By Marc Cayabyab
Lourdes “Chit” Estella-Simbulan paid a last visit to her second home, as her ashes were brought to the College of Mass Communication for a memorial that celebrated the veteran journalist and professor’s “well-lived life.”
“Ngayong umaga, gunitain natin ang buhay ni Chit na may apoy, at ang apoy na kay ningning na nagbigay ng liwanag at init sa isang buhay na tunay na ikararangal ng unibersidad na tawagin kanyang mabuting anak (This morning, let us celebrate Chit’s life, whose lustrous fire gave off light and passion, and whom the University must be honored to call daughter),” said CMC Dean Rolando Tolentino.
Students and colleagues planted seedlings of Narra and Fire trees in front of the Media Center to honor the late professor.
Journalism Department chair Marichu Lambino said the “Chit Estella Ring of Fire trees and Narra trees” served as a symbol of Simbulan’s courage and strength.
Mourners were given white ribbonson which to write their goodbyes. These messages – most of which read, “We will miss you” – were tied to the seedlings.
To emphasize the celebratory nature of the memorial, program emcee and journalism faculty member Lucia Tangi forbade tears. In fact, Tangi said Chit would have wanted to have a videoke party for her wake.
Prof. Rachel Khan of the Journalism Department recounted how she first met Chit. They were both reporters on the Malacañang beat, Khan said, and Chit, who was then a reporter for the broadsheet Malaya, taught Khan “the diligence and perseverance needed in getting the story.”
Khan added Chit is probably laughing at the journalism faculty now, imagining her saying, “Sorry, nag-eenjoy na ako ngayon. Wala na akong stress. (Sorry, I’m enjoying right now. I don’t have any more stress).”
Khan addressed Chit, saying, “We miss your optimism, your sense of fun, and your strength.”
Chit also served as a therapist for most of her peers, and was, as Lambino said, the “best listener and the best processor of a litany of woes.”
“She never closed the door on me,” said Lambino, remembering her conversations with Chit which ranged from restaurants, newspaper lay-outs and to the wealth of politicians.
Asked what she would most remember about Simbulan, CMC administrative officer Gina Villegas said Simbulan always carried a smile for everyone. (Read: Leaving something for the ones left behind)
College secretary Danilo Arao read UP President Alfredo Pascual’s message, said, “The death of Simbulan is a tragic reminder of that which should spur us into action. Advocacy for road safety is just one of the things we as concerned citizens can do to start the process of giving meaning to her passing.”