Friday the 13th, this is supposed to be a scary day for everybody. But not for me. Never will it be. I am no believer that life is governed by what is outside us, I am more inclined in the force that comes from within. Hence, itim na pusa, sukob, bawal maligo, and anything of sorts are by no means more powerful than determination. If things (or animals) do bring bad luck I want to argue with God why did he ever create those in the first place. Bad luck is of our own making. Inner demon is more real than aswangs and tikbalangs.

That said, I am more than lucky this day. It started with an exchange of messages with the reputable Randy David and ended partying with the irrepressible Bobby Castro. The former is professor while the latter is entrepreneur. Both gained prominence in their own field, Randy as widely known as sociologist-journalist-academician and Bobby as highly successful businessman-farmer- civic leader. Randy is noted as the brain of conducting a public affairs talk show in Filipino, instead of English; Bobby, on the other hand, is the acknowledged mind behind Palawan Pawnshop- Palawan Express Pera Padala.

I came into contact with both of them on this Friday the 13th because i sent congratulatory note to Sir Randy for his prestigious Fukuoka Award in Japan, the first Filipino recipient of the Grand Prize. And Kuya Bobby since he is turning another year in his bountiful life, so I obliged myself to attend his dinner-party. At a more personal level, one apo of Randy is inaanak to me (daughter Jika is friend). Meanwhile, I have become a go-to priest of Kuya Bobby (and Ate Angge Maigalig, wife) for concerns that-you-know-what on account of my profession. Who would not be lucky enough if you have these two gentlemen in your day? They have disproved scary Friday-the-13th myth, hands down.

In my own malikot na pag-iisip, I have quite observed similarities in them that I really think to be worthy of emulation for the rest of us “mortals”.

First, in their public lives (pun intended, RSD), they never fail to mention about family. They happily talk about a growing family. How affectionately they mention their spirited apos. They modestly proclaim their children to be having a fine life of their own. And of course, both proudly profess love for their respective wives. They claim that their lifetime partners have always been there for them. Since Karina has passed away, still Randy could say during the awarding that “Karina was definitely there with us in spirit”. As for Bobby, Angge is the “editor of my life” and “Mother Goose” to their children. Their tandem as husband and wife could not be more perfect as “Bo-Ang Ca” (joke copyrighted BLC). As one would expect, family is the source of success. Genuine success is always built upon and inspired by warm family ties.

Second, their love for country is beyond question. Instead of completing doctoral studies abroad, Randy opted to come back home and fought a repressive Martial Law. Concurrently, Bobby missed a college diplomas when he became an activist and went underground (he got it later in life though). Both are closely identified with UP, Randy went on to become a professor while Bobby as a dropout. For their patriotism, they also
both got arrested and detained. Randy, in fact, dedicated the award to “peace-loving Filipinos”. In one of speeches, Bobby, without batting an eyelash at that, claimed that he never asked any favor from government nor have put the nation at a disadvantage…. Mahalin at paglingkuran ang Pilipinas seems to be the refrain to their nationalistic spirit.

Finally, while both may actually protest it, I also perceive them as “of God”. I am just reluctant yet to say that they are religious or that spiritual kind. Their sense of the divine is simply “out of the box”. They do not claim (or speak about) to be anything as saintly or Bible-quoting type. Perhaps, they are the type who does not say “Lord,Lord…” to enter the kingdom of heaven but are those who just do the will of the Father in heaven… (Mt. 7:21). For Kuya Bobby, every celebration in Palawan Pawnshop always begin with a celebration of the Holy Mass. In the case of Randy, I can pretty well remember that at the wedding reception of Jika it suddenly rained. In his speech as father of the bride, Randy spontaneously commented that rainshower is nothing else but God’s benediction. When somebody quickly connects every happenstance to God, how will you sense such a person? What is more, what actually makes him as kuya to Bishop Ambo David? You actually can tell.

Come to think about it, does Friday the 13th really exist? Does bad luck play a role in pursuing a dream? When there is that reality of a gift of family, of love of country and that spark of the divine in one’s heart, one could just be more than lucky.