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Queen

by: Red Constantino

She leaves on Tuesday for the US to take up a Fulbright scholarship.

She carries with her a sense of wonder, which comes with useful ignorance: a person without the conceit of thinking she has full knowledge of everything she needs to know, who is therefore bright enough to keep on asking questions. Which is why everyone expects her to learn tons from the new chapter she has entered.

In terms of organizational years, she is the oldest in the group; she has been through rough years and great years alike, and her hand has remained strong on the rudder whenever required. She is generous to a fault with the space she occupies, ceding ground to new voices, and holding hands with others who require support, and sharing her minor quirks and major dreams.

Electric jeepneys, a new solar facility and hot new programs. A clutch of awards and a battalion of new insights. A bevy of new trails blazed for others to follow and surpass: the countless headaches and encounters with incompetents and the malign matter little in the face of what she has helped accomplish.

It’s not true walang forever when it comes to processing her liquidations (she’d agree for sure). But there is also another kind of forever that flips on its head the cynical words: she leaves behind a team forever grateful for the friendship and love she showers on everyone, including bouts of weird humor, and the high standard of integrity she has set to help deliver an agenda that grows more complex each day, managed by a team – her team – relentlessly moving forward, passionately pushing upward, thriving on complexity and driven by the need to make a difference.

She wept last Friday because it had finally dawned on her she’s really moving on. And yet, and yet: new moons, strange winds, a different hemisphere – so many things to discover.

Farewell, lovely belly dancer. And see you again soon Reina.

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