Chapter XVIII: The Year of a Serious Decision
It was on a wonderful Sunday morning during breakfast. My mother opposed all the advice of her friends and decided to move to Berlin to live with Rossana and me in another cute apartment. “Then you don't always have to drive almost 1,000 kilometers back and forth to visit me on a free weekend,” she said. She moved into a wonderful one-person apartment in Berlin near us.
"You have probably booked your next vacation in the Philippines? What do you think if you just take me with you this time?" The question didn't shock Rossana and me. It was our dearest wish for some time. As always said, done. The flights were booked. Berlin – Frankfurt. Frankfurt – Manila, a nonstop flight with Lufthansa. Manila – Davao by Philippine Airlines.
We arrived safe and sound in March 1993. The big Hallo and the incredible warm welcome from the family in the Philippines shocked my mother and she burst into tears. "Why have so many in Germany warn me against going to the Philippines?" my mother asked. Rossana and I couldn't answer her.
All so-called good hard blows from her German friends were lost in the flight. Even her family doctor had urgently advised her never ever to travel to the tropics, in this case to the Philippines, because of her unstable, cancerous health. When my mother sent him a postcard and told that she was fine and enjoying her stay in the Philippines her doctor no longer replied even after she returned to his clinic in Berlin.
During our vacation, we got very distinguished visitors in our house: Davao Archbishop Fernando Robles Capalla together with parish priest Father Allan.
Capalla was born on Nov. 1, 1934 in Leon town, Iloilo province. He was ordained priest on March 18, 1961, and was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Davao by Pope Paul VI on April 8, 1975 . His episcopal ordination and installation were on June 18, 1975.
The same pope appointed him as Prelate of Iligan on April 25, 1977 and he was installed on May 26, 1977. He became Bishop of Iligan when it was elevated to a diocese by Pope John Paul II on Nov 15, 1982 . He served as Apostolic Administrator of Marawi from Oct. 17, 1987 until 1991. On June 28, 1994 he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Davao, and on November 6, 1996 , was appointed Archbishop of Davao. He was installed as third Davao archbishop on November 28, 1996.
Meeting the bishop gave me an incredible opportunity to become a columnist as well as a radio host in the Philippines. I met Father Dexter Veloso, the station manager of DXGX 89.9 The Good News Radio, a member of the Catholic Media Network as well as the chief editor of the Davao Catholic Herald.
(To be continued)