Tomo 6
Numero 5
December 2004


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The Lito Nayan I Know
Word in the Streets

ni Norris Z. Falguera

Editor's Note: Angelito Nayan and fellow United Nations workers were released on November 23.

Much is already heard and said about Angelito Nayan, former Monbusho scholar and a close friend of ours who, as of this writing, languishes somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan. His classmates – myself included – took the initiative of collating prayers and messages of support for Lito, believing that these will carry Lito and his family through tough times. I’ll summarize some of them but before that let me give my own glimpse of Lito and how we reacted to his kidnapping:

October 29 started with the usual – facing the computer, finishing a report, reviewing yesterday’s accomplishments, and preparing to brief my senseis. Nothing unusual in ICU, except that fellow IUJer Arnold Alderite mentioned Lito’s kidnapping. "Hindi naman siguro," was my knee jerk reaction. My thinking then was that nobody would take interest on Lito; besides, there are hundreds carrying the name Angelito Nayan. But next day came urgent emails from classmates Charisse Gulosino and Ebi Florano. They confirmed – Lito was kidnapped!!

To tell you frankly, I didn’t know how to react. I was numbed, as in tulala. Nothing in the past taught me how to react to such news. Had I been in Lito’s place, perhaps my head would have already been chopped off.

Back in IUJ (short for International University of Japan, a small but tough school prominently out-of-place beside the tambos and hatakes of Niigata), Lito was among the more active campus faces. We shared the same supervisor (Professor Leszek Buszynski whom we call "Buzz"), the same tatami room for Sunday mass, the same closeness with Fr. Bruno, the same friends, the same k-jodosha, and sometimes the same food. He is the most sociable Pinoy there (contrary to news reports that he is a loner), and he is rarely absent in campus gatherings. In fact, he taught me a couple dance steps during parties.

Lito is bound to be a newsmaker – he figured in two or three car accidents, the first was on his very first night in campus (the car he was in rammed into a house by a another "newsmaker" who we nicknamed "conquestador"). Being the most sociable student, Lito knows almost everybody, a fixture at the campus glee club, karaoke parties, Sunday mass, and campus discussions.

Lito knows most of the events going around IUJ and I, nerdie, would sometimes drop by Lito’s room to update myself on the latest campus events. Then Lito would sometimes ring me up – "hoy Chuck, ano na’ng balita sa ‘yo?" – perhaps to make sure that I still exist as I often preferred confine myself in my room (it was too cold to make liwaliw around Niigata during winter).

Inside Lito’s room, prominently displayed in the center, is a tough-looking samurai doll, an image that kept flashing at the back of my head. That image, I would learn later, signifies the samurai spirit rising up to challenges that come across one’s life, a spirit I’m sure Lito carries that with him as he faces captors ready to shoot his head at the slightest move.

Here at ICU (International Christian University) I came back to my senses and kept thinking of something to help out Lito. Already, Ebi (now a UP professor of public ad) was quick to update fellow alumni on Lito, while Charisse has emailed Gretchen Shinoda, IUJ alumni director, who in turn emailed the rest of the alumni. Edwin Mendoza (now the No. 2 or 3 honcho at RCBC securities) reacted fast enough to organize a mass for Lito. To avoid becoming useless, I volunteered to gather messages and prayers from among friends and classmates. The messages, to say the least, are nakakagaan ng loob. Many of our classmates responded, literally from around the globe – from Japan and Manila to as far as Norway and Liberia. Here are some touching messages (copied verbatim, sans the names of our classmates as I have no permission to put them):

From London: I am hoping and praying everyday for news of Lito’s safe release. Lito and I were classmates at IUJ and I cannot think of a more kind, gentle, selfless individual. His good work with the UN reflects the incredibly giving spirit he always spread, and it is absolutely horrific and unjust what he is enduring, and what you are enduring by relation. Lito’s energetic altruism is a gift to the world and I hope his captors recognize his pure good and how wrongly directed are their actions. All of my thoughts and prayers are directed towards him and towards you at this time. Heartbroken, Hoping, Sincerely,

From London: When i heard the news about Lito, i immediately went to look for my IUJ photo albums...i know I have a lot of pictures there with Lito... because i wanted to remember the person i met at IUJ, and who became my mentor at IUJ and a dear friend in so short span of time. Lito has a sunny disposition. In all the pictures, he is smiling, laughing and singing. I particularly liked our pictures taken during a Mardi Gras party (we all looked silly, but still, we looked good:))

From London: He used to talk about wanting to work with UN, and travel to different places. He talked about this a lot, during one of our many late night tea breaks and I even told him that I could never understand this kind of passion, but admired him greatly for that. I hope and pray that he will be released soon. He still has so many talents to share..

From Liberia: Thanks for helping us and Lito’s family in this difficult time. With Lito I share not only IUJ but our work together in United Nations Peacekeeping operations. Lito first joined me in Kosovo and we worked together for almost an year. We lived together, we cooked together and endured severe cold and other difficulties of Kosovo together. During our weekend we travelled together to Macedonia, and Greece. When Lito was leaving Kosovo, I could not say good bye to Lito and followed him up to Italy where we had his farewell. Since his ordeal, I am looking at those pictures and praying that all three of them will come back safe. For your information that all three who got Kidnapped are from my section. Although, I have left Afghanistan for my next assignment in Liberia but three of were with me in Afghanistan and Ksovo. Lets all pray for their safety. With kind regards

From Japan: I really know that he is willing to devote himself to the peace of the world. It is easy for me to understand why he is in Afgan. He just would like to help the people and contribute to re-establish the country. Also, I know his strong will, discipline, and optimistic view. He definitely comes back with other two UN volunteers. I really, really pray for them.

From Canada: I’ve found the past few weeks extremely difficult, knowing that a close friend is scared and in need of help, and not being able to do enough to get him out of the situation. One thing from which I have found comfort, and I hope his family will be able to do so as well is this: at IUJ, Lito and I (along with Jesse and Kaysee) were quite active in the Catholic Church on campus. Each week, Jesse or Lito would pick the songs for Mass. Lito always picked a certain song: "Here I am". The words of that song have been providing me comfort since I heard the news that Lito was taken hostage: I the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry. All who dwell in dark and sin, my hand will save. I who made the stars of night, I will make their darkness bright. Who shall bear my light to them? Whom shall I send? Here I am Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart. Lito, my prayers and thoughts with you and your family now and forever. Call me when you come home.

My only lament was that I could count with my fingers the number of kababayans known to Lito who sent messages – like Symone San Miguel (Jerusalem), Lisa Buctuanon King (Canada), Eva Bernardo (London), Leah and John Mackay (Japan). As for the rest (including Lito’s former acquaintances at AFSJ who – for the record – have reduced themselves into making pasosyal and licking the asses of visiting Pinoy dignitaries), barely was there any show of support.

It poured like an eruption of intellectual ideas and academic personalities. That’s what I felt while attending the Regional Conference of Philippine Political Science Association, held last October 22-23 at the College of St. Benilde Hostel in Manila. In fact, I was a resource speaker and presented a paper (hands and knees trembling) before the glare of my former senseis at UP –Presidential Adviser Alex Magno, Dean Zosimo Lee, former UP Vice President Olivia Caoili, and former PPSA President Carmencita Aguilar. My "other" senseis there include former boss and UP President Jose Abueva, Patricio Abinales (Kyoto University), Malaya Ronas (UP), Oscar Evangelista (Osaka Gaidai), and Fr. Jose Magadia (Ateneo); as well as Amado Mendoza and Noel de Dios (UP), Antonio Contreras (DLSU), and Rey Ileto (National University of Singapore)


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