Playing with Fire

Former Mayor Al Fernandez, requiem

By Gonzalo Duque


THICK, dark clouds have fallen in Dagupan anew!

No, not the monsoon rains—but copious tears from Dagupeños who love former Mayor Alipio F. Fernandez, Jr.

The good, great man just joined his Maker last Thursday. He was 75.

His remains lie in state at the family residence in Ciudad Elmina, Bacayao Norte.

Interment, we’re told, will be on Tuesday at Eternal Gardens at 8:00 AM.

*                *                *                *

This column is being besieged by questions, infos, inquiring about Mayor Al… Para bang isang national hero ang pumanaw. Maraming nagmamahal kay Bossing e…

                  I should call him Manong or Kuya Al. Ang contemporary niya ay ang Kuya Ado, my beloved brother, Dr. Salvador, who had gone ahead. Malet so aroan da irayan san-barkada.

                  Where one was, the other was there, too. Aburido iray missus da, ta ulop iran naynay… kasama nila si Albert Baingit, sino pa?

                  Anyway, we, came to learn that former President now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to pay her respects Thursday afternoon. We were told by the group who was at the residence at 4 pm Thursday, sina brod Alex, Macky and Chito Samson, Ashok, Jun Velasco, Molly Reyes, Billy Samson, Councilor Jigs Seen, and others were there kuno. We couldn’t make it because of our SSS work in Manila.

                  But surely our spirit, our pakikiramay is there, older bro dang turing sa kanya.

                  If you ask us, Al Fernandez was the epitome what every man wants to be: gwapo, matalino, suave sa lahat ng bagay, matulungin, crush ng mga babong, pero super loyal and faithful kay Kumare Mina.

                  In Dagupan, politics, nobody could match his natural popularity. We’d like to think that our Mayor Belen Fernandez owes part of her popularity to Mayor Al Fernandez.

                  What we do not know, by the way, is that Al was an international Jaycee officer—EVP in the whole of Asia. And he was a Jaycee senate president of Dagupan.

                  In Manila, let’s not forget that he was Immigration chief during GMA’s presidency. And for a while, he was a top executive of Landoil’s Philsim-port of Joe de V.

                  But in our book, Al Fernandez was a local boy, parang si Kuya Ado, they did not want to leave Dagupan.

                  Ano kaya ang ingredient ng Dagupan na nasa kamarerwa nila?

                  They were— and still are— among the pillars of the city that refuse to go. It will take a long, long time to forget our beloved big brother Al Fernandez, because he has meant so much to all of us.

                  So long, Mayor Al?

During their youth, Kuya Al and Kuya Ado were the idol of the young in Dagupan. They ruled the Dagupan Varsitarians for years… until the locals were able to kick out the exclusive leadership imposed on Dagupan students by the Manilenos. Parang unfair… but they were able to do it with aplomb, the orig Varsitariana. Oo nga, whatever happened to that aggrupation? Why did it banish just like that? Gone were the days when students in Manila looked to the coming of summer to be able to mix it up with their fellow Varsitarians in Dagupan during summer and Christmas time! Was it good that it has gone with the wind?

   We’re going far. What we are saying is that the culture of leadership, friendship and community that Al Fernandez championed is hard to replicate.

 That’s why a wise wag says, Al Fernandez is forever… in everyone’s hearts. As Nat King Cole would croon, he will unforgettable.

 May he rest in God’s paradise forever. Kumusta la rad tan, Mayor Al.    


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