Goodbye Manong Frankie

January 7, 2022
December 3, 1924 – January 6, 2022)

Manong Frankie (F Sionil Jose) passed away in his sleep yesterday. He was scheduled for surgery, but it appears he decided not to go through with it. 

What a life he lived!

I may not have known him too well, but having read him for so long, it feels as if I have known him for a long time.

Irrespective of whether you agree with what he has to say, you benefit from reading him. It is a pleasure to read him.

He was one of the best, a true gem.

Manong Frankie w/ the blogger circa 2013

Throughout his life, he has been outspoken. Many misinterpreted his bluntness for something else. He was from a generation that values honesty and straightforwardness.

Despite his age, Frankie had not lost his sharpness, his ability to write. Even triggering people with his controversial commentary just a couple of months ago!

For a time, I thought the man would live forever. 

Manong Frankie makes himself available to young people, which is one of his most admirable traits. Even when he was already an ailing senior citizen with a busy schedule, he still found the time.

He told me that he welcomes students anytime, especially those who write and study literature. They were his favorite visitors.

The stories he tells are based on his personal experiences, and he always has wise advice to share. The way he remembers things fascinates me.

People who have known and spent time with him, no matter how short, are fortunate to have had the chance to interact with him. Legendary is the man.

Solidaridad, Manong’s well-curated humble book shop must continue. I’m sure the old man would agree. Having been visited by many illustrious patrons and writer friends of his, it is a historical place.

It will always be the quaint little Ermita bookshop in my memory. My first time visiting it was during my time as a student in Arellano back in the 1990s.

When things return to normal, I will drop by. Look around.

Without Manong Frankie, what would the place be like?

It would definitely be different.

But Manong Frankie’s works will remain with us for as long as we live, and our children will read him. His memory will live on.

Goodbye, Manong.

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