Grateful to 2 ‘lolos’ and their legacy of service, leadership

The author: Hopes  to carry her grandfathers' 'pamana' well

The author: Hopes to carry her grandfathers’ ‘pamana’ well

By Tiara Camille Teruel

I read an article recently in the Panay News about the Panay guerrillas being the best organized guerrilla movement during World War II. It casually mentioned Raymundo Teruel, and, how, as a result of that war, he became a general.

General Teruel was my grandfather.

Lolo Raymundo, or Lolo Ray as we liked to call him, was born in the very island of Panay — in Jaro, Iloilo — on March 28, 1920. He always had aspirations of becoming a fighter pilot, and his dreams came true when he joined the Philippine Air Force in his 20s. After World War II, he became a general. Lolo Ray was comptroller of the Philippine Air Force and later of the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under then Chief of Staff, Romeo Espino.

In 1985, he started serving in the Department of National Defense, under then Secretary, and now Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. He was married to my grandmother, Beatriz Del Rosario Mauricio, in 1950 and had five children. Lolo Ray was extremely loved, and it was heartbreaking for our whole family when he passed away on February 5, 2002.

I hope that my Lolo Ray is resting in peace, and I know that, wherever he may be, there must be angels admiring him. That’s just the kind of human being he was. He made you want to follow and support whatever cause he was behind. There was an air about him. He was an intelligent man, a beacon of character, and an exemplary leader. He was a man with a presence that exuded the power that he had held.

I remember how afraid I was of his stiff appearance when I was a little girl, yet loved him so deeply. Lolo Ray would often take me to school, and as we both sat in the back seat, he would share stories of flying his planes while in the Air Force and often educate me about his struggles. I may have been too young to understand the life lessons he preached then, but I remember them well, and they are fortunately instilled in my character now.

World War II General Raymundo Teruel: 'Lolo Ray was an inspiration.'

World War II General Raymundo Teruel: ‘Lolo Ray was an inspiration.’

My ideal of who he was has not only affected me in my own relationships and leadership roles, but has also been my motivation for wanting to create a better tomorrow. He has been such an inspiration and influence to me, that, not surprisingly, I have always been inclined to lead a life in service. I have a strong sense of leadership because of him, and I am proud to carry on his legacy, or as we like to call it in Tagalog, “pamana.”

I am also proud to say that my Lolo Ray was only one of many relatives who were strong leaders and survivors. Amongst them, is my other grandfather, Dr. Mario Lim. Among his many achievements, Lolo Mario had also served in both the Philippine Military and U.S. Army and was a POW survivor of the Bataan Death March of 1942.

Though my grandfathers were tough on the outside and formidable, they were the most loving and doting grandfathers a little girl could ask for. I felt protected, safe and very loved. I miss them deeply, and my memories with them will always be heartwarming and valuable.

Lolo Ray and Lolo Mario, were such amazing souls that showed me what generosity and kindness toward others truly meant. They were not about giving self-interested kindness, calculated generosity or superficial etiquette, but instead gave freely, and their compassion for others came innately. The optimism they cultivated because of this is one of the reasons why they were such positive role models. Not only were they an example of public service and leadership, but they both, in their own ways, made sure I understood the significance of education and rooted me in the importance of family.

I am in absolute awe of not only my Lolo Ray and Lolo Mario, but of those generations of leaders before us and all they’ve accomplished for our own generation. Leadership is about serving, and being able to motivate, inspire and set a vision for others. It has been astonishing to witness the struggle to sustain that moral and ethical courage and to watch an example worth remembering.

Recalling last year’s 50th year anniversary of former President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and also the 50-year anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech and Civil Rights march, I was even more inclined to have a closer look into the outstanding leadership roles that have personally impacted not only me, but other legacies as well.

I have found that grandchildren are the hope for preserving legacies. No matter what the family, it’s an honor to be part of a legacy that carries the torch from generation to generation. We definitely see this in the likes of Jack Schlossberg, Jason James Carter, Will Rockefeller, Gillian Hearst-Simmonds, Jane Lauder, David Tisch and Arthur Gregg, and those in the Philippines like Hans Sy Jr., Jaime Urquijo Zobel de Ayala, Robina Gokongwei Pe, and Carlos Aboitiz, just to name a few. They are all strong leaders today and in service to their community. They are the grandchildren of political, business and military heavyweights and, in their own ways, honor the legacies their grandparents have left behind.

I stand grateful for the characteristics I inherited from my own grandparents, proud of my Filipino heritage and I’m even more empowered to salute all their achievements. I hope to carry their “pamana” well and I realize that the influential leader I aspire to one day become will be my greatest tribute to the legacy my grandfathers have left for me.

Tiara Camille Teruel is a talent agent at NTA Talent Agency, a leading entertainment agency in California. She was born in Manila, and now is bicoastal between Los Angeles and New York City. Aside from entertainment, she has an interest in politics and is active in philanthropy.

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