst is that I don’t have backups, the computer where the audio was saved had already been disposed of. I regret losing them. I’ve lost my interest in producing podcasts.
Andrade’s Paracale classmates in the US found him through this blog. They contributed to funding his book project. It escapes him why renowned writers from their town did not write her history. “Sadly, Paracale’s five accomplished writers and journalists: Nicolas Velas, Congressman Pedro Venida, TV broadcaster Rey Vidal, Benjamin Condino, and Vicente Elnar never bothered to write Paracale’s history.”
Back in 2013, I started receiving finished chapters of his book. I offered to design the book cover but he refused. After a year, he said he’s almost done. To this day the book has remained unpublished.
He mentioned he’s got two other books in the pipeline, one about Rizal and “Que Barbaridad,” a book about our hispanofilipino traditions. I’ve seen his manuscripts and research papers there at Arellano University (Legarda).
Andrade told me that he was working with the school to create their own publishing house similar to Ateneo and UST. He’s friends with the owners, the Caycos.
I’ve been trying to contact Arellano University to check if they have Andrade’s manuscripts and research papers. Incidentally, I’m an alumnus of the same school but no luck getting a response.
Andrade asked me twice to go on a trip with him. The first, an invitation to see him in Paracale. But this did not materialize because the times that I’m free to go, he’s not there. The second was an idea of his, visiting the Friar built dam in Tanza, Cavite.
I ended up going to Paracale and inspecting the dam in Tres Cruzes in Tanza on my own. On both occasions, I reported back to him after the trips. We had a great time talking about those places and more.
Vanishing acts and papers
He once went dark for so long that I asked what happened to him. He told me that he went to the Mountain Province hunting for mushrooms. I told him no way. He then led me to stacks of folders and books about mushrooms in his little corner office. I then asked if he’s ever tried hallucinogenic mushroom, to this he responded, maybe before I die.
In his wake, I saw some of his work in a heap. The familiar Andrade bond papers and envelopes. I did not bother to ask his relatives. It was not the proper time to do so.
A few months ago, I sent a message to the niece that contacted me on FB when he died. The message was “seen” but never responded to.
I have decided to compile some of the articles that Andrade wrote that’s with me and make a book out of it. I plan to release it on Amazon. After his best-seller, the highly controversial “Fooling of America,” no one dared to publish him again.
I hope I can make available online Andrade’s “Que Barbaridad,” “History of Paracale” or that Jose Rizal book he’s been working on forever. I’m sure his draft is lying somewhere waiting to be published.
Busy to the end
A friend of his said that Andrade’s problem is that he works on too many projects at one time. From what I gather before he died, he’s working on his doctorate degree (which I believe he completed), writing for various publications and at least working on a couple of commissioned research, one of which is for a Fil-Chinese family who owns various businesses.
The dream is getting Andrade Jr.’s work out there. I couldn’t care less who makes it possible. For a man who has done great things, Andrade deserves to be read.
Featured image culled from http://camnortenews.com/