As the Bamboos Sway: My brother, Ces


Even in silence, he spoke with eloquence. At least to me. He has been my only brother for 64 years of his mortal life that I had grown to know what he conveyed with the mere twitching of his lips, rolling or gleaming of his eyes, the gravity of his sighs, or jiggle of his shoulders in mirthful mode or shrugging them.

Nonetheless, he was not always silent and when he spoke, as one post from his son’s friend said: “You can feel the wisdom that reminds you of the philosophers of old.” Another friend from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) where Ces used to work, had also said: Ces has the knack to pronounce things that seem would never happen until, years later, you realize it is already happening.

Moreover, he says things in an almost pontifical way, not forceful, but grounded in truth and wisdom that could be devoid of fiery emotion, nonetheless straight forward that it should be the way. Woe to those who choose the highway.

However, he was also a jester, often corny but could also send you rolling on the floor. I always feel sorry for those who do not understand his jokes. We always forgive them, though. I can imagine him referring to my talk on his memorial to be a urology. He might take pity on those, after my splendid spiel, for not giving me a standing ovulation. He would ask you why birds fly south. The obvious answer is of course because it is too far to walk. He might also ask why birds fly in V formation. You might answer with physics airlifting dynamics, etc. but the simple answer is because V stands for vacation.

We used to call him the Juke Box King when he was a kid. This is because when he refuses to eat for he does not like the food or simply not in the mood, he would not really eat until my mother drops a ten-centavo coin in front of him. I can still hear my mom saying “O, ayan na. Kumain ka na.” That would then send his fork and spoon chime on the plate in a rhythm that is music to my parents’ ears.

Not to my ears, however. I did not have the luxury of being the youngest of two boys and, as I perceived, to be the favorite of my parents. I had thought that Ces always got his way. Worse, being the oldest, I am supposed to be blamed and punished for everything we did wrong even if he was the instigator. After my spanking for what he did, I could still see his wily smile for he got away with something.

I hated him for that. Nonetheless, I still evolved, with our mutual affirmation, to be his protector. He entered grade I when I was already in grade III. One time, during recess, he searched me out at the campus, bawling. A bigger classmate had bullied him. I went to confront the bully, who was bigger than my brother. I pushed the bully on his shoulders, almost sending him sprawling backwards. I can still hear myself saying, “Don’t ever make my brother cry again.” That incident went viral in the campus. Yes, Ces is the brother of Rudy Liporada. Don’t ever mess with him.

I believe he loved me more after that. And I admit that there were times that I might have abused that love. One time he had been saving for a guitar which cost thirty-three pesos. Apart from his baon, he had to play Juke Box King so many times, until he saved thirty pesos. He told me three pesos na lang and I can own the guitar. I offered the three pesos and he happily accepted and bought the guitar. It did not become his guitar though. It was our guitar with me having, with him grumbling, the right and power of enforcement to say dalawang kanta ka na lang and it’s my turn.

There are many more incidents like this that are now treasured in our mirthful memory box which I will recall with fondness. Actually, most of these incidents already found print in our book together. This is an advertisement. Check Baguio Vignettes of Our Lives by Rudy and Cesar Liporada published with

Going back to memories, he was ahead of me in entering NEDA by two years before he moved to the Population Commission (PopCom). So, although I am three years older than him, the staff of NEDA thought that I was his ading. We never corrected them. Besides, his hair turned salt and pepper ahead of me. Its just that his last hair stylist did a great job in dying his hair black.

And do you see his Mona Lisa smile there at the coffin? He is like saying to me: see, mas gwapo talaga ako sa iyo, utol. Right now, just to make him happy, I will have to agree. That is assuming na gwapo nga rin ako. Besides, I must admit that his nose is really mas matangos kaysa sa akin. I guess that is why he was able to get all those girls of which I could be envious. Takot lang ako sa misis ko. Siya hindi. Without naming names most of those girls are even friends today. I have Salud’s permission to say that. But after Salud, wala na kahit maghabol pa sila. I salute Salud for taming my brother. I also thank her for sticking with my brother up to his very end. With her, I have stopped being my brother’s protector.

Nonetheless, besides all the girls he loved before, I actually hold my brother in high esteem. I have told him, even if I ever have accomplishments of my own, if I stayed in the Philippines, I would not have done what he had accomplished. After his University of the Philippines studies, he went on to become an alumnus of the Asian Institute of Management. I marvel at the fact that many of our seniors in school became his staff. He went on to become a United Nations consultant bringing his skills in other third world countries. He was actually in an office of the Twin Towers in New York before they were plane bombed by Osama Bin Ladin.

His best accomplishments would of course be having six children, two from Aida and four from Salud; and grandchildren from both Marie and Gani, who are for sure, making their own marks as Liporadas, making us a proud clan. Now, as he joins his daughter, Marie, in the celestial kingdom, I know that you are all here because, in one way or another, he has touched your hearts and has ingrained in you perspectives, no matter how minute, that help propel your daily grinds in notches you are in for your service in society.

Of course, as siblings, we also had our differences but at the end of the day, we only have each other as brothers. For one thing, however, there is one thing that we agreed upon up to the moment of his death. He died on September 22, a day after the commemoration of Marcos Martial Law. I believe he waited a day after the declaration of a dictatorship. He hates dictatorships. And I wholly agree with him.

And now, he is truly free from the woes of the earth.

Together with my parents and Marie and other love ones, they are just now flying in V formation. #


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