Roberto “Bobby” Tesoro, A Eulogy for Sitting Bull


24 June 2019

I just had to to print this—- Dr ORLINO “Jojo” HOSAKA, the “SURGEON”,  beautiful literary piece on SITTING BULL.   Readers check out the link  –Jojo Hosakas blog “Within Zones II-VIII”:

https://withinzones2to8.wordpress.

 

Roberto “Bobby” S. Tesoro FCI Philippines

This is a very hard write. It is my first creative bio not just of someone who has passed but most of all someone who has been a good friend of 29 years. Those of you who know me on Instagram know I started this article the day he was laid to rest. The goal was to finish it by his 40th day, I missed my deadline. But then somehow I finished it on Lent, a time of hope.

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I met Bobby in 1990, I was a medical intern, a neophyte Director of the Philippine Canine Club Inc (PCCI). Being the ever gracious person that he was, Bobby was the first to welcome me and make me feel at home. I was 29 and he was 34, both us in the summer of our lives but Bobby basked in his summer, he was funny, the life of a group, and outspoken. He would call you out if he felt what you were doing was wrong or most of all if it would wrong someone. It was during those times I realized that he had a sense of right and wrong. He was a gentleman foremost, when we are together phrases such as “Yes Ma’am,” “No Ma’am,” “Yes Sir,” “No Sir,” “Yes please,” or “Please” are common and second nature. When we would walk together he would let ladies go first or open a door for them as he and I carried on a conversation, again second nature. He would see me from internship, through surgical residency training to practicing surgeon. We were both educated by the Jesuits at the Ateneo De Manila University. I would get to know him from the summer of our lives to our winter.

He always quoted Gandhi. His passions are what makes him who he is. He loved his pets, whether it be the four legged canine or reptile to the avian type or finned pet, he just loved them all. Looking at them, the magnificence of a Cockatiel to the beauty of a rainbow Arowana, made him believe in God who must have had a hand in such beauty. He was from a generation of dog judges that naturally developed an eye for canine adjudication. He always picked the right dogs from the classes all the way to the group. Once he did Best in Show, he would be his usual nonconformist self and pick out a beautiful representative from an alternative group. In the end making a Bobby Tesoro statement different from everybody else.

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When he got into something whether it be pets, firearms, knives and his last being fountain pens, he would research on his hobby and he would learn. Being an audiophile, he could talk about the science behind tubed amps and why it gives that cool sound only a tube amp can give. He knew the natural environment of every type of fish that he owned. He knows the history of every major firearm and knife manufacturer from Samuel Colt to the more modern Gaston Glock. He can even talk metallurgy of knife blades. I introduced him to fountain pens. At a show in Australia, I was getting a lot of praises every time I whipped out a couple of Montblanc Writers Edition Fountain Pens that I brought with me, this piqued the curiosity of Bobby. Within 2 years he would have one of the largest fountain pen collection in the country. He asked me what to do with his pens. I told him to write with them, write a letter to be read at every milestone anniversary of Robbie and Janis. Write to your grandchildren to be read at a debut, graduation or wedding. The thing about Bobby is that he didn’t just buy stuff, he studied about his passions and this is what made me conclude that he had a decent IQ.

He loved his food. It didn’t have to be expensive or swanky. We would try different places to dine and would settle at the one with the best value. It’s not uncommon for him to send a txt saying “Doc, break bread!” meaning having lunch with him. His use of the phrase would also make me realize he new his scriptures. He had his favorite places to dine, most of the time value for money. I took him to Tanabe’s in Remedios Circle but he loved Nihonbashi Tei which had better value. Once in Tagaytay, we were to have breakfast, I told him of a nice place called Antonio’s, but he would say “McDonald’s nalang Doc!” So we went through a drive-thru, while we were on our way, he would start munching his order and say “Don’t you just love a Sausage McMuffin with Egg Doc!” Like I said, he knew his food. One time again, at a dog show in Australia, we got served Aussie steaks, after our serving we would look at each other and he would whisper “Kobe beef parin.” We once ate at Armas, I ordered Paella Valenciana and Asado de Pollo. He added “ We must have Cochinillo!” he says, and I answered, “The Valenciana already has pork and you have to order the Cochinillo days ahead,” he smiles at me and answers “That’s what I did.” Sometime ago, we judged an International show in Newcastle Australia, a tiring 4 day show from Thursday to Sunday. Saturday night, we Asian judges decided to have a night cap. I ordered “A round of beer for everyone and a platter of oysters with plates and forks for sharing.” He retorts, “One platter just for me Doc!” then would add “The world is your Oyster Doc!” it made me realize he also knew his Shakespeare. He was good storyteller which made me believe that he could be a good writer. Here is link to an article that involves Bobby.

https://www.bworldonline.com/team-spirit-and-service-ateneo-up-and-joey-pengson/

He loved his family, he talked about his Mom and Dad lovingly but most of all in a way of longing. He loved the family and his siblings, admitting to differences that occur in any family much more a family business, but at the end of the day “Familia kami” is what he would say. He spoke highly of his brother Tito who had an LLM from London, he spoke highly of Beng for running Tesoro’s. He also spoke highly about his brother in Australia, he said “He is the smartest Tesoro, he left us to start a life by and on his own.” When the Heritage Room at the Ateneo Grade School was opened, I told him of the Jordan Awardee list. The highest award, given to a grade school graduate. An award not always given and his brother Tito and his photo was on the list. I told Bobby about it and he gave the usual Bobby answer “Yup he is a successful lawyer but I’m a successful judge! (referring to his being a dog show judge).” He loved Robbie, Jannis and his grandchildren, when ever we were together, he would always have something to say about them, something proud. He always told me that he can pass away in peace knowing that they will live a secure life.

Like every human being, Bobby had his quirks, he was as human as humans can get with his shortcomings. Quirks that may have raised an eyebrow or even hurt someone. Whenever our conversations became personal, he would only share things in generalizations, dots that I had to connect. I’m sure in a room full of acquaintances, if I were to ask how many have had an argument or even a spat with him, a good number would raise a hand. He acknowledged mistakes he made in his life. He knew he had haters. He had to call out what he saw was wrong and this would lead to arguments. His miserly ways also sometimes led to some misunderstanding. He knew he made mistakes in life and he knew life gave no do overs. “In my cholesterol laden heart, I’ve forgiven those who have hurt me Doc, but most of all I hope those I have hurt can forgive me.” “My problem Doc, is that even if I have forgiven, others I cannot forget” of which I would tell him “You’re just human my friend, anyway time helps us forget, what’s important is that it is not a burden on your shoulders anymore.” He probably wasn’t the perfect friend but he was more than enough of a friend that one needed.

I guess I was blessed in our friendship as we had no arguments that made us drift apart. Even if political beliefs made us exact opposites, we still managed to maintain a bond. We had one discussion once, when I had to say “BDF ka kasi Pare, that’s why your missing the point” of which he asked “What’s BDF Doc?” I answered “Buena De Familia” this made him smile and whisper “Buena de Familia.” When we parted ways that day, after giving each other a parting hug, he would say “Buena De Familia rin ang pag palaki sa iyo Doc.” I gifted him with little things, a travel outlet adaptor, jewelers cloth for polishing his watches and pens, hard to find ammo, pen trays, his first display box for fountain pens, a Somes pen case, bottles of ink, clip on suspenders. Once on a trip, his bottle of shampoo spilled in his check in luggage, when we got back home I gave him a box of Ziploc bags and had to explain to him what it was for and how to use it. Little things that I know he used and appreciated. At one point he would say, “Marami kang na iregalo na sa akin Doc” or “Marami na akong utang sa iyo Doc.” I would just smile and say the usual “Just keep well my friend so we can talk about the past and laugh in our old age.” He celebrated his 60th birthday 35,000 feet in the sky, we get aisle seats across each other when we travel, I greeted him “Happy birthday Padre, many more to come!” he smiled and we did a fist bump across the aisle. This would be his last long haul trip to a dog show.

He was a difficult patient to care for and look after. He loved his food and booze, both anathemas to his curse of Diabetes. He eventually stopped smoking, first in front of me then totally as the house would stop reeking third hand smoke. He stopped drinking in front of me but would drink somewhere with someone else. I gave up asking him to stop the booze as I realized he was just a harmless lush anyway. I’ve treated him for an abscess where the sun doesn’t shine. He called me “Doc, I’ve got a fever and a boil in my butt.” I dropped by his house and gave him an antibiotic and an antipyretic. I told him the main goal of treatment was to load him with an antibiotic and try to lower his sugar, hopefully the abscess would naturally pop at it’s thinnest part. The following morning, he called “I think it popped already Doc.” I grabbed a minor set at the clinic and ran to Nakpil. In his bedroom I did an incision and drainage. We joked through out the procedure, I would warn him if what I was about to do would be painful and to just yell and curse at his favorite person. Somewhere along the procedure, he would say “Doc, you really are a special friend, you’re the only one who has seen my butt!” then we both laughed. He would then gift me with a tactical flashlight (I was just using a disposable penlight from a pharmaceutical during the whole procedure) “Here Doc, this is what someone of your stature should use” as he gave me a tactical flashlight. I sent him a photo when I was at a medical mission in Leyte after Yolanda and he saw the flashlight in the photo-“Nice flashlight Doc!” would be his comment.

His sugar was never normal, I would always ask how he was every morning, how was his sugar. One morning we managed to bring his sugar down to 120, I said “Great! Let’s target 100” and he answers “Doc hilong hilo na ako sa 120, sub 100 pa!” His heart was fairly good post bypass, his cholesterol would rollercoaster but nothing scary. It was his sugar, it was his diabetes that would do his kidneys in. His Creatinine was high but it was still at a level that could be conservatized, he was warned that dialysis was the next step then a transplant. I explained things to him but somehow I felt his mind was closed on any of these interventions. He told me that his conscience couldn’t fathom the thought that he would be taking someone’s kidney. I would always give an initial advise via sms to see his doctors before anything else. I’ve treated him for a couple of pulmonary infections in the past and we managed to get by better. This time, unfortunately he didn’t consult me, sadly I was not onboard this treatment. He left us early in his winter but I’m sure somehow he enjoyed every season before.

The last time we judged internationally was in New Castle Australia, I knew he wasn’t getting better. I had to put in and pull out his carry on from the overhead compartment. I had to get his check in from the carousel. Ring side, he had a chair, so that during his judging he could sit down, which was often. On our way home, at the Sydney Airport, we walked to Gate 63 which already was a distance from check in and immigration. When we got to 63, we we were informed our gate was transferred to gate 29. Bobby cursed a crisp “Punyeta!” as we both knew that 29 was at the other distant end of a sprawling terminal. As we trudged away to gate 29, he would eventually tell me “could you get me a wheelchair Doc.” We never found a wheelchair, and it was the first time I saw my friend really tired. We were the last persons to board, as the plane was apparently waiting just for us. When we settled in our seats, I took his pulse rate and it was increased, slightly bounding with no skips, his respiratory rate was just a tad above normal. He decided to pop a valium against my orders but somehow it calmed him down for the whole trip. I told him to stop judging internationally, he would take a break for a year but then would accept assignments to China which he assured me was an easy trip. I always told him that he didn’t have to accept international shows anymore with his resumé but most all because of the toll it was taking out on his health. He would tell me with some sadness and proud infirmity that he felt good and most of all happy in seeing the joy that he gave to exhibitors when he judged.

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He was a sensitive friend, he somehow would know when something was bugging me and would send timely quotes my way. When he knew I was going through something he sent me a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. When my dad passed away he sent me a Helen Keller quote. He always said he would leave somethings for me, but I would always tell him “No need my friend just keep well so we can talk about the past and laugh in our old age.” The memories that lives is good enough.

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These are the snippets of what I have had with the guy, there are more actually and I will be looking at this as a work in progress and editing it as I remember. I’m blessed that I don’t have to raise a hand because I had a spat with him at one point in our friendship. However, I know if I ask all of you who raised a hand because of some misunderstanding or spat you may have had with the man, to raise your hand again if at one point he made you smile or laugh or even touched your life. I’m sure all of you, if not more, will raise a hand again…and I will join you in raising mine. Life is good Bob!