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Farewell, Sir Naranja!

The last time I caught up with Dr. Naranja was during the 2010 Anilag Festival. He was one of the judges in the garden show, I think.

He was the principal of UP Rural High School when I was studying there. My favourite memories of him were when he dropped by in the activities of the art club. The art club, with Sir Pierre as the adviser, worked very closely with him whenever the stage at the UPRHS Multi-Purpose Hall or at the DL Umali Auditorium needed to be decorated. Sir Naranja, quite intimidating during school hours when he was principal, was very approachable after hours when the sets were being built. Approachable and hands-on. He was ready to give his opinions about how the backdrops and the plants were supposed to be placed onstage. And in these activities, he acted like our batchmate (which was what he called himself on our graduation day in 1998), not like a teacher.

Last week, he passed on under the brutal hands of a still unidentified person. I hope that the killer gets caught ASAP and justice be served. Nevertheless, Sir Naranja lived a colourful life and mentored a lot of students both in high school and in college. His legacy lives on, not only in his students, but also in UPLB where his landscaping endeavours have made the campus a vibrant place to study and to work in.

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