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Dec 02nd
Home Sections Obituary-Memorial Park Requiem for Tonette (AKA Ka Tonyang) Binsol
Requiem for Tonette (AKA Ka Tonyang) Binsol PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Obituary-Memorial Park
Tuesday, 17 July 2007 14:28

Dateline Manila, July 18, 2007

On Tuesday, July 17, 2007, a simple and quiet necrological ceremony was held for our beloved friend and OFW advocate and role model, Tonette Binsol. It took place amidst pouring rain in Manila that briefly threatened to flood the San Andres district where her mortal remains lay in the neighbourhood church which she had attended in her girlhood years.

The program must have started at around 7:00 p.m., because when I arrived at the venue about half an hour later, I had the impression that a few among the small and intimate gathering of close relatives, neighbors, and friends from the OFW internet groups had already spoken. My shoes and the lower part of my trousers were soaking wet from the rising floodwaters as I quietly made my way to Tonette’s bier.

Attired in formal Filipina dress, Tonette exuded beauty and peace as she lay amidst the floral offerings and the framed Mass cards and testimonials that had been sent by some of her friends who managed to obtain details of her funeral wake.

On top of her bier were two or three frames that contained a collage of photos of Tonette from her childhood years, a solo photo as a professional, and a testimonial from the Breast Cancer Society of the Philippines that expressed their profuse thanks for the assistance she had extended to the society (just one of the many and diverse groups and organizations she had helped so selflessly during her lifetime.)

After some moments of silent prayer, I took my place among the group of mourners and caught the tail-end of a stirring testimony from Jun Aguilar, one of Tonette’s co-workers in several advocacies for the OFW cause. As Jun detailed the various projects that Tonette had initiated or actively supported, he marvelled at the variety of her interests; the diligence, patience, time, energy, and professional competence that she put into all her undertakings; and the humility and selflessness that she showed through it all.

Later, several more friends in the audience, including myself, were asked by Ellen Sana, who moderated the program, to pay tribute to Tonette. Except for Jun Aguilar, Mean Gonzales, and Ellen Sana, most of the faces in that small crowd were unfamiliar to me. But all had something uniquely personal to say about Tonette and the impact she had made on their own lives and the organizations with which they are affiliated.

What struck me most was the testimony of her own mother, Angelita, who seemed hesitant at first to speak because she was afraid she might break down, but finally gave way to Ellen’s coaxing.

Angelita Binsol has been a teacher all her life. She says that, of her two children – only daughter Tonette and only son Mark – Tonette was really of a different breed.

Tonette was a dreamer from her early childhood who was passionate about bringing her dreams to reality. She appreciated the value of knowledge and continuing education in attaining her dreams. She was simple and unaffected, and not given to fashion trends and novelties. She had an almost childlike and innate trust in the goodness of people. In intimate mother-daughter conversations, Angelita knew that her daughter had retained a virginal innocence all her life in her dealings with her fellowmen.

From her early years as a self-sufficient professional, Tonette manifested a natural propensity to deny herself the simple luxuries of life if only to be able to extend assistance and charity to those in need, a result perhaps of her Franciscan upbringing at St. Anthony’s Academy in Singalong, Manila, where she excelled as a student.

It was no surprise, therefore, to her family that, as she rose in levels of responsibility as well as income in her professional career, much of her personal wealth went to her many projects and advocacies, instead of being channelled to her own needs and those of her immediate family. She was, however, unfailing in her regular remittance to give her share in meeting basic domestic needs.

So caught up was Tonette in her work for others – such as the overseas Filipinos, specific disadvantaged groups in the Philippines like the Aetas of Zambales, the fisherfolk of Samal Island, the coconut farmers of Quezon, and many others – that all her time, talent, and energy outside of her working hours for Mizuho Securities in Japan were spent on her advocacies. She was totally consumed by her concern for others; she had very little left for herself.

The occasional short visits of Tonette to the Philippines were never really a vacation for leisure. Tonette always came with a programmed schedule of working meetings and negotiations with the various individuals or groups that she needed to work with for her projects. She brought her mom and brother in tow to those meetings, hoping to squeeze some "quality time" with them in between.

Mommy Angelita and brother Mark never fully understood but learned to gradually accept that Tonette’s calling was truly to be a "woman for others" (in the same mold as the Ignatian "man for others").

It was only upon Tonette’s untimely demise that mother and brother have come to see (and better appreciate) the fruits of Tonette’s unique vocation.

They marvel at the speed by which documents were processed and arrangements made for the transfer of Tonette’s mortal remains and for Mark to obtain his passport and visa so he could fetch his sister from Japan back to the Philippines. What unseen but powerful and influential voices made telephone calls to the powers-that-be to facilitate everything for Tonette’s sake?

They are amazed at the outpouring of unsolicited donations and support from Tonette’s former schoolmates at St. Anthony’s Academy, whom Tonette had served as class president and who are now residing in different countries of the world, that purchased Mark’s round-trip air ticket and took care of expenses related to Tonette’s funeral wake and interment.

They are overwhelmed and overjoyed by the spontaneous testimonials coming from all over the world about the amazing deeds and accomplishments of their daughter and sister in her all-too brief sojourn on earth.

They are touched to the core by the title that we, Tonette’s admiring and grateful co-workers have endowed on her, which is that of being the "Mother Teresa of Cyberspace".

Today, at 10:00 a.m., at the South Cemetery in the City of Makati, the remains of Tonette or Ka Tonyang Binsol will be laid to rest, after a 9:00 a.m. Holy Mass at the St. Anthony of Padua Parish Church on Singalong Street in Manila.

Let us continue to celebrate and pray gratefully for God’s gift of Tonette Binsol to humanity. May she rest in peace and joy forever in God’s heavenly kingdom.

May we who remain behind be all blessed with the grace to carry on and pick up the pieces from where Tonette left off. ###

Editor's Note: Per Jimmy A. Cura's advisory, those who wish to get in touch directly with the family of the late Tonette or Ka Tonyang Binsol may send their messages to her brother, Mark Binsol, at or mobile phone # +63 927 431 0712.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2007 11:20

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