Thoughts and Memories | Armando V. Zafe:

Remembering Those Men with Appreciation – Part 1

The college years, a time of youthful exuberance and discovery, brim with memories that rival the nostalgia of our high school days. Yet, sifting through the trove of unforgettable moments becomes a delicate undertaking, as each memory holds a distinct place of honor in the chambers of our hearts. In this quest for the most treasured recollections, we navigate the intricate terrain where every memory possesses its own alluring charm and undeniable significance.


Among the multitude of friends who made my college days easier, Roy Manaloto, a robust 5’11” tall companion from Padre Harada, Tondo, Manila, stands out as an exceptional individual. Roy’s presence was a source of comfort, except when I fell ill and he couldn’t take over my responsibilities. Whenever a toothache struck, he knew the remedy: a visit to our university dental clinic, where he insisted on a professional treating me, rather than relying on soon-to-graduate dental students. During our Sunday ROTC training sessions, if my haircut didn’t meet the prescribed standards, Roy would discreetly signal for me to head to the restroom, ensuring I remained out of sight until it was safe to return. The unwelcome hair cutter would pass through our platoon without ever visiting our comfort room. It was after one such ROTC training session, when I was terribly thirsty, that I inadvertently drank from a faucet treated with anti-rust chemical. In that moment, I witnessed Roy’s loving care and concern. He acted swiftly, although slightly agitated, trying to prevent me from consuming more water. Nonetheless, I had already taken in a substantial amount. Filled with worry, he promptly accompanied me to a nearby restaurant, where I drank coffee and more water to induce repeated urination. Throughout our time together, Roy provided me with countless words of caution. Since I didn’t bring food for our entire day of ROTC, Roy, being a food enthusiast, always brought two large loaves of bread, each the size of my slim legs, as well as sausages and other delectable Pampango recipes. Roy’s parents hailed from Pampanga, known for their culinary prowess. After every major exam, he would treat me to a movie at the Scala Theater, where his father served as the supervisor/operator. If he noticed me feeling unwell, he would insist that I stay home and rest. Roy was not just a friend, but an unforgettable presence. He spent an hour at my home, sharing stories, before heading back to his own. Roy was the epitome of a true friend – my guardian angel throughout my college days, my protector during trying times, and a reliable backup in all aspects of life. He will forever hold a special place in my heart until my last day on this earth.


Another remarkable individual I had the privilege of meeting at the Bureau of Immigration was the late Immigration Officer, Engr. Romy Dannug from Isabela. Our paths crossed multiple times while I worked at the office of Associate Commissioner Atty. Jorge V. Sarmiento. Whenever I visited the ground floor to meet the chief of the Immigration Regulation Division (IRD), Romy could be found inside the office of Chief Felix Rodriguez, diligently working as his secretary and trusted right-hand. In instances where Romy was away from the chief’s inner sanctum and stationed in the main office of the IRD, we would exchange ideas regarding the purpose of my visit. It was through Romy that I was introduced to another remarkable man, the late Mr. Manny Pasac, who also became a dear friend.


When Commissioner Jorge V. Sarmiento transferred to the Central Post Office as the Postmaster General, I confided in him my desire to remain at the Bureau of Immigration. Unlike the conventional reasons many sought employment there, my motivations stemmed from the belief that my talents could be harnessed within the Bureau. On the day of Commissioner Sarmiento’s visit to his new office, I accompanied him as a gesture of support, love, and respect for helping me find a place where I could grow and find fulfillment in my work. The Bureau of Immigration allowed me to leave a lasting impact before I eventually retired. I made occasional visits to Atty. Jorge at the Central Post Office to check on how he was faring in his new role.


Returning to Romy, I consider myself fortunate to have been assigned to the IRD, where I could work alongside two outstanding gentlemen, Romy Dannug and Manny Pasac. Their guidance helped me navigate the intricacies of my work and acquainted me with the diverse characters who added vibrancy to my life as an immigration officer.

May God bless us all.


To be continued.



Don’t forget to visit BOOKLATAN at Ardci Mart Weekend Market, open every Friday to Sunday, from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM.


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