S: UHS CLASS 1960 - A TRIBUTE TO LEANDRO "ANDY" CONSTANTINO
BC: Andy You have touched many lives during your journey and you have shown a road map of a life well-lived. You are the epitome of courage, faith, generosity, encouragement, and unconditional goodness. We will miss your caring ways that brought our class together decades after we parted in high school. You are now home safe in the everlasting arms of our Heavenly Father but your memory lives on. Goodbye dear classmate and thanks for the memories. Hope
FC: Goodbye to our Trusted Friend and Classmate
1: SOMETHING ABOUT ANDY Favorite Color - Navy Blue Favorite Song - Love Me Tender Hobby - People Watching & Reading Favorite Scripture - "God is Love." One Thing not many people know about you? - I am an Introvert.
2: We were all hit because your classmates here and I had been excitedly awaiting the couple's arrival. Luisa also informed me about the ordeal that the family had been undergoing in having Andy's remains returned from Tibet to New York. Truly the mystery of life lies in God's hands but because of Jesus Christ's promise that He would prepare mansions in heaven for His beloved followers when they die, my heart rejoices at the thought that our good Andy will be happy there. Sincerely, MRS. BUENA | FAVORITE TEACHER "MRS. BUENA" | Pleasant spring and summer days to all of Class 1960! I received the shocking news from Maria Luisa that Andy passed away.
3: MORE ABOUT ANDY If a genie granted you a wish, what would it be? - A safe and comfortable life for my children and grandchildren Life-changing moment in your life? - When I together with my wife and children immigrated to the USA What do you usually think about right before falling asleep? - GOD. I thank Him for the day I just had. | How do you want people to remember you? - A decent human being who enjoyed life.
4: GOOD LOOKING ROMEO HE KEPT AN EYE ON THE LADIES.
5: Parting at graduation was bittersweet but Andy kept in touch.
6: RP OR THE US of A ANDY WAS | THE LEADER OF THE PACK
7: As I wind down this sad news, I inevitably think of Andy more and more. His sudden death is tragic and heartbreaking. By all measures Andy died young. I'm physically reminded of what happened not so long ago. Just last month, on or about March 11th, we had a man to man conversation regarding his travel to China and the reunion in Manila. He reluctantly agreed that he would rethink staying put in NYC to be close to a Medical Center Hospital and postponing future travel temporarily. He would do it for the love of his wife Myrna, his children; and his grandchildren. The hushed sudden change of plans will always be mystifying. Andy will be remembered with respect, affection and the special gratitude for his incredible tireless efforts to reunite all of his classmates and friends. | Farewell Andy, I will miss your sense of humor and was enriched by your friendship. DAVID F.
8: Andy loved New York | and his neighbors too!
9: Friends Forever now reunited in heaven | A mazing how Andy has gone beyond N o farewell was said when he reached for HIS hand D auntless and brave with not a tear shed Y onder HE took him where only angels tread C ompassion and care to all he would send O rdinary guy, but Oh! what a friend N urturing friendship like no one has done S haring his love even after he's gone T ears may be shed by many who care A ndy, however, still has laughter to share N o distance would matter as his love lingers on T ouching each heart of those he has known I magine the joy he alone now can feel N o sickness, no sorrow, no pain to conceal O nwards he marches towards heaven's gate where JESUS his Savior will eagerly wait! REM
10: Some of you may not know but I am one of Andy's recruits. If not for Andy's diligence I would not even be made aware of the treasure I would find in each of you. This became most apparent to me when Lor became ill and you rallied around her and lifted her up through your prayers. It's been three years now that she's in remission and everyday is a day of thanksgiving, for God listened and granted those prayers and supplications | During her illness, Lor will have several days of stay at the hospital where nurses would feed chemicals into her body that rendered her weak physically and in almost every aspect of her being. She is then sent home to regain her strength and immune system. Once she gets strong enough, it's back to the hospital again to repeat the cycle and the ordeal. It was one of those miserable afternoons that Andy and Myrna showed up at the door. I was so surprised that instead of welcoming them, I blurted, "What are you doing here?" This is the last couple I would have expected to come. They lived over a hundred miles away and had to go through two major cities notorious for traffic congestion that by car you'd be lucky if you made it in 4 hours. To make matters worse, they took public transportation, needing to transfer from one ride to another. I know New Yorkers are a tough bunch but I thought it was just too much for this couple, especially for Myrna who just had foot surgery and had to wear what might as well be a Dutch wooden shoe without the elegant design. It was a good visit for Lor. In that short time she joined in conversation that removed her thoughts from the misery of that small room. She even felt strong enough to join us in the "family room" and watched us, armed with plastic spoons and forks polish take out Chinese food. This means we didn't have enough to eat. There has to be leftovers whenever you have "Chinese."
11: Then it was time for Andy and Myrna to start their long trip home. And the first leg is an elevator ride down Rhoads building, down a long corridor to get out of HUP, through a parking lot, then the train station. After several missed trains, this distance would take me 10 minutes of brisk walk on good sneakers. It was my turn to stay that night and before long I retrieved my favorite cot and prepared to retire. And as I lay there slowly drifting away, I wondered if Andy and Myrna even made it home by that time. I can't help but wish they waited a few more days and visited Lor at home when she was feeling better and stronger. They would not have to travel as far, we would be able to entertain them better and definitely there will be enough food. It took me a while to finally figure it out. Andy just wouldn't wait. That day he needed to bring a dose of medicine to a patient who felt so defeated, wallowing in a quagmire of hopelessness. And Andy was just the right person to administer the medication. After he showed up at the door with a smile on his face, he really didn't need to say one word and his work was accomplished. He knew her pain, The endless parade of nurses and doctors, blood being drawn regularly, IV that you have to drag around everywhere you went, the long hours in bed that no matter where you turn it was uncomfortable, Andy knew all these. But he also knew that beyond all the torture and suffering there is a prize waiting to be won. And this he communicated powerfully by his mere presence. If you are a recipient of someone's random act of kindness, this experience will stay with you for a long time. And if you are one of Oprah's faithful fans lucky enough to win that trip to Australia, I'm sure Oprah will be your best friend forever. But if you are in a burning building and a fireman came to your rescue, that man is a hero. That moment will be forever etched in your mind. You will remember the sweat trickling down his face and the feel of his rough gloves against your arms will always remain fresh. Andy was the fireman who braved that burning room in Rhoads 7. CIELITO
12: BOYS | BONDING | with the
13: was a | FAVORITE PASTTIME.
14: Andy enjoyed visiting our classmates | We are very sad to hear of the passing of our friend Andy. When I spoke with Andy last January, he was looking forward to his trip to China as well as joining the reunion in Manila. Thank you for letting us know and let us pray for Andy and his family. LESTER
15: And equally liked to be visited (He and Myrna were great hosts.) | We last saw Andy and Myrna a few summers ago when they came to Montreal for a visit. His courage and determination touched me and Ray a lot. He has been my unfailing contact via email and phone calls about what is going on. Our deepest sympathy to Myrna and his family at this time. CYNTHIA S.
16: I was really shocked to hear that a very dear friend has passed away. I started to recall how caring he was when I was there. He would call me often in New Jersey to find out how I was doing and often gave me advice like a big brother. I remember the days I spent with him and Myrna and how they provided me with the necessary clothing to help me cope with the NY winter weather. | In fact I was so touched when I found out that one night Andy himself laundered all the coats that Myrna so kindly gave me. They are such a sweet and caring couple. They showed the same concern for Louie when he was there and that was very much appreciated by both of us. Louie could not believe it when I called him this afternoon from the office. Andy has been a real "big" brother to us since our high school days and we will surely miss him. I am sure that he will continue watching over us from up there. REM
17: For a while, I wondered why he did all that for me. You all know that I was not very close to him during our high school days. But I realized that it was because of Andy's peculiarly caring attitude towards his friends, whether close or not. He was the cause for our finding each other. And he made sure that he offered a solution to whatever problem we may have encountered in pursuing the activities we did together. He was a dear friend to all, and that is what mattered to him. | I am truly saddened by the news from Pareng Lito. Andy has become such a dear friend to all of us. Everytime I am here (by the way, I am in Illinois again) he always takes time to call me, and made me feel that he truly cares for his friends. Once, I was diagnosed with a critical illness, he told me to go to New York for a second opinion, promising to handle everything. That was the reason Leo and I went to New York last 2007. He made all the arrangements with a doctor and asked Myrna to handle the laboratory tests. True enough, the first diagnosis was wrong, and this was further confirmed by a third doctor I decided to consult in the Philippines | I will pray for him and his family, especially Myrna. I shall thank God for Andy's life well-lived. And for Myrna and family, that amidst the grief of their loss, may they find peace and assurance that their beloved Andy is home and happy in the arms of God..... forevermore. God bless to all, NIEVI
18: I remembered when we had our reunion at PA, Cielito picked me up at the airport. I had to figure out how Cielito would look like. This was my first time to see him after high school graduation. When I saw this Chinese looking guy, kinabahan na ako. | I just called his name and we just hugged, para bang naka walang ewan. So he took me home. When he opened the door, a tall slim guy just gave me a peck on my cheek, I could not say anything, but said, "Lernito." | Andy started laughing, “merong ka palang tinatago.” That was also my first time to see Andy. He really lost a lot of weight. Maloko pa rin. EVELYN
19: He and Myrna unselfishly gave moral and financial support to many friends, yet, they remained ever so humble. You left us too soon, dear Andy, and we’ll miss you greatly but will never forget you. It has been an honor and privilege to have been your friend. We all have fond memories of the happy times spent in your company. Andy accomplished his personal mission of pulling all of us together decades after we left the halls of Union High. I echo the sentiments of our other classmates that we try to keep this beautiful bright light of friendship burning forever, in honor of our friend Andy. BETTY | Words cannot describe the sorrow we feel with the sudden loss of a member who was instrumental in unifying our group. Yes, dear Andy was the catalyst of UHS Class 1960, the friend who kept in touch with everyone, the sleuth who “found” lost classmates in unlikely settings, the classmate who encouraged and promoted our many happy group gatherings and reunions. He was the silent “Force” behind many of our endeavors. Andy was wise and practical, kind and generous, and he was a true friend.
20: AT THE FIRST MANILA REUNION IN 2006
21: Andy was as giddy as a schoolkid (like everyone else).
22: Yes, Glory and myself join the bereaved family, loved ones, relatives and friends of Andy if not in person, it will be in spirit, prayer and in truth. I would not have attended the Mini-Reunion in Manila were it not for the prodding of Andy. He spent hours on the phone that evening just to persuade and convince me to go. I'm so glad I did. I have had the chance to know him much better and he earned my respect and love not only as a classmate but as a friend and a brother at that. And as an added bonus, got the chance to hear Ms. Makahiya from Seattle with her melodious, velvety voice sang so magnificently those lovely songs. It is still fresh in my memory that it was Andy who incessantly called me to inquire about the health and condition of Louie who was here in Los Angeles area many years ago. He was so concerned and really aching to help Louie that time. It was also Andy who challenged and inspired us in lending our moral, prayer and financial support to our beloved mentor, Mrs. Polly Buenaventura. And these are just a few instances that displayed his sterling, benevolent and godly character. We are truly privileged and blessed to know Andy and be associated with him even for a brief time on earth. His demise isa great loss for us but surely it is heaven's gain. | "May the good Lord fill the void in the heart and life of those whom Andy loved so dearly through the Holy Spirit that they may experience the heavenly peace, enjoy the abundant and amazing grace and bask in the wonder of God's presence and love not only in these hours of deep sorrows and bereavement but throughout eternity," PIO
24: Andy will not be around to read what I have to say but this deserves to be shared and not kept for myself. On our last SF reunion, during the dinner dance, my order was salmon but they gave me something else and for some reason they could not give me my order. Andy who was several tables away from where I sat found out and willingly gave me his food. | I was embarrassed but he insisted. I felt so bad that night thinking that he probably did not eat at all. Andy is also the only one who remembers my birthday. This time I looked forward to it and wondered if he had forgotten and that was how I found out what happened. Then I remembered what I told him that he should take care of himself so I could see him at our next Manila reunion. Andy's thoughtfulness and kindheartedness gave him a very special place in my heart. I am glad I took the time to tell him how much I appreciate him and admire the kind of person that he was. At our Gathering of Friends in Newtown, PA was when I saw the kind of person that Andy was. He has a very positive person. He sees the best in a person, his kind words inspire and brings hope and peace. I feel really sad that I won't see him again, but my memories will live on. Sadly, GLORY
26: Whether at church or at school | or sightseeing in Vegas
27: or San Fran or just having fun | Andy shared them all with gusto!
28: Andy kept the group cohesive and the camaraderie alive and dynamic. | He was blessed with a loving and understanding wife who shared his dreams. | "Myrna, you were lucky to have enjoyed the love and companionship of a man who was so gallant, loving and very thoughtful. But it is also apparent to all of us that Andy was blest to have had a wife who complemented his beautiful character and who shared his passion for friends. Nalulungkot kami na nawala na si Andy, | pero sana huwag kang mawawala sa circle ng Class 1960. We will be honored to have you in our reunions or even just through our network. I am sure that wonderful memories of Andy shall always be relived among us." NIEVY
29: In all of our get- together at our place, Andy was always present and my Mom had an affinity with him. Kaya naman Andy would always mention her whenever we saw each other these last years when he visited Manila. Before Andy had his trip to China, I emailed him. Kinantyawan ko na matagal na akong di nakakatikim ng blow-out niya. In one of his visits kasi, he gave me a big birthday bash at Aling Tonyang's. All my children, grandchildren, and classmates in Manila were invited. Bongga talaga si Andy magblow-out. He replied na baka malapit na silang makapunta ng Manila. I learned he wanted to surprise us kasi magsa-sidetrip sila sa Manila. I was devastated when I learned that Andy will never visit us again. - LUISA | Andy will always be one of my cherished friends, BFF (best friends forever) kung baga. During high school days, we were barkada. We go to his house in Pasay to watch him bake our favorite rolls. We go to dance parties as barkada. That summer after graduation, Andy and some male classmates made our house in Pasay their istambayan. Maghapon kaming nagkukwentuhan, tawanan at madalas inaabot kami ng gabi sa ganoong activity lamang.
30: A MASS FOR ANDY | "The Union High School of Manila Class '60 would like to offer this mass in honor of our much-loved and admired classmate, Andy Constantino who died while on tour in China. May the Lord grant his soul eternal rest and welcome him in His Kingdom. We would also like to offer our prayers for his wife, Myrna, that she be comforted at this moment of grief and find solace in God's loving presence."
31: Yesterday, Tuesday, May 3, we had a memorial mass for Andy at the Holy Family chapel in Eastwood. Claire is a regular parishioner in this Chapel since their condo is very near said chapel. The priest who officiated the mass was Fr. Odon , a close friend of Tony and Lita. (Fr. Odon was once their parish priest in Malibay). Those who attended the noon mass were Lina, Tony and Lita, Clarence and Claire, Tony and Linda Castillo, Gener and I. I also informed Rem and Buddy but they were not able to make it. Fr. Odon introduced us to the congregation as the "Bagets" visitors and gave a background on the circumstances of Andy's death before he read our message. It was a beautiful solemn memorial mass. After the mass Fr. Odon called the group to the altar and there he led us in a prayer for Andy, as well as for Myrna and her children. After the mass, we proceeded to Clarence's condo where Claire prepared a very delicious and sumptuous lunch. As usual, eat to the max na naman kaming lahat. At times like these, I really miss Andy kasi kahit hindi nya nalalasahan ang pagkain nya, he eats with gusto basta't kasama niya tayo. LUISA
32: AN EULOGY Most of us knew Andy during our adolescent years, somewhere between the ages of 12 and 16 when we attended Union High School in Manila. That’s about the ages of his older grandchildren now. He was a tall, handsome and well-built young man who was admired and respected by everybody. He had a commanding presence and looked dashing in his cadet uniform as PMT officer. | As usual, there were clusters of special friends among us, but the class as a whole was very close; not surprising as we spent four years together at the same school. Ours was the graduating class of 1960. After High School, as we went our separate ways and kept busy.... pursuing higher education and careers, then came marriages and raising families .... we lost touch with one another. A number of us, including the Constantinos, moved to other parts of the world. But Andy, kept in touch with a core group of friends, celebrating milestones such as weddings and baptisms together. He and Myrna became godparents to children of these friends, and former classmates, in turn, became godparents to the Constantino children. Those of us who lost touch continued to cherish memories of those happy carefree days, often wondering about our classmates and wishing to reconnect with them. I, for one, felt the chances of this happening were very slim. But then, I did not know about good old Andy. You see, he had this amazing talent for recognizing people even in unlikely places, the ability to look beyond the mature face in front of him, to see the youthful face that it once was. On different trips, he identified classmates while in flight ... friends who otherwise were not keen enough to have recognized him. I myself was discovered by Andy at a bus stop in Flushing. He spotted me without even knowing that I had moved to New York many years before. Thanks to Andy, I was suddenly gifted with a link to my past, a major link as it would turn out.
33: It seems that at some point, Andy made it his personal mission to reunite the Class. He put us in touch with each other, encouraged us to meet, and then led a crusade to find the lost. He motivated us to search for missing classmates...not an easy task... since these friends are now decades older, could be living anywhere in the world, and the ladies have likely assumed different surnames through marriages. Impossible as it sounds, almost the entire class of 1960 is now accounted for.... a remarkable accomplishment due to the tireless efforts of our remarkable friend. We have since enjoyed several wonderful get-togethers and mini reunions, and celebrated our Grand Jubilee in the Philippines last year.....that’s 50 years after graduation. Sadly though, the one classmate instrumental in making the event possible was unable to join the celebration. Andy may now be gone, but we know that he’ll always be with us in spirit for all our future gatherings. Andy was a good man and a true friend. He was kind, thoughtful and caring. He was generous yet so humble. Over the years, he and Myrna, that great woman behind this great man, helped so many friends and touched countless lives with their many acts of kindness. Our classmates have been sharing fond recollections of how they have been blessed by this special friendship. Cielito and Jean, classmates who are here today, will be sharing some of these with you. Andy remained thoughtful and caring, continuing to enrich and impact the lives of those he knew even as he himself courageously and quietly dealt with his own health issues. Andy was so much fun to be with, and we’d like to think that he, in turn, had as much fun as we did. From him we have learned lessons on how to live. We hope to one day present his family with a keepsake which offers them a glimpse beyond the loving family man that they knew and loved, to see the friend that we respected and loved. Andy, the Class of 1960 is forever grateful to you for unifying us. We have all been blessed by your friendship. We’ll miss you, dear classmate, but you’ll remain forever in our hearts and thoughts. And yes, oh yes, THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES. BETTY
34: When we look back at Andy's life we find many lessons to learn. He was our encourager, a keeper who always wanted us to remain close and cohesive as a group; he was the epitome of courage in facing life's battles; he was a great family man, loved deeply by his grandchildren who had the privilege of calling him "Andy". He loved life and looked forward to the future, for nothing was beyond his dream. Visiting China was a dream come true, another dream was to attend a reunion of his beloved UHS Class 60. In Andy's memory, may we continue to be encouragers and keepers, still caring for each other, still looking forward to calls and emails, still wanting to see each other again. I remember what Andy would have said if he announced this himself.... "Andy has gone home." God bless, HOPE
35: It is so sad to think that Andy's gone from us. I always told Andy that he was the glue in our class since he took time to get in touch with each one of us whenever he could - from the states to Canada and Manila even before we had our first class reunion at Cielito's home. Andy was happy whenever he saw any of us. He and Myrna entertained all of us who visited them in NY - their generosity was boundless. We will not miss Andy for his unselfish giving but we will miss him for his wise counsel, his forthrightness and down to earth perspective. We will miss him for his camaraderie and his unconditional love for each one of us. Most of all we will miss Andy because we love him and he occupies a special place in our hearts and memories. Yes, we will cherish our fond memories of a constant, thoughtful and true friend who will never be forgotten. Here's a toast to you Andy. 'Till we meet again, PERLA