I remember him most fondly for lending me his violin when I needed one for lessons back in my teens. This was not just any violin; it was a 1734 Giuseppe Guarneri violin from Cremona, wonderfully deep and resonant, still in good enough condition to play. I had it refurbished, rebridged, and restringed by the famed and now-late Filipino violin builder Alejandro Cruz, and took lessons for two years before college got in the way. The violin went back to Uncle Tito. I don’t know where it is now, and I forever regretted not continuing with those lessons.
Uncle Tito was a TOYM awardee for Agriculture in 1965. He lost his wife, Tita Lourdes, several years ago, and now leaves behind four children, my cousins, all now married with children. They have a villa on the family farm in Laguna, with a geothermal swimming pool.
Earlier this year at Tito Cesar’s wake I saw Uncle Tito walking slowly towards the driveway at Santuario de San Antonio. He had grown frail, and I wondered if this was the last I would see of him on this side of the veil. It was.
I hope to see him one day on the other side. Maybe there will be violins.