Hearing that familiar laugh, no more…

Christian Ace Pasco, also known as Ace to his Varsitarian colleagues and UST Journalism classmates, will always be remembered for his signature sniggering laugh.

Whenever confronted with a particularly comic episode or whenever he cracked the usual Varsi jokes, Ace would hunch his back, scratch his head and softly make that unmistakable “hihihi”, as if suppressing an outburst of hilarity.

It’s just hard to imagine that we, his friends, will never see him laugh again.

Last September 4, Ace lost his battle with asthma – a lingering illness that had bothered him since his childhood days. He was 26.

I first knew Ace from the Varsitarian; he was sports writer when I was managing editor. While we always had the chance to get to know each other really well, I never had particular “bonding” moments with him.

One reason maybe was because I only handled the section he was writing in for a couple of newspaper issues. I edited four sections at the time: News, Features, Special Reports, and Filipino. And that meant little interaction for the two of us, except for the lull days in-between publication dates, when the advisers, editors and writers just fool around in the office.

Even when we were in Varsi, I always knew that Ace was special. Given the sports section’s image and reputation of having the roughest, most rugged and highly-testosterone-charged of staff members, he never gave his section editor, A! Perez, a very close friend of mine, the headache. I believe that he gained A!’s heart (and later on, the Editorial Board’s and the Selection Committee’s approval) with his unassuming attitude, his dedication to work, his positive perspective of life, and of course, his irresistible charm.

I, who have been known in our publication as the panic-stricken and war-freak type, did not have any issue or word against him during and even after our time. Looking back, my only striking memory of Ace was when he kept asking me about my sister (who really found him very charming), after I took her to our summer-workshop-slash-team-building-seminar-slash-outing in Punta Baluarte.

`Til now, all I know was that Ace had been a hardworking writer, who just kept on doing his job… no complaining, no whining, no ranting and definitely no angst-nurturing.

As what we say in Filipino, “Walang masamang tinapay kay Ace.”

It was only the other day that I learned of his other heroics: that the meager monthly allowance that he used to receive from the Varsitarian during his college days were used to finance her sisters’ education; and that prior to his demise, he maintained two jobs – an English tutor in the morning and a sports reporter for Abante for the rest of the day – just to earn a decent living for his wife and his son.

Ace’s death, therefore, is a real heartbreaking tragedy for his family, as much as for us his friends.

But we will move on. In fact, we all must move on.

As for Ace, he is in a much better place now. He will always be remembered for being a happy, good-natured and selfless man. And of course, who could forget that signature sniggering laugh?

Pareng Ace, para sa’yo ito!

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~ by Yuri on Monday, 10 September 2007.

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