I always remember my maternal grandfather, Dr. Jose Yap, during the Lenten season. In CONCERTO the character inspired by him is played by Fourth Lee.
Lolo Joe was a successful family doctor. He had a practice right outside their home in Davao on the corner of Sta. Anna Ave and Damaso Suazo. (There is a restaurant there now.)
When my parents separated in the late 70’s we moved from Manila to Davao. This was during Martial Law and with my Dad’s defection to the left, my mom deemed it safer to be with her family.
My Lolo Joe was always a gruff, strict presence and sitting at the end of the dining table you could feel that everyone was attuned to his moods.
At some point he took to taking my sister Susan and I to school, but I remember that we hardly shared a single conversation with him.
One summer, when my mom was away in America, we finally had a conversation.
I asked him why it was called Good Friday that day when it was in fact always so glum and sad, Jesus they say was dead.
He couldn’t answer me right away, but he was intrigued. He had a collection of encyclopedias he loved to consult and even underlined, so studious was he. He went away to consult them and came back triumphantly with an answer.
He told me that it was Good because the Lord had sacrificed himself this day. And that we celebrated that. It seems Jesus didn’t die every Holy Week after all.
Aside from imparting to me the heart of the Gospel, he also encouraged me in my critical thinking, way before I went to UP.
He said “this boy asked me the right question!”
In my house today i keep his framed drawing of Jose Rizal, his idol, that always used to be in his clinic.
He passed away while I was in UP, but I remember him every Good Friday.